Dave Mustaine claims why he was the ‘Alpha Male’ during his time in Metallica

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine didn’t say while discussing the personality dynamics of his old band Metallica, saying he was “clearly the alpha male” of the group. Mustaine fired it off while talking about Megadeth’s latest album The sick, the dying… and the dead! in an interview with Classic rock magazine.

In the transcript of the interview, published today (9 September), Mustaine delves into his tumultuous childhood and early adulthood – growing up with an alcoholic father, drug use and how music was his escape. The interviewer, Paul Elliott, also presses him on statements he has made about his relatively short time in Metallica’s early years.

Elliot noted that Mustaine said (in his autobiography Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir), that he was “the leader of (Metallica) and that it was a weird thing to say.” Mustaine asks “why?” Elliot replies because “James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich are such alpha males.” “Oh no,” Mustaine disagrees. “I’m definitely the alpha male among the three of us. Why did I have to do everything when I was in the band? Why did they always ask me to talk to the promoters and collect money? Why was I the one to fight? Why did I have to talk between songs?”

Despite the polarizing comment, when the interviewer asks if it’s difficult for Mustaine to talk about Metallica, Mustaine says no. “I really don’t care. And you know what? I love those guys. I texted James a few days ago after he admitted on stage that he was insecure about his guitar playing” Mustaine said. “I said, ‘James, I love you and I really like your playing.’ He didn’t answer. Of course not. Why should he? The point is, I wanted him to know that I’ve had those feelings too, but I don’t now.”

Then Mustaine pivots again when talking about the bassist’s departure David Ellefson from Megadeth and the temporary replacement with Testament‘s Steve DiGiorgio. Mustaine says he was uncomfortable making DiGiorgio permanent, compares it to Metallica snapping a bass player Cliff Burton from the band Trauma. “He would have been a great player for us to have, but the active poaching of guys from other people’s bands doesn’t suit me,” he explained. “When Metallica did that with Cliff… it was a really shitty feeling for me and I never forgot that. I know I wouldn’t like it if someone came and took one of my band members out.”

And on the “sense of betrayal” he felt when he was kicked out of Metallica? Mustaine replies, “How can you expect a kid who’s 20 and the guitarist in one of the biggest new things in the world to come to grips with reality? Everything from that point on was a fucking feud. Everywhere I went went, it was, “So how’s it going with Meta… uh, Megadeth?”

In light of all that history, Mustaine wants to team up with Metallica and the others Four big ones metal bands to share their experiences to help mentor young musiciansand noted “how much better things would have been if we’d all tried a little bit more within The Big Four.”

Mustaine is optimistic about the future of Megadeth, stating on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show that the latest record is “one of many to come.”

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