Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine Talks ‘Dystopia’ Album, New Members + 2016 Tour
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The band just released their 'Dystopia' album, the first to feature new guitarist Kiko Loureiro and drummer Chris Adler. Mustaine spoke with Jackie about the 'Dystopia' disc and some of its key tracks, what the additions of the two new members has meant and also discusses the killer lineup for the band's upcoming tour. Check out the chat below.
The one and only Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, how are you Dave?
I’m rather well, thank you. How are you?
Doing well. Really excited to talk about this great new album and you've got a tour coming up. A lot to get to. What can you tell us about "The Threat Is Real"?
Well "The Threat is Real" casts a very, I don’t know how to say this, but the topic doesn’t really have any particular antagonist in it. There is no person that I am talking about. It's just the fact that there is a threat out there for all of us. We don’t know what it is, but it's out there. And I thought that just the power of the song talking about all the kind of stuff that goes on behind the scenes with people when they plot to get revenge on people. You know I have been watching a lot of stuff on YouTube that’s about military stuff, politics, espionage, tradecraft, all kind of stuff like that, I think that’s cool.
Dave, what stands out most to you about the way these songs developed from your initial ideas to the way they ended up after Chris and Kiko applied their craft?
It was really bizarre the way this went down because the writing of these rifts actually started back in 2013 and we had you know that really dismal year of 2014 and then started piecing everything together towards the later part of the year when we moved out to Nashville. And when 2015 came around everything started to kind of congeal. You know at the beginning of 2015 I didn’t even have a full band. But I had a vision, and I was determined, and now it was me by myself because I didn’t know what was up with Ellefson. He was off doing his Metal Allegiance stuff and you know so I figured maybe I need to look for a new bass player now too. So when the songwriting process got to the point where we were ready to start tracking it had ten songs done and Chris came out and we picked two cover tracks. And Kiko showed up. We had done two more songs that he had been involved in. The very last song was actually "Poisonous Shadows" that was written.
Dave, the first two singles "Fatal Illusion" and "The Threat is Real," gave an indication the Dystopia might incorporate more stylistic aspects of vintage Megadeth than we've heard in recent years. Was that a conscious attempt, or a perfect storm of other factors?
Shoot Jackie, I would have to have been conscious to have made a conscious decision. I think a lot of the stuff that was going on in the studio was just a desire to want to go back to what makes me happy. It was such a gut-wrenching period from the end of 2013 to the beginning of 2015 with all the stuff that was going on, you know with Pam’s mom dying very slowly and at the end of that her wandering off to add to all that stuff. That was really brutal. Trying to put all those emotions aside was impossible and it came out during the Super Collider record which some people liked, some people didn’t. You know the management breakup, the band break up, getting other management that lasted for a year and went nowhere and then getting to where we are at right now where it just feels like it’s a band again. Although you know we don’t have a permanent drummer at the moment, Chris Adler is playing with us. He's been gracious and the guys in Lamb of God have been gracious enough to allow him to come out and play with us when they’re not working.
Dave, could you tell us about the song "Dystopia"?
"Dystopia" is one of the songs that had been started back in 2013. There were four songs that were almost done back then. The title had changed several times, too. It was supposed to have been called "What You Don't Know" and then it changed to "Tryanocide" and then it changed to "Dystopia." Basically, a lot of people say it reminds them of "Hanger 18," and I don't see the correlation to it but i really like the way the songs twists and turns it takes, especially towards the end.
Chris Adler has described sharing his ideas for the new songs based on a fan perspective, what HIS Megadeth should sound like. What is most challenging about embracing creative digression while respecting your audience's expectation of their Megadeth?
That's a thing where I think we lost the plot. When we had management and record label pressure, sometimes, they say what you want to hear. A lot of times there's stuff that is beyond your control where you think that writing stuff to copy another band or to copy a successful song that you have that you can actually catch lightning twice, and you can't. I know there's a lot of people out there that have been hit by lightning twice but trying to write the same song twice, it just doesn't work. Especially with an intelligent audience, they'll cry foul.
Dave, creativity can be exhilarating or excruciating. Which better describes how the process felt to you throughout the making of Dystopia?
For me, this time was really fun. During the making of Super Collider it was really uncomfortable, I think. Again, watching my mother in law die was really brutal. I think that was probably hard on the other band members because i'm sure that they had ideas and they wanted to be supportive and they wanted to make it sound like their Megadeth too. Chris [Broderick] and Shawn [Drover] are good guys. But Megadeth has always been my baby and it's been about what's going on in my world at the time we go into the studio. So, I think when I look again at this particular record and making it, where I was in Nashville in this beautiful countryside and being alone one at a time with each one of these players, it really helped restore my faith in myself and my playing ability and what I like to do. When you write for yourself and the fans like it, that means the fans like what you like. If you start trying to write what you think the fans like, you're guessing. I just don't want to take that risk.
Dave, talk about the kickass bands you have on this touring lineup and what fans can expect from the set list.
I'm happy to say we've got my old friend Mike Muir and Suicidal Tendencies as our special guests, we've got Alexi [Laiho] and Children of Bodom continuing on with us supporting our tour we started in Australia with them and have been playing with us on and off over the last couple of months. Then the band that my son had recommended to me called HAVOK that I had heard some stuff about. I like them and I think they're interesting, it's like old school '80s thrash metal stuff. Even down to kind of the clothes they wear. I wouldn't have been aware of them had it not been for him. I think it's going to make a real cool package.
As far as our set list is concerned, we had to modify our set list several times over the last couple of months of playing when we went from headlining by ourselves to playing with Lamb of God in the U.K. to going down to Mexico and playing Knotfest festival. Each time the set got shorter and shorter. I'm hoping we'll have a good 75 minute to 90 minute set list that we can play. Either way we're going to try and play several songs off of Dystopia.
Good luck with this release and thank you for taking the time.
You're welcome, talk to you later!
Thanks to Megadeth's Dave Mustaine for the interview. The band's 'Dystopia' is out now and is available in physical and digital formats. Catch Megadeth on tour at these locations. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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Dave Mustaine Discusses Dystopia Songwriting