David Scott "Dave" Mustaine (born September 13, 1961) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and author.
He is best known as the co-founder, guitarist, and lead singer of the American thrash metal band Megadeth, and well known as the original lead guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica.
David Mustaine was born September 13, 1961 in La Mesa, California, to Emily (née David) and John Mustaine.
His father was of French and Finnish descent and his mother was Jewish.
He was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness.
Panic was Mustaine's first band.
The lineup was Mike Leftwych on drums, Bob Evans on bass, Tom Quecke on rhythm guitar, Pat Voeks as the vocalist, with Mustaine was the lead guitarist.
Both Mike Leftwych and the sound man were killed in a car crash after Panic's second show.
In 1981, Mustaine left Panic to join Metallica as the lead guitarist. Metallica's drummer Lars Ulrich had posted an ad in a local newspaper, The Recycler, looking for a lead guitarist.
In his own words, Mustaine remembers his first meeting with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich: "I was in the room warming up and I walked out and asked, 'Well, am I gonna audition or what?', and they said, 'No, you've got the job.'
I couldn't believe how easy it had been and suggested that we get some beer to celebrate."
Mustaine's membership in Metallica ended before recording Kill 'Em All in 1983.
Brian Slagel, owner of Metal Blade Records, recalls in an interview: "Dave was an incredibly talented guy but he also had an incredibly large problem with alcohol and drugs.
He'd get wasted and become a real crazy person, a raging megalomaniac, and the other guys just couldn't deal with that after a while.
I mean, they all drank of course, but Dave drank more … much more.
I could see they were beginning to get fed up of seeing Dave drunk out of his mind all the time."
On one occasion, Mustaine brought his dog to rehearsal; the dog jumped onto the car of Metallica bassist Ron McGovney and scratched the paint.
Hetfield allegedly yelled at Mustaine's dog and kicked it in anger, to which Mustaine responded by physically attacking Hetfield and McGovney and verbally abusing Ulrich.
Mustaine was fired following the altercation, but the next day, Mustaine asked to be allowed back in the band and was granted his request.
Another incident occurred when Mustaine, who had been drinking, poured a full can of beer down the neck and into the pick-ups of McGovney's bass.
McGovney then told Mustaine and Hetfield to leave his house and left the band shortly after.
On April 11, 1983, after Metallica had driven to New York to record their debut album, Mustaine was officially fired from the band because of his alcoholism, drug abuse, overly aggressive behavior, and personality clashes with founding members Hetfield and Ulrich, an incident Mustaine refers to as "no warning, no second chance".
The band packed up Mustaine's gear, drove him to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and put him on a Greyhound bus bound for Los Angeles.
It was on this bus ride that Mustaine scribbled some lyrical ideas on the back of a hand bill, which would later become the song "Set the World Afire" from the 1988 Megadeth album So Far, So Good... So What!
During his time in Metallica, Mustaine toured with the band, co-wrote four songs that appeared on Kill Em All, and co-wrote two songs that would eventually appear on Ride the Lightning.
Mustaine has also made unverified claims to have written parts of "Leper Messiah" from Master of Puppets.
He also recorded several songs with the band including the No Life 'Til Leather demo tape.
A few of the songs he wrote with Hetfield and Ulrich went on to be re-recorded by Metallica.
The most well-known of these is "The Four Horsemen" from Kill 'Em All, which Mustaine wrote as "The Mechanix" and later released on Megadeth's debut album with the original lyrics as "Mechanix".
Fallen Angels was the name of the short-lived band that Mustaine founded after his departure from Metallica.
In April 1983, after returning to California to live with his mother, he landed what he calls his first real job with the aid of Robbie McKinney.
McKinney and a friend, Matt Kisselstein, worked with Mustaine as telemarketers.
Mustaine quit his job after earning enough money to move to an apartment in Hollywood, and recruited McKinney, who played guitar, and Kisselstein, who played bass, for his band Fallen Angels.
In his biography, Mustaine describes that "We lacked the chemistry, the energy, the spark—or whatever you want to call it—that gives a band life in its infancy."
The partnership did not last.
This paved the way for his partnership for Dave Ellefson and Greg Handevidt.
Ellefson was playing the opening bass line of Van Halen's "Runnin' with the Devil" in the apartment below Mustaine's.
After stomping on the floor and shouting for them to stop, Mustaine, being hung over at the time, took a potted plant and threw it out of his window and hit the air conditioner of the apartment below.
This resulted in the two coming up to Mustaine's apartment to ask for cigarettes.
Mustaine replied "There's a store on the corner" and slammed the door in their faces.
A few minutes later, they knocked on the door, this time asking if he could buy them beer.
Mustaine's reply: 'Ok, now you are talking'.
They spent the night talking about music, and soon after, Mustaine, Ellefson and Handevidt were then bandmates.
With little confidence in his own vocal capabilities, Mustaine added 'Lor' Kane (real name Lawrence Renna) to the Fallen Angels roster.
Kane did not stay long, although is credited for the suggestion that they should change the name to Megadeth, knowing that Mustaine had written a song of the same name.
After Kane left, the first of many drummers, Dijon Carruthers, joined the band.
The lineup of Mustaine, Ellefson, Handevidt, and Carruthers would be the first incarnation of Megadeth.
After a series of unsuccessful vocalist auditions, Mustaine elected to take on vocal duties himself in addition to playing lead guitar.
In 1984, Megadeth cut a three-song demo with drummer Lee Rausch, who replaced Carruthers after Mustaine and Ellefson decided they couldn't trust him. Carruthers had chosen to hide his black heritage from them by claiming he was Spanish, and they couldn't understand why he would deceive them since they weren't racist.
Kerry King joined the band for a few shows; however, he opted to leave Megadeth after less than a week so he could continue working on his own band, Slayer.
Jazz-influenced drummer Gar Samuelson replaced Rausch, who left after Mustaine convinced him to play with a broken foot.
Megadeth recorded a demo as a three-piece band, which captured the attention of guitarist Chris Poland, also a jazz player and a friend of Samuelson, who subsequently joined the band.
In November, the band signed a deal with Combat Records and began touring.
In May 1985, Megadeth released their first album, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, on Combat Records.
That summer, the band toured the U.S. and Canada with Exciter.
Guitarist Mike Albert replaced Chris Poland when he was incarcerated for possession of heroin.
After Poland was released, he rejoined the band in October and the band then began recording their second studio album for Combat.
On New Year's Eve of that year, Megadeth played in San Francisco withExodus and Metal Church. Metallica was the headliner.
This was the only time Megadeth and Metallica were on the same card, until 1991.
In 1986, after recording Killing Is My Business..., Mustaine approached Jackson Guitars for a custom-built guitar.
Jackson modified their existing Jackson King V model for Mustaine by adding 2 more frets to the standard 22 fret King V.
In the 1990s the company began mass-producing a Dave Mustaine signature series Jackson King V, which continued into the early 2000s.
This model uses Seymour Duncan SH-4 pickups, also known as TB-4 pickups.
The following year, major label Capitol Records signed Megadeth and obtained the rights to their second album, Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?, from Combat.
Megadeth opened a U.S. tour with King Diamond and Motörhead.
This album, released in November, is regarded as a landmark metal album.
It produced the notable title track (the opening bass lick of which was used by "MTV News" segments) as well as the thrash anthem "Wake Up Dead".
The videos for both songs became staples on MTV's Headbanger's Ball.
In February 1987, Megadeth opened for Alice Cooper on his Constrictor tour.
The band also toured with King Diamond whose previous band, Mercyful Fate, were a huge influence on Megadeth.
In March, Megadeth's first world tour began in the U.K. Mustaine and Ellefson guested on the band Malice's License To Kill album.
Megadeth re-recorded "These Boots" for the soundtrack to the film "Dudes", and that summer went on tour with Overkill and Necros.
Amid drug problems and suspicions of stealing the band's equipment and pawning it for drug money, Mustaine fired Poland and Samuelson after their last show in Hawaii.
Chuck Behler, who had been Samuelson's drum tech, became Megadeth's new drummer with guitarist Jeff Young replacing Poland.
Megadeth released their third album, So Far, So Good... So What!, in January 1988.
The album contains the song "In My Darkest Hour", which, according to the liner notes of So Far, So Good... So What!, was composed after the death of Metallica's bass player Cliff Burton, despite the lyrics having nothing to do with Burton.
"Hook in Mouth" attacked theParents Music Resource Center with gusto, although their cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK", despite a guest appearance from ex-Pistol Steve Jones, was ill-advised in the eyes of Allmusic's critic.
Later that year, Megadeth opened for Dio and then Iron Maiden on tour before playing the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington in the U.K. with Kiss, Iron Maiden, Guns N' Roses, David Lee Roth, and Helloween.
Shortly after, Mustaine fired Behler and Young, accusing Young of having thoughts of a relationship with Mustaine's then-girlfriend.
Around this period, Mustaine produced the debut album from Seattle thrash band Sanctuary, called Refuge Denied.
Nick Menza, who was Chuck Behler's drum tech, joined Megadeth in 1989, and the band recorded their only track ever as a three-piece: a cover of Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" for the Wes Craven-directed horror flick, Shocker.
Video director Penelope Spheeris would later recount in the Megadeth episode of Behind The Music that Mustaine showed up to the video shoot so fried on heroin and other drugs that he could not sing and play guitar at the same time; therefore, the singing and playing had to be recorded separately.
Mustaine was arrested for "impaired driving" that March with seven or more drugs in his system and was forced by authorities to enter a rehabilitation program (the first of his 17 visits to rehabilitation centers).
In February 1990, guitarist Marty Friedman (formerly of Cacophony) was auditioned to fill in the vacant lead-guitar position.
In September of that year, the band joined the "Clash of the Titans" tour overseas with Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Testament.
The tour began one month before Megadeth released Rust in Peace(1990), which continued their commercial success. They then went back on the road to promote the new album, this time as support for Judas Priest.
Megadeth started off 1991 by performing for 145,000 people at Rock In Rio before starting their own world tour with Alice in Chains as their special guest.
Mustaine got married in April, the same month the Rusted Pieces home video was released.
That summer, the Clash of the Titans tour hit the U.S., featuring Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax, with Alice in Chains taking the opening slot.
Later that year, the Megadeth song "Go to Hell" was featured on the soundtrack to Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.
Also in 1991, Mustaine collaborated with Sean Harris from Diamond Head on the track "Crown of Worms".
Mustaine would later appear on Diamond Head's reformation album Death and Progress. Mustaine's wife, Pamela, gave birth to their son Justis on February 11, 1992.
The band was featured on another soundtrack, this time for Super Mario Bros. with the song "Breakpoint".
July saw the release of Megadeth's most commercially successful record: Countdown to Extinction.
The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and boasted some of the band's most commercially successful songs, including "Symphony of Destruction", "Sweating Bullets" and "Skin o' My Teeth".
The original version of the "Symphony of Destruction" video was edited due to its depiction of a political leader being assassinated; "Skin o' My Teeth" was aired on MTV with a disclaimer from Mustaine insisting that the song did not endorse suicide.
Ellefson contributed lyrics to the family-farm ballad "Foreclosure of a Dream", and Menza wrote the lyrics about canned hunting for the title track.
This album began a new, more "collaborative" Megadeth.
Pantera and Suicidal Tendencies opened for Megadeth on the Countdown to Extinction tour.
MTV News invited Mustaine to cover the Democratic National Convention for them that summer.
In November, the "Exposure of a Dream" home video was released.
In 1993, Mustaine guested on a new album by one of the bands who had influenced his own sound: Diamond Head.
Megadeth began a U.S. tour with Stone Temple Pilots as their opening act.
This tour, including a planned appearance at Budokan, was ultimately canceled due to Mustaine's continuing struggles with addiction.
In June, Megadeth played Milton Keynes Bowl with Diamond Head and Metallica and later opened for Metallica on a handful of European Stadium dates.
Megadeth was kicked off Aerosmith's U.S. tour after just seven dates due to the comment made by Mustaine that "We don't have much time to play because Aerosmith don't have much time left to live." was deemed offensive to Aerosmith.
"Angry Again" was featured on the soundtrack to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero, while "99 Ways To Die" was featured on The Beavis and Butt-head Experience compilation album.
Megadeth spent the bulk of 1994 making Youthanasia, a much more commercial album undoubtedly inspired in part by the success of Countdown to Extinction.
The band covered Black Sabbath's song "Paranoid" for Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath and performed on MTV's "Night of the Living Megadeth" in celebration of the Halloween release of their new album.
They began a tour the next month in South America.
Youthanasia became the quickest album to go gold (500,000 units) in Canadian history and sold well throughout the world.
It was an album that showed a more melodic side to the band with tracks such as "À Tout le Monde". The album also included "Train of Consequences", the music video for which became one of the band's most well-known.
Another soundtrack appearance, "Diadems" on Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight, kicked off 1995. Megadeth spent the first two months of the year on the "Youthanasia" tour with Corrosion of Conformity in tow.
In March, the Hidden Treasures compilation hit European stores.
The "Evolver: The Making of Youthanasia" home video followed in May, and Hidden Treasures made it to the U.S. and Japan in July, just in time for the start of the "Reckoning Day" tour with special guests Flotsam and Jetsam, Korn and Fear Factory.
In September the band performed at the "Monsters of Rock" festival in South America, Peru.
A Grammy nomination for "Paranoid" began 1996 for Megadeth.
Enlisting Fear singer Lee Ving, Mustaine released an album under the moniker "MD.45" with Suicidal Tendencies drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. In September, Megadeth returned to the studio, this time in Nashville, TN, to record Cryptic Writings.
Cryptic Writings (1997) included thrashing songs like "Vortex" and "FFF"—reminiscent of Megadeth's older material—alongside radio-friendly fare like "Trust", the song that put Megadeth on the No.
1 spot in the U.S. Billboard, earning them many spins at rock radio. Megadeth.com launched that year, and in June, the reformed Misfits opened for the band on tour.
Chaos Comics released "The Cryptic Writings of Megadeth" comic books, and a remix of "Almost Honest" showed up on the "Mortal Kombat Annihilation" soundtrack.
The first ever all-acoustic Megadeth performance in Buenos Aires, Argentina closed out the year in December.
Mustaine's daughter, Electra Mustaine, was born on January 28, 1998, the same month that "Trust" was nominated for a Grammy.
Megadeth played on the Howard Stern Show and that summer took part in Ozzfest.
As Nick Menza sat in the hospital side-lined by a knee injury, he received a call from Mustaine informing him that his services would no longer be needed.
Jimmy DeGrasso, who Mustaine had enjoyed playing with in MD.45, joined Megadeth in his place. On New Year's Eve, Megadeth opened for Black Sabbath alongside Soulfly, Slayer, and Pantera.
While touring after Cryptic Writings, Mustaine told interviewers that songs like "She-Wolf" and "Vortex" had reinvigorated his love for classic music by bands like Iron Maiden and Motörhead, and that he intended to write an album that was "1/2 Peace Sells, 1/2 Cryptic Writings"; however, after hearing about a comment that Lars Ulrich had made in the press in which he said he wished Mustaine would take more "risks", intentions changed. Managers and producers had more input.
The song "Crush 'Em" was written with the express purpose of being played in wrestling arenas.
In later years, Mustaine would blame much of this period on Friedman's desire to go in a more "pop" direction.
Recorded with producer Dann Huff, again in Nashville, Risk was released on August 31, 1999.
"Crush 'Em" made it onto theUniversal Soldier: The Return soundtrack and into WCW wrestling events (notably played live on Monday Nitro).
In July, the band covered "Never Say Die" for a second Black Sabbath tribute.
They closed the Woodstock '99 music festival and again opened for Iron Maiden in Europe.
There were few other highlights in the Megadeth world in 1999, a year that ended with Marty Friedman announcing his departure from the band.
As the tour behind Risk soldiered on, Al Pitrelli replaced Friedman on the road. In April, the new lineup entered the studio to begin work on a new album a couple of months before they officially parted ways with Capitol Records.
The summer was spent on the road with Anthrax and Mötley Crüe. Capitol released a "best of" collection in the fall, Capitol Punishment: The Megadeth Years, featuring two brand new (and more metal-leaning) songs, "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" was one of the brand new songs and appeared on the next studio album the following year. With a new deal in place with Sanctuary Records, Megadeth returned to the studio toward the end of the year to finish their album and on New Year's Eve, played a show in Anchorage, Alaska.
An acoustic tour sponsored by radio stations, a press tour, and a video shoot for the song "Moto Psycho" all preceded the May 2001 release of The World Needs A Hero.
The summer was filled with festival appearances supporting AC/DC. In September, Megadeth set out across North America with Endo and Iced Earth. VH1's "Behind The Music" special on Megadeth aired that year and was later released on DVD.
At the end of the year, the band filmed two shows in Arizona, which were released as the 2CD and DVD Rude Awakening.
The early part of 2002 saw the release of a remixed and re-mastered Killing Is My Business... with bonus tracks and expanded packaging, followed by Rude Awakening.
In January 2002, Mustaine was admitted to the hospital to get a kidney stone removed. While undergoing treatment, he was administered pain medication that triggered a relapse.
Following his hospital stay, he immediately checked himself into a treatment center in Texas. While at rehab, Mustaine suffered an injury causing severe nerve damage to his left arm.
The injury, induced by falling asleep with his left arm over the back of a chair caused compression of the radial nerve.
He was diagnosed with radial neuropathy, also known as Saturday Night Palsy, which left him unable to grasp or even make a fist with his left hand.
On April 3, 2002, Mustaine announced in a press release that he was disbanding Megadeth, officially due to his arm injury.
For the next four months, Mustaine underwent intense physical therapy five days a week.
Slowly, Mustaine began to play again, but was forced to "re-teach" his left hand.
Dave Mustaine at aGigantour show in Orlando, FL
Mustaine himself gave what he called "the Reader's Digest version" of the whole matter during an interview for SuicideGirls: "I went into retirement because my arm got hurt really bad.
I broke up the band which at the time was Al Pitrelli, Dave Ellefson, Jimmy DeGrasso, and myself.
I was having problems with Al because he liked to drink, and we didn't want to show up at places with him drunk.
Al also got married to a nice woman, but he wanted to spend time with her.
After a few years, most married men are willing to die, so I figured if we got a couple years into the marriage that might have changed.
But the fact was, Al wasn't fitting. DeGrasso was really hard to be around because he was so negative all the time with his complaining about money and wanting things.
Ellefson was all about 'play my songs, play my songs.'
I hated being around these guys so when the arm injury happened, it was a welcome relief and an indication that I had to stop."
Mustaine went through physical therapy for his arm injury.
During his recovery, he explored other areas of the music industry, including production.
Contrary to what doctors had predicted, within a short time he fully recovered. However, all was mostly quiet on the Megadeth front for the better part of 2003.
Mustaine left Jackson guitars, did a solo acoustic performance at a benefit show, unveiled his new ESP model at the NAMM convention, and oversaw the release of Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? as an audio DVD presented in Dolby 5.1 surround.
At the same time, Mustaine's personal life once again underwent change.
It was during this period that Mustaine became a Christian.
He expressed his intent to withdraw from a show in Greece that had Rotting Christ and Dissection opening for Megadeth.
Mustaine told The Daily Times during a recent interview, his own world was already shattered, and becoming a Christian was the one way he's found to put the pieces back together.
"I went back to being a Jehovah's Witness, but I wasn't happy with that."
He later said in an interview, "Looking up at the cross, I said six simple words, 'What have I got to lose?' Afterwards my whole life has changed.
It's been hard, but I wouldn't change it for anything.
Rather go my whole life believing that there is a God and find out there isn't than live my whole life thinking there isn't a God and then find out, when I die, that there is."
Mustaine also considers his talent a gift from God.
"To be the No. 1 rated guitar player in the world is a gift from God and I'm stoked about it, but I think Christ is better than I am, anyway," he said.
"Either way, I don't put too much earthly merit on it."
In 2004 Mustaine oversaw the remixing and re-mastering of Megadeth's entire Capitol Records catalog.
All albums were re-released with bonus tracks and full liner notes.
With one album remaining in his contract to Sanctuary Records, Mustaine began recording what he intended to be the first Dave Mustaine solo album with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and bassist Jimmy Sloas.
Complete with guest solos from old friend Chris Poland, this project became a new Megadeth album, The System Has Failed, released September 14, 2004.
One month before, Mustaine announced a new touring lineup for Megadeth: Glen Drover (King Diamond/Eidolon) and James MacDonough (Iced Earth).
Nick Menza had briefly been a part of the new band before differences once again caused his departure.
One week before a new US tour with Exodus supporting, new drummer (and Glen's brother) Shawn Drover (Eidolon) joined Megadeth.
The "Blackmail The Universe" tour started in February 2005 with Diamond Head and Dungeon supporting. Capitol released a new greatest hits, Back to the Start, in June, a month before Mustaine created "Gigantour" with Dream Theater, Anthrax, Fear Factory, Symphony X, Dillinger Escape Plan, Life of Agony, and more. During 2005 Gigantour Mustaine brought a "spiritual counselor" to help him avoid the problems that almost cost him his life due to his prior drug addictions.
The Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato stated: "He had a pastor walking around with him on tour and riding on his bus, I think to help keep him on the straight and narrow path."
Arsenal of Megadeth, a two-disc anthology DVD, was released in March 2006. Bass player James LoMenzo