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5 Questions....Dave Mustaine


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Five questions with Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine

Of all the surprising things about the legendary metal man Dave Mustaine -- his survival of years of drug abuse, his recovery from freak nerve damage in his arm a decade ago, the fact that Megadeth is still playing quality heavy metal after nearly 30 years -- his wit might be the one most worth noting.

"It's fun to be successful, because you get to go all around the world and you get to play in nice places that you can actually sit down on the toilet and not get splinters, and you can eat catering and you know it hasn't fallen on the floor before it reached the table," he says, explaining why it's better to be Megadeth than a band just starting out, driving around in a half-dead van and sleeping on floors.

Success is "a blessing for some people, and for some people, it's a curse. We went through that whole drug-culture thing. Fortunately we're on the other side of that now. We have a great time out here playing."

It has been a pretty good few months for Megadeth. The band's 13th album, "Th1rt3en," was released in November, and the single "Public Enemy No. 1" received a Grammy nomination.

Then there are the video games Megadeth contributes to, the latest being "Never Dead," and Mustaine's affinity for staying on top of all things metal. He even knows that Lions head coach Jim Schwartz likes playing his songs to get amped for games. "I just thought that was pretty cool," says Mustaine, who saw Schwartz's tweets about it.

Perhaps most important to fans of Megadeth's thrash-happy live show, though: Mustaine has resurrected the Gigantour tour brand, visiting the Palace tonight for a show sure to be packed with aggressive guitar breakdowns and lyrics meant to let the hopeless know that they're not alone with their thoughts.

We caught up with Mustaine to chat about life and touring.

QUESTION: Gigantour was really successful. Why did you shelve it after 2008?

ANSWER: I think you kind of got that backward. It's not that we shelved it; it's that we just couldn't find the right people to play. When you have a lineup like Motörhead and Volbeat and Lacuna Coil, that sort of shows you why I didn't do it. Because having three really top-notch bands like that, in perspective, that's what Gigantour was all about. In the beginning, it was a huge festival with a whole bunch of bands, but some of the bands really didn't carry their weight. With all that production stuff, there was so many chiefs and virtually zero Indians.

Q: So what has changed this time around?

A: The whole reason that I did it in the beginning was because I wanted to have great guitar players. At this point right now, it's about bands that I really like. I think we've kind of gone through all the bands with great guitar players. There's a lot of real good shredders, but the problem is with all of that growling crap that I can't stand. Like I said, there are great musicians in bands like that, but then the singer opens his mouth and ruins it.

Q: From your comments on growling, I'll take it you're not a fan of death metal or metalcore?

For some reason, singers sometimes really don't know what to do, and when a song starts off like that, you don't need to do that screeching stuff. I mean, I'm not a great singer by any means, but I think I know what to do. I also listen to my coproducers a lot. I don't have one song that starts off with a screeching high note like that and just holds it.

Q: You had neck surgery for spinal stenosis last fall. How are you feeling?

A: My neck is completely recovered. The surgery was a breeze. The doctor I used ... did Peyton Manning's surgery. Fortunately, my recovery time has been a lot faster than Peyton's. He was in before me and I'm out playing before him. I wish him well in his recovery.

Q: Can you still headbang?

A: I can headbang, but I've found with the limitation of, "Do I want to headbang or do I want to be in a wheelchair?," I kind of toned it down a little bit. There's more body parts you can move around. I mean, I'm not dancing or anything like that but I'm making the best use of it I can.

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