When MEGADETH was honored with its first-ever Grammy last Sunday night (February 12), the band’s walk up to the stage was inexplicably accompanied by the sound of the house ensemble playing the song “Master Of Puppets” from MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine‘s former band METALLICA.
Mustaine was fired from METALLICA in 1983 — some three years before “Master Of Puppets” was released — over substance abuse and anger issues. Although he later conceded that he was “bitter” for a period of time after being dismissed, he insisted that any perceived feud with his former bandmates was an illusion.
Asked by Radio.com what he thought when the house band started playing METALLICA, Mustaine said: “You know what? I didn’t even notice it. It just sounded like some music in the background. The funny thing is that when I went back and listened to my acceptance speech, and I heard the song, I was, like, ‘Wow!’ Everyone was asking me, ‘What about the METALLICA thing?’ And I said, ‘I didn’t hear it, I just saw it.’ ‘How could you not have heard it?’ I didn’t know what they were talking about. I thought that they were talking about METALLICA‘s performance. Because we split [after the pre-televised awards]. By the time they did their thing with Lady Gaga, we were across the street eating dinner. So I went back and listened to my acceptance speech and I went, ‘Wow!'”
He continued: “I didn’t mind them playing it at all, it’s a house band, and they’re doing cover songs. They were probably saying, ‘We don’t know any MEGADETH songs. How about if we do a METALLICA song?’ But when I went back and listened to it, I was, like, ‘Oh my God! That’s the worst version of ‘Master Of Puppets’ I’ve ever heard in my life!'”
When the interviewer pointed out to Mustaine that the house “house band seemed to be playing pretty random songs,” Mustaine agreed: “They could’ve done a Cyndi Lauper song! [Laughs] I was just happy to be up there. It’s about being recognized.”
He added: “We all want so badly, when we pick our careers as kids, to be the best at what we do, and when you choose to be a musician, the stakes are much different. The way they ‘grade’ us, the way they hold us in esteem, how you tell who is better than who.”