In a brand new interview with mxdwn, MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine was asked if he feels the metal scene has changed since the band first started back in the early 1980s.
“Yeah, it has, but I think a lot of that is because the music business has changed,” he responded. “When I first started, the music business was one thing. It was all of us. Now you’ve got people who are business people who don’t have a musical bone in their body, and just because they’ve got a degree they think they know how to make records or pick singles and any of that stuff, and they don’t. Sometimes they do, but for the most part, they don’t. That’s one of the bad things that’s happened, an infiltration of people like that. Now there’s two worlds: music and business. The technology changed a lot too. Probably the most important thing of all is that with the technology and people being able to make records at home, there’s a lot of people that aren’t musicians making music.
“I look at it like this: there’s people that know how to make music, there’s musicians, there’s people that are stars, there’s people that are superstars, right? A guy that knows how to make music can go sit on a piano and play ‘Chopsticks’. A musician can play. A star is somebody that can play the piano and you’ll go, ‘Wow, that guy’s really good.’ A superstar is somebody who you’ve got that guy’s record in your house somewhere already.
“Like I told my band guys, when we work on ourselves, when we get new guys, we do this thing called ‘Rock School 101,’ just to do some media training, just like in the NBA or Major League Baseball — to let the rookies know what’s going on. Because as soon as you get the contract, you get people coming out of the woodwork asking for money, asking for favors. We didn’t want any of our new guys to have any of those situations, so we would tell them certain things about what to expect, what to say, how to look, how to think, how to act, how to dress. And then we’d say, ‘Okay so find your own style, do what makes you feel good, and then if something’s not cool we’ll say so. But enjoy yourself, learn how to shred these songs.’
“So now, what I told these guys, for example, LED ZEPPELIN — LED ZEPPELIN had four superstars. If you think of a band like, say, AC/DC, [they] had maybe, people would argue, two superstars: Angus [Young] and the frontman, right? So at times, especially when you have a high school band, maybe all four of you are just musicians, but one guy’s got the spark and he’s got what it takes. And maybe he becomes a star. And that’s why most bands don’t make it, because they’ve only got one guy that’s a star and the rest are just musicians. I think we’ve been really lucky because David‘s [Ellefson, bass] got moments of greatness where he goes from being a star to a superstar; most notably is the riff I wrote for ‘Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?’ When I showed that to him, he embraced it and people fell in love with his playing and the rest is history.”
During the same chat, Mustaine described his relationship with Ellefson as “pretty good — we’ve had our ups and downs like anyone else. He’s a solid bass player,” he said. “He’s been an ambassador to the band. People like him, and it’s a good thing when you have somebody that people like.”
Mustaine‘s latest comments echo those he made in a 2016 interview with Fox News Magazine. Speaking about what the difference is between a good band and a great band, he said: “There are tons of people who play music that don’t have the gift. You will see bands consist of a lot of different aggregates; sometimes there’ll be several people that play music but no musicians. Or you’ll have several musicians and… several people who play music and one musician. Or [as it] continues to go up, we have a bunch of musicians and then you get a star. Or, in our situation, where we have several stars and somebody that… me being a living legend — and I don’t say this because I believe it, but because of the status and stuff — it’s, like, having a bunch of stars and a superstar in a band, it changes things. Not only do people listen differently, but it also gives you a lot of other opportunities for you to reach people and help change their lives.”