Dave Mustaine on the Megadeth Song He Isn’t ‘Too Fond’ Of (EXCLUSIVE)
Just a few days ago, Noisecreep had the pleasure of sitting down with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine at Universal Music Enterprises’ Santa Monica offices to discuss the band’s upcoming Super Collider album. Although Noisecreep only got to hear a few finished cuts from the record (which arrives in stores this summer), the early indication is that it’s going to end up on many year-end lists come December. The stuff is that good.
In particular, if you’re a fan of Mustaine’s lyrics, the tracks have in our possession feature some of his best work yet.
“It’s tough sometimes because there’s only so many things you can say lyrically — one-liners, idioms, phrases — without repeating something you’ve already said in an earlier song. Especially being known for my lyrics, I have to make sure I don’t say something stupid. I have been pretty fortunate. There hasn’t been too many dumb songs in our discography,” said the Megadeth mastermind.
Since he was on the topic of his past songwriting efforts, Mustaine revealed to Noisecreep a Megadeth song he isn’t all that psyched about. “Probably the dumbest song Megadeth ever did was ‘Crush ‘Em.’ Not that I hate it, because we’ve never released something that I didn’t like musically, but I’m not that fond of it.”
“Crush ‘Em” first appeared on the soundtrack to the action film Universal Soldier: The Return before becoming the lead off single to Megadeth’s 1999 Risk album. “We had huge success with our prior album [1997’s Cryptic Writings] big singles and all of that. That had never happened before. So we figured, why not give the label and our management more to work with next time out since the last one did so well on radio. That was a huge mistake.
“I remember the day our manager at the time [the late Bud Prager] came to my house and he goes, ‘I got an idea. Two words: crush ’em.’ The silence was deafening. Look, I wanted to write a hockey song cause I was sick of [convicted sex offender] Gary Glitter‘s song [‘Rock and Roll] being played in all the arenas. I’m a hockey season ticket holder and this is a family sport. I didn’t want that guy’s song anymore. I wanted to write something better. So I wrote the riff and then I see Bud’s lyrics and I think to myself, ‘This isn’t what I was thinking.’ So yeah, it didn’t work,” laughed the singer. Despite his feelings about the track, “Crush ‘Em” still hit the #6 spot on the Mainstream Rock Tracks in 1999.
With such a deep discography, Noisecreep asked Mustaine if he’s ever worked on a guitar riff only to realize that it was one of his old songs.
“I’ve had band members submit some musical ideas that turned out to be things I’ve actually written before [laughs]. I was listening to the beginning of a song Shawn Drover (Megadeth drummer) had written called ‘Head Crusher,’ and I just hated it. I’m thinking to myself, ‘Why don’t I like this thing?’ He kept on pushing me to listen to it more so I finally decided to learn it on guitar. Once I started figuring it out on guitar I go to Shawn, ‘Dude, no wonder I don’t like it, it’s the beginning of ‘Take No Prisoners,” I asked him how was I supposed to use the riff again,” laughs Mustaine referring to the song from Megadeth’s 1990 Rust in Peace album.
Luckily for Megadeth fans, Mustaine collaborated with Drover on the rest of his idea and “Head Crusher” ended up on 2009’s Endgame album. “Yeah, I listened to the rest of the song idea he had and it was great music. So sometimes you just have to go through crap like that to get to the good stuff.”
STAY TUNED FOR MORE FROM OUR CONVERSATION WITH DAVE MUSTAINE!
Watch ‘Head Crusher (Live)’ Video
Megadeth will release Super Collider on June 4 via Tradecraft/Universal Music Enterprises.