metallica_mustaineMarch 11, 1983 might be a day that has absolutely no significance for some people in the world unless you are a true metal head. Some people may remember that on this day, Pakistan successfully conducted a cold test of a nuclear weapon or that Burt Reynolds, Jane Fonda & Katharine Hepburn won awards at the 9TH annual People’s Choice Award that year. For us metal heads, it was a different event that seemed insignificant at the time, but had some major effects in the music world. You see, Metallica traveled to New York to record a record, but when they got there, they gave Dave Mustaine his walking papers and Kirk Hammett walked in to the role of a lifetime as the new lead guitarist. It changed the course of history because Metallica went on to become the biggest metal band of all time releasing one hit record after another. Meanwhile, Dave Mustaine went home to Hollywood to an uncertain future, but once he got on his feet, he would start arguably the second or third (depending on your perspective) biggest band from the Thrash Metal scene in Megadeth after throwing a plant at David Ellefson’s air conditioning unit. Things were not all that shabby for Dave Mustaine who went on to create what I believe to be some of the most iconic records in Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying, Rust In Peace, Countdown To Extinction, etc.

metallica-1983-metallicacomRegardless of what happened to Dave Mustaine, Metallica were poised to be the biggest band in the world in my opinion, but I believe it benefited them to release Mustaine because the better dynamic was in place with Lars “running” the show (which that can be argued as well). Dave Mustaine was a born leader and as he describes in his book that they were constantly clashing heads because there were too many chiefs so you know it wasn’t going to work. Depending on whose side you are on, Dave did have an essential part in the beginnings of Metalllica as he is credited with being a writer on four tracks on Kill ‘Em All. The groundwork for his firing was laid down as described here by Scott Ian of Anthrax, “I was with them on April 9, 1983, when they were playing L’Amour with Vandenberg and the Rods. Vandenberg were onstage in the middle of the afternoon sound checking, and Mustaine was already hammered. He was in the middle of the floor of the venue, and as soon as they ended a song he started screaming at them that they sucked and they should get the f–k off the stage. [Anthrax/Metallica manager] Jonny Z pulled him away. But I didn’t think any of that s–t was enough to get him kicked out of the band. The guy is arguably the godfather of thrash metal. He wrote a lot of the riffs on Kill ’Em All and even some of Ride the Lightning. Without Dave Mustaine, maybe thrash metal never would have happened. At least in the beginning, he was the driving force, artistically.”

OlineupBrian Slagel of Metal Blade Records reflects on why he was let go, “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 maniac, 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.” The firing of Mustaine as I stated before drove the man to become the legend in his own right as his only goal was to prove that if Metallica could do it so couldn’t he and he wanted blood. In 2009, James Hetfield commented on the situation saying that their reconciliation was needed because , “It’s obvious that he had the same drive as us — he went on to do great things in Megadeth. … He’s an amazing, talented person.” I for one have always thanked Metallica for kicking out Dave Mustaine because as he says in the Rock Icons episode that, “we wanted to be the up most heaviest, ultra furious metal band period. Doesn’t sound like my last band” and that is exactly what we all received. So forget the idea of being sad over a firing that happened 32 years ago and count the blessings while popping in So Far, So Good… So What into your stereo and bang those heads cause I know that I will.

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