Posts Tagged ‘So Far So Good… So What’

51fhehoazvl._sx331_bo1,204,203,200_It has been quite a long time since the last Heavy Metal Book Report was done on the blog, but we are promising more of these for 2019. The book that we are profiling for you guys today is none other than the autobiography of one of the most polarizing and controversial figures in thrash metal. I am talking about Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir that was written by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Joseph Layden that was released August of 2011. All anyone had known about Dave before this point is that he was booted out of Metallica and has been trying to escape their shadow ever since. Dave was definitely fulfilling the purpose of explaining at least his side of the story so that we know the whole truth or at least one side of it. We get the whole story starting right from the beginning of his days growing up in two different religious house holds with one focused on Christianity and the other a Jehovah’s Witness way of life. We learn of the events that Dave always felt led up to his dismissal in New York, but we hear his side which was a very lonely trip back to California on that bus ride home. We read about the start of Megadeth through a very funny chance encounter with the second longest reigning member of Megadeth in David Ellefson who Dave lovingly called Junior. We also read about all the successes and failures that would follow for Dave all the way up to the point of this book being released.

91tksfippnlOne of the things I loved about the book is that you really do get to read the struggle that Dave went through always being the guy who was booted out of Metallica. It seemed that all Dave wanted was just a chance to talk with the guys, but something always happens that sets him back. In Chapter 13, he talks about his newfound sobriety and the birth of his first child Justis. Eventually when it became time to tour, he had a Monsters Of Rock tour to do with Metallica and Diamondhead to which he made every member of his band sign a sobriety pack. He talks about how he saw James and all he wanted to do was talk to him, but here is where it gets a little rough for Dave. He recounts, “The nice guys in Metallica had a twisted sense of humor. They invited me into their dressing room, where a big plate of what appeared to be cocaine sat beckoning and unattended.” Obviously, this crushed Dave to great extents because he said they knew what lengths he went to to stay sober, but they didn’t care. One of the things that always astonished me in this book is that no matter what current or past member he discusses, he treats them with respect in the book and he explains their exit. The best story is how every drummer would replace his predecessor beginning with the late Gar Samuelson. There are a lot of great stories in the book that he tells like how he almost dated Belinda Carlisle to his every day struggle with addiction as well as all the different managers he has gone through over the years. I am definitely going to give the book 4.2 stars out of five for a final grade. It never disappointed me at any point in the book.

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.