MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine believes that he is one of the best rhythm guitar players in the world — part of what he calls “the fantastic four,” alongside James Hetfield (METALLICA), Malcolm Young (AC/DC) and Rudolf Schenker (SCORPIONS).
Mustaine, who was the original lead guitarist of METALLICA, was dismissed from the band in 1983. He was replaced by Kirk Hammett and went on to form MEGADETH and achieve worldwide success on his own.
The MEGADETH leader spoke about his brief tenure in METALLICA during a February 2016 interview with Steven Rosen at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California. The chat, parts of which were originally published last year by Guitar Interactive magazine, has been transcribed in more depth for Rock Cellar Magazine and posted online earlier this month.
Speaking about his dismissal from METALLICA, Mustaine said: “I was a very dysfunctional person and a drunk and a loser and I liked to fight a lot. James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman] one time kicked a puppy that I had and I freaked out. I just said, ‘Man, I’m gonna kick your ass!’ Ron McGovney [METALLICA‘s original bassist] said, ‘You kick his ass, you’re gonna have to hit me first.’ I said, ‘You shut up and sit the fuck down.’ Then James goes, ‘You hit him, you’re gonna have to hit me first.’ And I went, ‘Okay, you win, James.’ He had a mouthful of bloody, baby Chiclets and he was sitting there crying and telling me to get my shit out.”
Mustaine also talked about his role in METALLICA and the early chemistry between him and Hetfield. He said: “The weirdest thing about it is when I was in the band, James didn’t do any talking in between songs. If you put the two of us together side by side, split a TV monitor in half and had us both hopping around onstage, there’s a lot of similarities. The way he acts and moves with his guitar and stuff like that.”
He added: “I think James is one of the best rhythm guitar players in the world. As far as rhythm guitar players are concerned, there’s James, there’s me, there’s Malcolm Young and there’s Rudolf Schenker. There’s no one else that touches the four of us. We’re the fantastic four.”
Mustaine feuded with the members of METALLICA for more than two decades before finally patching things up over the last few years. He has jammed with his ex-bandmates on several occasions during “Big Four” shows and at METALLICA‘s 30th-anniversary concerts in 2011.
Mustaine was not inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with METALLICA during the April 2009 ceremony at Cleveland, Ohio’s Public Auditorium.