In a new interview with Consequence Of Sound, MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine discussed the dispute over the songwriting credits to the band’s iconic “Rust In Peace” album. In Mustaine‘s book “Rust In Peace: The Inside Story Of The Megadeth Masterpiece”, which details the making of the record, former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman and current MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson both take issue with the fact that Mustaine is credited as the sole songwriter for the majority of the LP’s tracks, even though they felt they had contributed to the songwriting process.
Dave told Consequence Of Sound (see video below): “The thing that bothered me is in the beginning of my career, these guys came into the group and I would sing solos to them and they would learn ’em and put their spin on it. And I always said, ‘We’ve got three ways we do things: your way, our way and then my way.’ We go in and we do a solo, and if I listen to your solo and I don’t like it, I’m gonna say, ‘I don’t like it. I like this part, but I don’t like it.’ And then we do it our way. And then, if I listen to it and I say, ‘You know what? It just isn’t working. I want you to do this.’ And then that’s my way. And I’ve always tried to do it that way to really include these guys to give them a sense of ownership and tenancy, because I believe it’s gonna make them feel stronger about their performance and the music.”
In the “Rust In Peace” book, Friedman makes it clear that he felt he should have gotten some credit for helping craft the material for the final album.
“The main way songs were written in MEGADETH was that Dave [Mustaine] would have a riff and he would play it with me, Junior [David Ellefson] and Nick [Menza, drums],” Marty said. “We would be his backup band for this riff, and while he was working out the riffs, he had the luxury of us playing it and adding whatever we did. None of that stuff was written on his own; it wasn’t like he came up with a riff, an arrangement, and said here it is, learn it, go record it. It was all being created with all four of us giving his ideas life. To not get writing credit for that, I believed at the time, was unfair because when you are the only name listed as writer on the song, that implies that you came up with the song, you wrote the whole song yourself, and people played it and recorded it the way you wrote it. But that was not the case. He had the luxury of hearing these riffs being born in front of him and changed and worked on and arranged with the three of us around him at all times.”
He continued: “But I was happy to be there in the first place and was not going to make waves. I had absolutely nothing to do with the establishment of MEGADETH, the first three albums, all of the work that they did, all of the dues that they paid, all of whatever it took to get to where they got. In a sense, I was reaping the benefits of that without contributing, so I thought that was kind of the trade-off. So I was happy to work with Dave writing these riffs and not get credit for it. But as far as the actual songwriting goes, I feel like a bigger part of the process than what you see with the names.”
“Rust In Peace: The Inside Story Of The Megadeth Masterpiece” came out on September 8 via Hachette Books. The book was ritten by Mustaine with veteran rock journalist Joel Selvin.