Home Artist Spotlight Megadeth’s Frontman Dave Mustaine and His Inspiring Willpower

Megadeth’s Frontman Dave Mustaine and His Inspiring Willpower

Megadeth’s Frontman Dave Mustaine and His Inspiring Willpower

“The arsenal of megadeath can’t be rid no matter what the peace treaties come to.”

This is what a 23-year old young man read in a pamphlet on his bus trip back to Los Angeles.

David was recently fired from his job without prior warning and “no second chance”. The reasons stated by his employers were, “strong substance abuse and personal conflict”. He was the most skilled guitarist in his band and was there for the past two years.

At that time all he had in his life was his mother and his band members. He was depressed and had no idea about his musical career.

The band name was Metallica, and the employers were James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.

However, the term “megadeath” got stuck in his head and he decided to form his own band by changing the name to “MEGADETH”, which means “annihilation of power”.

This band went on to become one of the most influential and biggest thrash metal bands of all time.

Also, one of the core founders of the “Big 4” and selling more than 38 million copies of albums worldwide.

David Scott Mustaine, better known as Dave Mustaine of Megadeth had a life full of controversies, rejections and constant struggles.

Why Did Metallica kick out Dave?

The 59-year old had a rough childhood and had to sell drugs in high school to make the ends meet. Due to this, he got into substance abuse. Nevertheless, he always chased what he loved and stood for: Music.

When he saw the newspaper ad for Metallica hiring a lead guitarist in 1981, he immediately turned up for an audition but James and Lars immediately hired him without listening to what he had prepared.

They knew that he is the best guitarist they can have in their band and wrote masterpieces for their first album: “Kill ‘em all”.

As years went by, Dave was getting more and more into substance abuse. In addition, he was often accused of having personality conflicts with band members.

He was accused of pouring beer in the bassist’s instrument due to which the bassist received a terrible electric shock.

The end result of this behaviour was the departure of the bassist.

One fine day when Dave came to the studio to record songs, he was told that it was his last day at the job and he is no more part of the band.

He was refused a second chance or warning and only received a bus ticket to his home.

As he was returning to Los Angeles, he vowed to himself to form a better, heavier band than Metallica.

In his quest for success, he spent hours perfecting his craft, even learnt singing and hired the best artists in the industry.

Megadeth’s songs feature complex arrangements and fast riff sections and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, and religion.

Megadeth members

The “Symphony of Destruction” in making…

Soon enough, his album “Peace Sells: But who’s buying?” achieved phenomenal success in 1986.

As the years went on with:

  • 12 Grammy award nominations,
  • Six platinum record certifications and
  • winning the best heavy metal performance for their song “Dystopia” in 2017,

There was no looking back.

But there’s a dark side to this glory. In his quest for rivalry, Dave gave everything he had to music. In 2000, he had to depart from his own band due to a critical nerve injury in his left hand. This injury prevented his hand’s ability to make a fist or grab objects.
After spending almost a year in therapy and “re-teaching” his left hand how to play again, he was back in the game.

Even after selling millions of copies of his albums worldwide, he still could cope with the decades old incident.

He loved Lars and James dearly and never in his wildest dreams expected such a reaction from them.

In 2004, when Metallica‘s documentary movie: “Some Kind of Monster”, Dave addressed his pain to former band member Lars.

He confessed that he is overprotective of the people he loves the most and even fought a drunkard who attacked Lars after a show.

Lars was, however, unable to recall it. He accepts the substance abuse and the conflict he had with the band. He accepts and respects the decision of him getting fired.

But what hurts him was that his former band members, whom he loved like a family didn’t care to get in touch with him in these 18 years.

As he expresses the pain he suffered for the last 18 years, Lars felt ashamed and guilty and ultimately broke down. Watch the full video here.

By 2019, Dave earned massive respect from both Metallica and Megadeth fans and has been an inspiration for many artists. His story shows us that, whatever happens with us, it happens for a good reason.

The pain and the suffering acted as fuel to form one of the best heavy metal bands of all time.

It fuelled his willpower to become a better guitarist, challenge himself and overcome the roadblocks life set for him.

In recent news, on 17 June 2019, Dave announced that he was diagnosed with throat cancer. He received tremendous support from the guitar community and soon enough in January 2020, he was now “100%” cancer-free.

The cherry on the top comes when Dave and Gibson officially announced their partnership in the month of February 2021.

Dave is now their brand ambassador with a complete new range of guitars which include both his signature “Flying V” electric guitar and “CF-100” acoustic guitar.

Dave Mustaine signature Gibson guitars

The show goes on…

Dave’s story simply teaches us that, it’s ok to be a rebel and it’s ok to be ambitious.

If we have suffered and endured pain at some point in our lives, we simply have to accept it and move on.

Acceptance was a very important behavioural trait as this acted as a fuel to up-skill himself in all respects.

Just like he relieved himself by expressing all his pain, we should too confront our pain and express it in a healthy way.

In the end, Dave sets a fine example of acceptance, boldness, ambitiousness and will power.

From the bottom of my heart, I congratulate him on his speedy recovery and wish him all the best.

In conclusion, I would like to quote a few lyrics from one of his songs:

“À tout le monde, À Tous mes amis, Je Vous Aime, Je dois partir”

(“To all the world, to all my friends, I love you, but I have to leave”)


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