During a chat with Guitar World magazine, Dave Mustaine was asked to share his thoughts on the competitive relationship between Megadeth and his former band Metallica.
He said: “In my mind, there is no competition between Megadeth and Metallica. We’re different bands, and I believe MEGADETH has been more consistent. But the sad thing is that the drama between us has been more popular than the music ever was. And remember, Metallica got a big head start, and they did so on the back of what I helped create.
“They became one of the biggest bands in the world, and here’s one of the biggest bands wasting their breath trying to discredit me by saying, ‘Dave‘s not a good guitar player.’ Excuse me, what the f**k did you say? [Laughs] I think I wrote many of the songs that made you famous, so you probably should recheck that bullsh*t statement. But this is the s**t those guys say, and you’ve got the sheep who follow them around believing it.”
When asked who he thought was responsible for continuing the issues, Mustaine answered: “The issue is that people don’t know their history and take sides. I never wanted to take sides; I wanted things to be reconciled and to be friends, but for whatever reason, they didn’t. And Metallica is represented by the same agent as Megadeth, and I’ve asked our agent, ‘You’re Metallica‘s agent, too; why won’t those guys play with us? What are they afraid of?’ And they’ve confirmed they’re going out [this summer] with Five Finger Death Punch and the Pantera thing, so it’s clearly about the money.
“The fact is simple: the world wants to see Megadeth and Metallica play together. And in case anyone is wondering: there’s f**king money in that. The fans want to see Metallica and Megadeth share the stage. Does MEGADETH need Metallica? No. But Metallica talks about their fans, but they don’t give them what they’ve been asking for. What are they afraid of? I don’t know. It’s not me; it’s them.”
Mustaine also spoke about the influence he had on Metallica, saying: “In the early days, I was the only guitar player in the band and wrote some of the songs that ended up on their earlier records. So, for a guy who ‘couldn’t play guitar,’ I sure did f**king influence things.
“The only reason James [Hetfield] even played guitar early on was that we couldn’t find anyone else. So who was it that couldn’t play guitar? We had one guy named Brad Parker, whose real name was Damian Phillips. He showed up and had an oversized feather earring; we did one show, and that was the end of him. And that was why we ended up having James play guitar. There was no other reason.
Dave continued: “Also, early on, James was terrified to talk to the crowd, and I would look at him and say, ‘Talk, man. Get up there and f**king talk,’ but James didn’t do it; he stayed in the background, and he’s the f**king singer. So, I — the guy who can’t play guitar — went up to the mic and started talking. That’s how it was until I left; James only started talking to the audience after I left; he had no choice.
“You can hear it on the tapes from the shows we did in San Francisco at the Waldorf and the Stone; I did all the talking. And most of what I said on stage was things James would then copy after I left. So how do I view my influence on Metallica? It’s pretty f**king deep.”