Dave Mustaine Says Megadeth Used to ‘Laugh About’ Bands They Toured With During Nu-Metal Explosion
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine is still making the interview rounds in support of the thrash legends' latest album, The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead! and in a recent interview with 89.5FM WSOU, the band leader looked back at a time where he catered to the desire of others, which lead to some tour packages that prompted him and the rest of the group to "laugh" about the bands they shared the road with, particularly the nu-metal artists.
When pressed about the intent behind the guitar dynamics on the new record, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, Mustaine reflects on an earlier period of Megadeth where they had moved in a musical direction that was largely a reaction to the changing landscape around them.
The '90s was a trying time for heavy metal as we all know, and Mustaine tells WSOU how glam and alternative artists dominated radio airplay at the time, leaving little room for metal bands who had gained popularity in the '80s.
"In 1992, when Nirvana and Def Leppard and Pearl Jam and Soundgarden all happened to radio in America, radio in America changed. You either had to be an alternative band, or you needed to be a glam kind of band. Remember Warrant, Poison, Def Leppard, all these bands — God, there’s millions of them," he says (transcription via Metal Injection), noting that metal bands "kind of got swept up into the dark, and only the strong survived.
Following the release of 1990's Rust in Peace, Megadeth notably dialed back the intensity of their music, as heard on Countdown to Extinction, Youthanasia and Cryptic Writings, to name a couple standout efforts.
Head here to listen to and follow Loudwire's 'Early Thrash: The Beginning & The '90s' playlist.
"For us, we went through a period where like I said, admittedly so, we were trying to do what we were told," explains Mustaine of Megadeth's musical aims during this era, "And it backfired. I mean, why would you pay a manager if you’re not going to listen to them?"
Earning gold and platinum certifications for those records may hardly seem like an example of something backfiring to many, but Megadeth closed out the '90s with the highly polarizing Risk and had spent the last few years of the decade touring with nu-metal bands, such as Korn, Static-X, Coal Chamber and others.
The idea of nu-metal being an affront to heavy metal has faded quite a lot lately as the genre is experiencing a surge in popularity, but it's a style that was mocked quite openly by artists who preceded the explosion in the mid-to-late '90s.
"And so, there were several situations where we would make decisions [that] were presented to us in a way kind of, like, ‘You got to do this,’ or ‘That’s just how it is.’ I can’t tell you how much we would laugh about the bands that we were forced to take out on tour with us, especially during the nu-metal period that we went through years ago. You know, all these bands that wouldn’t play solos and stuff," Mustaine recalls of that difficult time in Megadeth's career.
Watch the full interview below.