Exclusive Excerpt From Dave Mustaine’s Autobiography: Meeting Lars Ulrich
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine's autobiography, Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir (It Books), comes out today, and he has been kind enough to share a short excerpt with us. This comes just after Mustaine read an ad in The Recycler about a band seeking a guitarist—a band that would become Metallica. Read here what first attracted Mustaine to the band.
Check back tomorrow to enter to win one of 10 copies of Mustaine's autobiographies—signed by Mustaine!
This particular ad caught my attention, though, since it was the first to reference not one or two but three of my favorite bands. The first was Iron Maiden. Nothing really special about that—you couldn’t play metal and not appreciate Iron Maiden. The second was Motörhead. Nothing unique there, either. The third, however, was a band called Budgie. Just seeing the name in print made my heart race. I’d been introduced to Budgie, a groundbreaking band from Wales—in fact, they are regarded in some quarters as the first heavy metal band—one night a few years earlier, while hitchhiking on PCH. The driver worked for a radio station in Los Angeles.* He was a decent enough guy. Shared some Quaaludes, kept the music blaring, and at one point, after finding out I played guitar, he smiled and said, “Dude, you gotta listen to these guys.” Then he inserted a Budgie tape in the cassette deck. I was instantly blown away. The speed and power of the music, without abandoning melody—it was like nothing I’d ever heard. Now here I was, reading the Recycler, wondering what to do with the next phase of my life, and it was like I’d been sent a message.
That day I called the number in the ad.
“Hey, man, I’m looking for Lars.”
“You got him.” The guy had a strange accent that I couldn’t quite place. He also sounded very young.
“I’m calling about your ad? For a guitar player?”
“Well, I know Motörhead and Iron Maiden,” I said. “And I love Budgie.”
There was a pause.
“Fuck, man! You know fucking Budgie?!”
That was all it took.
* He claimed to have at his house a replica of the obelisk made famous on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Presence. Looking back now, I totally get it: majormarket DJ participates in graft to put an album in circulation. At the time, though, as a kid, it just seemed like the coolest thing in the world.