20 Great Dave Mustaine Quotes: Megadeth Frontman on Death, Sex, Metallica, More | Revolver

20 Great Dave Mustaine Quotes: Megadeth Frontman on Death, Sex, Metallica, More

"When I write music, I think about sex and violence. It's kind of 'Clockwork Orange'"
dave-mustaine-martyn-goodacre-getty-images.jpg, Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images
Dave Mustaine, 1992, London
photograph by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

Megadeth singer, guitarist and songwriter Dave Mustaine has had a controversial relationship with the media since he emerged as one of the leading figures of thrash metal in the early Eighties, starting with his brief stint in that other Big 4 stalwart, Metallica. Going from drug-addicted alcoholic to born-again Christian to beer-selling family man, Mustaine rarely sits tight for long without stirring up something for the music rags to pounce on. His interviews are a notorious mix of smart-assed, cocky and sometimes profound, but love him or hate him, his ineffable ability to entertain never wanes. 

He rarely seems to run out of topics to discuss, and sometimes his answers veer far off course in a way familiar to artists bursting with creative energy and story-telling abilities. His penchant for neo-conservative views is often perplexing considering the nature of his artistic output, and he's more recently taken to denying Megadeth is a political band despite the group's early material dealing heavily with nuclear war, censorship and other threats to society under the iron fist of totalitarian regimes. Below, we've compiled some choices quotes from interviews throughout the years that illustrate Mustaine's fascinating perspective on sex, drugs, blood pacts, faith healing, Metallica and much more.

"When I write music, I think about sex, you know, and violence. It's kind of Clockwork Orange but you know, it works. You start off with a little foreplay, you get into the real serious heavy sweating, then at the end you clean yourself off and its over." — MTV, 1990

"The members of Megadeth like to get close to our fans. They buy us a drink, we buy them a drink. We smoke a little pot together or do a little whatever together." — Metal Forces Magazine, 1985

"Money doesn't mean shit to me. When you start playing for the money, the dollar sign gets between you and your fans." — Off the Record London, circa 1990

"As funky as this is going to sound, I was way into Motown when I was growing up. That had a deep effect on me; the melody, and the soul, the funk. By no means are we going to say that we're into funk now, since Faith No More's milking that cliché, but I think it's evident that there's a lot of soul in what we write." — Guitar for the Practicing Musician, 1990

"I think that literacy in our band especially is a little bit higher than in most bands in this genre." — Good Morning Australia, 1991

"Would you rather know that you're going to die and say 'oh, I'm sorry' and be bleeding about it or would you just say 'look, I love you?' I would rather have someone say that they love me so that that would be the last thing they said to me instead of, you know, 'please forgive me.'" —  CBS Midday,1995

"'Diadems' was a song that I wrote the lyrics to when I was in a straight jacket up in Wickenburg, Arizona when I got committed by the band, my friends. It's about the Book of Revelation. I mean, everybody's saying I'm a 'god squadder' now and all this stuff. Anybody with a brain, someone that can read English can see from the very first record, there's been religious influences and reflections ... It was a very very Megadeth-esque "Stairway to Heaven" but [points down] that way." — Headbanger's Ball Track-By-Track Report,1995

"If Al Gore had stuck with Bill Clinton all the way through and not alienated him I think he would've been president right now. And the whole thing that happened in Florida was great material to write songs. Like, maybe Florida can't count or something." — Knack.com, 2001

"I remember distinctly one time being in a Denny's and some idiot gave me a demo tape with my breakfast and I thought, you know, if anything I would go out of my way to make sure he never saw a gig with us." — Green Room Tales, 2000

"The actual title for the record [Peace Sells ... But Who's Buying] came from when I was living in a studio and I was dating a girl and sleeping around with a couple of other girls who would feed me and give me money for other food that I'd share with the rest of the band. Little did I know at the time it would turn out to give us all of this inspiration in really, really weird ways because I would sit there when she went to work, and I would go digging through all her cabinets and stuff. I found this Reader's Digest and it had a quote by somebody — I think some old dinosaur like Joan Baez or something — about how peace would sell but nobody would buy it. I thought, 'alright, cut out all of the English major stuff and make it so some blockhead like me could understand it.' Peace sells, but who's buying — huh? And I went 'god, that's great.'" — Peace Sells DVD, 2003

"All I had was you and James. We had dreams together, and I sold everything to join that dream. And then it ended." — Interview with Lars Ulrich from Metallica's Some Kind of Monster, 2004

"It was tribal. It was communal. It was really important to all of us. I remember when we first went up to San Francisco, we were doing blood pacts with the guys in Exodus, cutting our hands and doing stuff like that. It was crazy times — the Satanic Bible was everywhere… There was an energy around it where you just felt like you were bulletproof." — Infowars, 2009

"All bands eventually break up because of one or more of the four P's: power, property, prestige, pussy." — Dave Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir, 2010

"After I became successful enough, it was kind of like writing music out of boredom. You look at some of the things you're singing like anarchy — how can I be an anarchist when I'm driving a Mercedes? Plus I'm a Christian, I'm not going to say I'm an antichrist. I would never do that anymore." — Musician's Friend, 2010

"I met a fan in Kentucky who had throat cancer. He was only supposed to live a few weeks. For some reason, I reached out, grabbed his throat, and started praying for the dude. He lived long enough to give me [this certificate] on our next tour. It's signed by the governor and says I'm an honorary Kentucky Colonel. As far as I know, it's the real deal." — Spin Magazine, 2011

"If I have a dream no one can tell me I can't. I can show our fans that even with my fucked up situation growing up that you can be successful. My mom was a maid, we lived on food stamps, I've been homeless, totally fucked up, an addict and here I am sober — I'll have a glass of wine now and again or a beer at dinner — but to turn that around alone from homeless to happily married with two children who have grown into well-adjusted adults fitting into society — you would think my kids would be some awful kids from the Adams Family [sic] or something, but they're great — and I owe so much of that to my fans and their loving support." — The List, 2015

"I'm hoping that I'll be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, too, but you know, if they don't want me in there, it's OK. I mean, I am in there vis a vis Metallica, and no matter what those guys say or what anybody believes about their induction ceremony, they wouldn't have been there if it wasn't for me being in the band, because I was there in the beginning, so I have some satisfaction." — Noisey, 2016

"Somebody had asked me a long time ago — and Axl Rose ripped my line off after I said this — they said 'What do you think about people in the Bible Belt burning your records?' and I said 'They gotta buy 'em to burn 'em so go ahead, I'll give you the matches.'" — Interview at Wacken, 2017

"I wrote "Mechanix" long before I was in Metallica. When I got into Metallica, we didn't have a lot of songs. … We were playing cover songs by Killing Joke, Sweet Savage and a lot of Diamond Head, and we played my originals.The lyrics are about a horny gas-station attendant because I was a horny gas-station attendant." — Rolling Stone, 2017

"[Slash] makes it look effortless and it makes me mad! It just looks like water running over a smooth stone, it's just perfect. He's done this every day of his life and he was made for the exact moment to stand on that stage and play that solo and have all those thousands and thousands of eyes focused on him." — Loudwire, 2018