The Nineties were a weird time for Megadeth. After releasing one of their best albums in 1990, Rust in Peace, Dave Mustaine lost several key bandmates throughout the decade as the group's pioneering thrash sound dramatically morphed in an alternative-metal direction on 1997's Cryptic Writings and 1999's Risk.
Looking back today, Mustaine isn't blind to the fact that that period of Megadeth's career was a creative low point, and in a new interview with WSOU 89.5 FM, he plainly said that he was letting the group's manager steer the ship toward new trends — and the plan "backfired." He also revealed that he and his bandmates used to laugh at many of the nu-metal bands that they were "forced" to take out on the road with them during that era.
"You know, in 1992, when Nirvana and Def Leppard and Pearl Jam and Soundgarden all happened to radio in America, radio in America changed," Mustaine said, as transcribed by Metal Injection. "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.
"All these glam bands, and then you think about all the alternative bands — well, what happened to the metal bands that were on the radio at the time? Well, they kind of got swept up into the dark, and only the strong survived. For us, we went through a period where like I said, admittedly so, we were trying to do what we were told. And it backfired. I mean, why would you pay a manager if you're not going to listen to them?
"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."
Of course, he didn't name names, but Megadeth played a lot of shows during that period with bands like Limp Bizkit and System of a Down, so we can only assume the major nu-metal players of that era are the ones he has in mind.
Watch the full interview below via YouTube.