How Bruce Dickinson Helped Dave Mustaine Deal With Cancer

Dave Mustaine asked Bruce Dickinson for advice after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2019.

Iron Maiden frontman Dickinson faced a similar illness four years earlier. So when the Megadeth leader received his own health report, he decided to place a call.

“It’s not like I have a whole Rolodex of rock friends that sing heavy metal music that have throat cancer, so my choices were limited,” Mustaine laughed during a recent interview with Forbes. “I was pretty proud of Bruce after speaking with him. Although we’re not super close, I consider him to be someone I look up to. He basically told me … surround yourself with good, upbeat, positive people, places and things and try not to cause any unnecessary stress on yourself.”

He added: “When you’re a frontman in one of the biggest bands in the galaxy, you don’t really have to tolerate the frontman of the other bands very much, but he’s always been super kind to me and very, I don’t want to say ‘gentlemanly’ because I don’t want anyone to think that he’s not a bad motherfucker!”

Mustaine also discussed going back to work with Megadeth after receiving successful treatment. “Not to try and be glib about what was going on because it certainly was serious stuff, but I stayed focused,” he said. “I listened to the doctors, prayed a lot, took care of myself and had a great support group. As soon as it was time for us to rehearse, let alone record, I was pretty much scared to death because I didn’t know what it was going to be like … me going into rehearsals, no singing. We had tour just a couple days away; I hadn’t done any rehearsal, anything at all.”

He recalled feeling a “terrible confidence,” continuing: “A lot of people think it’s arrogance; I’m not sure, whatever, if that’s what you want to call it, but I had this confidence in myself and I knew — save your gas ’til the very end. Then when it’s time, get up on stage and sing, and before you know it you’ll be back in your dressing room. The first show will be over. That’s kinda how it happened. Once the tour was over, we were back home; we just picked up where we left off and started doing album 16.”

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