Dave Mustaine: How I Forgave + Got Back With David Ellefson

Today, there’s no bad blood between Megadeth vets Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson. In 2004 though, that wasn’t the case as Ellefson attempted to sue his then ex-bandmate for the sum of $18.5 million. Ultimately, the two put it all behind them and in a new interview Mustaine explained how he forgave the bassist and welcomed him back into the band.

“I think forgiveness is a super-cool thing,” Mustaine told Fox Sports 910’s ‘Freak Nation’ (transcription via Blabbermouth) when discussing his new book, Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece, which is out now.

“When David Ellefson sued me for $18.5 [million], and the judge dismissed it [in January of 2005] and then made him pay a bunch of money on top of that, he got his ass handed to him in public,” described Mustaine, who admitted, “And I was really, really, really hurt by the things that he said about me. And I thought, ‘You know what? If I never see him again, I guess I’ll be okay.’ And I was sad, but I figured he was gone.”

Fate had different plans, however, as Mustaine recalled, “One day, I was flying home from Dallas, and the flight stopped in [Ellefson’s hometown of] Phoenix, and for some stupid reason, I called him up and I said, ‘Hey, you wanna have dinner?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ So we went out.”

From there, the intentions were pretty clear.

“The first thing he said was, ‘I wanna tell you, it was the stupidest thing I ever did suing you, and I wanna apologize.’ And I looked at him and I waited a beat, and I said, ‘Dave, I forgive you. I completely forgive you. I love you.’ And it was over like that,” the Megadeth frontman confessed.

It’s a life lesson Mustaine has carried with him and he urged others to consider it in their lives. “I think that that’s really something great that people should take with them today, anybody listening to this. There may be somebody you need to forgive or somebody you need to apologize to, but I’ll tell you what — it makes [you feel] a lot better at the end of the day,” the Megadeth leader affirmed.

Ellefson, who was a part of Megadeth from 1983 through 2002, officially rejoined the legendary thrash group in 2010. He even may sing on a ballad about all that past bad blood between him and Mustaine on Megadeth’s forthcoming record. Most recently, Mustaine compared the new material to the band’s first two albums.

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Dave Mustaine Recalls Getting Caught Up in Irish Troubles

Dave Mustaine recalled the moment he became embroiled in the Irish Troubles after making a dangerous mistake during a Megadeth performance in 1988.

The incident took place in Antrim, Northern Ireland, at a time when the bitter dispute over whether Ireland should be part of the U.K. exploded into violence on a regular basis.

“I heard over the walkie-talkie that somebody was inside the venue selling bootleg Megadeth T-shirts,” Mustaine writes in his new oral history, Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece (via Rolling Stone). “I told security to find him, confiscate his shirts and escort him out. When they found him, he told them he was selling the shirts for the Cause. I had no idea what that meant, but it sounded cool.”

A little later he started a conversation with a local at the venue bar and asked what “the Cause” meant. “He told me that Ireland was split between the Catholics and the Protestants, and they don’t like each other,” Mustaine recalled. “He didn’t really go into detail. That was in the back of my mind when I went up onstage to play.”

He remembered the audience “going mad” as they performed, even though he had to stop the show for a moment because “there was one kid behind the barricades throwing coins at me.” As he waited to restart the performance, Mustaine said, “a song I had heard by Paul McCartney popped into my mind, and I thought, ‘If it’s good enough for Sir Paul, it’s good enough for me.’ I walked up to the microphone and said, ‘Give Ireland back to the Irish. This one is for the Cause.’”

Megadeth began playing the Sex Pistols classic “Anarchy in the U.K.,” with Mustaine unaware that having mentioned “the Cause” and singing about the United Kingdom – even though the lyrics were changed to refer to Antrim in Northern Ireland – would be interpreted as a political statement.

“It was like I had set off a bomb in the audience,” he said. “It divided the crowd right down the middle, Protestants and Catholics. We were escorted out of town that night in a bulletproof bus, although I still didn’t realize the enormity of my gaffe. The next morning, it started to dawn on me when [bassist] David Ellefson wouldn’t speak to me. … With everything fresh in my mind, I started writing the lyrics that would become ‘Holy Wars’: ‘Brother will kill brother spilling blood across the land, killing for religion, something I don’t understand.’”

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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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Dave Mustaine: Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson Helped Cancer Battle

Megadeth legend Dave Mustaine got the “all-clear” on his battle with throat cancer less than a year ago, but before he emerged victorious from fighting the disease, Mustaine made a phone call to another metal icon who beat throat cancer — Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson.

Mustaine felt compelled to call Bruce shortly after the Megadeth frontman was informed of his diagnosis. “I was pretty proud of Bruce after speaking with him,” Mustaine tells Forbes. “Although we’re not super close, I consider him to be someone I look up to. He basically told me the same thing I just told you: surround yourself with good, upbeat, positive people, places and things and try not to cause any unnecessary stress on yourself.”

“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!”

In January of this year, Mustaine announced to a packed crowd that he was “100 percent free of cancer,” which brought a huge reaction from relieved metalheads.

Mustaine just released a new memoir, Rust in Peace, which recounts the events surrounding the landmark thrash album. “I’d be bullshitting you if I said [cocaine] did not influence [Rust in Peace] because we were all under the influence of the drug at the time,” Mustaine told Loudwire. “I didn’t really like coke that much. I liked the way that it tasted, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. It never ended well, put it that way.”

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Dave Mustaine: Cocaine + Conflict Helped Create ‘Rust in Peace’

In Dave Mustaine’s new memoir, Rust in Peace, the thrash legend, his bandmates and crew tell the story of Megadeth’s iconic fourth album, along with the stories of drug addiction and inner conflict which surrounded it.

In this rare post-cancer video interview, Mustaine gets into the book’s gritty details. “I’d be bullshitting you if I said [cocaine] did not influence [Rust in Peace] because we were all under the influence of the drug at the time,” Mustaine told us. “I didn’t really like coke that much. I liked the way that it tasted, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. It never ended well, put it that way.”

Like many fans, Mustaine holds the chemistry Megadeth had with Marty Friedman and Nick Menza in high regard, which led to reunion attempts of the Rust in Peace lineup. “The chemistry of Nick and Marty… that was amazing,” Mustaine says. “My heart aches when I think about that. That’s why I wrote in the back of the book, ‘In loving memory,’ and not ‘In memory of.’”

“I wanted things to work out with Nick. I even said if it’s not going to work with him playing in the studio, let’s have somebody else go into the studio and have Nick play live. I was bending over backwards to get a place for Nick, and then he said he wanted an exorbitant amount of cash.”

As for the gigantic impact Rust in Peace continues to make on metalheads, Mustaine says, “I’m really happy that it made people happy — that’s the thing I like the most. When you set to do something, you do it for yourself and fuck, who cares what anyone else thinks, but if you’re doing something and it makes you feel good to make other people feel good, that’s awesome.

Watch our full interview with Dave Mustaine below and click here to grab a copy of Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece.

Dave Mustaine: ‘Rust in Peace’ + Megadeth’s Failed Reunion

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Dave Mustaine Announces Virtual ‘Rust in Peace’ Book Tour

Megadeth‘s Dave Mustaine has announced a three-date virtual book tour for his upcoming release, Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece, which comes out Sept. 8.

The Megadeth leader already looked back on his life and career with his 2010 book Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir and his forthcoming book will place emphasis on one crucial moment in the band’s career — the release of the groundbreaking Rust in Peace album in 1990.

The virtual book tour will be held on Sept. 9, 10 and 11. On the first date (at 6PM ET), Mustaine will hold a live signing for those who ordered an autographed copy of the book under an event billed as “Premiere LiveSigning.” Fans can also submit a question for the Megadeth mainman to answer during the virtual session.

The next event, on Sept. 10 (7PM ET), is dubbed “Bookends” and the Sept. 11 session (4PM ET) is titled “Politics and Prose.”

Tickets and more information can be found at this location.

Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece also features a foreword written by Guns N’ Roses legend Slash. Pre-order your copy here.

Meanwhile, Megadeth have continued to work on their highly anticipated follow-up to the Grammy winning Dystopia, which was released in 2016. Also on the horizon is the band’s co-headlining tour with Lamb of God alongside Trivium and In Flames, which was pushed to 2021 after being nixed this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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