Mustaine: A Life In Metal (aka A Heavy Metal Memoir or Hello Me… Meet The Real Me)
Dave Mustaine is a bona fide thrash metal legend who was there on day one. He’s 50 this year and has rarely been out of the metal and rock press over the last 30 or so years – good albums, fantastic albums, legendary albums, shit albums, firings (lots of them, his own included), alcohol, drugs, women, fights, career threatening injuries, marriage, God – the list could go on.
And throughout all this he has remained, arguably, the greatest thrash metal guitarist of all time, so this book was clearly going to be of interest to a huge number of people around the world – me included.
From the first page Mustaine comes across as completely genuine and honest. He is a complex individual without doubt, and yes his ego does is apparent throughout, but what could have been a self important journey actually translates into a personal, thoughtful, funny and brutally honest look back over nearly fifty years. He knows he is pig-headed and arrogant, and he knows he’s a genius. It’s what has helped him get to where he is now.
His memories of childhood are both absorbing and inspiring. He had a difficult childhood, there is no doubt, and he remembers it with a clarity which allows superb detail to come into his writing. He doesn’t dwell on the harder periods of his early years, nor does he dwell on the Metallica or earlier post-Metallica years. The book flows well from year to year and doesn’t get boring, ever.
His descent into drug and alcohol addiction (along with Ellefson, following the path of Poland and Samuelson who were already intravenous drug users when they met) is startling and at times makes uncomfortable reading. His was real addiction, not glamorous, exhilarating or cool but dirty and hopeless. More than anything, his description of the heroin addiction of Gar Samuelson is heart rending at times.
As the book moves on though the years the stories just keep coming and the pedal stays firmly to the metal. Each album’s era is covered – who the band was at that time, how they got hired, how they got fired, what he was addicted to at the time.
The context of Mustaine’s conversion to Christianity is very interesting to read. As an out and out atheist myself his religion means nothing to me, but reading about him finding God is thought provoking to say the least, and if I was ever to become religious it could probably take only Mr Mustaine to convert me.
This is a great book. I read it in two or three days, read about a hundred pages of a novel, put that down and read the Mustaine book again, I just couldn’t help myself.
Dave Mustaine is a metal god. Even if you don’t class yourself as a Megadeth fan you should read this book. There will surely be autobiographies from some of the Metallica guys, maybe some of the Slayer guys, in years soon to come, but Dave Mustaine, ever the one to push the letter, frontman of the original state of the art speed metal band – Megadeth – did it again.
He got in there first.
What a hero.