Megadeth’s founder Dave Mustaine recently talked about his earlier days when he was a drug addict and alcoholic. He explained how his habits created problems between him and his former bandmate James Hetfield and recalled punching Hetfield.
Before he founded Megadeth in 1984, Mustaine was in Metallica from 1981 to 1983. He was recruited to the band after Lars Ulrich posted an ad in the newspaper stating that they are looking for a lead guitarist.
However, Mustaine was fired before Metallica even released their first album due to his alcohol abuse. As the story goes, Metallica went to New York to record their first album, but they soon realized that they wouldn’t be able to work with Mustaine. So, they packed his things and sent him back by bus without a warning or another chance.
Mustaine recalled those days and remembered the time he punched Hetfield. The rockstar now thinks that the band was right, and he needed to get his act together. He also stated that even though he was dangerous back then, he should have gotten a warning before being cast off by the band.
Here is how he told his story:
“People don’t know me at all. They think they do, but they only know the guy Lars and James have been trying to smear for 40 years. They know the guy that usually responds to bad shit being said about them, but do they know me? No. I don’t usually come out and say stuff about people unless I’m provoked… especially nowadays. In the beginning, if someone said something I didn’t like, I may have retaliated in jest, but never seriously. I would never attack anyone without good reason.
There was a silver lining in that cloud, but I didn’t know it. I don’t look at that situation with the same eyes as when it happened. It’s almost like it all happened to a different person, I’ve grown up a lot since. Sometimes you need the time to assimilate what’s happened to see your part in it. Because I did have a part in it… I was definitely dangerous back then.
I had already punched James in the face and jeopardized the band’s physical and financial security. I understand why they wouldn’t want to take chances on me when there was so much riding on Metallica. But at the time, I wished I got a second chance. Just, like, someone saying, ’Hey, Dave, you’re drinking too much, and please stop punching the singer in the face!‘ I probably would’ve been fine with that.”
The singer has led a successful career with Megadeth and made up for what could have been the end of his rock and roll career. His relationship with the Metallica members is now alright as Mustaine thinks that everything happened for a reason, and he wouldn’t be where he is today if he had continued his career with Metallica.