Dad: "I want to watch the news!" Son: "This is the news."
— "Peace Sells" music video
"Muh-uh-Ladies and gentlemen, meh-muh-meh-muh-meh-muh-MEGADETH!!!"
— The Eager Young Space Cadet, Duck Dodgers episode "In Space, No One Can Hear You Rock."
One of the "Big Four" Thrash Metal bands, Megadeth was formed by guitarist Dave Mustaine after he was kicked out of Metallica for drinking and violent behaviour. After two years of lineup instability, the band settled down and were signed to Combat Records, where they released their debut album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good. Despite a poor production and a thrash metal cover of a Nancy Sinatra song that later got them in legal trouble, the album was well received.When the time came to record their second album, Mustaine got fed up with the small label's shortcomings and signed the band with Capitol Records instead. Their second album, Peace Sells...but Who's Buying? was released in 1986, again receiving critical acclaim and commercial success. However, the tour became plagued by substance abuse problems, which spilled over during the recording of So Far, So Good...So What!. Released in 1988, the album suffered from poor production and inconsistent material, including a cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K.".After some time off in rehab for Megadeth and another line-up change, Megadeth returned with Rust in Peace in 1990, a progressive effort which contained the famous songs "Holy Wars...The Punishment Due" and "Hangar 18". They remained silent for two years, after which they pulled a Follow the Leader and released Countdown to Extinction, an album full of slower, less thrashy, straightforward heavy metal songs modeled after Metallica. It was their greatest commercial success, reaching #2 on the US charts and selling in excess of 2 million copies, propelled by the singles "Symphony of Destruction", "Foreclosure of a Dream" and "Sweating Bullets". The simplification continued on 1994's Youthanasia, attracting some condemnation from older fans but overall being received just as well as its predecessor, going to #4 on the charts and spawning the hits "A Tout le Monde", with a video banned by MTV for supposedly being "pro-suicide", and "Train of Consequences".Troubles started in 1995 after Megadeth changed their management, hiring Bud Prager. His influence would ultimately prove counterproductive, as he steered the band towards more blatantly commercial tracks, convinced them to work with Nashville pop producer Dann Huff, and closely supervised the writing process, also contributing musical ideas and lyrics to the songs. Cryptic Writings was released in 1997, to a mixed critical reception and less sales than Youthanasia, despite four Mainstream Rock hits. Mustaine then made the critical mistake of giving more influence to Prager and Huff, which resulted in the disastrous Risk. Largely eschewing metal in favour of newfound dance and electronic influences, it was a failure that triggered a backlash among fans and critics.After the debacle, Megadeth left Capitol Records for Sanctuary Records instead. Mustaine fired Bud Prager, and decided to self-produce their next album, which would be a return to metal. The World Needs a Hero did mark a return to form, but had a mixed reception critically and commercially.In 2002, Dave Mustaine suffered an outbreak of radial neuropathy in his left arm, and temporarily disbanded Megadeth. After physical therapy and occupying himself with remastering the band's catalogue, he gathered a new lineup (the first to include Chris Poland since 1988), and released The System Has Failed in 2004, to critical acclaim. Since, they've released United Abominations on Roadrunner Records in 2007, and Endgame in 2009, both to further acclaim from fans and critics. (Especially Endgame.) Megadeth's next album, simply titled Th1rt3en, was released in 2011.The band are famous for their musical skills, extended songs, and sociopolitical sensibilities expressed in the lyrics, especially during their "classic" period (1985-1994). And, while not to the extent of Anthrax, the band's lyrics tend to be more humorous (in a sarcastic/tongue-in-cheek manner) than those of Metallica and Slayer. Despite the late-career follies that have also plagued Metallica (sans Digital Piracy Is Evil), their place in the thrash metal pantheon is assured, arguably more so after their second wind in 2004.Current lineup
Nick Menza - drums, backing vocals, 1989-1998 (classic lineup)
Jimmy DeGrasso - drums, 1998-2000
Al Pitrelli - guitar, backing vocals, 2000-2002
Jimmy Sloas - bass, 2004 (The System Has Failed session only)
Vinnie Colaiuta - drums, 2004 (The System Has Failed session only)
Glen Drover - guitar, backing vocals, 2004-2008
James LoMenzo - bass guitar, backing vocals, 2006-2010
1985: Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good!
1986: Peace Sells...but Who's Buying?
1988: So Far, So Good...So What!
1990: Rust in Peace
1992: Countdown to Extinction
1995: Hidden Treasures EP
1997: Cryptic Writings
2001: The World Needs a Hero
Following The World Needs a Hero, Mustaine suffered the now-notorious arm injury, causing the band to disband for two years. When it was reformed, only Mustaine remained from the pre-split line-up. In that time, the first eight albums were remastered and re-released.
2004: The System Has Failed
2007: United Abominations
2013: Super Collider (upcoming album; release date scheduled for around June)
He "dedicated" the song Liar to former guitarist Chris Poland. The song as the name suggests is a very scathing attack.
The Alcoholic: Everyone in Metallica drank heavily at the time Dave Mustaine was kicked out, to the point that the band was nicknamed "Alcoholica." However, Mustaine was the only one who was a violent drunk, and his behavior was what led to his firing.
The Atoner: Dave has been resolving past feuds after regrouping his band.
He's friends with Slayer and Metallica now. The Metallica feud dying out on its own as the two parties became less and less bitter. Apparently, Dave and James Hetfield are on friendly terms again and exchange Christmas cards and there is a rumor continuing to float around that Dave wants Metallica to play Gigantour. As of 2010, both bands have shared the stage several times without a problem.
Mustaine's feud with Ellefson was over Ellefson suing him in 2002 over allegedly unpaid royalties and not turning Megadeth over to him. This feud ending is obvious with the suit and Mustaine's countersuit being resolved out of court and Ellefson being back in the band.
Chris Poland's feud was because he was selling the band's gear for drugs, which was eventually resolved, first with his hiring as a session musician for The System Has Failed, and then by starting to post on the Megadeth message board in 2006.
Flat "What.": Erupted among the metal world when Dave announced he endorsed Rick Santorum for the presidency in 2012. This one got so bad Dave had to backtrack and claim that it wasn't an endorsement, but just a statement of support.
Another, earlier, smaller one was when Megadeth refused to play in a festival with Greek extreme metal band Rotting Christ (and later in Israel with Dissection) due to Mustaine's Christian beliefs.
Around the time of the Santorum endorsement, Mustaine was also asked about his beliefs on gay marriage. Most of the time, he tried to avoid conflict by saying he was against it due to his christianity. But on one occasion he said "The last thing I need is a bunch of homos picketing us", barely disguising his hatred.
The most recent example is his suggestion that Obama's government staged shootings (such as the one in Aurora, Colorado) in order to provide reasons for laws against gun use. Mustaine had previously questioned Obama's place of birth.
Green-Eyed Monster: Dave Mustaine's driving force for a large portion of his career was his jealously towards Metallica. He eventually mellowed out and forgives them.
I Am the Band: Until The World Needs A Hero. Dave Mustaine later took offense to Steven Tyler saying that Dave was Megadeth, and several band members have been given more influence in song writing and line-up decisions. Pretty much every line-up change since 2004 has come from recommendation from everyone else in the band, including David Ellefson's return.
Revolving Door Band: The members listed at the top of the page are only the members who have appeared on some recording. At least two more drummers and three more guitarists could be added to that list, including Kerry King during the band's early years.
Start My Own: Mustaine's reason about why he started Megadeth. It was after he was fired from Metallica due to his alcohol problems.
Throwing Off The Disability: After receiving the injury that would break up Megadeth, Dave was told that his arm would never fully recover and he would never be able to properly play guitar again. Yeah, we know how well that claim went.
Welcome Back Traitor: Chris Poland (twice, actually), Nick Menza and David Ellefson. In that order. Subverted with the two former; Menza just didn't mesh with the reincarnation of Megadeth, and Chris Poland chose to be only a session musician for the Rust In Peace demos and later The System Has Failed.
Dave: This is a song about how many times I tried to kill myself and just couldn't get the fucking job done.
Concept Album: Peace Sells..., Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction, and Youthanasia, all of them sort of.
Conspiracy Theorist: Some of Dave's lyrics deal with conspiracy; such as "New World Order", "Washington is Next" and "Endgame." He was also a friendly guest on the Alex Jones Show.
Country Matters: In the "Anarchy" cover below ("Or just another country/And other cunt-like tendencies"). The original was actually much cleaner ("Another council tenancy").
This was because Dave couldn't understand what Johnny Rotten was singing in many parts (which is why he sings the wrong lyrics in the record), so he sang what he thought it was the lyrics as he went (including this example).
" 'We've been hung out to dry.' That line is probably the strongest representation of how we feel about the young people who listen to our music and what their future holds for them. You have a choice - you can be pro-active, or you can choose youthanasia." — Dave Mustaine, explaining the song "Youthanasia" in an interview
Justice means nothing today Now that the courts are for sale Pick a crime from the menu; pick a sentence and defend you And pay the down payment called bail The system's for sale
And finally, Endgame◊ is explained in its title track, like Youthanasia above:
A system of controlled movement, like a giant ant farm Any time is a long time, now you're not in charge of your time anymore
Surprisingly, this was subverted with Countdown To Extinction◊ even before Megadeth started to play the trope straight. The title track actually speaks out against canned hunting in this case, rather than being a War Is Hell song like several of the '80s tracks.
"Head Crusher", from Endgame. Its starting solo WILL crush your head. It makes sense, since it's about an ancient torture device that crushes your skull. Not pretty. Just look at the album art for the single.◊
The band's thirteenth album is entitled "Th1rt3en."
Gratuitous French Phrases: The chorus of "A Tout le Monde". Surprisingly well-pronounced though. Also, the demo for said song had significantly less refined French than the final version, but Mustaine got the help of an unnamed French journalist to tidy things up.
Dave has some degree of Spanish competence, as he shows in That One Night.
There are versions of "Trust" and "Promises" with the choruses translated literally; the Spanish chorus was used once when they performed "Trust" on That One Night (the other three iterations of the chorus were all still in English).
Homage: According to Dave, "When", from The World Needs A Hero, to Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?".
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: The eighties albums were 7-8. Rust in Peace was too, except for "Dawn Patrol," which was a 6. However, Countdown to Extinction was a bit softer than earlier albums, though Youthanasia was pretty heavy. Both albums are a pretty solid 7 for the most part. Cryptic Writings dropped things down a bit (being mostly at about a 6 or 7 with "Use The Man" being a 4), then Risk was more of a softer direction, which was about 4-6 on the scale. The next three albums were 7 with an occasional step up to 8. Endgame, however, returns to the mostly 8 songs. While Th1rt3en returns to mostly 7 songs. Strangely, the band never quite made it into 9 territory (except maybe with Black Friday, which teeters somewhere between an 8 and a 9).
Also Youthanasia, which featured downtuned instruments (to E-flat; most Megadeth albums are done in E-tuning) and a dramatic shift to mostly slow-paced songs.
Non Appearing Title: "Bad Omen," "Poison Was The Cure" and "My Kingdom" (although the word "king" appears twice in the last one). Only part of the title appears in "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due," "Tornado Of Souls," "Return To Hangar" (sequel to "Hangar 18" with the same exact chorus lyric) and "Never Walk Alone... A Call To Arms."
Not Christian Rock: Four songs from The System Has Failed and two songs from United Abominations.
Several on TH 1 RT 3 EN: "Sudden Death" (originally recorded for Guitar Hero 6 in 2010), "Black Swan" (bonus track on United Abominations) as well as "New World Order" and "Millennium Of The Blind" (bonus tracks on the 2004 remaster of Youthanasia a demo of "New World Order" also appeared on some editions of the Hidden Treasures EP).
Spoken Word In Music: The famous "Read my lips" quote by George HW Bush was sampled in 1992's "Foreclosure Of A Dream," and 2004's "The Scorpion" ends with a chain of news reports by the same anchorman while the music fades out.
The band has actually used this quite frequently since Countdown To Extinction.
Metallica can be seen as the first bullseye of Mustaine's declarations, for obvious reasons. The "Don't wear no leather to fit in / Don't wear no spikes to be cool" in "Rattlehead" from Killing... is very easy to interpret as a shot at the lyrics "No life 'til leather" and "[...] with your leathers and your spikes" from "Hit the Lights" and "Whiplash", respectively, from Kill 'em All.
Talky Bookends: The title track to United Abominations begins and ends with Dave narrating like an anchorman.
This Trope is [BLEEP]: The original writer of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," Lee Hazlewood, objected to Megadeth's parody cover and its changed lyrics after its release. So when all of Killing Is My Business got remixed and remastered in 2002, every lyric change got bleeped out, but the worst the song really got was "Now someone else can kiss your ass" and "Whaddya know bitch, you got a lot to learn." And what would you make of the line "One of these days, these boots are gonna stomp all over you"?
Bud Prager. Responsible along with Mustaine for making Risk.
The cover of "These Boots" on Killing Is My Business... was removed from pressings of the original master released after 1995 after the song's original writer threatened legal action. For the remaster, Megadeth was allowed to use "These Boots"...but they couldn't use the Megadeth version. Thus, they recorded it with the original lyrics, and then Sound Effect Bleeped all the lyrics that were changed in the original cover. Dave wasn't happy about any of this, and made that very clear in the liner notes and in his autobiography. Fortunately, the original version is quite widely available amongst fans.
Follow the Leader: Many parallels with Metallica's career. Most of the bands' albums had similarities in the execution, with Megadeth usually following Metallica's lead. (...And Justice For All and Rust In Peace; Metallica (The Black Album) and Countdown to Extinction; even Load/Re Load and Cryptic Writings, to an extent.) Inverted after St. Anger; Metallica's Death Magnetic is a comeback in the vein of The System Has Failed (though some will say that said comeback also happened around the same time with Endgame).
Myspeld Rökband: "Megadeath" was a term coined in 1953 by RAND military strategist Herman Kahn to describe one million deaths in the event of thermonuclear war.
Remaster: Mustaine remixed and remastered all of the albums from Killing Is My Business... through Risk while he was recovering from his arm injury.
The Power of Rock: In a episode of Duck Dodgers, Megadeth appears to fight off a Martian invasion with their loud metal music. Mustaine had a modified electric guitar that shot laser beams at space ships.
Put on a Bus: Literally the way Dave was expelled from Metallica.
After Dave unintentionally caused a riot at a concert in Ireland, he wrote the line "Fools like me who cross the sea / And come to foreign lands" in "Holy Wars" as a jab at himself.
Some ex-members like David Ellefson, Al Pitrelli and Nick Menza are/were among the receptors of Dave's word shots on interviews. Ironically, Ellefson would return to the band and they're back to being friends again.
Another interview had him taking a jab at Pantera for aping their sound. Ironically again, he wanted Dimebag Darrell in the past for the band, and he aped their sound for "Train of Consequences".