Last week, we ran a story in which Dave Mustaine said he was close to collaborating with James Hetfield again, but ongoing publishing disputes killed that effort. It was shocking. It was disappointing. And mostly it was another opportunity for the Megadeth frontman to shit on Metallica a bit. It was par for the course, really.
Well, in a recent interview with Greg Prato of Songfacts, Mustaine was asked to go into a little more detail about the plans to collaborate, as well as the discussion surrounding his publishing dispute. And while a normal artist would probably opt to say nothing or want to keep things chill in the interest of maybe being able to hash things out behind the scenes, this is Dave Mustaine we’re talking about…
So since that dude can’t help himself and we’re here for it, I’ve decided to break down the long ass quote so you don’t have to.
Yes, Dave. We all know you mean Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. No need to be coy.
If this interaction is true, that’s some interesting insight into the Metallica camp. We knew they’d been hemorrhaging money as a result of things like the Orion festivals, everyone knows that Lou Reed collaboration was garbage, and the movie wasn’t successful by any metric, but to hear that James might have come to Dave with his hat in hand is kinda shocking in a way. Naturally, if you’re approached like this you should feel like you’ve got the upper hand in any negotiations, right? Turns out that wasn’t the case according to Mustaine.
“James and I wrote ‘Metal Militia’ and ‘Phantom Lord’ — every note,” Dave continued. “And somehow, on the record [Kill ‘Em All] it says Lars gets 10%. And on ‘Metal Militia’ that Kirk [Hammett] gets some of it, and he wasn’t even in the band.
So yeah, up until this point it’s pretty standard Dave Mustaine reliving his past and not wanting to budge when it comes to publishing rights. Which again, is completely within his rights if what he says about who wrote what is true. The fact that Kirk gets some money from those songs when he wasn’t even in the band when the songs were written though just reeks of bullshit, though.
And while all that previous stuff is pretty much well-tread ground, Mustaine went a little further this time. Not only does he praise Hetfield for his writing capabilities, but he absolutely demolishes Lars as a musician in two or three sentences.
“Lars is a really great song arranger. And believe it or not, I watched him on a piece-of-shit acoustic guitar write the opening riff to ‘Master Of Puppets’. You know what that was? It was a guy with a guitar that doesn’t know how to play, and he’s going [mimics playing a chromatic run] on the neck. It wasn’t anything really mind-blowing by any means. The way James played it made it mind-blowing.”
Fucking. Oof. Listen, we all know Metallica would have been far better off if they had someone like Dave Lombardo behind the kit, but Lars is the business backbone of that metal behemoth. And as such, you’re going to be stuck with simple rhythms and tired drum fills until they finally call it quits.
But still, Dave. You didn’t have to go so hard on the little Dane like that. Savage.