There could have been a world in which we would have seen Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield come together for a special project, had an ongoing and unsettled publishing dispute not gotten in the way. At least, that’s what the outspoken Megadeth frontman said in a recent interview with Guitar.com.
According to Mustaine, one of the last conversations he had with his Metallica counterpart was the idea of working together on something. Both parties apparently seemed into the idea, but Mustaine says the discussion eventually turned to money and past agreements, where it seemed like ice water was thrown on the whole project.
As you may or may not remember, this all likely stems from the ongoing debate about which classic Metallica songs Mustaine should or shouldn’t have writing credits on. Dave has long asserted that more songs from at least the first three albums should have his name on them.
When it came time for Metallica to release an expanded version of the No Life ‘Til Leather demo tape, Mustaine put the kibosh on that because he didn’t want to “perpetuate false information” regarding the writing credits. In 2018, Mustaine said he’d discussed the expanded demo tape, but said no to the project when Lars wanted publishing on it “despite James and I being the sole songwriters.”
Now, if we were to use Mustaine’s logic right now, then there’s his story and there’s Hetfield’s story about how this all went down. I, for one, would love to hear James talk about this apparent interaction and see how it differs from Dave’s. That being said, I doubt we’ll ever get that side of the conversation, since Hetfield’s too busy counting the stacks of money and kicking it in Colorado when he’s not off selling out tours all over the world.