Dave Mustaine Regrets Choosing Drug Dealer as First Manager
Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine admitted regretting a decision years ago to hire the band’s first manager because he was their drug dealer.
It’s been 35 years since Mustaine was fired by Metallica and formed a new band as an act of revenge, and 33 since Megadeth's debut album, Killing Is My Business … And Business Is Good, came out.
Asked by Metal Hammer if there was anything he’d have done differently during Megadeth’s formative years, Mustaine mentioned their early manager. “We chose a manager based on what he could provide for us, because he was the drug dealer to the band," he said. "We were so blinded by partying. [Bandmates] Gar [Samuelson] and Chris [Poland] were living a certain lifestyle, and when Dave Ellefson and I met with them, instead of them becoming more like us, we became more like them, and we started compromising just about everything.”
In 1991, Mustaine told the Baltimore Sun that he had only recently taken control of his addiction issues. “It started out with alcohol and pot, and then came the cocaine and the heroin and the freebase,” he said. “Up until 14 months ago, my entire recording career had been shrouded in a cloud of heavy drugs. I had a ludicrous relationship with a manager who was Fed Ex-ing us dope on the road to keep us inebriated so we wouldn't realize the wrongs being done to us.”
In the new interview, Mustaine, who made a significant contribution to Metallica’s early material, explained his decision to change direction with Megadeth. “It could have been very easy to copy Metallica, I would just have kept writing stuff the way that I was – which wasn’t simple by any means,” he said. “The Metallica stuff is great music, but there’s a certain kind of path that takes.”
He noted that "speed wasn’t everything, because there was a certain swing to that music." "I could have taken the path that Metallica had, which was a little more straightforward, but Gar Samuelson’s jazz drumming really helped me accentuate the playing," Mustaine said. "I sure miss him, he was a great talent. I look back on that period, and I have so much remorse for how certain periods in all our lives ended up. Gar and I talked a little bit at the end, but not as much as I would have liked to in retrospect, especially now that he’s gone.” The drummer died of liver failure at age 41 in 1999.
Killing Is My Business … And Business Is Good will be reissued in an expanded edition on June 8.