Ahead of Megadeth's Megacruise setting sail this October, Megadeth’s commander-in-chief Dave Mustaine reveals the songs that soundtracked his life...
The first song I remember... All The Young Dudes - Mott The Hoople
“I bet everyone answers Smoke On The Water for this! My sister married an idiot, but I went round to his place to kill time. He had this younger brother who was playing me cool music like this Mott The Hoople track, which David Bowie wrote, as well as other Bowie stuff like Panic In Detroit. I heard Johnny Winter that day too, all really cool stuff to cut your teeth on!”
The song that made me want to play... Let There Be Rock - AC/DC
“I think it must have been Acca Dacca! That said, one of the first solos I’ve learned was Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry - which is a lot like the rock boogie style Angus became famous for.
“Honestly, back when I was really concentrating on my playing and forming Panic, I listened to nothing but AC/DC and UFO. Between Michael Schenker’s half-cocked wah and Angus’s cranked amps with speaker cabs pushed next to a wall, that was the sound I was looking for.”
The song that I tried to learn that I just couldn’t nail... Sails Of Charon - Scorpions
“There are tons of songs I can’t nail! But this was one that really drew me in the beginning, and every player in Hollywood felt the same way about - and there were lots, because it was a great place for musicians to learn.
“This solo felt mind-blowing to me and I’m sure Uli would tell you himself that it’s very classical-influenced. You can hear he loved Paganini!”
A riff I wish I’d written... The Pink Panther Theme - Henry Mancini
“Again there are tons, like all the clever ones Pink Floyd were coming out with, which are worth their weight in gold. Money is great - crazy and hard to keep track of - but you could go up to anyone and sing them that melody and they’ll know it!
“But our previous drummer Nick Menza’s dad [Don] actually played the sax parts on the Pink Panther song... that definitely would have been a cool one to write!”
The song I would like to be remembered for... Wanderlust - Megadeth
“Holy Wars... The Punishment Due is a good example of my abilities, but as far as taking risks go, I love our song Wanderlust. It was never really one of those songs people really gave a chance because it was on Risk.
“To the public, it seemed as if we were going on a downward transit... obviously, that was true, but I feel if this song was on another record it would have gotten its due respect.
“It came at the end of our era with Marty Friedman, an amazingly talented player, who wanted to go into a more poppy, alternative-sounding direction. I loved Marty and wanted to do whatever I could, within reason, to have domestic tranquility in the band, but I couldn’t go any further than what we did on that album.
“It’s like I have an inner automatic kill switch if things go too far out... ‘Errr, that does not compute!’”
The song that’s most challenging to perform live... Architecture Of Aggression - Megadeth
“Songs like this and Five Magics from Rust In Peace are hard enough to play as it is... but if you’re playing and singing, they’re really hard.
“Architecture Of Aggression is probably slightly harder because it has one of those weird syncopated polyrhythms going in different directions - like when you ask people to rub their tummy and pat their head. It’s hard to separate the two... a real coordination challenge!”
The greatest guitar solo of all time... Hotel California - The Eagles
“It’s a toss-up between this and Stairway To Heaven, as far as structure, climax and the ability to tell a story goes. These are also songs I wish I’d written - never mind the solo, it’s the entire fucking song that’s brilliant.
“Hotel California might have the edge, because it has two players really going for it!”
The greatest guitar tone of all time... Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd
“If someone could go up and get a big fat scoop of what heaven tastes like, that’s David Gilmour’s playing right there.
“I can’t put it any other way; it just feels so otherworldly. He can take one note and turn it into an experience - you’re not listening, you’re experiencing his solos. Pink Floyd were always different, for their tones, solos and note choices.”
The song that reminds me of home... Don’t Dream It’s Over - Crowded House
“These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ definitely takes me back to my early childhood, but the one that reminds me of home is by Crowded House, funnily enough.
“For me and my wife, this song always seems to come on the radio. One time we were in Germany, walking into catering during The Big Four shows, and it was playing on the overhead stereo system.”
Megadeth’s hits collection Warheads On Foreheads is out now via UMe Recordings.