Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mustaine Pens More Than A Metal Memoir

Dave MustaineAnyone with half an ear toward metal is familiar with Megadeth. The thrashing, heavy metal band is one of the genre’s pioneers and remains so (along with Metallica). Therein lies the interesting conflict within Megadeth’s self-described “founder, frontman, singer, songwriter, and guitarist (and de facto CEO)," Dave Mustaine.

There are decades of anger and hurt woven through the autobiographical tapestry of Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir, written with the help of Joe Layden. The UK version, called Mustaine: A Life In Metal, will hit stores Sept. 30.

I’m not a huge thrash metal fan, but I read the book because I was curious about the man. I was surprised to become so engaged so quickly. And I remained so from start to the bitter and blessed end.

Mustaine Begins In Rehab Before Going Back To Cali.

The story begins in recent years, with Mustaine in rehab. He apparently spent a lot of time there (17 stints, to be exact), waking up from a nap only long enough to discover he had no feeling in his arm. The freak accident, diagnosed as a radial nerve, left plenty of people wondering if Mustaine would ever thrash again.

As fans already know, Mustaine is not one to give up or give in. He overcomes a major setback. It wasn't the first time.

His ability to cope and come back started early in California. Born into poverty with an absent father and a strict Jehovah’s Witness mother (and other similarly situated relatives), Mustaine was troubled and angry. But he was also vulnerable, which is where you'll find his charm.

Yes, Mustaine’s story is also filled with the requisite sex, drugs, and rock and roll that many people expect any time they pick up an autobiography or memoir of a musician. But in between the drinks, he tells a sobering story of being a founding member of Metallica unceremoniously dumped by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield at the brink of success. They sent him packing, but used his songs. Ouch.

The backstabbing and betrayal would be one that Mustaine will never forget. And it fuels his desire to succeed in a band on his own terms. He manages to do that with Megadeth, despite some missteps and a constantly changing lineup along the way.

Deep Cuts Heal, But Leave Scars.

There is no doubt that scars that still remain. Mustaine says as much himself. But it seems to me that the betrayal by Hetfield and, especially, Ulrich hit just as hard as anything from his childhood. It seems clear that Mustaine’s unrelenting competitiveness set a bar beyond success. He wanted to leave Metallica in his wake. Sometimes he did. Sometime he did not.

It's the root of his ambition. And it makes for an interesting dynamic that you won't find elsewhere.

The story does end well, but there are times you won't find any faith to think so. It is only recently that Mustaine has kicked his bad habits, focused on family, and turned toward Christianity. Don't worry. He doesn't preach. He simply tells it how he sees it in a refreshingly sincere and candid way. Fans and even casual readers will able to relate.

Mustaine Thrashes A 7.6 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Metal fans will thoroughly enjoy this insight into one of the great metal musicians of our time. Mustaine does not disappoint. Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir is available on Amazon. It has already hit the New York Times best seller list.

If there is an irony, it might be that his former duel with Metallica might be won in book sales. He is promoting the book too, having already participated in several book signings, much to the delight of his fans. Watch for more in major cities.

He and Megadeth are also on the Jagermeister Music tour late September through late October, promoting their new live album, and playing with Slayer and Anthrax. Expect great shows. Keep up to date with Mustaine on Twitter.
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