I’ll be honest, right up front, and say I had to ask my boys who Dave Mustaine was.
I’m not a big Metallica fan. Not really a fan of Megadeath, either. But after reading Dave Mustaine’s autobiography, “Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir,” I feel like I certainly know a little more about the heavy metal side of rock ’n’ roll and a lot more about this incredibly talented guitarist.
Born in 1961 in La Mesa, Calif., Mustaine remembers a childhood of dysfunction that would leave even the most screwed up person saying, “Whoa, that’s messed up.” His father was an alcoholic who left the family when Dave was 4 but then proceeded to stalk his wife and family for many years.
Traveling from town to town, and family member to family member, Dave coped with his unstable life the best way he knew how, and part of his saving grace was music. He began playing guitar at the age of 13 and from then on, wood and strings took on a life of their own under his hands.
Mustaine went through several bands before he met up with an 18-year-old kid from Denmark named Lars Ulrich. The two went on to form a band that would become known as Metallica. But along with his extreme talent at playing guitar, Mustaine also had an extreme talent for getting drunk and high, and it would be his excessive use of the drugs and alcohol that would cause him to be kicked out of the band.
Mustaine remained determined to continue in the heavy metal scene. He began to gather musicians to form what he would consider to be the ultimate heavy metal band, Megadeath.
While Mustaine does cover his years in the music industry, it is his personal story that I found fascinating to follow. The years and years of addiction, rehab and relapse had to have worn a toll on both body and soul, but Mustaine is very frank about his life and his decisions — leaving the reader to be the one to decide where they stand on a few of the topics he touches on, including his conversion to Christianity.
Dave Mustaine comes across as a very intelligent, wiser man in his autobiography, and you’ve got to admire him for his persistence to keep his place in the music business after all these years.