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Mustaine, Dave & Layden, Joe
Mustaine (Book Review)
February 2011
Released: 2010, It (Harper Collins)
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

I believe this was one of the more anticipated Metal autobiographies of 2010. Dave Mustaine has been a metal pioneer and flash-point for years and years. Controversial, opinionated, dangerous but never dull, Mustaine for most has embodied the metal spirit, the in-your-face attitude that scares some and upsets many.



I was quite torn reading this book. My bias stated upfront, I’ve never been a huge Megadeth fan. Yes, I know…as odd as it sounds they have never been my band. The debut was OK. I bought the (now rare) ‘pink logo’ cassette when it came out a quarter of a century ago. I followed them with some interest for the next half decade, and they had four more killer albums in a row (Peace Sells, So Far, Rust and Countdown) but nothing in the past almost 20 years now that Megadeth has done has really interested me. I gave THE SYSTEM HAS FAILED a good review on this site but in hind-sight I over-rated it and rarely listen to it these days.



I was incredulous when McIver pegged Mustaine as Metal’s #1 guitarist in his fantastic book, THE 100 GREATEST METAL GUITARISTS click here for review. http://www.metal-rules.com/review/viewreview.php?band=&album=book%20review&post_by=&rating=&month=&year=&pos=36 I didn’t agree with the pick but intellectually I understood and appreciated the pick. So, having said all that, and despite my lukewarm appreciation of Megadeth and his skills as a guitarist, I did go and buy the book and read it with great interest.



Technically speaking it is fairly well done, but needed work. Boring cover. Boring title. The working title of ‘Hello Me… Meet The Real Me” is way better but it got relegated to the back cover. On the plus side the 346-page hardcover is loaded with cool quotes and tons of rare photos. It well laid-out, and easy to read.



Dave had a pretty tough life and made some spectacularly bad decisions in his life. In the book he comes across of vain, arrogant, rude, condescending, judgmental and those are his good points! Dave also comes across as quite hypocritical as he makes fun of glam metal and music he feels lacks substance (based on appearance) but often in his book judges people based solely on how they look. He also comments on changing his look to fit in as well.



He seems to have a latent shoe fetish or something as he often recalls people from his past and what they were wearing on their feet and then commenting accordingly. I’m not kidding! He seems too hung up on stuff like that. I’m not here to judge Dave and his life, it’s not my place but it was hard not to dislike the guy. He just seems very unhappy and negative most of his life. I don’t think he will ever get over getting kicked out of Metallica.



A flaw so common in autobiographies is the author spends lots of time reliving the past and very little time reflecting on the recent events. Mustaine suffers the same flaw. He goes into great detail about the first several albums; studio stories, producers, song-writing etc but after that he barely touches on the music at all. Some of his very own band-mates (hired guns) get one or two sentences. It’s clear in his mind they were irrelevant. That’s a bit of a disservice to the fans of Megadeth who wanted to hear about something about the last decade.



Here is what he had to say about UNITED ABOMINATIONS. “I had no idea what to expect in he spring of 2007 when United Abominations was released. The lineup had been revamped again with James Lomenzo replacing James McDonough on bass. Didn’t seem to matter. The songs were strong, the playing tight, and the album took off selling more briskly than any Megadeth record since Youthanasia. Fifty Thousand copies in the first week alone.”(p. 345) That says it all. Five measly sentences to summarize an entire album; two years of writing, recording, and a tour cycle. It seems that as his life progressed, Megadeth and the music became less important. The last four albums are completely skipped, maybe a total of a few paragraphs each. THE WORLD NEEEDS A HERO merits a mere three sentences! The details about last decade of the band are painfully absent. Someone needs to write the history of Megadeth beyond Mustaine’s own narrow and somewhat dismissive view.



Despite all those potentially negative features his story was a truly compelling read. Mustaine is a classic Metal bio. Drugs, crime, women, fights, managers, lawyers, and the detailing of many incidents that have made his life and career so much in demand. I don’t know what it is about this guy. Every-time he opens his mouth he attracts trouble and media attention. Dave Mustaine could fart in the bathtub and it’s headline news on Blabbermouth.net with 50+ responses in the forum! All the dirt is in the book, the Dissection story, the compressed nerve incident, the Dave Jr. lawsuit situation, the constant trips to rehab and his much-publicized conversion to Christianity. He lays it all out on the line with a big pair of Metal balls (of steel). No fear, no compromise. That's why we love him.
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