Performance wise, 'The Conjuring' is one of the heaviest songs on the record, but unfortunately it's got black magic in it and I promised that I wouldn't play it any more, because there's a lot of instructions for hexes in that song. When I got into black magic I put a couple of spells on people when I was a teenager and it haunted me forever, and I've had so much torment. So I look back now and I think, 'Hmm, I don't wanna play "The Conjuring".'
Mustaine has also recently collaborated with Marshall Amplification in order to produce the 1960DM Dave Mustaine Signature Cabinets. He is now using his signature Marshall cabinets on tour.
In 1981, Mustaine left Panic to join Metallica as the lead Guitarist. Metallica's Drummer Lars Ulrich had posted an ad in a local newspaper, The Recycler, looking for a lead Guitarist. In his own words, Mustaine remembers his first meeting with James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich: "I was in the room warming up and I walked out and asked, 'Well, am I gonna audition or what?', and they said, 'No, you've got the job.' I couldn't believe how easy it had been and suggested that we get some beer to celebrate."
Fallen Angels was the name of the short-lived band that Mustaine founded after his departure from Metallica. In April 1983, after returning to California to live with his mother, he landed what he calls his first real job with the aid of Robbie McKinney. McKinney and a friend, Matt Kisselstein, worked with Mustaine as telemarketers. Mustaine quit his job after earning enough money to move to an apartment in Hollywood, and recruited McKinney, who played guitar, and Kisselstein, who played bass, for his band Fallen Angels. In his biography, Mustaine describes that "We lacked the chemistry, the Energy, the spark—or whatever you want to call it—that gives a band life in its infancy." The partnership did not last.
After a series of unsuccessful vocalist auditions, Mustaine elected to take on vocal duties himself in addition to playing lead and rhythm guitar. In 1984, Megadeth cut a three-song demo with Drummer Lee Rausch, who replaced Carruthers after Mustaine and Ellefson decided they couldn't trust him. Carruthers had chosen to hide his black heritage from them by claiming he was Spanish, and they couldn't understand why he would deceive them since they weren't racist. Kerry King joined the band for a few shows; however, he opted to leave Megadeth after less than a week so he could continue working on his own band, Slayer. Jazz-influenced Drummer Gar Samuelson replaced Rausch, who left after Mustaine convinced him to play with a broken foot. Megadeth recorded a demo as a three-piece band, which captured the attention of Guitarist Chris Poland, also a jazz player and a friend of Samuelson, who subsequently joined the band. In November, the band signed a deal with Combat Records and began touring.
In June 1985, Megadeth released their first album, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, on Combat Records. That summer, the band toured the U.S. and Canada with Exciter. Guitarist Mike Albert replaced Chris Poland when he was incarcerated for possession of heroin. After Poland was released, he rejoined the band in October and the band then began recording their second studio album for Combat. On New Year's Eve of that year, Megadeth played in San Francisco with Exodus and Metal Church. Metallica was the headliner. This was the only time Megadeth and Metallica were on the same card, until 1991.
In 1986, after recording Killing Is My Business..., Mustaine approached Jackson Guitars for a custom-built guitar. Jackson modified their existing Jackson King V model for Mustaine by adding 2 more frets to the standard 22 fret King V. In the 1990s the company began mass-producing a Dave Mustaine signature series Jackson King V, which continued into the early 2000s. This model uses Seymour Duncan SH-4 pickups, also known as TB-4 pickups.
Mustaine used B.C. Rich guitars early in his career (and for his entire duration with Metallica), most notably a B.C. Rich Bich 10 string with just the regular six strings. First the guitar started in a natural finish, but Mustaine painted it black around the time 'Peace Sells' was released. In 1987, he switched to Jackson Guitars.
In 1988, Mustaine caused a riot when Megadeth played a concert in Northern Ireland after he dedicated a song to "the cause," later claiming surprise that this was a euphemism for supporting the Irish Republican Army (IRA) regarding the problems between Northern Ireland's Catholic and Protestant communities. This incident occurred amid a period of turmoil in the province known as the Troubles.
Nick Menza, who was Chuck Behler's drum tech, joined Megadeth in 1989, and the band recorded their only track ever as a three-piece: a cover of Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" for the Wes Craven-directed horror flick, Shocker. Video Director Penelope Spheeris would later recount in the Megadeth episode of Behind The Music that Mustaine showed up to the video shoot so fried on heroin and other drugs that he could not sing and play guitar at the same time; therefore, the singing and playing had to be recorded separately. Mustaine was arrested for "impaired driving" that March with seven or more drugs in his system and was forced by authorities to enter a rehabilitation program (the first of his 15 visits to rehabilitation centers).
In February 1990, Guitarist Marty Friedman (formerly of Cacophony) was auditioned to fill in the vacant lead-guitar position. In September of that year, the band joined the "Clash of the Titans" tour overseas with Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Testament. The tour began one month before Megadeth released Rust in Peace (1990), which continued their commercial success. They then went back on the road to promote the new album, this time as support for Judas Priest.
Megadeth started off 1991 by performing for 145,000 people at Rock In Rio before starting their own world tour with Alice in Chains as their special guest. Mustaine got married in April, the same month the Rusted Pieces home video was released. That summer, the Clash of the Titans tour hit the U.S., featuring Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax, with Alice in Chains taking the opening slot. Later that year, the Megadeth song "Go to Hell" was featured on the Soundtrack to Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey.
Over his career, Mustaine has made numerous comments about both American and international politics, criticizing both politicians and political issues. In addition, Mustaine covered the 1992 Democratic National Convention for MTV.
Pantera and Suicidal Tendencies opened for Megadeth on the Countdown to Extinction tour. MTV News invited Mustaine to cover the Democratic National Convention for them that summer. In November, the "Exposure of a Dream" home video was released. In 1993, Mustaine guested on a new album by one of the bands who had influenced his own sound: Diamond Head. Megadeth began a U.S. tour with Stone Temple Pilots as their opening act. This tour, including a planned appearance at Budokan, was ultimately canceled due to Mustaine's continuing struggles with addiction. In June, Megadeth played Milton Keynes Bowl with Diamond Head and Metallica and later opened for Metallica on a handful of European Stadium dates. Megadeth was kicked off Aerosmith's U.S. tour after just seven dates because a comment made by Mustaine ("We don't have much time to play because Aerosmith don't have much time left to live") was deemed offensive to Aerosmith. "Angry Again" was featured on the Soundtrack to the 1993 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero, while "99 Ways To Die" was featured on The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience compilation album.
Megadeth spent the bulk of 1994 making Youthanasia, a much more commercial album undoubtedly inspired in part by the success of Countdown to Extinction. The band covered Black Sabbath's song "Paranoid" for Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath and performed on MTV's "Night of the Living Megadeth" in celebration of the Halloween release of their new album. They began a tour the next month in South America. Youthanasia became the quickest album to go gold (500,000 units) in Canadian history and sold well throughout the world. It was an album that showed a more melodic side to the band with tracks such as "À Tout le Monde". The album also included "Train of Consequences", the music video for which became one of the band's most well-known.
Another Soundtrack appearance, "Diadems" on Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight, kicked off 1995. Megadeth spent the first two months of the year on the "Youthanasia" tour with Corrosion of Conformity in tow. In March, the Hidden Treasures compilation hit European stores. The "Evolver: The Making of Youthanasia" home video followed in May, and Hidden Treasures made it to the U.S. and Japan in July, just in time for the start of the "Reckoning Day" tour with special guests Flotsam and Jetsam, Korn and Fear Factory. In September the band performed at the "Monsters of Rock" festival in South America, Peru.
A Grammy nomination for "Paranoid" began 1996 for Megadeth. Enlisting Fear singer Lee Ving, Mustaine released an album under the moniker "MD.45" with Suicidal Tendencies Drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. In September, Megadeth returned to the studio, this time in Nashville, TN, to record Cryptic Writings.
Cryptic Writings (1997) included thrashing songs like "Vortex" and "FFF"—reminiscent of Megadeth's older material—alongside radio-friendly fare like "Trust", the song that put Megadeth on the No. 1 spot in the U.S. Billboard, earning them many spins at rock radio. Megadeth.com launched that year, and in June, the reformed Misfits opened for the band on tour. Chaos Comics released "The Cryptic Writings of Megadeth" comic books, and a remix of "Almost Honest" showed up on the "Mortal Kombat Annihilation" Soundtrack. The first ever all-acoustic Megadeth performance in Buenos Aires, Argentina closed out the year in December.
Mustaine's daughter, Electra Mustaine, was born on January 28, 1998, the same month that "Trust" was nominated for a Grammy. Megadeth played on the Howard Stern Show and that summer took part in Ozzfest. As Nick Menza sat in the hospital side-lined by a knee injury, he received a call from Mustaine informing him that his services would no longer be needed. Jimmy DeGrasso, who Mustaine had enjoyed playing with in MD.45, joined Megadeth in his place. On New Year's Eve, Megadeth opened for Black Sabbath alongside Soulfly, Slayer, and Pantera.
While touring after Cryptic Writings, Mustaine told interviewers that songs like "She-Wolf" and "Vortex" had reinvigorated his love for classic music by bands like Iron Maiden and Motörhead, and that he intended to write an album that was "1/2 Peace Sells, 1/2 Cryptic Writings"; however, after hearing about a comment that Lars Ulrich had made in the press in which he said he wished Mustaine would take more "risks", intentions changed. Managers and producers had more input. The song "Crush 'Em" was written with the express purpose of being played in wrestling arenas. In later years, Mustaine would blame much of this period on Friedman's Desire to go in a more "pop" direction. Recorded with Producer Dann Huff, again in Nashville, Risk was released on August 31, 1999. "Crush 'Em" made it onto the Universal Soldier: The Return Soundtrack and into WCW wrestling events (notably played live on Monday Nitro). In July, the band covered "Never Say Die" for a second Black Sabbath tribute. They closed the Woodstock '99 music festival and again opened for Iron Maiden in Europe. There were few other highlights in the Megadeth world in 1999, a year that ended with Marty Friedman announcing his departure from the band.
An acoustic tour sponsored by radio stations, a press tour, and a video shoot for the song "Moto Psycho" all preceded the May 2001 release of The World Needs A Hero. The summer was filled with festival appearances supporting AC/DC. In September, Megadeth set out across North America with Endo and Iced Earth. VH1's "Behind The Music" special on Megadeth aired that year and was later released on DVD. At the end of the year, the band filmed two shows in Arizona, which were released as the 2CD and DVD Rude Awakening. The early part of 2002 saw the release of a remixed and re-mastered Killing Is My Business... with bonus tracks and expanded packaging, followed by Rude Awakening.
On April 3, 2002, Mustaine announced in a press release that he was disbanding Megadeth, officially due to his arm injury. For the next four months, Mustaine underwent intense physical therapy five days a week. Slowly, Mustaine began to play again, but was forced to "re-teach" his left hand.
Mustaine went through physical therapy for his arm injury. During his recovery, he explored other areas of the music industry, including production. Contrary to what doctors had predicted, within a short time he fully recovered. However, all was mostly quiet on the Megadeth front for the better part of 2003. Mustaine left Jackson guitars, did a solo acoustic performance at a benefit show, unveiled his new ESP model at the NAMM convention, and oversaw the release of Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? as an audio DVD presented in Dolby 5.1 surround.
Mustaine has criticized several Democratic Party politicians. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Mustaine commented that he believed that John Kerry would "ruin our country". In addition, Mustaine has made several comments critical of President Barack Obama, calling him "the most divisive President we've ever had" in 2011, and commenting that he believed that Obama was born outside of the United States during a March 2012 interview on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.
"After two successful years, I have decided to leave ESP guitars. This was a Business decision and had nothing to do with the guitars or the Manufacturing of the guitars, and I wish the staff of ESP, both in the USA and in Japan and Korea the very best of health and prosperity. Meanwhile, I am taking my Classic Metal V known formerly as a Jackson King V1 or an ESP DV8, and my new guitar design presently known as an Axxion, which was the recipient of the Gold Award from Guitar World Magazine for 2005 for new guitar designs with me. I will also be re-introducing through my new endorsement many special Models, including re-issues of my old Models from over the span of my career, as well as some retro V shapes, similar to the formerly known Jackson Y2KV or a Gibson Flying V. I will make my announcement and be attending the 2007 NAMM show to meet Megadeth fans and all metal fans, Musicians of all styles-especially guitarists."
However, on December 6, 2006, Mustaine announced that he was leaving ESP and shifting his endorsement to Dean Guitars. His new signature guitar was revealed during NAMM Show on January 19, 2007. The signature guitar is called the Dean VMNT. The V-shaped guitar is very similar to his earlier Jackson and ESP Signature Models. The release campaign of the VMNT had a limited copy of only 150 in the world and are signed by Mustaine. This was posted on the website.
Mustaine holds black belts in taekwondo and Ukidokan karate. In 2007, he was made a Goodwill Ambassador of the World by the World Taekwondo Federation.
Megadeth Blood in the Water: Live in San Diego (from the Gigantour 2008) premiered on HDNet Sunday November 2 at 8PM in high definition and 5.1 audio (Repeats check www.hd.net)
In 2009, Mustaine was named the No. 1 player in Joel McIver's book The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists. As he told Classic Rock magazine in September 2009: "It was especially sweet when I found out that Joel has written books on Metallica. Every page I turned, I became more excited. I get to Number 5 and it's Kirk Hammett, and I thought, 'Thank you, God'. At that point it didn't matter [which position I was]. To be better than both of them [James Hetfield and Hammett] meant so much – it's been one of the pet peeves of my career and I've never known how to deal with it. All I thought was – I win!"
In the 2010s, Mustaine grew increasingly vocal in his support of many Republican figures and positions, which is a change from his politics during the George H. W. Bush administration, when Mustaine acted as a reporter for MTV News during the Democratic National Convention in 1992, and was seen as leaning to the political left, in light of the lyrics of "Foreclosure of a Dream".
In 2011, Mustaine said that his neck and spine condition, known as stenosis, was caused by many years of headbanging.
In February 2012, Mustaine gave a statement supportive of the presidential campaign of former conservative Republican Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Mustaine commented on Santorum's "presidential qualities." Mustaine pointed to Santorum's temporary suspension of his campaign to be with his sick daughter as the act that gained his attention and respect. He expressed his hope that Santorum would win the nomination but stated that regardless of the results he would be voting against a second term for President Barack Obama. Mustaine also criticized other Republican presidential candidates. Mustaine was critical of a $100 million trust fund that Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney set up for his sons. He criticized Texas Congressman Ron Paul for his unorthodox political views saying Paul "make[s] total sense for a while, and then he'll say something so way out that it negates everything else". Mustaine also admitted that he once supported former Georgia Congressman and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, but that he no longer thought he could vote for him.
Mustaine endorses Seymour Duncan and has his own Signature Live Wire pickups and uses Cleartone strings (.011 - .054 for D tuning, .010 - .052 for E tuning). The Seymour Duncan Dave Mustaine Signature Live Wire pickups were announced at NAMM 2015 and the official product video was performed by Danny Young on the Seymour Duncan YouTube channel.
In 2016, he noted that Drummer Chris Adler's comments made him consider playing "The Conjuring" again, "as long as it doesn't hurt anybody".