Dave Mustaine denies being a control freak: “That was just a bunch of bitter ex-members complaining about riffs that weren’t that good”

The outspoken metal legend rebukes claims he’s always in control.

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine has, rightly or wrongly, a bit of a reputation as a control freak. Chatting to us about the band’s new album, he has denied this, saying instead that the reputation came from “bitter ex-members.”

Speaking to Guitar.com about Megadeth’s new album The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!, we asked Mustaine what he thought of his reputation as a control freak. Mustaine rebutted, stating that guitarist Kiko Loureiro’s substantial contribution to the recent record is proof that he’s happy to not always be at the wheel: “All you have to do is look at the last record and how much Kiko wrote on it. It completely dispels the lies from the past about me not letting certain band members in the past write music. Same thing with [drummer] Dirk [Verbeuren] too.

Mustaine then added: “ So that was just a bunch of bitter ex-members complaining about ‘quality control’ over riffs that weren’t that good. If they were good, they would have been on the record.”

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Mustaine also explored the process of turning Loureiro’s riffs into bonafide Megadeth riffs, saying that it often involves “taking a riff that has a melodic idea and making it heavy. Or taking a melodic idea and making it thrash. Sometimes you can do that with existing songs, other times doing stuff like that just ruins it. So there’s a fine line that you walk when we share each other’s music. Usually, there’s three ways that it comes down; it’s your way, our way, my way”

“And so when I hear stuff it’s usually ‘their’ way, then that’s great – I know we’re onto something good and it just works. Now, if it’s really good but it just needs something, like maybe it’s played in a different key or maybe it’s played on a different string, instead of playing it up high on the neck on the low strings you play it a little lower on the neck on the higher strings, because the strings are clearer or vice versa because you want the fatter strings to sound heavier. Stuff like that you know – that’s how I would ‘Megadeth’ it up, I think.”

You can check out our full interview with Mustaine here.

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