Encountering God in Kerrang!

Dave Mustaine

I like encountering God in unexpected places. This week it was in a copy of Kerrang! magazine.

Back in the day

Back in the day I used to buy Kerrang! every week; these days I only part with my £2.10 if there is anything extra special worth reading in it — there’s too much pop, emo and … “metal lite” in it these days for my liking. But this week’s issue had a couple of things worth reading. And I literally mean a couple: two.

Those were heady days. Every Thursday I’d get my pocket-money — or years later when I’d been paid at the mill (literally: I worked in a textile mill in Selkirk) — I’d race up to Anderson’s newsagents on the High Street in Selkirk and buy my copy of Kerrang! because it was the definitive word in metal.

There I was, a lanky kid growing up in the central Borders — where few bands, let alone metal bands, dared to tour — and this was my life-line to the kind of music that I was growing to love: rock, metal, thrash. I learned about Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, Testament, Voivod, Celtic Frost, Anthrax and Megadeth, to name a few.

Of those on that list, Megadeth I liked the least. Not because I didn’t like the music, but because I thought Dave Mustaine, their founder, songwriter, lead singer and guitarist was an asshole! Actually, that’s not fair. I was told by others that he was an asshole, and they were my friends and I believed them.

Change of mind

But then I discovered that these were the same friends who were telling me that Danzig were rubbish, and I listened to Danzig and thought that they were really quite good, and have actually become one of my favourite bands. So I decided to review my opinion on Mr Mustaine and give him the benefit of the doubt, and told others to do the same. (Whether they did or not is a matter for their blogs, I guess, not mine.)

Then years later I remember reading in Kerrang! one week that Dave Mustaine who had had quite a significant drug problem, had kicked the habit because his Mum was dying and he wanted to be there for her; which I thought was a pretty cool and brave thing to do. I also learned that he was now getting his adrenaline kicks — like many of us do — from sky diving!

I had a lot of respect for Dave Mustaine for that. My opinion of him grew and grew the more I read about him, and read interviews in metal and guitar magazines. He’s definitely one of my guitar heroes that I’d like to meet.

“I used to be angry all the time…”

Anyway, this is just a preamble to say that in this week’s issue of Kerrang! (issue no. 1157) there is a really cool interview with Dave Mustaine about his attitude to life, and his faith in Jesus Christ and how that has really helped him turn his life around and done wonders for the image that he has as an angry, violent … well, asshole!

Here’s a paragraph or two from the interview:

Kerrang: You have a new-found faith in God, has that made you happier?

Dave Mustaine: I try and keep it quiet, although when people ask about it, I’ll answer, but I’m not preachy about it. I’m not about trying to convert people like that. I think that everybody’s got to have something to believe in. Over the years I’d gone through black magic, witchcraft, Satanism, sorcery. Finally I got to a point where I had no place left to go. I looked up at the cross and went, “What have I got to lose? I’ve tried everything else!”.

Kerrang: Why keep it quiet?

Dave Mustaine: In martial arts, the most dangerous person you can meet is a white belt, because they don’t really know what they’re doing, they don’t understand how potentially dangerous it is. So they’re going up to their buddies like, “Hey, come at me like you’ve got a knife.” Then their buddy gets their arm broken. It’s the same with religion, when people are trying to tell everyone how great God is and making them feel the same joy they’re feeling, then they can be dangerous. I try and keep it as private as I can. You brought it up.”

Megadeth’s new album United Abominations is out on Roadrunner Records on Monday 14 May. I can’t wait!

The other article in this week’s Kerrang! worth reading is about Rage Against The Machine / The Nightwatchman / former-Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello. Just in case you were wondering.