ScorpioN is now accepting questions! Submit here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Before you ask a question, read the SCORPION ARCHIVES and make sure that your question has not already been answered! ScorpioN may not be able to answer every question asked. Please only submit one question per email in an easy to read format. Check back here to www.megadeth.com/scorpion often to see if your question was selected! ScorpioN section is updated every Monday.
Hello there Scorpion,
This question is a call for help for my guitar idol Dave,
I have played guitar for a while and I believe that I can start with some solos but I don't know how to start.
I would like to know how Dave begun to learn to solo and how later he re-learned to play guitar after his nerve injury, Can you please help me?
Megadeth all the way
Hello Mystery Writer,
Good for you for picking up the guitar and asking questions!
Dave had the following to say:
"Songs are made of parts that all have a distinct purpose and the solo is the best art of the song for me. But if you don’t have a great song, and the music that goes under the solo isn’t great also, then you just have a solo in a bad song. My advice would be to look into formal songwriting lessons, or do what I did, and teach yourself.
Good luck and keep rockin'!
What was the inspiration for the song Gears Of War From United Abominations?
Your Biggest Fan
Dear Biggest Fan Elijah,
Many fans ask questions about song inspirations, and I was pleasantly surprised to see you pick a unique song! Unique questions get responses people, take note!
Dave was happy to answer your question:
"I’d have to say just getting the shot at a video game. You know, you go through phases in your life, and that was a phase where the Bosnian war was raging and I had written lyrics about the tragedy, and the music just kinda came about when we agreed to do it. Fortunately the lyrics and the music lined up well, and it’s a very cool game!"
I really wish I had opposable thumbs sometimes...I miss out on all the cool video games.
I was wondering- does Dave still have that hoodie they gave each contestant on the Rock N Roll Jeopardy episode he was in? Did he like creaming those other contestants? Haha.
- Josh Holmes (SC)=
That Jeopardy episode was entertaining for sure! Dave was on fire!! While we don't have an official copy, you can peruse YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
Dave had this to say in response to your question:
"No, in fact I forgot that they even gave me one. That was a fun show to do, especially since I was able to win $5,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Arizona."
I'm from Brazil and watched every Megadeth concert here since 98.
Countdown to Extinction and Rust in Peace are among my favorite of all times albums, and since I'm starting to play the bass I would like to know what gear David Ellefson used on both albums.
Great question R. Pigatto!
Gear questions are always best answers by the artist themselves, and David was more than happy to answer yours.
"Thank you for coming to the shows over the years and liking these two quintessential albums.
Interestingly, I used very similar gear on both albums, almost identical except I recorded all of "RIP" with two four string Jackson bass guitars. I recall one was red at the time and had an ebony fingerboard on it, which gave it a really bright 'snap' to the tone. I believe the other bass was either my silver one or the one that was originally painted yellow (came that way when I bought it on the "Peace Sells..." tour!) but was later painted black. That one also had a rosewood fingerboard but a very deep and phat sound and was better for slower songs because it was not the fastest playing bass for some reason.
I actually had to drop tune the E string for the first half of "Hangar 18" so I could get that part of the song down to the low D. Once the record was done I needed to recreate that bass line which led to me getting with Jackson to create their very first five string bass.
I used that five string bass on the RIP tour as well as to record much of the "CTE" album a couple years later. That bass was used on songs like "Ashes In Your Mouth" and "Countdown To Extinction". I also used one other four string Jackson bass for some of "CTE" as well, for songs like "Symphony of Destruction", "This Was My Life", "Sweating Bullets" and any other song that didn't require notes below the low E.
For amps on RIP I used a GK 800 RB bass amp head into a 1x15" Hartke cab and a 4x10" Hartke cab. I used that same setup for CTE but used only a pair of 4x10" Hartke cabs instead of the 1x15".
I used the purple heavy gauge Jim Dunlop Tortex picks and Rotosound Swing Bass round wound strings on both albums.
Now that you know the gear used, you can probably start to hear slight tonal differences between the albums as well as between those songs on CTE, too. One of the main differences between those two albums (besides the producers of Mike Clink and Max Norman) was that RIP was recorded on Ampex analog two inch 24 track tape and CTE was recorded entirely in digital, using the Sony 48 track digital tape machines which were brand new at that time. The clarity you hear on CTE is largely because of the digital recording and mixing methods used."
Hello ScorpioN! I'd like to know who exactly did the voices on "Captive Honour"! I know that Mustaine actually sang the song, with additional backing vocals, but we can hear some voices during the song [the prisoner, the jury, etc] ... whose voice is it?
Hugs from Brazil! We love Megadeth!
Guilherme Henrique Scopin
I love Brazil!! I had a crazy summer down there in my youth...I came close to captivity myself!
Speaking of captivity...there are a lot of different voices on "Captive Honour" and here is a breakdown for you:
Jeff Jampol – jury foreman, Mark Parra – judge, and Raymond White – cell mate, with of course Nick Menza as the convicted.
Hi Scorpion, I've been listening to a lot of songs on United Abominations lately and I have a question about the title track. Who is the voice that is narrating at the start of the song? Also what are the French voices saying, before the solo?
The voice narrating at the start of United Abominations is Dave Mustaine!
The French words go like this :
"- Les Nations Unies votent résolution après résolution. / Nous avons besoin d'un nouvel ordre mondial.
- L'ordre n'existe pas. / Je vois vraiment pas pourquoi s'en inquiéter, ils font jamais rien de toute façon!
- Oui, un nouvel ordre."
In English :
"- The U.N. vote resolution after resolution. / We need a new world order.
- Order does not exist. / I just don't see what all the fuss is, they don't do anything anyway!
- Yes, a new order."
The French voices are: Marie Soler & Brett Caldas-Lima.
Merci et au revoir!
I am a huge fan and member of the Cyber Army, and I was wondering if there will be opportunities to do a Meet and Greet with the band instead of VIP Packages for the upcoming shows.
Thank you for being a fan and a member of the greatest fan club on earth, human or otherwise. Here's the deal with Meet and Greets...the band tries to do them for the fan club members as often as they can, but there are many factors that go into the availability of doing those at the shows. The promoters, venue, time the band goes on, etc all play into whether the band can accommodate doing Meet and Greets. Plans can change at a moment's notice, so make sure you are checking the Megadeth Cyber Army announcements while the band is on the Killing Road!
Hi ScorpioN, I'm a super fan, I really enjoy playing your songs on my guitar and you guys rock, you see, here in Chile, metal music doesn't work because people here says that we are all satanic guys and that kind of stuffs, and I'm trying to create a Label for all metalheads here in Chile and change a little bit our society to make them know that we're not like they say we are, you see, here education is very very expensive, I have to pay for 20 years my English Teaching Program... and there is no way I can do it, so I decided to create this label for earning money to pay college, the thing is, can you guys, help on that? with some information or things like that?
thank you guys for reading this.
Thanks for being such a super fan! I totally understand what it's like to be misunderstood, but as any metal fan knows, we can be the kindest, hardest-working individuals out there, so don't let anyone tell you differently. The advice I can give you is to keep at it, be nice to everyone you meet but don't forget the jerks, and always be willing to make friends and connections. You never know who you are going to come across!
I think it is time for a new signature guitar... something in chrome that dazzles the eye when the stage lights hit it. A guitar with the ScorpioN logo crawling all over it. When can we see this happen?
Well Mr. Razzle-Dazzle, I like sparkly and shiny things too, especially with my abundance of eyes. I would love nothing more than to see my likeness on a custom Dean guitar and will forward your suggestion immediately.
My fave song is Sweating Bullets, and I was wondering why Dave wrote it and how did it relate to him?
Thanks, Romelia S.
We all love to hear the inspiration behind lyrics and music. Sweating Bullets is one of my all-time favorites, but since I can't physically headbang, I have to settle for stinger swaying. Here's what Dave had to say about the song:
"My wife had a friend that she actually worked for that had anxiety, and they would go out before we got serious, and her friend would have a panic attack and just bail on Pam. I got the idea while driving to pick her up and take her home one night after another episode."
I tried searching the net, and I have gained no further knowledge than what the "Peace Sells" booklet says. I was wondering what Marshall model was Dave playing back in the KIMB - SFSGSW era. Also did he use any pedals?
Well, nameless Droogie, equipment questions are best answered by the musician using said equipment, so here's Dave's reply:
"The amps I used during PS & SF was a basic Marshall JCM 800, and the pedal used was a relic called a "Rock man." It had chorus, delay, and distortion, if memory serves me correctly."
Hopes this helps you get the sound you are looking for, or at least satisfies your curiosity. I personally can't remember what kind of spider I had for lunch yesterday, so that's pretty impressive...
So I remember seeing pictures in Dave's early days of him with a BC Rich. I remember reading somewhere it was a BC Rich Bich Perfect 10. Did he play with all 10 strings on it? Or did he just string it up with only 6?
Dave Mustaine would clearly be the person to clarify your question, and he wanted to give you a first-hand account:
"I did have a BC Rich "Rich Bich" guitar. It was not called a perfect 10, as it was anything but that. I played it with 10 strings for a couple days and my thigh kept hitting the tuners on the body, so I ditched the sympathetic strings, as they are called.
I ended up completely abandoning BC Rich and all of the guitars I had accumulated from them after the infamous "Norfolk, Virginia 'Boathouse' gig" where I had just got on stage with a brand new set of strings and broke two of them during the first song. I went to Jackson Guitars after that."
My keen sense tells me Dave was not impressed with that particular brand of guitar...
Thanks for your question!
On the track Beginning of Sorrow, there is a phrase in the middle that says, Origo doloris non erit crastinus dies ...what does that mean?
Origo doloris non erit crastinus dies is Latin and means "Beginning of sorrow, there will be no tomorrow". Dave got a little help from a Latin teacher to make sure the translation was correct!
Do you travel with the band?
Of course I travel with the band. Who do you think holds the camera for all of David's videos? I'm also in charge of all the coffee runs and waking up Willie Gee ....with a sting of my tail!
What's your favorite song on Super Collider and why?
Super Collider is a great listen from beginning to end, that's for sure. Every time I listen to a track again I hear something new, but right now I would have to say it's "The Blackest Crow". The crow is an often misunderstood creature having many roles in world mythologies and religions, and is often associated with negative characteristics...kind of like me. Birds of a feather...as they say. Also, the slide guitar is haunting and very "you might not come back from the swamps alive"...so naturally I would dig it.
I want have two questions about MegadetH new single "Kingmaker" (btw must say its a masterpiece)
First, what effect did Mr.Ellefson use in the intro that makes this wah like sound? Second, He used his new Kellybird signature or signature Concert bass?
Thanks very much!
Glad you like the new song! David used his signature X series Jackson five string bass to record the track.
The effect was an onboard effect that he duplicates live with his Hartke Attack Pedal and a Jim Dunlop bass wah pedal.
Hello Scorpion, my question is for Dave.
Can you tell us about what is it the new song "Don't Turn Your Back"
Thanks, Hugs from Argentina.
Hi Bel, and thanks for your question. We've all heard a snippet of the song and I for one can't wait to hear more. If you've been living under a rock and haven't heard it yet, you can listen to it HERE.
The boss gave this insight to your question: "This song is about having a friend that is actually someone that you should really not be friends with in the end."
Don't worry Bel, you can be friends with me...
I have a question about one of my favorite Megadeth songs: Deadly Nightshade. Just who is that person laughing and what exactly is she saying? I can only make out a few words. Would be nice to know the story behind the use of that voice.
Thanks so much!
-Bryan Waring, CT
That happens to be one of my favorite songs of the album TH1RT3EN, and I'm sure a lot of people would like to know, so here ya go:
The voice is Electra Mustaine's, Dave Mustaine's daughter, and he says they were told she said, I dont know whats come over me, all of a sudden I feel like I need to lie down.
The Deadly Nightshade is a poisonous flowering plant that has a long history as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. I know a little about that subject myself...
I have a question for Dave Mustaine. I am 13 and really want to read your
book but my dad and I want to know if it is kid friendly. What do you think?
First let me commend you for being a fine youth who likes to read and is conscious of being age-appropriate. Dave Mustaine started playing guitar as a pre-teen, and picked up an electric guitar when he was just 15 years old. The rest, as they say, is history.
His autobiography does contain some colorful content, and adult language, but only your dad can decide if he thinks it's appropriate for you. Might I suggest that he reads it first so he can make the decision he thinks is best? With any luck, and a little persuasive debate, he'll decide that you are beyond your years and can handle some colorful tales.
I was wondering what the influences, lyrically, behind the new single 'Super Collider'. Also, will there be a music video to accompany this new track?
Josh Holmes (SC)
We are so excited about the release of Super Collider!
Dave was happy to answer your question, so you're getting it straight from him.
"The influences were reading a USA Today article on the God Particle. Actually the song "The Disintegrators" was supposed to be called "Super Collider", but was changed to "The Atomic Disintegrators", then later shortened to "The Disintegrators". There will be a video, but the band is shying away from the overused performance videos, and telling the story of the song, more than just standing there and lip synching."
I saw a possible album cover on the internet for "Super Collider" but I didn't see it officially released on Megadeth.com. When will you be officially releasing it? Can't wait for the new album!
- Alistair Lisle, Newcastle, UK
There was a version of the cover circulating around the Internet for the past couple months or so with exploding logo and some sub-standard quality artwork, was a very poor design. Remember, nothing is ever official, especially in the case of a Megadeth album cover release, if it wasn't posted here first at Megadeth.com.
Hope you dig the new cover as much as we do!!! You are sure to love the new album once it's released on June 4.
Just wondering if when we will possibly here a new single from the upcoming Megadeth album and also if there might possibly be a "Making of Super Collider" DVD?
A new single will be released soon! Keep your eyes and ears peeled to Megadeth.com for news about that!
There was a fair amount of video footage taken during the recording process of "Super Collider". The band posted tidbits of video clips throughout the last few months, but there was a lot of footage that had not been made public ..as yet. There may very well be a "Making-of Super Collider" DVD in the future, no promises yet, but there is possibility of it happening!
When Youthanasia came out there was a video that was also released depicting the making of the album. I have it packed away with all my VHS tapes. I believe it was called "Devolver: The Making of Youthanasia". In this day of great technology, is there any hopes that we could see this great video released on Blu-Ray or DVD? It is an awesome video and every fan of Megadeth, especially Youthanasia, should see it.
Mark from California
The video is actually called "Evolver: The Making Of Youthanasia" ...but you were close! You'll have to bring it out more often. ;)
Evolver took us behind-the scenes to witness the making of Megadeth's 1994 album "Youthansia". The film, while seemingly recorded using low quality home video cameras, gives us a great view of Megadeth's groundbreaking 1994 album. See more details about the album in Megadeth.com's Videography section.
The video was released on VHS and still is available for sale and online stores such as Amazon. It's a nice thought to have it released on DVD or Blu-Ray but I'll be honest with you, I just don't see it happening anytime soon. But you never know! Maybe one day... That being said, there has been a lot of new video footage taken at Vic's Garage recently during the recording process of "Super Collider" and we may just see a DVD or Blu_Ray come out of that! As for Evolver, for now, we'll have to pull out our VHS players and sit back for some old school classic video!
I have a question about the lyrics of "Sweating Bullets":
The text says:
Hindsight is always 20-20
What actually does "20-20" mean?
Cheers Mareike (Germany)
Vision or visual acuity is tested by reading a Snellen eye chart at a distance of 20 feet. By looking at lots of people, eye doctors have decided what a "normal" human being should be able to see when standing 20 feet away from an eye chart. If you have 20/20 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the chart you can see what a "normal" human being can see. (In metric, the standard is 6 meters and it's called 6/6 vision). In other words, if you have 20/20 vision your vision is "normal" -- a majority of people in the population can see what you can see at 20 feet.
The definition of "Hindsight is always 20/20" is an ability to figure out what one should have done after it is too late to do it. Looking back you have a clearer vision (20/20) of the event.
But alas, in the song Sweating Bullets, looking back is still a bit fuzzy. Nice story...
I wondered if there are any tabs of David's bass solos available. David is one hell of a bassist and I want to play all of his lines I find awesome. I am primarily interested in a 1995 solo.
Thank you very much!
There are several tabs available in the official Megadeth song books on the market, particularly with Hal Leonard. As for the bass solos, those are not officially tabbed anywhere. Have fun and glad you enjoy the bass lines!!
I'm from Brazil and watched every Megadeth concert here since 98.
Countdown to Extinction and Rust in Peace are among my favorite of all times albums, and since I'm starting to play the bass I would like to know what gear David Ellefson used on both albums.
Hello R. Pigatto,
On both "Rust In Peace" and "Countdown To Extinction" David Ellefson recorded with his Jackson Concert basses of the day, plugged into Gallien-Krueger 800RB bass amp heads which powered two Hartke 410 speaker cabinets. Those cabinets were the original Hartke aluminum cone speakers. He also used Rotosound Swing Bass strings and a heavy Jim Dunlop Tortex pick.
Keep in mind, David no longer uses those products and have been replaced by more modern technologies which he uses today. In particular, his Jackson basses and the newest Hartke products.
More importantly, tone is really in your hands. While gear is important, pay special attention to your fingering and how you pick/pluck the strings as well. Much of the Megadeth sound is really in the picking/plucking techniques and is what sets the band's sound apart from the rest.
Have fun and enjoy your bass playing!!
Hey Scorpion, this question is for Dave.
I've been roller skating all my life, and all the times I've fell is finally catching up with me (i.e bad knees, bad back, arthritis from multiple broken bones, ect... and I'm only 20). A little over 2 years ago, I was kicked in the back (literally) where my neck and shoulders meet. Ever since then, my fretting hand has been a little on the weaker side, and shakes like crazy if I try to use it. I've even lost some of the feeling in it. :/ We've figured out that getting kicked in that area had caused nerve damage to that entire arm.
Because of that, I've had a hard time trying to play guitar or bass. Can't ever get my fingers to go where I tell them to go half the time, since they just like to do their own little thing. :/ I haven't stopped trying though. It's gotten a little better, but not enough to start praising to the high heavens.
As someone who's had nerve damage in their fretting hand/arm, what was the process of getting full movement back in that arm? Were there any specific exercises that you needed to do?
In an unrelated topic... I'm seriously looking forward to your guys' new album. From what I've heard in the little snippets, it sounds like it's going to be fantastic!
In January 2002, Dave fell asleep in a chair with his arm in an awkward position, which cut off the circulation to the radial ulnar nerve in his left bicep, compressing it. A compressed radial nerve is commonly called "Saturday Night Palsy". This left him unable to feel or properly move his hand, as the brain could not communicate muscle movement through the nerve. His treatment included four months of extensive physical therapy, as well as acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments and weight training. During this time he was able to fully recover from his nerve injury, as well as tendon damage in his finger he had previously suffered from. After being pronounced 100% healed by his doctor, Dave took on the task of relearning to play guitar, with help from guitarist Ric Flauding.
Read more of what Dave Mustaine has to say about it HERE.
Can you tell me what all the knobs are set to on the JVM410? I love playing their music more than anything and would love to know. I just bought one with Dave's signature Cab and angel of death vmnt.
Let me say that for a while now, Dave Mustaine's sound LIVE is almost ALWAYS a Marshall 9200 power amp and Fractal Audio Systems Axe FX preamp.
The JVM410 head is used for all recordings, clinics, small shows, some television-related things....
So, the settings Dave uses will vary depending on guitars, the room, etc. - but here is info that will get you in the ballpark for getting his tone:
On the JVM head, lately Dave's been going with these settings. All numbers are referring to "clock position" settings - so, "12" would be with the knob turned with marker pointing straight up, which should be the half-way setting....
• CLEAN CHANNEL: Green mode on. Volume - 12, Bass - 2, Midrange - 10, Treble - 3, Gain - 11
• CRUNCH CHANNEL: Not normally used
• OD 1: Red mode on. Volume - 10, Bass - 11 to 1, Midrange - 12 to 3, Treble - 12 to full up, Gain - 12 to 2
• OD 2: Red mode on. Volume - 9 to 11, Bass - 11 to 1, Midrange - 11 to 4, Treble - 1 to full up, Gain - 1 to 3
• Reverb: Clean channel only, at 7 or 8 o'clock
• Presence: 3 o'clock
• Resonance: 12 to 2 o'clock
These settings will get you his basic tone. On the last couple of albums, a Marshall "Randy Rhoads" head has also made it on the record and has been mostly used for cleaner tones lately, with the JVM supplying the high gain ones.
Effects employed range from a Seymour Duncan pickup booster, Boss, Maxon and Ibanez overdrive pedals, Rocktron and Boss noise suppression units, a Line 6 MM4 modulation effect module, MXR phasers, Zoom G2.1 DM unit, Digitech and Boss delay/looper pedals.... but usually it's just the guitar, a bit of Tube Screamer, noise reduction and the good ol' Marshall.....
Hey Scorpion, can you tell me who did the artwork for all the Megadeth album covers?
Hi Pete, the following is a list of Megadeth releases and the artists responsible for the album cover art.
Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good! [Reissue] - Michael Muller
Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? - Ed Repka
So Far, So Good...So What! - Capitol Records
Rust In Peace - Ed Repka
Countdown To Extinction - Hugh Syme
Youthanasia - Hugh Syme
Hidden Treasures - Hugh Syme
Cryptic Writings - Hugh Syme
Risk - Andy Engel, Eric Heintz
Capitol Punishment - Kalynn Campbell
The World Needs A Hero - Hugh Syme
Rude Awakening - Storm Thorgerson, Peter Curzon
Still Alive...And Well? - Smay Vision
The System Has Failed - Mike Learn
Greatest Hits: Back To The Start - Andrew Robinson
United Abominations - John Lorenzi
Endgame - John Lorenzi
TH1RT3EN - John Lorenzi
I recently read Guitar World's little article from 90's about Dave Mustaine's "Number One" Jackson KV. Dave states there that he will always be playing the "Number One" in the studio while to protect it, uses his signatures on stage. I'm curious if this is still the same or does Dave use his Dean signatures in the studio on the recent records?
Hi Joel, Dave Mustaine uses his Dean guitars exclusively on stage, in the studio and on the recent Megadeth records. In fact, Dave is considering offers on his Jackson No. 1! Keep an eye on the sites and Dave's Twitter account for more info. twitter.com/davemustaine.
And if you haven't heard yet, one of Dave's other Jackson's, his Y2KV Prototype will be on auction at Megadeth's eBay store this week! It's a rare item and you'll want to check that out! href="http://stores.ebay.com/theofficialmegadethstore" target="_blank">stores.ebay.com/theofficialmegadethstore