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.
I play bass, and it's really frustrating when I cover Poison Was The Cure with my bass sounding too clean. How does Ellefson gets that Slap-pop sound, while using a pick?
David Ellefson uses a pick and has a very clean sound, but he now adds bass chorus pedal to help the intro for 'Poison Was The Cure' have a bit more of a colorful sound. He turns the pedal off once he is into the song with the full band.
Scropion, I heard that Dave Mustaine has black belts in martial arts. What does he have black belts for?
Hello Rodrigo, Dave Mustaine trained under Sensei Benny "The Jet" Urquidez and holds black belts in both Ukidokan Karate and Songham Taekwondo.
Dave's Sensei has the style of karate, kung-fu, aikido, judo, ju-jitsu, taekwondo, Greco-Roman wrestling, Muay Thai boxing and American boxing. So it's all those things rolled into one. It's a nine-style discipline. His second black belt is in Songham Taekwondo and he was an assistant instructor in that style, and then he taught it privately for a while.
In 2007, Dave became a Goodwill Ambassador to the World Taekwondo Federation in Seoul, South Korea and was awarded honorary 4th Dan certificate in the discipline.
Hi Scorpion I would like to ask you, how many is Megadeth's tour books and which is it? Is any chance, that will be some tour book in future?
As always thanks for the answer, Kropis.
Hello Kropis, the following is a list of Megadeth tour books including festival books.
Peace Sells (Japan only)
So Far So Good So What (Japan only)
Monsters Of Rock '88
Clash Of The Titans
Oxidation Of the Nations
Countdown To Extinction
Youthanasia (Europe and Japan only)
Cryptic Writings (Japan only)
Risk (Japan only)
The World Needs A Hero
Blackmail The Universe Tour (North America, Japan & Europe versions)
Gigantour (2005, 2006)
There's bound to be more in the future. ;)
Hello! I have a question for Shawn.
Do you have any snare tuning tips to get your characteristic sound? BTW I love your drumming in the Th1rt3en's version of Black Swan, specially the bridge.
Tuning drums is always subjective - some people like their drums tuned very tight-some very loose, etc. always try to give each drum lug the same amount of rotation for a better chance of the drum being in tune.
Hi, I wanted to know if you know what the design on the front of the Cryptic Writings album means. Or is it just some random artwork? Thanks!
Well Drew, the cover was done by renowned album cover designer Hugh Syme. Mr. Syme has done artwork for such notable artists as Aerosmith, Nevermore, Queensryche, and Rush. Dave Mustaine gave the following description of this ancient symbol.
"It's called a veve ... It's a voodoo symbol... It means that you can enter into a premises, that it's safe and there is no poison. It's a warning telling you where you can and can not go. It's also a direction. Most of the hobos were people who practiced voodoo. They would go from building to building whether it was a shanty or it was a shack. They would go in there and they'd find chalk writings on the wall that told them if it was a safe place. It was usually done with a burnt stick... When I first got the artwork back it was littered with voodoo symbols and all kinds of stuff. I told them that it was too heavy. I didn't want anything on there that would give homage to pagan gods and shit like that. I want it to be about the music. As it is, that symbol right there, we don't really know exactly what the combination of everything is. We know pretty much what the breakdown of each symbol is but it's like crossing different kinds of medications. You take two separate medications and they have a different and combined effect. There might be something where those symbols counter another symbol and turn it into something else."
I am studying classical guitar (like you or Jeff Waters did) in a Fine Arts School. I am doing this, not only because of the influence you are for me, but also for love I have for classical and flamenco music. The problem is, when I play electric guitar, my classical technique is affected and puts me into trouble at school (with my guitar teacher). I want to take some electric guitar lessons, but it is another technique and I don't want to leave my career either, I'm gonna make both. And the question are:
How did you learn electric guitar while you studied classical guitar?
How did you adapt one technique to another?
How can I avoid to show up I'm making both techniques and not make it so noticeable for my classic guitar teacher?
Those are very good questions as I had to deal with that myself. There is no great solution, but I would tell you to remember that if you love the instrument you will be playing it for the rest of your life, and that at any one point there will be a specific focus (ex. Classical, Jazz, Metal, tapping, finger picking etc...). Knowing this, when one area has priority put your focus there (in the big scheme of things 4 yrs focusing on classical won't impact your electric negatively in fact it should benefit it).
Here are the answers to your questions:
"How did you learn electric guitar while you studied classical guitar?"
I still had a band and worked on ideas and concepts with the electric but classical had priority at that time.
"How did you adapt one technique to another?"
These should support one and other (besides the difference of using a pick or finger picking). For example one of the concepts taught in classical guitar is the idea of avoiding compound motions when possible to accomplish the musical idea. This is applicable in all genre's of music.
"How can I avoid to show up I'm making both techniques and not make it so noticeable for my classic guitar teacher?"
I believe your technique should be consistent through both, but remember that you are paying tuition to learn from this teacher, so hopefully he has valuable technical information that will benefit both forms of music.
Good luck, Chris.
After going to my first megadeth concert in mexico city and seeing how all latin america loves meadeth and how megadeth loves latin america. I was wondering, Is there any plan or idea of making a dvd of a latin america tour kind of what Iron Maiden did with its "Flight 666" dvd? it would be just amazing. Seeing how the people of the different latin america countries reacts to megadeth's tunes. Thanks in advance and aguante ]V[EGADET]-[ !!
Sergio, Mexico Megafan
Hello Sergio, all the shows on the recent Latin American tour were filmed and there might possibly be a release of that footage in the future. ;)
I was just wondering, since Dave and David are both Christians; do either of theme have a favourite Bible s,verse? And if so, which one? Mine sis Isaiah 53:5, I have it tattooed on my forearm. Also, someone once told me Iron Maiden's "The Trooper" was Dave's favourite tune. Is this true? If so, why hasn't Megadeth done a killer cover of this awesome song??
L'ove from Canada,
Hi Snake, I caught up with Dave Mustaine and put your questions to him. Here's what Dave had to say...
"I do, but that is personal and it changes. If I did, It would be something like 1 Col. 1:13, or Psalm 109:8. The obvious ones like Revelations and Proverbs are all over.
While I love Iron Maiden, I have never said i had a favorite. ;)"
Hi Scorpion, I've a question for Chris Broderick.
Chris, I know that you endorse engl powerball amps, while using Marshall pre amps and speakers live in Megadeth. But you also use fractal audio axe fx ii systems and the amp models and patches which come with it. How do you find the comparison between tones on the fractal with the engl amp you endorse, and what is your stance on the Digital fx versus valve amps. Also is an amp required (like any engl or Marshall head) when you have an axe fx powered by say a Marshall power amp.
Any response to this would be great,
Owen Catterall, Ireland
I would first state that this question has been out there for a long time now, however it is only now becoming relevant because until Fractal came around there was no comparison to the original. I would say that tube amps and Fractal Axe's compare favorably to each other, but when you throw in the convenience of all that the Fractal can do, it makes it the better choice for touring. I will always have my favorite amps around however, to make sure that I haven't strayed to far from their tone because with all of the tonal possibilities in the Axe Fx it's not hard to go over board Ahahahha.
Take care, Chris.
I have a question for David. "The System Has Failed", "United Abominations" or "Endgame". Which album that was recorded during your absence in the band you think is best and why this one?
Michal from Poland
Hi Michal, I caught up with Mr. Ellefson this morning and this is what he told me after I put out your question to him.
"Actually, I like all of them for different reasons as I like certain songs on each of them, too. I'd say "Endgame" seems to be the most cohesive for me as it usually takes a band a couple of records to really start to gel together. Plus the production is really powerful on that album, too."
..and there ya have it! ;)
I just want to know how true is the picture that is running in the internet where dave is playing a dean bloodstorm signature Michael Amott
(MARQUIS OF DISCORD)
Yes, Dave Mustaine is playing a Dean Michael Amott Signature Tyrant Bloodstorm in the photo you are inquiring about. Dave played the guitar at the Dean Guitars 2010 NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) Jam at The Grove in Anaheim, California on January 15, 2010.
Dave and Megadeth were not scheduled to perform at the all-star Jam, but because Dave, bassist James LoMenzo and Shawn Drover were in attendance at the venue (socializing backstage no doubt), they were invited up on stage along with Steve Smyth (Forbidden, Nevermore, Dragonlord, Testament, Vicious Rumors), and using borrowed gear they played "Symphony Of Destruction"!
Michael Amott (Arch Enemy), who was also performing that night, loaned Dave his guitar for the performance. So there ya have it! Dave Mustaine did indeed play a Dean Bloodstrom one night... and one night only.
Hi Scorpion, I have a question for David E.
I was wondering if he will ever do some clinics outside US (or ask to Jackson/Hartke to do it), maybe in Europe, because I would be really really happy to see him out of stage and discuss about music and playing style.
"MetalFrancis" on both forums
Hi Francesco, David does have some signings coming up in future travels and possibly some clinics too. He always enjoys doing them and will keep you posted soon! ;)
I was wondering what inspired Dave to write (specifically the riffs in) the song "Killing Is My Business And Business Is Good." I find it to be an unusual, yet compelling piece of metal for a couple reasons:
1. It's tonal center seems to be in C# (not a common key for metal songs in E standard tuning)
2. It doesn't make much use of pedal notes - the riffs for the verse and intro have a lot of motion and create tension without repeating one note over and over
3. Maybe it's just the way that Gar played the drums, but the song almost swings. Swing is a given in Jazz, but in metal??? And yet, the song's aggression and metal integrity is just as strong as any other metal song.
I'd love to know the back story on this unusual, but very compelling metal tune. It's one of my all-time favorite Mustaine compositions.
"eschoendorff" at the Megadeth forums and the Megadeth Cyber Army
Hello Ed, I caught up with Dave Mustaine over the weekend and put your question over to him. Here is what he had to say...
"That is the beauty of not knowing what you are doing. Then when it is time to start following rules, you dont care about the ones you break, if you dont know yer breaking them.
Rest in peace Gary Samuelson."
yesterday I was looking at the picture of the album '' the world needs a hero''.
In that picture there's a man bleeding and vic rattlehead is upon him.. is Dave Mustaine that man?
Manuela G, From Bogotà - Colombia
Hello Manuela, yes, "The World Needs A Hero" features Dave Mustaine on the front cover with Vic Rattlehead emerging from his innards. The cover was designed by award-winning graphic/album cover artist Hugh Syme.
Hey, Scorps! I've always been very intrigued by the song Diadems, not only because of the lyrics but because of the sound of it, too. I wanted to know, what inspired it? Has it been played live?
Keep rocking! Agustina, from Argentina :)
Hi Agustina, the 1990 movie "Ghost" inspired Dave Mustaine to write the song "Diadems".
How do you keep songs you've played a gazillion times fresh? Songs like Holy Wars/Punishment Due, Hangar 18, In my darkest hour etc. You guys always kill it live and I know you guys try to play what us fans want to hear but I was just curious if you every get tired of playing a song each night out.
Thanks for the life time of great music!
A great song is still a great song, no matter how many times you've played it!!
I was just wondering, does the band ever stray from concert pitch? Do they use any altered tunnings ever? I know Chris once said in an interveiw he uses the same guitar from start to finnish in a show unless something goes wrong.
Hi Lu-Jean Wickens, the band only uses standard A440 concert pitch.
I was wondering if it would be possible that in the next tour to México, Megadeth could play Countdown To Extinction album? I heard they are playing it in Chile.
Greetings from México, Jorge.
It has just been announced that Megadeth will be playing two shows in Mexico, one in Mexico City on September 19 and the other in Guadalajara on September 21. The band will be playing the entire "Countdown To Extinction" album at both these shows!
The band will also be playing the "CTE" album in its entirety in Santiago, Chile on September 7, Buenos Aires, Argentina on Sept 14 and Cordoba, Argentina on September 16!
Hi, that's a cool name. I'm wondering if they write songs wherever or only in the studio and if there's a certain time that feels more creative where songs just come to them? Like a full moon or late at night? Thanks. Ann. Minnesota misses them :-(
Some of the Megadeth's song ideas come at sound check during shows, some backstage, some of them hit on their own when they are away from the band setting, too. You never know when inspiration will hit so the guys try to record all ideas and keep them. This could be either with a tape recorder, filming it on video, etc. The important thing for them is to keep all ideas because you never know when they may be just right for a particular album or song. "New World Order", "Black Swan" and "Millenium of the Blind" would all be examples of songs that were once written but found their home on the latest 'TH1RT3EN' album, some many years after they were written.
I am curious about the meaning of the song "Looking Down the Cross", Some say it's about Jesus' last thoughts or Dave's feeling towards Metallica when he was kicked out and what he would have done.
I've heard there were some old interviews but couldn't find them.
Thank you, Alex.
Dave Mustaine explains the meaning of "Looking Down The Cross" in the liner notes of the 2004 "Killing Is My Business" reissue.
"This song was what I imagined might possibly have been the last words of Christ. Similar to the movie, The Last Temptation Of Christ, I have my own interpretation of what it may have been like to have been Jesus and what he may have been thinking at the time of his death. I know this could be interpreted as very self-righteous, but like I said, it is my own interpretation, not my experience."
I was just reading Dave's 1st article as a columnist writer in Guitar World's January 2008 magazine, that I had saved from previous years. He writes that he wraps his pinky finger around the plastic bridge ring that frames the bridge pickup, and allows his palm to rest on the string saddles at the bridge. He states he does this for muting techniques, and also hand muscle memory allows play without looking from a fixed position. As an aspiring Mustaine guitarist, I would like to purchase a Dean Dave Mustaine, but would like to know if Dave plans to make more Dean's like the Korina Zero? I have a hard time playing the flying V's, as when I'm sitting they tend to want to slide off my leg due to the V shape (thus making it impossible to try his technigues). The Korina Zero however, straddles the leg. But they are also $3000.00, as only 50 were produced, and aren't as affordable. Does Dave have any suggestions playing a V that makes it more comfortable when practicing sitting down? I would also like to thank Dave for not using highly technical terms in his columns. That is the sign of a true journalist in my opinion as everyone can understand his writings. Does Dave plan to write any more for any Guitar Magazines?
Eric Wheatley in Louisville, Ky
I can tell you that writing the column for Guitar World was a lot of fun for Dave, and his friend Nick Bowcott (Grim Reaper guitarist) was the one who helped him get that gig. No immediate plans for writing another column, but ya never know what the future holds!
The pick-up ring helps Dave when picking strings in an abnormal pattern, like in Hangar 18; he jumps from the E string to the D string at the top of the rhythm track that supports the solo section before the duel.
Those Korina Zeros were Custom Collectors Items. They sold out fast, and I am sure you can find some, but to the real collector, they are only going to increase in value. Try contacting Josh Maloney at Dean Guitars. He would love to build you a guitar.
As for playing the V shape while sitting down, try putting the bottom of the V shape over your leg, support with the other leg, and sit forward on your chair; you'll get a good stable placement this way. Check the photo below of Dave playing his V while sitting at a recent backstage practice section during Gigantour 2012.
With David Ellefson having now played with all the drummers in Megadeth, I was wondering how he approached each musical situation with each new drummer? Is there a way that David best finds best to create the Megadeth rhythm section? Also, can you ask him if there is a different "feel" he has with Shawn versus any of the past drummers in Megadeth?
Hi Steve, I went to David with your question and he was happy to reply...
Each drummer has created a totally different feel and sound for Megadeth over the years. I liked Gar's inventive style just as I appreciated Nick's bombast, flare for style and out-of-the-box creativity. Jimmy was really solid and was someone I could count on every night and he played really tight.
To me, Shawn provides a super steady tempo for us now and I can always count on him to not make mistakes either. He was a real joy to play with when I came back on the "Rust In Peace" 20th Anniversary tour because those songs have to be played 'in the pocket' or else they can sound like mush in the large venues. I think because Shawn is also a songwriter and guitarist he really understands the components of the songs on a musical level, not just from a drummer's perspective. It helps that he's been a huge fan of the music, and all of the drummers over the years, so he can really cherry pick the best of the best from each one's style. This helps him really optimize the music for the band today.
Hi Scorpion, first i want to say, that Th1rt3en is awesome album! But here is my question, how many LP's (limited edition) of Th1rt3en was made?
Thank you very much for answer, Kropis.
Hi Kropis, the record company usually doesn't discuss specific numbers when they do pressings unless the pieces are numbered. But this was a limited edition and I can tell you that they were only offered for a limited time during the album release in Fall of 2011, and are now out of stock. If you got your hands on one of these awesome TH1RT3EN 2-LP picture disc sets, you're a lucky fellow!
Hello ScorpioN, I've recently begun playing bass and would love to practice some Megadeth songs, but many of my favorite songs (Hook in Mouth, being a good example) are almost impossible to find tabs on. I'm not very good at playing by ear and most tabs/covers just seem completely off. Is there any place to get accurate (or whatever's possible) tabs of the bass songs?
Best regards, Freakie (forum Droogie).
While I always recommend the official tabs offered by the books that include Megadeth songs, there are also a lot of great bits on YouTube, including people actually playing the parts slowly in an instructional manner. I hope this helps!
I always wanted to know what types of cymbals does Shawn uses during his tours? Just recently got into drumming and also changed my music type from hip hop to rock/metal and Megadeth blew me away. I listen to them everyday with my Favorite song "take no prisoners" so would really appreciate if I got to know what type of cymbals Shawn uses because I would like to one day be able to play all Megadeth songs like Shawn does.
Shawn uses Sabian Cymbals
13" Fusion Hi-Hats
16" Rock Crash HH
16" Medium Thin Crash HH
18" Stage Crash HHX
18" Rock Crash HH
19" Rock Crash HH
20" Chinese AA
20" Chinese HHX
22" AA Metal X Ride
For details on Shawn's full drum kit, check Megadeth.com' gear page. http://www.megadeth.com/gear.php
I was looking for some back grounds for my computer, I had united abominations up for awhile but I really dig the vic hero shirt art work. I would love if you guys would post a gallery of all the great vic art work. Any plans of that?
Scorpion, with Megadeth being recognized as one of the founders of Thrash Metal, I'd like to hear how the band defines thrash metal, how it feels to be one of the original founders of the genre, how it has developed over time and how it feels to have influenced generations to come.
Hello Adam, I went to David Ellefson with your questions. Here is what he had to say about it.
Thrash is a combination of the attitude from punk rock but the riffs and complexities of traditional metal. I never really think of it in terms of being one of the original founding members because we were just creating our music. In light of that, it's still an honor to be seen as such by our fans. It didn't appeal to everyone because at that same point in time, 1981-1992, it was mostly melodic 'hair metal' on the landscape. Thrash appealed to the rest of us who liked the essence of pure music without all the hype and showy stuff surrounding it. It emerged out of European metal music and by the mid 1980's the USA and other parts of the world were ready to embrace it because they were tired of the glitzy hair metal that was all the rave at that time.
The 1990's were not very favorable to thrash music. In fact from 1994-2004 was a really dark period for the genre. Then the bands in the mid 2000's started to really make it thrive; bands like 'Lamb Of God' and others really lit the flame because they were from a younger generation who grew up on our music.
I think thrash metal has influenced todays music mostly from the technical side of the musicianship. Players of other genres have credited bands like Megadeth & Metallica as influential to their playing. It's a great feeling to know that we may have had something to do with influencing generations to come!
I was wondering where i can buy a David Ellefson bass. I live in Canada so if you can tell me some dealer or website I would appreciate.
Which are the guitars that Dave have used during his career?
I know that he used 2 Bc rich models, Jacksons king v, some ESP's guitars, but I don't know the Deans he's been using. I've seen a lot of Dean singature models, but he only used a few. I've never seen him using the VMNTX series, or the USA Dave Mustaine Signature VMNT.
Greetings from Argentina
Hello, the following is a list of the Dean guitars Dave Mustaine played during 2011:
Dean VMNT black finish
Dean VMNT "Angel of Deth" graphic
Dean VMNT "Rust In Peace" graphic
Dean VMNT "Fear" graphic
Dean Zero, korina finish
Dean Zero "Angel of Deth II" graphic
Dean VMNT korina finish
Dean 6/12 doubleneck V ( Flying M ), "Revelation" graphic
New guitars are always being produced by Dave and Dean. Watch for what others may be added to Dave's arsenal in the year 2012!
What line of ddrums does Shawn play?