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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?
Hi Scorpion. I guess this qeustion is about both Dave's and Chris's amp set-up. I have been reading up on the Axe-Fx II unit. I always thought it was played directly through their Marshall amps, but from what I understand, this can't or shouldn't be done. So how do impliment these units in the bands set-up? What's the signal path?
The signal starting from the guitar runs as such: guitar to the rear input of the
Fractal, the signal is then split into an out that runs to a Marshall mono block power amp and out to the guitar speakers. The other out of the fractal has a speaker simulation on it and runs strait to the P.A. From there the sound engineer takes the signals and combines them in an amount he thinks is appropriate. This is a fairly typical use of the Fractal and is not detrimental in any way.
Hope this gives some clarity on Megadeth's setup.
I purchased a United Abominations "Tour Edition" CD on eBay which includes 3 bonus tracks, "Out On The Tiles", "Black Swan", and "The Bodies Left Behind". It's sealed, it has a sticker on the front stating "tour editon", it looks legitimate. Is it the real deal or is it a counterfeit? I don't know if this helps but the barcode is 016861802929 and the product # on the spine of the cd is SC07334-0 LTD. I can provide pics also. I haven't found any information about in online anywhere. When I search for it on google, all that comes up is the eBay listing. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks. Brad
Brad, it's common for bootlegs to have a U.S. or U.K. UPC code with a foreign catalog number and a counterfeit CD with all kinds of extras on them. We know the only edition of United Abominations you could buy on that tour was the regular CD at meet 'n greets with Megadeth, and Black Swan/Bodies have never been released on CD before the Endgame & TH1RT3EN albums.
Hi, Scorpion and Megadeth! -I'm from Argentina, so I don't speak english very well, but I'll try anyway ;) - I direct my question to David Ellefson:
I've seen photos and videos where David Ellefson was playing a 5 string bass Rust In Peace... but the 5th string is not necessary to play those songs -I think-, so... Why does David play a 5 string bass in RIP?
Greetings from Buenos Aires
While many of the earlier Megadeth songs don't require a five string bass, many of the later songs do, beginning with 'Hangar 18' on the "Rust In Peace" album. 'Hangar 18' was the first such song David needed to replicate a five string bass line for and then the five string started becoming a bigger part of his bass composition style after that. I can tell you, David finds it easier to play a five string most of the night rather than always be changing basses, which is why he plays it so much during Megadeth's live shows.
Hello Scorpion, I have a question for the webmaster here at Megadeth.com.
When can we expect the current Endgame theme (which was done very well, I must say) to be replaced with a shiny, new TH1RT3EN theme?
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
-Ali from Michigan
Hello Ali, the webmaster appreciates your comment in regards to the Endgame theme. As you may already be aware, the Megadeth.com website gets a make over with every new studio release by Megadeth. A new shiny, TH1RT3EN theme is set to be unveiled when the new album is released on November 1, 2011. Stay tuned for a new great look and some rad updated features!
I was wondering why Dave and Chris choose not to use effect pedal and have pedal boards onstage? Do all the distortions, choruses, flangers etc come from the effects processors and amps? And does David Ellefson use any sort of effects or does he plug straight into his amp?
Thank you very much,
Eduardo, São Paulo, Brazil
PS. I'm extremely excited to see Megadeth play at SWU here in Brazil in November!
The band prefers a clean stage which is why they also use in-ear monitoring instead of foldback wedge monitor cabinets. This way they can offer their audience a perfect view from any seat and not be tied to pedal boards to hinder their performance for the fans.
David Ellefson only uses a stereo chorus for songs like 'Dawn Patrol', 'Poison Was The Cure' and 'Five Magics'. That pedal is run by his tech offstage as well.
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 know that there has been asked a bass question recently, but I really have to know the answer.
I play bass, and it's really frustrating when I cover Poison Was The Cure with my bass sounding too clean. How does David Ellfefon gets that Slap-pop sound, while using a pick?
David Ellefson does use 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.
I play the bass guitar and Dave Ellefson is a huge influence for me
My question is this:
How did he become so good? I mean i know practice means everything but come on!
I dont have a whole lot of time for practice anymore since i am going to school now, but basically is there any quick tips for a novice bass player?
BTW, i met the guys at the Joe Louis Arena in August of 2010 on the RIP anniversary tour, it was so Awesome and you guys should play in Michigan more often there are huge fans out here too!!!
My rule is "practice" at home so you can "rehearse" with your band to make you good enough to "perform" live!
Stay sharp with your scales and basic musicality. Stay up on any songs you like to play, too. It's better to play 15-30 minutes each day than to try and save up for four hours on a Saturday. A little all the time keeps your chops much sharper.
This one's for Dave. You helped usher in the era of the music video.
With all the advancements in CGI and production, if you could go back and remake one of your older videos and tell the story with today's technology, which would it be? Also, is there a song you wish you did a video for but didn't?
Keep crushing it! Megadeth has set the bar for the rest of the metal world.
Hi Glenn, good question! I went to Dave Mustaine with this and here is what he had to say...
When we did Hangar 18 we used miniatures and some special fx too. I think that videos today are all about the pardoo! And if the band ain't a pardy band, then they are singing in a cemetery somewhere. There really is no more middle ground. Thanks for your question. Megaman
Hi there Scorpion.
I am a drummer myself and I LOVE to try and play Megadeth's songs, as they are tremendously challenging for me. And I say try, because the drumming in Megadeth is quite complex... the tempos, the rudiments... they are fu**ing amazing. My question is... who writes and arranges the drum sections for every song ? Is this a task that Dave does, or this relies completely on every drummer ? Do the drummers give suggestions, do they create, or does Dave say "play this the way I say, and that's it" ?
Greetings to all the band, they are the best in the world. Seriously.
San José, Costa Rica.
Hi there Christopher, here is Shawn Drover's answer to your question...
Most megadeth songs I have recorded are a collaboration between myself, Dave and the producer. I will play the track, then we will listen to it and have bounce ideas around before I record the final track. I like to have their opinions, as sometimes a part can get even better with just a small change in a drum fill, etc.
How long does the band usually rehearse for a tour? I notice on the website that, as of today, they are still working on the new record. I have tickets to see them with the Big Four on July 2nd here in Germany, and also to see them in Hamburg on July 4th. I would have thought that they would be rehearsing by now!!
There are no set rehearsals before heading out on the road together. The guys tour so much and have done it for such a long time that they are all ready to go once out on the road. With that being said, they do play through a majority of the set togehter at least once in the dressing room each night before a show. That gets them primed and warmed up for the upcoming show. If there are new songs to be played, they will take this time to go through them and start introducing the new songs on stage as they get more comfortable with them. It all comes together pretty quick when you're pros like Megadeth! ...of course, each of the guys also do their own practicing and keeping up on their chops while off stage.
How does willie gee achieve mustaines tone with a digitech gsp1101 or axe fx?
New York City
Hi Ezekiel, I caught up with Willie G today and this is what he had to say about your question...
Well, if he is using WHICH unit we use, Dave has been using the Fractal Audio Systems Axe FX Ultra exclusively for almost a year now. Prior to that, we used the Digitech GSP1101 since about 2007.
Dave's sound has alwasy been based around a Marshall or "Marshall type" amp (meaning a pretty high-gain tube head with EL34 power tubes) with maybe an overdrive pedal giving it a slight "push". To get Dave's tone with a preamp like the Axe FX, we use amplifier simulations that are based on amps like the Marshall JCM 800 or modded "Marshall types" like the "Marsha" amp, and add a touch of overdrive pedal (such as a TS808 or ProCo Rat overdrive, with the level dialed up a bit and the drive/distortion barely on), and a bit of boosting of midrange frequencies using parametric EQ. That's pretty much the whole key to it - getting a good, British-type amp sound, driving a bit harder at the input with a gain-boosting device, and tweaking the sound for a bit more "teeth" in the midrange with EQ. You could do it with graphic as well, but I've had better luck with parametric eq-ing.
Same thing with the other units Dave's used ...just pick a good, high-gain amp type, add a touch of drive from "Tube Screamer" or whatever overdrive it has, and a bit of judicious midrange tweaking to accentuate the midrange (NEVER "scoop out" the mids!) and you should be in the ballpark! A lot of the punch in Dave's tone also comes from using a pretty hefty string gauge, tuned to standard, A440 tuning...Dave uses a light top/heavy bottom set, .010 to .052.
Hope this helps!