ScorpioN is now accepting questions! Submit here: email@example.com. 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.
Are there any plans for a 30th anniversary of the "Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good!" album celebration, like a tour or probably another remaster of the album? I'd like to know.
Hello Megadeth! I was just wondering what I should practice as an electric guitarist, songs, scale, and arpeggios. I'm turning 15 June 3rd, so I'm not a god at guitar just want some song suggestions for intermediate players. Thank You! I will be purchasing your new album!
Great question and happy to hear you have so much interest in playing the guitar. I went right to Mr. Dave Mustaine himself with your question. here is what he had to say:
"Pick your influences, be careful of the tab that is out there, because most of it is crap, and ask a lot of questions. -Dave Mustaine"
Hope that helps! Keep up the great work!
While listening brilliant track "Go To Hell' I've started to wonder who the female voice in the beginning of the song belongs to.
Could you tell me this information please? :)
Alex from Russia
The female voice on the track "Go To Hell" is that of David Ellefson's wife. Her maiden name was Julie Foley at the time and that would be her credit on the recording.
Dave Mustaine asked her to do it and was recorded at The Enterprise Studios in Burbank in 1991 for the film soundtrack "Bill and Ted Go To Hell" but was later retitled "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey".
Ironically, this song released within only a few weeks of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" that contained the same prayer! Neither Megadeth or Metallica knew each other was recording it.
I really love the song "1000 Times Goodbye" from The World Needs a Hero album, and I've been wondering for a long time who is the female voice in it?
Her name is Heather Keckler, and she was my predecessor in this Q & A section. She worked on megadeth.com for many years as a columnist under different monikers such as "Miss Megadeth" during the Cryptic Writings era, "Catnip" around the time Risk was released, and ultimately she was the "She-Wolf" Q & A columnist, which eventually became my column, the ScorpioN.
Vic Rattlehead is the greatest mascot of all time in my opinion, but what is he holding on the Rust in Peace cover? It really stands out on my signature VMNT!
Hi Kyle, this question had already been answered in a previous ScorpioN column. I will gladly repost.
"Rust In Peace is my second favorite album, next to The System Has Failed, of course. Band artwork is always fascinating to me, so I was happy to pass along your question.
Dave said, "It’s a McDonald’s cheeseburger from 1961. Not really, I think it is supposed to be like Kryptonite."
So I guess that means that Vic Rattlehead isn't Superman..."
I am a bass player from Edmonton Alberta, Canada, and David Ellefson is one of my favorite players of all time! He is who inspired me to get a Jackson bass because I love the tone of his bass in all the Megadeth albums. My question is this:
How exactly does David achieve his tone? It's really "tinny", really bright and really punchy, but it still has that warm sound to it.
Thank you in advance for answering this!
Hello Kristian, I have an answer for you right from David Ellefson himself.
"Thank you Kristian and glad you're liking what you hear! My tone has evolved over the years but I do try and maintain that tight low end while having that "bite" on the top end to cut through the drums. The Jackson basses with SIT Strings Nickel Powerwound strings, medium heavy Jim Dunlop Tortex plectrums and Hartke amplification certainly help but it is also in how I attack the strings and anchor my hand on the bridge to control the string's performance. You can probably see this more clearly on my Rockhouse Method instructional DVDs and even You Tube videos of live Megadeth performances, too.
I hope this helps and I hope you enjoy your Jackson bass!"
Is there an official list of all the songs Megadeth has covered?
In the latest video post Dave is seen in front of a dry erase board with the words:
No one will deny me
No one will defy me
No one will define me... .
Are these by any chance lyrics for a new song?
Or is this Dave’s mentality and mantra for recording the new album?
I took your question directly to Dave Mustaine and here is what he had to say...
"Words to live and die by. Maybe lyrics...definitely my motto."
There ya have it!
I've been a huge Megadeth Fan since the 80's. Recently I saw Dave Mustaine on an Episode of Hell's Kitchen (which I am a fan of as well). I was curious as to how that experience was for him.
Dave Mustaine and his wife Pam were indeed guests on an episode of Hell's Kitchen which aired earlier this month. I went to Dave Mustaine himself with your question and this is what he had to say.
"We were very excited to go, the show was great, Gordon was brilliant, and we are happy to have seen a genius chef at work.
The competitors got their heads handed to them and rightly so. My face said it all when they asked me what I thought about the food."
There ya have it! ...and I am certainly glad I wasn't on the menu! You never know with Chef Gordon Ramsay!
Thanks for the archives which is full of interesting questions and answers. My question is, What is the meaning of the sign on Cryptic Writings album?
It is called a "Veve". It was a style of writing warnings and notices for what we would call "homeless travelers" or "hobos". They indicate safety as well as danger, shelter, etc.
Here's what Dave Mustaine had to say regarding the cover soon after the album was released:
"It's called a veve [pronounced vay vay]... 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."
In the song “Hook in Mouth”, there are references to a P.M.R.C. What is the PMRC?
The song Hook in Mouth is about censorship, and it is basically aimed at the P.M.R.C. P.M.R.C is an acronym for Parents Music Resource Center. It was founded in America in the mid-1980's by Tipper Gore, to quote "alert the public of the growing trend in music towards lyrics that are sexually explicit, excessively violent, or glorify the use of drugs and alcohol." Essentially we have the P.M.R.C, and Mrs. Gore of course, to thank for the vile "Parental Advisory/Explicit Lyrics" stickers.
ScorpioN, could you tell me about David Ellefson's tour in Australia this month? Is he only speaking or will he be playing music as well? Can you tell me more about it?
David Ellefson's "My Life With Deth" 5-date Spoken Word Tour kicks off in Perth, Australia on March 24th and wraps up in Adelaide, Australia on March 29. The evenings with David will feature stories from life on the road with Megadeth, a bass demonstration and audience Q&A. There are meet & greet packages available as well which gets you some merch, autographs, a photo with David and you get to meet him! Check out the following link for more info: www.metropolistouring.com/tour.php?tour=2015_david_ellefson_of_megadeth
The music video "Breadline", what was the inspiration behind it
"Breadline" is about when Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson used to have to drive downtown everyday past the soup kitchens and they would see the derelicts out in the street with their shopping carts. They realized that if they didn't make it soon they would be one of them because they were running out of options and they had no other choice but to make it or die trying.
Studio update #8 which is posted on youtube during the recording of Super Collider, there is a song that is played at the start. I want to know is this just dave practicing or was this turned into a song then taken out before release? I always looked forward to seeing what this song would turn into and I am curious to know if it was indeed a song and why it didnt make its way into the album.
Hello Arka, the riffage that Dave is playing to the click track at the beginning of the Studio update #8 video, 0:00 - 0:17, is what would become the song "A House Divided" from the album "Super Collider". Is is a bonus track on the extended version of the album. Great song!!!
Studio Update #8
A House Divided
I always wanted to know about the meaning of “So Far, So Good... So What!” ’s title and why Dave called it like this!
I sent your question over to Dave Mustaine himself. This is what he had to say.
"It's just an added sarcasm I made to the end of an encouraging saying. There is no other meaning...I was just being a brat!"
...and there you have it! Great question!
I was wondering about the Hangar 18 video. What is that footage from? A sci fi movie? I have tried to find it but have probably looked in the wrong places. The only other answer I can come up with is that its film created by Megadeth specifically for that video.
You are right, the footage was created by Megadeth and director Paul Boyington. You can hear comments from both Daves about the making of Hangar 18 on the Rusted Pieces home video, which I will translate here:
Mustaine: The making of Hangar 18 was really elaborate, as far as the people that were involved. There's a lot of creatures, a lot of makeup, a lot of special effects, miniaturization..
In this video, the creatures that were used, they were quite numerous. There was all kinds of variations from just normal makeup to prosthetic makeup, where they put plastic on you, and they had all different kinds of helmets and masks that they were wearing.
Ellefson: Director Paul Boyington's specialty is building miniature sets, in fact he's done it for some commercials, and for special effects in movies, building entire cities in miniature, like 2-3 feet high miniatures and then having a robotic arm with a camera on the end swooping through the city, and you're going to see a lot of that kind of effect in the Hangar 18 video here, in fact there's a segment right in the very beginning where there's some cattle mutilation, there's dead cattle, there's a comet superimposed coming through in the background...
We shot for two days to actually get the band shots, at a power plant, which supplies about one third of the power to all of Los Angeles, down by the beach...Richard Schnell, who actually created the characters and did all the makeup for the aliens, had us painted white, and then put kind of like a water-based white makeup all over us, and we had to wear these contact lenses. I personally had never worn contact lenses before and I hate the things. Anyway we were put in the four cryogenic chambers in the end and (they) were put onto a cart which was towed by a couple of people down this track, it's at the very end of the video...eyes were killing us, freezing cold...the fun of making videos.
I have been a fan of Megadeth since I was a young boy. I have been playing guitar bass and drums for many years now and I was wondering if you could pass this along to David Ellefson. When I play bass I use his signature concert bass by Jackson but I have went through several amps and just cannot get a sound that I like. I was wondering if he had any advice on putting a rig together and what would be some combinations that would work well to play Megadeth and other metal bands music. I really hope he gets this I'm really at a crossroads and need some help and I wouldn't dream to ask any other person.
Thanks in advance Tom
Hi Tom, David Ellefson read your email and asked that I get back to you with the following advice.
As for the bass sounds, tone is always in the hands and how the player attacks and fingers the notes. With that said, David uses a medium heavy gauge pick, anchoring his hand on the bridge, and also fingers the notes on the fingertips for the least amount of skin contact and clarity.
For gear, David always suggests the Jackson basses and Hartke amplifiers as they have been a staple of Megadeth recordings (studio and live) for many years. His signature line of basses have fast thin necks and have EMG pickups to replicate the active sounds of the legacy. The Hartke LH500 or LH1000 amplifier heads are really simple and sound fantastic! He uses the HyDrive cabinets live but often prefers the articulate tone of the XL series aluminum cone speaker cabinets.
Hope that helps! Let us know how it goes.
I was just wondering what acoustic Dave is using in this video from 2001. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rwQujLNQyV0. I couldn't really read it clearly.
Also does Dave use/still have any other acoustics other than his signatures?
(Come visit Scotland soon wee miss you)
Hi Dale, the acoustic guitar Dave Mustaine was using in the video that you have linked to, from a Musique Plus acoustic performance in Quebec in 2001, was a Tacoma. The guitar was given to Dave and he didn't like it much and ended up eventually giving it away. Tacoma Guitars was a line of musical instruments from Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Tacoma brand guitars were originally manufactured in Tacoma, Washington. Fender eventually shut down manufacturing of Tacoma products, and new stock is unavailable to dealers.
I am wondering. Has Risk(1999) ever been released on vinyl?
Hello! I was wondering if there was any meaning behind the phrase "4 in the morning" in Dave's lyrics. Take the lines:
"It's four in the morning" - Wake Up Dead
"It's four in the morning and I still see your face" - Almost Honest
The lyric "four in the morning" does in fact have meaning behind it. Four in the morning is supposed to be the time that the most demonic activity is taking place in the unseen world. It is also the supposed "Darkest Hour". As well, Dave Mustaine's insomnia strikes every night at 4 am! This is a fact.
Got a question for the lord and savior for all metal bass players: David Ellefson
Back in the KIMB era David played with his fingers (I'm a finger style player as well) and I really enjoy playing that stuff, what brand of strings did Mr Ellefson use back then (if he played with fingers or pick) I tried a lot of strings before and attempting to play with pick and fingers.
I found out that DRs are too heavy for finger play and Rotosound not durable enough for pick.
So would be awesome to know what brand David used to play.
David used Rotosound Swing Bass strings during that period. He initially played with fingers when Megadeth was formed but he moved over to a pick full time by the time the band was into the KIMB era.
I want to ask David Ellefson or whoever knows, is there a prototype of his signature Jackson concert bass guitar, designed for left-handed people, and if yes, where i can find it ?
David Ellefson doesn't have a prototype of the signature model as a lefty but Jackson will likely offer a left handed model bass in the near future.
Hope that helps!
I was watching a video of the song The Right To Go Insane. I suppose it is about Shawn Nelson, is that true??? And what are that graves on the beginning of the video (there is inscription "beloved father and beloved mother" on it) and on the end of the video (with inscription "vic rattlehead 1952-1995")???
Hello, yes this is true, the "The Right To Go Insane" video is based on Shawn Nelson's tank rampage.
"Shawn Timothy Nelson (August 21, 1959 – May 17, 1995) was a U.S. Army veteran and unemployed plumber who stole an M60A3 Patton tank from a United States National Guard Armory in San Diego, California, and went on a rampage on May 17, 1995, destroying cars, fire hydrants, and a recreational vehicle before being shot and killed by police."
The two graves at the beginning of the video represent Nelson's mother and father who both died of cancer in 1992.
The Vic Rattlehead grave at the end is a representation of the one who drove the tank through the video. It is fictitious, and is why the dates of Nelson's death don't exactly match what is on the Vic headstone.
Hey Scorpion !
Megadeth is my favorite band since I was just 3 years old, thanks to my dad a great metalhead, I'm 14 now and I'm still trying to know what's "MD.45"
I searched in some places one the internet, but they have different information! So I asked my dad what's "MD.45", he said that it was a solo band of Dave
Mustaine. Can you explain me what was that ??
Thanks and congratz for the great work that you have done so far !
Gonçalo Marques, Portugal.
MD.45 was indeed a solo/side project for Dave Mustaine. The album "The Craving" was released in 1996, and features Dave on guitar, Lee Ving of Fear on vocals, Kelly Lemieux of Goldfinger on bass, and future Megadeth drummer Jimmy DeGrasso. The name was a play on Dave and Lee's initials, 'MD' (Mustaine Dave) and 45, the translation of Roman numerals 'VL' or 'XVL' (Ving Lee). In 2004, "The Craving" was included in the Capitol Records remasters of Megadeth's back catalog, released with three bonus songs and Dave's re-recorded vocal tracks. The remastered version of the album is still in print and available online at Amazon.com.
ScorpioN, will the Blood of Heroes wine be available to non club members? I really want a bottle but unfortunately cannot renew my Cyber Army membership at this time. :(
Steve from Tennessee
Hello Steve, the new Limited Edition "Blood Of Heroes" Syrah 2011 is being sold to club members only for 48 hours starting Monday, October 13 @ 9 a.m. PDT. The wine will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. But if there are bottle left over after the club presale, there will be an opportunity at a later time for non-club members to purchase the wine. Keep checking the websites and our emails for when that time may be.
To David I ask...
What would your Favorite Bass be?
As you play a lot on your Jackson range but do you have a FAVORITE bass?
Thanks again The Scorpion, You rock!
Sincerely, Orian, AKA Zac "The Stripper" Solomon
Hello Orian, David was happy to provide an answer for you question!
"My Jacksons are the perfect fit for Megadeth live shows and certain recordings.
But I also have some studio faves as well, like my Spector NS2 (used on the Cryptic Writings album), Modulus Quantum 5 and 78 Fender Pbass (both used on the Youthanasia album).
So my faves are all the above!"
I have a question about the intro to 'Blackmail the Universe'. Can you tell me who the female voice reading the news broadcast belongs to?
Jack from England
Celeste Amber Montague is the female voice you hear reading the news broadcast at the beginning of the song "Blackmail The Universe". Celeste is a professional newscaster in Phoenix, Arizona and was a friend of Dairen Bennett, who is the voice of the General in the song and also a friend of Dave Mustaine's. This is how she was brought into do the spot on the song.
Our nation stands at DEFCON 3!
Scorpion, could you tell me what TV shows Megadeth music has been played on? I can think of a few times I have heard Megadeth in the background for shows, but I really wonder how many times Megadeth has actually been played musically on a show ... or movie.
Ken from Ontario, Canada
Hi Ken, Megadeth's music has indeed made its way in to many TV shows, movies, soundtracks and even video games. I happen to have a list of just some of Megadeth's "on-screen" musical appearances. See below!
• Shocker (original soundtrack) – “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (1989)
• Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (soundtrack) – “Go To Hell” (1991)
• Beavis and Butt-Head (TV show) – “Sweating Bullets”, “99 Ways To Die” (1993)
• Last Action Hero (original soundtrack) – “Angry Again” (1993)
• Super Mario Bros. (movie soundtrack) - “Breakpoint” (1993)
• Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (original soundtrack) - “Diadems” (1995)
• Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (soundtrack) – “Almost Honest” (1997)
• WCW Monday Nitro (TV show) – “Crush ‘Em” (1999)
• Universal Soldier: The Return (soundtrack) – “Crush ‘Em” (1999)
• Killer (short film) – “Looking Down The Cross” (2000)
• Black Scorpion (TV show) – “Trust”, “Hangar 18”, “Five Magics” (2001)
• Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (video game) – “Peace Sells” (2002)
• Hinter Gittern - Der Frauenknast (TV show) – “Symphony Of Destruction” (2003)
• True Crimes: Streets of LA (video game) – “Peace Sells”, “Symphony Of Destruction” (2003)
• Guitar Hero (video game) – “Symphony Of Destruction” (2005)
• Gears of War (video game) – “Gears Of War” (2006)
• Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series (TV show) – “Hangar 18” (2006)
• 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs (TV movie) – “Peace Sells” (2008)
• Brutal Legend (video game) – “High Speed Dirt“, “Tornado Of Souls” (2009)
• Guitar Hero 5 (video game) – “Sweating Bullets” (2009)
• Never Dead (video game) – “Never Dead” (2010)
• Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (video game) – “Sudden Death” (2010)
• Metal Evolution (TV show) – Peace Sells, “Tornado of Souls” (2011)
• NCIS Los Angeles (TV show) – “Built For War” (2013)
I am sure to be missing some, but that gives you an idea, doesn't it?! Pretty cool "eh" Ken? ;)
In the Holy Wars... The Punishment Due (Casey McMackin demo), who exactly is Casey McMackin?
Hello there, Casey McMackin is a music engineer/producer who has worked since the early 80’s on many albums including Megadeth, Motorhead, Exodus and more. He is credited as the audio engineer on Megadeth’s 1986 release, “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying” on which he is also credited for additional vocals on “Good Mourning/Black Friday” and “My Last Words”.
David Ellefson talks about Casey in David’s recent autobiography “My Life With Deth”.
"After that tour [February ’86 USA east coast - technically second leg of Killing Is My Business tour] we started putting plans together to record Peace Sells… at the Music Grinder studio on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. The recording was contractually still with Combat Records, our label at the time. We had a $25,000 budget from them this time, so we could put ourselves on small salaries. It also allowed us to bring in an outside producer, Randy Burns. He and his engineer Casey McMackin worked fast and furious on the album. Casey was an excited young lad who spent a long time running through guitar bass tones with us and offering suggestions on parts and revisions—in many ways, responding like a producer.”
"Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" (Casey McMackin Demo) was previously unreleased before being released on Megadeth's 2007 "Warchest" Box Set. You can check out the track at this YouTube link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ1Y95ZxRG4
Hey there ScorpioN, it's Orian again.
I have a question about Shawn.
What was his first kit?
Cause I am a multi-musician as I play drums, guitar, bass, sing and most other stringed instruments.
I am writing a 40 page S.A. about Megadeth and I have two weeks to finish it.
I have written about the several times i have seen Megadeth, twice here in New Zealand, 4 times at Sound Wave in Australia and I loved all...
But the big highlight was hearing A Tout Le Monde LIVE here in New Zealand.
But I am drifting away from my question, if you could tell me that would be great.
Orian Nomolos, lead guitar, main vocal of Church Hill
Orian, here is the story of Shawn's first drum kit, directly from the man himself!
Hi Orian, thanks for the question. My first drum kit is in the Guinness book of world records for being the WORST drum set in the history of time, but man I sure was proud of it, as I literally bought it piece by piece (bass drum and snare first, 2 rack toms, floor tom and 2nd bass drum came later) I bought all the pieces from the local teenage rock drummer, whom I admired as a young 13 year old whipper snapper dying to obtain and and all drum knowledge. I can’t even tell you which drum company made any of the drums, as the shells were bare wood, to which I put a clear coat of varnish on them to attempt to make them look “somewhat” similar. I didn’t even have cymbal stands so I would steal music stands from my school, put some tape on the top and rest the cymbal on them - it actually worked, believe it or not!!!!! The first good piece of equipment i bought for that kit was a Pearl double tom stand-I still remember buying it at Steve’s music in Montreal (where I bought all of my gear over time as a teenager) Once that was set up I was on cloud 9 with sheer joy.
Bottom line is I have such fond memories of that kit because I worked for it and bought it with my own $$$$$ as a 13 year old. It didn’t sound very good, but i was so happy to have it at the time.