Monday, March 5, 2012

The #67 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Dave Mustaine

Inside the Rock Era has featured 34 guitarists so far in our countdown of The Top 100 Guitarists of the Rock Era*:

100.   Mick Barr, Orthrelm
99.    Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains
98.    Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield Blues Band
97.    Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac
96.    Daron Malakian, System of a Down
95.    Sam Totman, Dragonforce
94.    Kerry King, Slayer
93.    Robbie Krieger, Doors
92.    Ted Nugent
91.    Jason Becker, David Lee Roth
90.    John 5, David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson
89.    Jake E. Lee, Ratt, Ozzy Osbourne
88.    Michael Wilton, Queensryche
87.    James Munky Shaffer, Korn
86.     Uli Jon Roth, Scorpions
85.     Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi
84.     Rick Derringer, McCoys, Edgar Winter Group, solo
83.     Dave Mason, Traffic, solo
82.     Warren DeMartini, Ratt, Whitesnake
81.     Synyster Gates, Avenged Sevenfold
80.     Jack White, the White Stripes
79.     Alex Lifeson, Rush
78.     Chuck Schuldiner, Death
77.     Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, solo
76.     C.C. DeVille, Poison
75.     Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington-Collins Band
74.     Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, solo
73.     Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar
72.     Keith Richards, Rolling Stones

71.     Michael Schenker, Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group

70.     Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine

69.     Neal Schon, Santana, Journey
68.     Vivian Campbell, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy

Which brings us to #67, a veteran of two "thrash metal" groups:
#67:  Dave Mustaine, Metallica, Megadeth
35 years as an active guitarist
(Some of his best guitar solos...)
David Scott Mustain was born September 13, 1961 in La Mesa, California.  He has played both heavy metal bands Metallica and Megadeth.

Mustaine listened to music from AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motorhead.  By the late 1970's, Mustain had bought a B. Rich guitar and joined a band named Panic.  In 1981, Dave answered an ad from Lars Ulrich, drummer for Metallica.  The group was looking for a lead guitarist.  Mustaine met the group and was warming up.  He walked out and asked, "Well, am I gonna' auditon or what?" and the members of Metallica said, "No, you've got the job."  It was that easy.

As easy as it was to get the job, it was difficult to keep it because of Mustaine's obsession with alcohol and drugs.  After just two years, the other members couldn't take it any long and fired him.  Out on his own, Mustaine met bassist Dave Ellefson in 1983.  He then recruited guitarist Greg Handevidt and drummer Dijon Carruthers.  Guitarist Chris Poland soon joined the band and in November, Megadeth signed a recording contract with Combat Records.
In 1985, Megadeth toured he United States and Canada.  The following year, Capital Records signed the group which released Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?  In 1990, Marty Friedman filled a vacant position as lead guitarist and the album Rust in Peace continued the group's success.  Megadeth opened for Judas Priest on tour.  In 1991, the group performed before 145,000 at a festival in Brazil and also went out on tour.  The following year, Megadeth released their most successful album, Countdown to Extinction.    The group released several other albums and toured extensively, notably on the Monsters of Rock tour.  Megadeth earned a Grammy nomination for their remake of "Paranoid" in 1996 and "Trust" reached #1 on the Modern Rock charts.

Megadeth closed the Woodstock '99 music festival and opened for Iron Maiden on a tour of Europe.  As the new century opened, Megadeth continued to release albums and tour with various musicians, including one tour in support of AC/DC.  On April 3, 2002, Mustaine announced in a press release that he was disbanding Megadeth due to a freak injury to his left arm that left him unable to play guitar.  Over the next few months, Dave underwent intense physical therapy and slowly began to play again.
In 2004, Mustain began recording what started out as a solo album with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and bassist Jimmy Sloas.  Poland contributed guest guitar solos and soon the project became a new Megadeth album The System Has Failed.

Musicians continued to come and go in the group with no continuity in Megadeth.  The group continues to tour and release material.  On December 10, 2011, Mustaine reunited on stage with Metallica for five songs at the Fillmore Theater in New York City as part of Metallica's 30th anniversary celebration.

Mustaine has a flair for melody not often seen in thrash metal.  He has great speed and loves to wail away on the same three notes.

As mentioned, Mustaine started out with a B.C. Rich guitar but switched to Jackson in 1987.  He approached the company asking for a custom-built guitar.  The existing Jackson King V model was adapted by adding two more frets to the standard 22-fret King V.  Mustaine helped reshape the King V into the new Mustaine KV1 Model with slightly shorter fins, a Kahler bridge and Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz pickups. 
Dave later switched to guitars from ESP.  In 2005, Mustaine and ESP teamed up for the ESP Axxion to celebrate Megadeth's 20th anniversary.   At the end of 2006, Mustaine announced he was shifting his endorsement, however, to Dean Guitars and his new signature guitar would be called the Dean VMNT.  Now, he likes Jackson's and the Y2KV.  Dave also uses Ovation acoustic guitars, as he has for most of his career.  He also has a signature acoustic from Dean which he calls the "Mako". 

Mustaine recently collaborated with Marshall amplifiers to produce the 1960DM Dave Mustaine Signature Cabinets, which he uses on tour.  Dave also uses a Marshall JVM410 100W Amp Head, a Fractal Axe FXUltra Preamp,a DigiTech GSP1101 Preamp and a Marshall EL34 100/100 Dual Monobloc Power Amp.  He plays his own signature Zoom pedal, called the Zoom G2.1DM. 

Dave Mustaine has had his share of troubles, both inside and out of music, but he does rank as The #67 Gutiarist of the Rock Era*.

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