continues the revelatory conversation which sheds light on his account of events, such as departing Megadeth
, and the various allegations Young
and Dave Mustaine
have made against one another concerning that period from 1987 to 1989.
The beginning of the interview can be found at the following location
UG: Would it be ok if we go through these allegations you've both made against one another?
First of all, I'd like to touch on the one you obviously mentioned earlier, which is related to Megadeth's cancelled 1988 Australian tour, and is how the recent spat came about. Dave Mustaine alleged that Megadeth's 1988 Australian tour was cancelled because you ran out of heroin. What's your side of the story?
My side of the story is that it's a pile of bullcrap. The Australian tour was cancelled so Dave could go back to LA. He ran out of heroin; exactly what he's saying is true, but it's him who ran out of heroin. It's him who wanted to get back to LA, and that's that. That's the story. I mean, we were all homesick. We had all been on tour probably, by that time, by a year and a quarter, so he didn't have to twist our arms too badly. It was the first time the band had ever gone to Australia, and the dates would be only days away. You're in Japan, and you're flying to Australia.
We had maybe one or two more Japanese gigs left, because we were there several days, and he had brought some heroin in shampoo bottles over there, and he ran out. Then he was drinking absinthe to try to keep from crashing, and then he knew there wasn't gonna be anything for him in Australia. We're all in a room in Japan, and he says this, that and the other, and we all said "Yeah, whatever - it's your band". I mean, be real. If he's the general, and it's his band, and he calls the shots, do you really believe that I could talk that band into cancelling that tour? For any reason? Do you think I had that much power in that band?
Well, it's not for me to say really.
I'm just saying that common sense tells you that that wasn't the case. There was no heroin going down for me. In Japan, I had tried a couple of lines, but I didn't like blow and I never did. I think when you're partying, and you got Slash on one side and Mustaine on the other... I mean, I gave it a go a couple of times, but it wasn't my baggage at that time in the band. I remember I took a hit off a joint once on the bus, and it just wasn't my frequency at the time. I was really obsessed with the guitar, and was just like a one-track mind. That's all I thought about, and it's all I cared about.
I'd be in my bunk listening to all the Shrapnel guys, Varney's guys in the bunks, and anything that was cool from Europe, or any of the cool new bands I was discovering on tour and stuff. I was just playing guitar, and the Australian thing is just something where he went down there. I don't know if they'd been down there before, and if... I'm sure you've seen, or at least it isn't hard to find, court documents from the lawsuit between Junior and Dave.
I'm aware of that lawsuit, yeah.
There's thirty-six pages, and you can see it all in there. I didn't know that he made those accusations about me cancelling the tour, or that it was my fault. I didn't know at the time, but have only learnt since reading the court documents between Junior and Dave that he cancelled other tours for rehab - two tours and then another third tour. That makes four tours that he's just gone out on a whim and cancelled, one of which was because he wanted to go out with AC/DC as it was his childhood dream.
Bailing a tour to go to rehab sucks, but bailing a tour to go out with AC/DC I can almost understand, because I love AC/DC too. But my thing is, if you're in Japan and you're about to go to Australia, you got promoters that have paid. Money has been spent. It's just like what happened with Michael Jackson when he passed away; think of how much money was spent, and now there's no band. That put him in a bad position in Australia, and I don't know... I haven't followed the band in that time. After the 'So Far, So Good... So What!' tour, and this time this year when he was in Australia and made these bogus claims, I don't know if they had ever gone to Australia since then or if this was their first time back in Australia. You probably know better than me, and could probably find out through research. But the thing is, he went down there and his ass is in a sling because he cancelled a tour. He's Megadeth, he's the project manager, he's the guy, the boss, and he's gone "Ok, I don't want the blame. So who am I gonna blame?", and that's the Wheel of Blame, Dave Mustaine. So he spins the wheel, and it lands on my name. "Jeff Young! Jeff Young!... Yeah Jeff, you're to blame for the tour - you were on heroin!"
Apart from snorting a few lines of cocaine and smoking a joint once, were there any other occasions on which you tried drugs?
"The Australian tour was cancelled so Dave could go back to LA. He ran out of heroin."
No. I wasn't into it, and it wasn't my frequency. When I was younger in high school, I smoked weed but when I moved out to go to G. I. T. I was looking at my band; it was cool, and we were playing around the Midwest. We'd rehearse every day, and then smoke weed, and then we'd go play some local gigs. We even got as far as playing the World's Fair in Tennessee one year, but one day, we ended up with an alcoholic singer and I just was over it. That was the day I remember like it was yesterday. I lived with my drummer at the time upstairs; I was practising, and I had this mirror that I put on a door where my clothes were so I could see my hands - I could look at my hands when I played. I was sitting there playing, and I said "I'm done". I stopped smoking pot, and thought "I'm gonna do this: I'm gonna go to California, I'm gonna move to LA, and I'm gonna go to G. I. T.". I went home to my parents that day, and said "Mom, dad - I wanna go to G. I. T.".
I stopped partying, and that was '84. Megadeth was '87, '88, '89, so I was totally clean for all that time, and like I said, I tried a joint on the bus one time and I just didn't feel it. I was over it at that time. Maybe I had a drink here and there, but I just wasn't into it. It wasn't my frequency at the time because I was obsessed with anything that you put in your body is gonna detract from your playing, and that's how I am now. I don't drink, I don't drink coffee. I don't wanna be hyper, even from coffee or caffeine or sugar. I wanna be just neutral because I think to play guitar at your best, you don't wanna be affected one way or the other. You don't wanna be down, you don't wanna be thrashed - you wanna be neutral.
I look up to Miles Davis, and I look up to Chris Poland. He was a junkie, and I thought "I'm playing his solos... I gotta feel what it feels like to feel what Chris felt, like method acting. So I snorted a couple of lines, and it was cool. It was a great buzz. I can tell you don't ever do it, because it's one of the best buzzes on the planet. You can see the long list of stories, from Miles Davis to Kurt Cobain to Dave Mustaine to whoever the hell else... Janis Joplin. I mean, it'll get you. I don't really have an addictive personality; I'll try something and I'll say "That's cool", like smoking when I was a kid. I tried it, and I thought "That's cool, but I'm not into that".
So basically, you're saying what Dave Mustaine said about you being a heroin addict is bullshit then?
Exactly, in a word. I couldn't have said it better myself.
There's also other allegations Dave Mustaine has made against you, so I'd like to go through them as well. One allegation was that you phoned his girlfriend at the time... Did you hear of that allegation?
I know about that with Diana.
Dave alleged that you phoned her, and said to her: "I fantasize about having sex with you when I have sex with my girlfriend".
Well.. is this for a guitar magazine?
For a guitar website, yeah - Ultimate-Guitar.com.
That never happened. This dude was freebasing twenty-four / seven at the time this allegedly happened. Have you ever met anyone that's freebased, or seen a documentary about freebasing?
To be honest with you Jeff, I don't know much about drugs - it's not my scene really.
It's a drug that makes you so paranoid and so delusional that you don't know what's what. Nikki Sixx, when he was in rehab talking to Dave... It's probably in Nikki's book. I haven't read it, but if you know his book, I can imagine there's probably a chapter where he talks about the story he told Mustaine in rehab, where he said "I got so paranoid that I put security perimeters around my house. I had machine guns and stuff, and I'd sit in my security room looking at all the cameras on my grounds - I was so paranoid". Dave was paranoid that I was gonna take over his band, because I wrote two songs that would've been on 'Rust In Peace'. He was afraid that I was trying to get with his girlfriend, because he was freebasing and standing over his bathroom sink twenty-four hours a day. Yeah, his girlfriend used to call me and cry on my shoulder, but that quote that you said is one of Dave's fantasies. He has no memory of that time, I can promise you that - at least not an accurate memory. There was gonna be no thing with Diana. I just can't talk about it too much without... Diana has a family, she has relatives. Maybe Diana doesn't want some of the stuff that I know put out there.
Obviously, we have to protect the privacy of others. Basically though, Dave's allegation that you phoned her and said you fantasize about having sex with her isn't true?
I was being a friend to her. I was being a friend because her boyfriend was hung over the sink freebasing twenty-four / seven, and she was crying. I had a girlfriend. Diana was calling me, and nothing happened. We talked on the phone a few times. If Dave wants to twist it, he can twist every story into something that's a hundred times more than it is. If he was like Pinocchio, you could watch his nose grow as the story grows. Exaggeration, just like the Doro Pesch thing, and like every other story that he tells about every musician, and not just me. About his whole career - exaggeration.
You allege that Dave Mustaine was freebasing, and that his paranoia grew. Is that why he fired you from Megadeth then? Because he thought you were trying to take over the group? Or did you just leave?
It's not so cut and dry as "Were you fired, or weren't you fired?". The real reason why I didn't do 'Rust In Peace' was because I had a partnership agreement on the table that was written up and ready to be signed. That would've cut me in as a three-way partner with Dave and Junior. Not Chuck, not a four-way partnership - a three-way partnership. They wouldn't have made Chuck a partner any more than they could've thrown him across a football field. It was on the table that I was gonna be a partner, but at the last second, Dave backed out. He reneged, and didn't wanna do it. He didn't wanna cut me in, and if you read Junior's lawsuit, you'll see that even if I would've at that time become a partner, he would've just gone on to rip me off just like he ripped Junior off. He's Megadeth Incorporated, and treats it like his own personal piggy bank. That's the reason I'm not in Megadeth.
There were times he fired me because I wouldn't bring him heroin. That's the Medieval Times story, where he fired all of us in one night; he fired Junior, he fired Chuck, and then he fired me, because none of us would drive two hours to a Medieval Times Renaissance show in Orange County to bring him heroin where he was with his mom and his sister to slide it under the fence to him.
So because he allegedly backed out of this proposed three-way partnership, you left Megadeth?
Yeah. He was so messed up dude. Do some research on freebasing; if you're smoking freebase, you don't care about anything but freebasing. I went down to get my equipment. I called up our road guitar tech, and said "Dude, meet me at the storage space". I didn't take any of the Marshall cabinets that Megadeth bought me - I didn't take anything that I didn't come in with. I took my heads, the guitars that I had that were in storage, my extra guitars, and cleared it all out of the storage space. I never told them, and I went back to Ohio. My dad had cancer. I never saw Dave Mustaine again until that Phoenix reunion a couple of years ago.
As you mentioned earlier, Dave also alleges that you opened up his suitcase once and found a love letter from Doro Pesch. You allegedly weren't happy, and quit Megadeth.
No. It didn't go quite like that. It was more like Doro Pesch gave Dave a love letter, and he ran in. I kinda had a crush on Doro, and I can't lie: she was cute, she was hot. We were flirting with each other, but apparently Doro has bad taste and she was crushing on Mustaine. Mustaine knew I was crushing on Doro, and he ran in the dressing room with the letter, and he showed it to everyone right in front of me, and read it out aloud right in front of me. I didn't have to go looking in his case. He just added that in to make me seem like I'm sneaky, or devious or whatever. He just came in and he was proud of it. It was a drag; if you have a crush on a chick, and she likes another guy... I wasn't that broken up about it, and it wasn't like anything had happened between Doro and me. We were just friends.
And you didn't verbally quit Megadeth as a result of that love letter?
No. We hung out. I hung out with him and Doro that night in the hotel room, and they went off somewhere. God knows what happened from there. We all hung out on a few nights. We hung out many nights on the tour; she'd come back to the hotel room, and we'd all hang out. You could tell she was crushing on Dave at that point. If you have a crush on a girl, and she's into another guy, you just think "Ok". That's where I was, but the drama always gets picked up because it looks better in print, and Dave likes to look good in print, and make drama, likes to hype the drama.
You alleged that you, Dave Ellefson and Chuck had come to an agreement with the soundman on tours to bury Dave Mustaine's contributions in the mix, and that he had to be carried offstage each and every night.
I like that you said his contributions, quote unquote. Well, it's just like when someone's fucked up; it makes their singing out of tune, and their playing sloppy. We wanted to sound good, right? We just told Louie the soundman "Dude, when he's sounding lame...", and many bands do this. If the singer's having a bad night, maybe they won't have him so loud in the mix. It wasn't like we paid the guy off. It wasn't a conspiracy, but he knew. You can hear live tapes, and you can go back and listen to bootlegs. You can hear it for yourself.
And you allege that Dave Mustaine was that wasted on tour that he had to be carried offstage every night?
Every night, and the worst night was... And this for me was one of my most embarassing moments in the band, and that I'm telling the story because it involves Metallica. This night was on that Dio tour, on the 'Dream Evil' tour, in Oakland, California which is right outside San Francisco, where Metallica are from of course. Megadeth and Dio were playing the Coliseum, whatever the big arena there in Oakland was, and James Hetfield and Lars came to the show. They were standing on the side of the stage for our set, and ya know, no-one needs to retell the story of what happened between Dave and Metallica.
Megadeth was doing great right there; our album was twenty-eight on Billboard, and we were one of the first speed metal bands I think to crack the top thirty. We were ready to seize the moment right then, and Dave, in that moment on that night, had the chance to shove their noses right in it. He had the chance to go on that stage, and play the fucking show of his life. Remember that scene in 'Some Kind of Monster' where Lars went to see Jason Newsted's new band, and Lars is like "Jason's the new thing man. Metallica's washed up... Jason is the shit"? Dave Mustaine had the chance to make those guys feel that that night, but he could not - for forty-five minutes - stay sober, and get through that show. He ended up getting so wasted, exactly the thing that they fired him from Metallica for doing - getting drunk.
He was so wasted on that stage, and when you open for a band, you know you got forty-five minutes. It's about going out, picking your best songs, and going out with guns blazing. You shove it down the audience's throat, and you get out of there without a lot of chitter chatter. You don't go on that stage, and put on some kind of a drunken rant for like eight to ten minutes of a forty-five minute set. I don't even know what he was saying. You're in an arena, so it's echoing like crazy. People can't even hear or understand what you're saying. He talked out of his ass, and Junior was over on the other side of the stage flailing his arms furiously. I was standing on the side of the stage playing the Oakland Coliseum, and James Hetfield and Lars were there. That was the first time in Megadeth where I said "I am so ashamed to be here. I did not work my whole life, and practice fourteen hours a day... but here I am. How is it possible? That I'm playing in front of thirteen thousand people a night, and I'm ashamed?". I could see Junior ashamed.
Finally he stopped, and we got through the show. All of us then had to walk right by Lars and James with our heads down because our singer made an ass out of all of us. So that's Dave onstage with Megadeth. That moment was his moment, where he could've shown them, and then all this drama he's had all these years with Metallica never would've happened. That night he could've put a lid on it, and said "I just took the helm babe". He had that chance that night.
Aside from Dave Mustaine, was everyone else in Megadeth sober at that time? Or not? Was Chuck and Dave Ellefson...
Chuck was... that's why it freaked me out. Why didn't he blame the Australian tour on Chuck? Chuck was the next person in line; there was Dave, then Chuck, then Junior, and then me - in that order. On one extreme you had Dave Mustaine and Chuck who, the first thing they did when they woke up was pick up the phone, and it was a twenty-four / seven drug quest at that time. I can't speak about anything that happened after I left. Junior would party, and he was doing the stuff, but it was just weird. Junior and me, no matter what, we were there for business and we were serious. Did you hear the 'Westlake and the Pig' interview that Junior just did last week? If not, it's a podcast on the JFL Radio website. Junior's a businessman; he's smart, he's articulate, and we get along.
I just had a two and a half hour conversation with Junior, and Junior would be standing up on my behalf in all this if it wasn't for the gag order that Mustaine has on him. He can't speak out - he can't say he was formerly in Megadeth. It's the most stupid thing I've ever heard, and for what I went through in Megadeth, I didn't go through anything compared to what poor Dave Ellefson did, his friend who stood by that guy from the first day when they started Megadeth - they went to get beer. Dave Ellefson finally got fed up. He stood by that guy through everything, and then you read that lawsuit - every bit's true. Junior said "I swear to you Jeff". I said "Dude, you don't even have to tell me. I know. I read it, and I believe every word".
Junior had great lawyers. Dave had some sleazy lawyers, and Junior signed this agreement under pressure. I don't know if that means that one of Dave's martial arts goons was standing there, and said "Sign this". I don't know what that means. I don't know why Dave Ellefson, as smart as he is, signed that agreement. If he had never signed that, he would've totally won that lawsuit. The sickest thing of all of it is because Junior didn't win that lawsuit, Dave Mustaine got away with what he did to his partner for all those years. I got off like a Sunday walk in the park compared to Junior. At least Junior, if anyone - more than me, more than Marty, more than Nick, more than anyone - he's the one guy who should be able to say "formerly of Megadeth". We're all doing it for him. When he was on 'Westlake and the Pig', they made sure to say it about a hundred times. I make sure to say it every time I can say it, because if Junior can't say it, then it's up to the rest of us to remind the world that that cat played one of the best bass riffs in metal history. I mean, it was the MTV News theme for how many years?
Could you shed light on this allegation that when a fan asked him for a guitar pick, he picked his nose, flicked snot at them, and said "There's your pick"?
Dude... When I wrote that blog, and all this thing blew up, I just wrote one blog. I didn't even know about the Australian tour thing. I wrote the one blog. I was on tour with my trio over the summer and fall, and one of my guitar students in a certain city brought me that Guitar World issue with Jerry Cantrell on the cover where Mustaine, for the first time, said he sang solos to me. I went through the roof. He composed the songs and what not, and all the songs were written when I came in the band, but those solos were my compositions. In the case of "Hook in Mouth", and how I wrote it with Jay, what I had in mind, was like in the case of "In My Darkest Hour" - improvization. It doesn't matter whether it was an improvization I came up with on the fly, or something that I sat down and wrote - those are my contributions. When I saw the guy claiming credit, I said "No".
I wrote one blog, but everything else blew up from there. USA Today put it in papers all across the country, and Blabbermouth covered it. Everyone picked it up, but I didn't do anything to make that happen. Blabbermouth subscribes to my blog, and they cover everything. If I put up a blog, it's on Blabbermouth in an hour. Could you please restate your question? I want to get right to the point.
In that MySpace blog you mentioned, you alleged that when a fan asked him for a guitar pick, he picked his nose, flicked snot at them, and said "There's your pick"?
"I didn't know that he made those accusations about me cancelling the tour, or that it was my fault."
Once I wrote the first blog, then all of a sudden, Megadeth fans started sending me hundreds of emails. That's how I found out about Omar, and the "Gears of War" guitar. Omar didn't contact me. A fan so upset that he had taken Omar's graphic off the Megadeth.com site and put it on that "Gears of War" guitar made a tribute page to Omar to give him a little credit, and the kid came to me. I got all kinds of letters, from fans who Mustaine has disrespected over some twenty years. I guess they saw what I said and thought "Ok, this guy finally stood up". They just started sending me letters. I've got in my email inbox, and on my MySpace, hundreds of letters from kids with stories or just words of support, or "Hey man.. I wanna buy you a beer when you come to my town. Thanks for finally standing up". This, that and the other.
That email, that story, is just a story one kid sent me on my MySpace. He asked Dave for his guitar pick, and he picked his nose and flicked it at him, and said "There's your pick". I don't wanna open my messages and see that. I have empathy for other people, and I'm a kinda person who feels that with every fan, you make those fans one at a time, especially as an indie artist. We make fans one at a time. I don't like Bret Michaels and his music, but he seems like a cool guy in Poison. I've seen him talk in interviews though, and he has that mindset. That's the mindset Mustaine doesn't have, where Bret Michaels appreciates his fans. Bret Michaels understands that you make fans one at a time, and that you have to treat them with respect, no matter if you're in a good mood or not. They're the ones that put you where you are.
Another fan sent me a story, saying "Oh dude... You think that's funny about him singing you your solos? I met him after a gig, and I just told him that I liked the solo on "In My Darkest Hour" - your solo". He went on to say "No other guitar player except you has been able to play that solo, and yet I've seen them try and they can't. I went up to Mustaine and told him I liked that solo, and Dave said "That's not even a guitar: that's me singing into a microphone, and I put an effect on it"". I've had hundreds of emails with all kinds of stories, and a lot of them made me not able to have dinner that night. It's not pretty stuff, and again, you make fans one at a time.
It's such a hard industry; there's so many good bands, and there's so much music competing for the listeners' ears, that it makes me upset to see fans writing to me about anyone. It doesn't matter if it's about Dave Mustaine - let's forget about him. If it was Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler or anyone, you don't do that to a kid man because that kid... I can just imagine. If I walked up to Jimmy Page... I stood there for eight hours a day figuring out his solos note for note, or Eddie Van Halen. Even Yngwie, who people say is arrogant, I met Yngwie when I went to G. I. T., and I was in the dressing room with that cat one on one. I've got pictures, and maybe he got more of an ego later on - I didn't see him later on. Yngwie was so cool though; he showed me his picking technique, and his guitars. I just snuck in his dressing room, and was just a kid going to G. I. T. He was young too - he was in his early twenties.
You got to be cool with your fans. It would've broken my heart if I went back there and snuck in when I was going to G. I. T.... and you can probably hear I was totally into Yngwie. You can hear it on 'So Far, So Good... So What!'. One of Yngwie's biggest influences is Paco de Lucia, the greatest flamenco guitarist in history, and Yngwie is kind of trying to play that vibe on electric. I really looked up to Yngwie; by the time I went to G. I. T., I could play every solo on Alcatrazz's 'No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll' album. My goal was that by the time I got to L. A., I could play every Yngwie solo on that album. If I had met him, and he was a douche canoe, it would've been the worst thing - your whole world would just crash.
The kid that looks up to an artist like that finds it a hard thing to take when an artist is uncool. That's just not how I roll, but if that's how Dave wants to roll with his fans, then I guess to each his own. Another fan wrote to me though, and said "I went with my pregant girlfriend". Imagine this kid, who's a young kid and has a young girlfriend, and is a Megadeth fan - they had their first date to Megadeth, and he downloaded an album early so he could play it to his girlfriend. They went to a record store signing, and they had their albums with them. The kid had whatever their most recent album was, but his girlfriend that's pregnant had the album before that. They went up to Mustaine, but he wouldn't sign the girl's album because she didn't buy the new album. This is a story I got in my email inbox from this fan, which said "Dave Mustaine embarassed me in front of my pregnant girlfriend". He wouldn't sign her album just because it wasn't the new one, but it was just the one before - it wasn't like it was 'Peace Sells...', or 'Killing Is My Business...'. She bought your album dude. That's not how you treat your fans, I'm sorry. That's dumb.
You also alleged that Dave paid your guitar technician at the time to spit in your water bottle every night while on tour?
I didn't know that either. Dave just put that in that video. This all came out in that video when he was talking about Australia, and he said that it wasn't just that he spat in my water bottle. Imagine how cool is that? If you, twenty years later, look back and realized that your guitar tech was spitting in your water bottle, then you drunk that shit every night. What's worse than that is the cat was taking the fuses out of my Marshalls. I was using Lee Jackson modified Marshalls at the time, and I was really hyped about how good they sounded. Dave was always trying to get me to just play straight Marshalls, but I would say "Dude, my amps sound way better than yours", and he was kinda jealous I think - about the fact that my amps sounded killer.
Funnily, my amps started blowing up onstage every night. Somehow, I'd go onstage and it'd blow out, and then it'd come on, and then it'd blow up again, and then it would come on. The straw that broke the camel's back was when we played Hammersmith Odeon. Thin Lizzy's in my top five favourite bands of all time, and 'Live and Dangerous' is probably my favourite album of all time. It was recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, so there I was, playing the Hammersmith Odeon and excited to go out there and kick ass. I run out there to set the world afire, but my fucking amp blows up. And then it blows up again, and again, so I thought "I've had it".
I sent my amp back to California to Lee Jackson, and he said "Jeff, I pulled your amp out of the box and I've already sealed it back up. I'm sending it back out to you. Who's putting the wrong fuses in your amps?". Get what I'm saying: I had the fuse from when Lee Jackson did my amp. He put the fuse in my amp, and then I went on tour. He gave me a bag of ten to fifteen fuses to replace the fuse if I ever have a problem. With an amp made by Lee Jackson - that guy's a genius - you aren't gonna have a problem. For someone to put the wrong fuses in my amps, they literally had to take out a working fuse and put in a fuse that was of too low a voltage, so it would blow up as soon as I hit heavy, low power chords. Just to fuck with me.
So I knew about the fuses. I didn't know about the water bottle till later, but it was the same fucking kid. Whether him and Mustaine were in it together, or the guy was doing it to just be a douche canoe, I don't know. But who wants to be in a band like that?
In that same MySpace blog, you also alleged that Dave tried to coerce you and the other members of Megadeth at the time to smuggle heroin into a rehab centre he was staying at using a coke can.
I don't think people get the comedy of that. Rehab is a voluntary check-in - you can just leave. He could've just gone, and that's what I told him when he called me. He asked me to do that, so I said "Dude, I'm not gonna do that... You know what Dave? I'm not gonna do that. If you wanna get out of rehab, just go go down to east LA and get your heroin, and snort it right away dude. We got "Doc" McGhee and Doug Thaler managing us, and they're about to drop us because you can't fucking be straight? You just go for that".
By that time, Junior was fucking straight. He moved out of Dave Mustaine's house. Junior didn't wanna be around him, and so he moved out. Junior and I worked on a couple of songs that could've been on 'Rust In Peace' that were killer, and everyone in the Megadeth camp loved those songs. I still remember the songs. In fact, one song I wrote I'm gonna put on the new Hydrogyn album, so that'll be cool. It was actually so good I remember it. I didn't have a recording, but all these years later I remembered that riff, which was really cool. So by the time we got back, Junior was straight. Junior took one rehab, and he was done. Junior told me he's been clean twenty years this March 1st, so twenty years clean for Junior.
As you mentioned earlier, you alleged that Dave smuggled heroin into Japan using shampoo bottles.
Yeah.. that's a risky move, if you think about their drug laws and if you know what happens if you're caught doing something like that. That kind of put the whole band, the whole crew and the whole production at risk for someone's drug habit, but no-one knew about it until we were already at the hotel. Then all of a sudden, I'm in my room, and I hear "Dave did this... you know what he did?". I said "He got away with it? Cool. Whatever".
Besides what we've discussed, is there anything else that Dave Mustaine has alleged that you'd like to refute?
I don't know. He's said a lot of stuff. I think I've replied to everything, so I can't say anything more than I've said. I've said the truth, but people can believe what they want. He's a proven pathological liar, and I wanted my thing on record. The solos speak of my creativity, and my contribution to Megadeth. If 'So Far, So Good... So What!' was an album that was part of a cut-out band, it wouldn't matter, but it's a classic album that a lot of people hold in very high regards. A lot of people think "In My Darkest Hour" is one of Megadeth's best songs, and that was the first solo that I played on that album, so that's kinda special to me. That's a memory, and for someone to try to claim that it's not even a guitar, but it's him singing into a mike with an effect on it? It's just not real.
Jeff Beck doesn't act like that. Jimmy Page doesn't act like that. For all these years, I've tried to keep quiet and thought "I gotta have dignity. I gotta be like a Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck, and have that class". I don't have that luxury. Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck didn't have to play with Dave Shitstaine. Someone's only gonna batter you for so long until you're just not gonna take shit anymore, and that's why he couldn't stand me. I wouldn't kiss his ass when I was in the band. I'd tell him to fuck off because I didn't respect him then, and I don't respect him now. I told him to fuck off when I was in Megadeth, and I'm telling him to fuck off right now publicly. His fans are also telling him to fuck off because they've all had it too. I've never seen such an outpouring. I mean, what happened? Who does that?
The fans were defending me in the Total Anarchy forum on Megadeth.com to such an extent that he took that forum down. That's a forum that ran for fifteen years, that was like MySpace and Facebook before there was a MySpace and Facebook. He pissed his fans off so badly that they ran off, made their own forum, and put James Hetfield's face at the top of it. I haven't seen that happen with any other artist that I've ever watched throughout their career, where they've alienated their own fanbase to such an extent that they would run away. I don't see Iron Maiden fans running away, and putting some other bands' - whoever their competition would be - his head right at the top. A lot of his fans are giving him the middle finger. For me, it's about time. Enough already.
What was the 2004 meeting in Phoenix, Arizona like that you made reference to?
This is what, I guess you could say, is quadruply upsetting about what's going down now, and why this whole feud - if you wanna call it that - broke out. Not too long after I left Megadeth, when he was in rehab he called. If you know anything about the A. A. program, then there's this certain process that you go through with your counsellor. One of the things that you have to do is make amends with who you've wronged, so Dave called me twice in two different rehabs over this past twenty years. I don't remember when exactly, but one was pretty close after I left, and one was a couple of years later when he was in another rehab. He's called me twice though, and apologized. He said his counsellor said I was probably one of the people he had wronged the most, and that he needed to call. He gave me what I could only categorize as a very insincere apology to make his own guilt go away, but there was nothing behind the apology if you know what I mean. So he apologized twice.
2004 would be the third time that he apologized, because he wanted me, Chuck Behler and Nick Menza to fly to Phoenix, and basically do an interview where we're basically praising him and how great he is, and how he's played in Metallica for some DVD. I don't even know if this footage that he filmed ever saw the light of day, but it just talked about the history of Megadeth. He played us the whole 'So Far, So Good... So What!' remaster, and I thought "Well... it was cool how it was. It didn't need to be remastered". I didn't say that, but I think it was kind of a vanity project. It's cool, but everyone seems to like the original mixes better of all the albums. And then he played us some of I think it was... What's the album that Chris Poland came back and played on?
'The System Has Failed'.
It was the first album Junior wasn't on because when I flew to Phoenix, I was expecting to see Junior. Of course, that's who I was most excited to see because he and I were probably the closest in the band. So I went there, and that's when I first heard Junior was out of Megadeth. Dave apologized then too, so for me, if he apologized back then there should be no more bad mouthing. None of the Australia stuff should've happened and none of the singing the solos stuff, because he should've known I'd be the one to call him on that. Maybe he didn't think the guy with the Farrah Fawcett hair was gonna be the one to do it, but I am.
Was Dave Mustaine ever religious while you were a part of Megadeth?
He said that he's found religion in recent years.
He worshipped at the altar of the crack pipe.
I just wondered, to be honest. How do you look back on your time in Megadeth?
Well, I try to look back on it with positivity. I try to only remember and think about the good stuff, and all the good that came from it. The fans that like 'So Far, So Good... So What!' are as loyal today; as soon as I opened a MySpace page, they started finding me - so many fans, fan after fan. People who say that I wrote that blog for press to sell my album... I don't need the money. I already have enough money, so I don't have to work another day in my life. The fans are already there; the Megadeth fans who were into me have already contacted me. I don't need to do anything for any reason. It's amazing how loyal the fans are; I played on one album and played on a few tours, but they still remember, and that's really touching. It's cool. That's an amazing part of being in the band.
Like I said, the shows, the touring and everything is cool. And see, that's the thing. Even though I have a bad feeling about Mustaine as a person... I think he's a poser; I think he's one of the biggest phonies in rock 'n' roll and music. His whole thing is an act. The whole tough guy thing - it's not real. But I can still appreciate if I hear "Hangar 18" for example - I don't have to be on the song. "Tornado of Souls"... There's been certain songs that I've heard over the years. If a guitar student brings a song in and says "Hey, can you help me figure out this solo by Marty Friedman?" or whatever, then I say "Ok, man. That's cool". I can totally appreciate the good songs that he's written, and so can his fans. The unfortunate thing is that it's hard for me to appreciate and look back on my time fondly, and it's hard for the fans to enjoy the music, when he won't shut his fucking mouth. Frank Zappa said it best: shut up and play the guitar. That's all I'm saying. That's what I meant.
When I challenged him to a guitar duel, I was joking about that, like "I challenge you to a duel, sir", like they did in the Wild West or whatever. I totally would've done it, but if you're gonna talk shit, someone's eventually gonna say it's enough. I think he's done enough that he can be proud of without taking credit for other people's contributions to his band. He was in Metallica, and he's in Megadeth. He's written all these songs, has played all his own solos, sang all his own vocal melody lines, produced albums, and toured the world. He's got enough, but he's like the kid in the sandbox that has to have all the toys in his corner, and he doesn't wanna share any credit or anything. Just like the three-way partnership with me, just like with Junior with the money; he thinks that it's all his, and he doesn't wanna share any credit. I don't understand that kind of narcissism.
Will you be purchasing Dave Mustaine's forthcoming autobiography?
"If Dave wants to twist it, he can twist every story into something that's a hundred times more than it is."
I wouldn't read it if you handed it to me. It'd be like if you said "Would you read an autobiography by George Bush?". He's a professional bullshit artist, and has told so many lies right now that he doesn't know what the lies and the truth are. I can tell you that if he's got any more shit that he wants to sling my way, he better be taking it out before the book's published.
I thought you might read the book for legal reasons, just incase Dave Mustaine makes any statements that you feel you can sue him for.
It's called slander. The Australian tour thing is slander. You cannot say that someone's a heroin addict. Basically, he said "This guy is an unreliable employee who cancels tours" and so how does that play out? I'm booking tours right now, my guitar trio and Hydrogyn - we're all booking tours to go play. Now I'm seeking employment. What if we wanna tour Australia? If someone happens to get wind of that story or happens to see that YouTube video, who doesn't know that the guy's a pathological liar and just takes what he says at face value, then they won't want to book my band. That's why I came out, because at least now it's on record. If we ever have any problem in the future booking gigs, if someone says "We don't wanna book your band", and if we feel there's something suspicious there, we can now go back and say "Does this have anything to do with any of the stuff that Mustaine said? Here the truth has been set straight; Jeff responded, and it's untrue. Here's the Dave Ellefson court documents which substantiate that Mustaine cancelled four other tours after the Australia tour. Jeff's never cancelled any tours in his life".
I went on to have a number one album with Badi Assad in a totally different market, in the Brazilian market. I toured Europe and the world and stuff, and I went to Australia with Badi. We didn't cancel the tour. We didn't have any problems, and what I don't understand is I'm friends with all Megadeth members. I told you that I talked to Junior for about two and a half hours just a few days ago, and Chris Poland, Glen Drover - even players that I was never in the band with. I haven't even met Glen Drover, and he asked me to play on his album like the week he left Megadeth, on a solo album he's doing. I just don't understand. We all get along - all the past Megadeth members get along.
I work with musicians from all over the world, some of the best players on the planet, who are on my new album (2009's 'Equilibrium'). Somehow we can play in the sandbox together and get along, except when it comes to getting along with Dave Mustaine. I tend to think that the only common denominator there is that when Dave's in the picture, there's gonna be problems. People like Junior and I just wanna steer clear of it. We just wanna go on with our lives, and we don't wanna think about Megadeth anymore. We don't care. I don't listen to that much metal. I'm beyond Megadeth. That was twenty-three years ago, so there's no reason that dude should be talking about me today unless he has some kind of... What's the chip on his shoulder? Anyone with any insight can look into it and see when someone has to keep going on about something like that, there's an issue behind it, and that doesn't have anything to do with me - that's his issue. Anyone can figure what that is, but if you were to ask someone like a Dr. Drew or a psychiatrist, they could easily tell you what that is.
Again, I wanna like Megadeth and I wanna think fondly of it. All of us past members are proud of what we're doing. I mean, look at the guy right now. He's insulting Chris Broderick and James LoMenzo right while they're in the band. He's not even waiting anymore till they're out of the band. Online, he insulted Chris and then he insulted James, saying James can't write songs and his songs weren't good enough for 'Endgame'. James has to go onstage, and stand next to the guy every night. That can't be comfortable. You gotta respect the people you work with, whether you're in Megadeth, or work at a company, at a law firm, in a hospital, or at a 7-Eleven, a convenience store. People just have to respect each other, and that's all this is about. I think the world's done with being disrespected by Dave Mustaine, and not just me. I just happen to be the catalyst for the whole thing.
Thank you very much for the interview Jeff, which is really appreciated.
Alright man. Have a great day.
And you as well.
Hopefully my trio will come your way, and we can actually meet in person at a show sometime, or with Hydrogen somewhere, so...
That'd be great.
Stay in touch - I look forward to speaking to you sometime soon. Bye.
(Update: On Tuesday February 9th, UG caught up with Jeff Young to hear his thoughts on Dave Ellefson's return to Megadeth. He said the following:
Let me think about that... I'm a little speechless about it at the moment, especially in light of everything that those two went through together. But I guess he wants to be in Megadeth real bad... I don't know what else to say about it other than that. If it makes him happy, good on him, but I wouldn't wanna be in his shoes.)
Interview by Robert Gray
(Legal disclaimer: The accuracy of the information contained herein is neither confirmed nor guaranteed by Robert Gray / Ultimate-Guitar.com, and the views and opinions of Jeff Young expressed in this interview do not necessarily state or reflect those of Robert Gray / Ultimate-Guitar.com.)