Dave Mustaine: 'I Regret Punching James Hetfield in the Mouth'

Megadeth frontman also discusses late Dissection frontman, calls him "a tortured soul."

Ultimate Guitar

Looking back on his past regrets in life, Megadeth mastermind Dave Mustaine singled out a few events he's not too proud of, one of them being punching fellow frontman James Hetfield of Metallica in the mouth back in the day.

Asked by Met Al Metal about things he would've done differently, Dave noted, "I would love to have said goodbye to Gar Samuelson before he passed away. There's a couple of things I wouldn't have done myself, like ODing and I probably wouldn't have punched James in the mouth. There's a lot of stuff.

"You look back in hindsight and you think, 'God, I probably should have done that differently.' But, see, that's the importance of when you have someone in your life as a role model to help you. There's an ancient Asian proverb that says, 'A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.' Who knows? That may be from the 'Book of Proverbs;' I don't know where it originated from.

"But I would rather learn from your mistakes than my mistakes, because it's less painful that way. I think that because I've shared my life and a lot of the things that I've done right and wrong, it's helped a lot of our fans in their personal lives and definitely a lot of musicians too. Because, I mean, I've been doing this for 30 years and it's fairly obvious to anybody that has a brain that people have been trying to hold me back," he added (via Blabbermouth).

A few years back, Dave explained the early-day Metallica fight and how he "turned [James'] mouth into a pile of bloody Chiclets," more on that here.

During the rest of the chat, Mustaine discussed the controversy he created by refusing to perform with such satanic acts as Dissection and Rotting Christ, dubbing it a defense mechanism against getting back on the wrong track. Focusing on being responsible for a festival organizer kicking Dissection off the bill, the frontman explained:

"I told the promoter, I said, 'Look, we can't play. We're not gonna play that festival.' I never said, 'Kick them off.' That was the promoter's mistake. The promoter kicked them off. It's hard enough as it is in music to get concerts, so I would never kick a band off one of my shows; I would rather me not do it. And when I said, 'Look, we don't wanna do it,' they, unfortunately, harmed that band.

"Regardless of whether the guy [Dissection mainman Jon Nodtveidt] was a convicted murderer, or that he was a Satanic person ... We all have a little bit of darkness in us. Now, I never killed anybody - I killed a couple of guitars [laughs], but I never killed anybody. And the sad thing is at the end of the day, the poor guy and committed suicide, so he was a tortured soul.

"And I know that, for me, the reason that I turned to black magic and witchcraft and stuff like that was I had had spiritual abuse and so many things had been done wrong in my life and there was so much hypocrisy with the people that had said that they were Christians, or Catholic or whatever, they would say one thing and they would do something else. So I regretted having spent any time in a church and I really resented people who said that they believed in God, because you would see them do one thing and the next day they would do something else. And it's just very confusing as a kid.

"And I think that's why a lot of us end up being spiritually misled. And that's probably part of the reason why that poor chap did that too. But, you know, we were supposed to play a show with them in France, and they didn't get kicked off that show. You know, a lot of stuff went around about another band [Greek extreme metallers Rotting Christ] that had a name that was kind of offensive to me. But, you know, that's a personal thing. It has nothing to do with their band or their quality of music or them as a person," Dave concluded.

67 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I actually think this is a pretty cool interview/article, gives a bit of a more positive perspective of him. Particularly the part about "religious" people contradicting themselves is very valuable, although I have a feeling he still sometimes overlooks the fact he does that mistake.
    The four pigs of society: politicians, lawyers, religious ****heads and i forgot the fourth
    no stupid comment, was just thinking about Dark was the night Cold was the ground amazing stuff has come from within religion but the people who use it as sheeps clothing..
    It's ok Dave, atleast he is not hurting for the past 30 years
    Is it just me or did Dave sound normal for a change? Lots of UG readers make fun of ol' Dave but read his biography 1st and you'll understand him.
    This was probably the most real thing he's ever said. I love the comedy of bullshit Dave says, but it was nice to see him showing that he can be a decent person.
    Mustaine was in Metallica? How come he never talks about it. (sarcasm)
    He talks about a lot of interesting things in this interview and yet UG chooses to focus on one fairly uninteresting line. Predictable :p. This is probably the most relatable Mustaine has been in years, for once he doesn't sound like q crazy person and actually talks a lot of sense.
    'I probably wouldn't have' does not equal 'I regret'. But then again, 'Dave Mustaine offers gentle introspection of his life and career' isn't proper click bait.
    " I didn't kick the bands off the bill, I just told each promoters that one of their biggest headlining band who probably sells four times more tickets than both those bands combined refused to play in their presence, and then HE chose to kick them out, not me..."
    Yeah as if he didn't know what would happen.. If that's the case he's truly a dumb ass motherf*cker. RIP Jon Nodtveidt.
    I'm glad he punched Hetfields teeth in, if it didn't happen Megadeth never would have formed. Dave was an ******* from alcohol, James was just an *******. His treatment of Newsted confirmed that. The only thing Hetfield can do better is sing and he can't touch Dave as a soloist or rhythm guitarist so it would have been very interesting what would have come out of a Hetfield / Mustaine led Metallica.
    The thing about the "satanic" band is ridiculous. If you're so sure about your beliefs you shouldn't let something like that bother you. It's not like merely being on the same festival will have you doing black masses and killing goats. You go there, do your job and it's done.
    That is the most sensitive and thoughtful thing I ever heard from mustaine via UG.
    It's too bad because Megadeth would be way better if Hetfield had sung on all those albums
    Nah...if Megadeth (Dave), wouldn't have wussed out trying to "follow" them, and kept making kick-ass albums like R.I.P....they would be much better.
    Hetfield is more talented than Mustaine. Sorry guys, had to say it.
    I'd say they're equally talented. Mustaine is more capable of playing some really complex stuff, however James has always been a better vocalist, lyricist and down-picking master.
    To be fair Mustaine admitted himself that he's not a good vocalist, and only did them out of necessity.
    If a black or death metal band got a Christian band kicked off a bill, it would be equally retarded. But more often than not, these supposedly 'Satanic' bands (because singing about it means you practice literal Satanism durp) are there to play a show and gain new fans. Whether or not other bands on the bill have beliefs that challenge theirs is irrelevant, because they're all supposedly professional bands there to a play music. If you can't tolerate being exposed to views other than yours, you're a weak minded person, whether you're religious or atheist. I have no problem seeing a band like Trouble sing about their faith even though I have none, or Earth Crisis talking about being straight edge vegans, even though I'm the complete opposite. Dave should have sucked it up, because it says more that he can't deal with being in a dressing room or in a hotel room while 'blasphemous' bands are playing nearby.
    To be fair, Dissection is one of those bands that was so ****in' deep in the Misanthropic Luciferian Order that their bass player quit the band to focus in his esoteric studies. The lyrics on the last album were mostly written by the leader of the cult. It all seemed a little insane, if you ask me. Still my favourite band, though.
    I once tried to explain to my Christian ex girlfriend that alice cooper wasn't a Satanist and all that stuff he did on stage is just theatrics but she would not have a bar of it.
    Mustaine is an extremely talented guitarist and lyricist. However, he's so obsessed with Metallica, especially Hetfield, that he may be mentally ill. I bet he would be ready to trade his family and whole career in Megadeth for being James' boyfriend. It's pathetic, somebody give him medicine.
    Wouldn't you be? That's like giving your buddy a winning lottery ticket for a beer.
    He formed Megadeth, a very successful and respected band where he is the main man, and he is Metallica's ex. How can he be so butthurt about his life, what an ego problem
    You have to look at it from his perspective. He wrote the songs that made Metallica famous, and as a result, never reached the height of fame in Megadeth that Metallica did. He was the headstart for something that didn't involve him.
    I'd give anything I could give just to replace Kirk... hehehe..
    Good one mate. I got a better one. Download a jam track for the unforgiven and show us how YOU would do that solo.
    Give 6-String_Madman the time and resources (in fact any regular person) and so long as they are motivated it's probably possible to be as good or better.
    ''there was so much hypocrisy with the people that had said that they were Christians, or Catholic or whatever, they would say one thing and they would do something else'' Yeah... Just like Jesus said : ''Do as I say, not as I do''
    sucker punch, ya mean? and no doubt probly wasted...1v1 and no alcohol, mighta been a different story lol. drunks love to start sh1t, especially when music is involved...more specifically, during gigs, even more specifically, when a drunk's girlfriend is lured in to you by your music playing. a drunkard will approach you with an intent to fight, with an inability of using common sense and fail to realize, you can fight and not drunk, and he'd just get fvcked up haha...good times...lol.
    I hate how Dave kicked Rotting Christ and Dissection off that tour. Who cares if they're satanic? Their lifestyle choices shouldn't concern you one bit. He should've just sucked it up and just did the shows.
    Velcro Man
    For someone that claims to be ashamed of punching someone in the mouth, he sure does talk about "beating people up" an awful lot. The narcissism is strong with this one.
    Dave, just let it go already. You have about as much claim to Metallica as Les Claypool.
    Yeah because songs like Four Horsemen, Metal Militia, Jump in the Fire, Phantom Lord, just wrote themselves!