Dave Mustaine: 'Metal Is Just Punk Rock With Long Hair'

"People that aren't metal fans don't make the connection," says Megadeth frontman.

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Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine recently discussed his approach to music and writing songs, reaching several interesting subjects regarding the metal music.

When asked by Rock Confidential on whether he considers informing fans about the important topics as somewhat of an obligation, the frontman replied: "There was a point where I felt that was my calling. My career and taking care of my family is really important to me. There are so many things to be talking about. For me to be pointing out the wrongs in politics man, if I think I can make a difference I better pack a lunch."

Mustaine then pointed out that "it's more about 'Can you identify with that?' instead of saying 'This political party is doing this and this political party is doing that.'"

"They're really all the same," he continued. "Heavy metal music is just punk rock with long hair. People dont get that. People that aren't metal fans don't make the connection. I was watching a song by a band called Havok the other day and I was looking at the guy's lyrics. Wow, I could have written those lyrics. It's the same kind of stuff I used to write when I was younger."

The singer/guitarist also discussed the thrash titans' longevity, remembering the times when he met fathers and sons at VIP meetings after Megadeth shows.

"I can't tell you how many times I've been at one of our VIP meetings and a guy will come in with his kid and theyll look identical," Mustaine said. "I'll ask the kid, 'Is this your dad?' 'Yeah.' Ill tell the dad, 'Thanks for being a cool dad and passing the tradition on.' That ain't no sweat off my back for me to say something like that. To compliment that dad and make his son feel his dad is cool, to make that dad feel respected."

He continued, saying, "I'm a dad. I love the way my kids have turned out. Not enough people affirm the men in America as parents anymore and that's why a lot of 'em bail. A lot of fathers give up. That ain't cool. Life is difficult. That's why people get fat and lazy."

As far as the more current affairs and the group's latest album go, Mustaine clearly couldn't hide his excitement, saying that he is going through a second childhood.

"It feels good to be me right now," the frontman said. "I still have moments where it's kinda hard to get outta bed. [laughs] I enjoy my life. I'm going through a renaissance period right now with the band and it just feels like a second childhood. Especially with the record charting as high as it did.

"Metal is on the rise. I'm really excited about the times we're living in. Unfortunately, metal music is popular when the world is kind of topsy-turvy, but hey the world has been in kind of a fuck for a couple thousand years."

The latest Megadeth studio effort, "Super Collider," saw its release on June 4 via Tradecraft as the fourteenth record in the group's catalogue. With 29,000 copies sold in the US within the first week, it peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart.

96 comments sorted by best / new / date

    5t0rM
    No it's damn not, WTF Dave? Thrash and Speed Metal definitely have that Punk feel to it, yes, but they certainly are not Punk Rock. Let alone Traditional Heavy Metal as doomly as it was that came ages before Punk was born. Punk and Metal nowadays (and always were for that concern) are two very, very separate and distinct things. I just can't hear what the hell is Dave talking about.
    fromzero
    "Metal is on the rise." "Sales are down because metal fans just download cd's" "Metal music is popular when the world is screwed, lucky that it's always screwed tho" "Screwed people have all the money and don't buy metal"
    Vince06
    2nd childhood ? omg, I read his book and his childhood was pretty dramatic, not sure he wants to live this again.
    acglee
    So UG, Dave can say '****' but I can't quote him saying '****'? Oh what the ****, I don't really give a **** anyway. Love you.
    intwernet
    The title doesn't sum it up well.. there are many interesting and truthful thoughts he said. Wise man this Mustaine is
    marshismellow
    I totally disagree with his quote "Life is difficult". Sorry, it's not, as long as you don't make stupid decisions.
    crazysam23_Atax
    I guess we should just tell the starving kid in Africa or the kid in Indian slums that he just made stupid decisions...
    powachord
    This has to be one of the most ignorant comments I've ever read on UG... and I've been coming here for years.
    MeGaDeth2314
    I don't agree at all that metal is just "punk with long hair." There are plenty of differences within the music and the cultures. Especially if you think about all of the different sub-genres of metal and punk, and what they stand for, and who their audiences are.
    Mustaine1940
    metal and punk arent the same but they follow on some basic roots together, thrash is considered metal and punk combined so :p idk if hes more angling at that or not
    SOAD_SoG
    The bright spot is that Dave listened to Havok....maybe he gets some influence by them for the next album.
    martyjohnson27
    Sorry Dave, Metal and Punk aren't the same.
    dakielster
    All extreme metal today finds its roots in hardcore punk.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Not all, no. There is some influence, but to say "all" is just wrong. @Zaqq: Actually, Thrash is more influenced by '70s Punk. Both Hardcore and Thrash were basically conceived of during the same few years and share some similarities, because both were influenced by '70s Punk.
    Dead_Pleasures
    Can we hang on every word someone ELSE says? Like carrot top or somebody? Im sick of this guys idle thoughts being posted here everytime he has a brain fart.
    CM-22
    'This political party is doing this and this political party is doing that.'" Damn, There's the bit about politics... nearly missed that.
    kcmoon5150
    But punk is not metal with short hair
    sklaiss24
    The mindset is very similar between the two. Fast songs with distorted guitar singing about anarchy and drugs and all the other punk and metal clichs. I've always thought the two were very similar. Punk is meant to be a bit more of a bare bones version of metal without all the over the top solos.
    crazysam23_Atax
    But any Punk fan would probably object to that. As a Metal fan, I kind of object to Metal being called that. I understand what Dave means by the comparison, but still...it's not really accurate. Metal and Punk have influenced each other a lot, but that doesn't mean that they're derivative forms of each other.
    sklaiss24
    I agree. They are quite similar in certain aspects and they are quite different too. A lot of the similarities for me lie in their overall intensity and attitude of the music, and their confrontational stage presence. I didn't mean that they're as you so elegantly put it, "derivative forms of each other." There's definitely a difference between say, Metallica and the Dead Kennedys lol.
    AcousticMetal99
    Um, take a listen to power metal, or melodic metal, or folk metal. How about even Viking metal? Not all fast riffs and anarchy. The reason I listen to a lot of metal is for the quality of the lyrics and melodies, not because it's mind-numbing and heavy. I find the comparison incredibly poor. However, what he said about dads and some of the other things was a little more sensible than usual.
    ysalimari
    Not all punk is fast and about anarchy, either. Metal and punk are very very similar.
    Alcofuel
    I would say punk and metal are more compatible with each other than similar. There are pretty obvious musical differences between them. They're compatible enough that things like sludge, crust punk, and crossover thrash happened pretty easily though.
    LeakyFlask
    That's pretty damn quotable. See, Dave Mustaine is a strange bloke, half of the time he's completely nuts but the other half of the time he's very reasonable and capable of saying some pretty wise insights. He'd probably make a good conversation partner.
    DreamGate
    So, basically he's just a mildly talkative man with the the media (relatively) centered towards him. Everyone is crazy. We all have those convos we recollect and go 'What the fish was I going on about'. And that dad story just gave me a huge reason to like him as a person. I am not a dad myself (fully legal to be though), but I know how much my dads image towards my siblings and I mean to him. And a huge respect to him for that.
    Metalisnotmusic
    I have a dislike for kids who turn out like their fathers, because instead of actually being cool, they just replicate their parents in an obvious attempt for their approval. Then I come to disrespect the parents for allowing them that shame, and not taking responsibility, but actually being proud of their child for this. Kind of ridiculous. And then people come along and just say their respecting their parents. There's way more to respect that that
    Jozef23
    If we're talking about lyrical themes, then might as well throw Underground Hip-Hop and Folk in with that group as well
    ysalimari
    Why are you being downvoted? A lot of great hip-hop/trip-hop and folk are heavily influenced by politics.
    Jozef23
    Because anything which isn't fueled with guitar solos is considered crap on any news post which involves a metal artist. UG community are an ignorant bunch
    lamnoob
    Way to stereotype people. Maybe it could be that a lot of people on a guitar website....you know....don't like hip hop. We all have the right to up or down vote, you getting pissed off and trying to be a smart ass just adds to the problem That was to Jozef23
    PrimalFeelings
    At least he's listening to Havok.
    solidrevolver19
    An awful band that sounds like a rip off of older thrash bands, thrash metal is irrelevant anyways.
    Jokeblue
    Dave always makes sure to pack a nutritious Lunch when he goes off to sing about political affairs.
    Kaseke
    Mustaine isn't as stupid as people think, huh
    Gantz92
    I don't think too many people consider Dave stupid. Batshit crazy perhaps but not stupid.
    guitarist5477
    Basically people are stupid enough to get caught up in the gossip/tabloid style of paraphrasing his words and taking things out of context. He has said some stupid things, but it was never as bad as people complained it all was.
    ianharv
    I can't believe I'm writing this but I think Mustaine is actually starting to make more sense... Still batshit-mental though.
    eastbaytray
    I say that from time to time. Then he makes a comment makes me hold my head down in shame.
    Jokeblue
    Thats Dave Mustaine for ya, folks! One of the greatest modern pioneers of the "Destroy-Build-Destroy" reputation system!
    famguy123
    At least someone had the nerve to say it. Good on you fellow metal jockey.
    HavokStrife
    For once, I pretty much agree with what he's saying. Except the stuff in the title. Lots of punks have long hair... how do you think they get their mowhawks three feet long? I'd be more inclined to say, Metal is just punk with better musical technique..
    parthgyani
    ug guide to writing articles - 1. watch mustaine give a 10 minute interview 2. ignore the 9 mins 30 seconds of sensible stuff he says 3. its dave , he's bound to say 30 seconds of bulls*** 4. highlight those comments , make them the headline , kick back , smoke a cigar as readers rush to slam dave .
    Burkz
    "Life is difficult. That's why people get fat and lazy." Great statment
    iommi600
    Oh, how nice. Apparently, his foot in mouth disease just went from politics to music now.
    Darth Crow
    Well, maybe thrash is. But I definately can't see any connection with symphonic, prog, etc. so... no.
    ysalimari
    There is punk with symphony instruments and songs played in odd meter and time signature changes. Some punk even has concept albums.
    aureliusgtr
    are there really people that disagree that punk and metal are very similar genres? yes, metal has MANY offshoots with almost zero punk influences and vice-versa, but lets look at the first few bands most would consider to resemble the sound that we call metal today...the big four...thrash metal and hardcore punk of the late 70's and 80's go hand in hand....blast beats on the drums, triplets on the guitars...fast, loud, distorted music with yelling/screaming vocals about politics, anarchy, booze, drugs, etc....dave was absolutely not far off with this (i listen to both punk and metal)...it seems there are more "metal" people fighting this connection than "punk" people
    ysalimari
    In other news: The sky is blue.
    KingV911
    Fellow Earthlings: Please, no more "In other news" jokes. It's right up there with my other pet peeve of everyone misspelling "definitely" as "definately".
    GMPX
    I loved the punk/thrash crossover bands in the 90's, DRI, Suicidal etc, I wish that would make a revival instead of more of these darn pop idol shows.
    HammettIsKing
    UG seems to have an agenda to only post stuff that makes Mustaine look bad. They never post an article that's positive about him like the one recently where he is donating proceeds of the concert in Oklahoma to the tornado victims.
    KingV911
    He does say a lot of controversial and arguably ignorant things. He asks for the negative headlines.
    Anjohl
    100% truth. Forefathers like Maiden, Priest, Motorhead mixed punk with Sabbath/Purple/Cream, etc to.form NWOBHM, which gave us the "big four", etc. Most of the metal I like still has those punk roots.
    crazysam23_Atax
    Um...what? Punk wasn't even around until the late '70s. Iron Maiden (who formed in '75) couldn't get signed to a label until '79, because they weren't Punk (Punk was the "in thing"). Judas Priest has ZERO punk influence. Motorhead had some. The NWOBHM had zero punk influence. It wasn't until Thrash came about that Metal started mixing Punk influences.
    ysalimari
    Punk got a label and got big in the late 70s. But Punk had been forming since the 60s with bands like The Stooges and MC5; then the New York Dolls paved the way for bands to perfect it in the early 70s. A lot of Judas Priests' earlier, but after the bluesy crap stage, stuff had a lot of punk influences.. mainly in the vocals and the way Halford delivered them. Iron Maiden couldn't get signed to a label because they had gone through a million members in the course of a few years, they were unstable.
    mr.blue7
    I dont care im still pitting to this!
    GMPX
    Never seen so many mohawks in 5 minutes, good to see another generation keeping the punk image alive and kicking.
    Dude475
    I don't think metal fans even make that connection. Oh mr. Mustaine, how much more retarded are you going to get?
    qotsakyuss
    'cos length of hair makes such a difference to musical genre? doesn't make a lot of sense to me, by this theory he's saying you can't be in a metal band unless you have long hair, tell that to kerry king...
    Alice2Mudgarden
    Right, he and Billie Joe Armstrong are equally anarchists against the system and really singing the tribulations of the youth with their indie record labels and DIY lifestyle. I hate money just as much as them
    Xeus
    Where would UG be without Mustaine? Should get him to write some articles for us