Dave Mustaine: 'There Is No Improvising in Megadeth'

Frontman has laid down no improvising rule.

Ultimate Guitar

In a new interview with Music Radar (via Blabbermouth), Dave Mustaine has been talking about Megadeth's approach to live performances. Specifically, he doesn't want guitarist Chris Broderick to play around with the guitar solos:

"We had other guitar players come in after Chris Poland and there always was resistance in that shotgun position. They had to play other people's guitar solos and a lot of the time they would complain and want to improvise it. There is no improvising in Megadeth. These fans love these guitar parts.

"What would you think if someone went up to do 'Comfortably Numb' and did 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'? I remember when Ozzy [Osbourne] had come out after Randy Rhoads died. A couple of guys filled in for him and they were good players but they wouldn't play Randy's solos and I thought, 'Shame on you, guys. You can do these solos, respect his legend by learning his stuff.' Chris plays all the solos note for note."

Mustaine also stated that the band doesn't want to simply rewrite their classic material on new albums:

"We have a two-album thing that we do with people. We try to keep things fresh. Sometimes when you have an artistic relationship, it can be chemical in nature and it can become predictable and lose its artistic merit.

"Some people don't want music, they want me to record 'Black Friday' 12 times on a record for the rest of my life. I get it, that's a ferocious song, but there's some great stuff on ["Super Collider,"] like 'Built For War' I love that. I don't know how Im going to sing it live, but I love it!"

Agree with Mustaine's no improvising rule? Or do you think that the band's guitarists should be given more freedom with the material? Let us know in the comments.

60 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Depends on how you view the nature of the song. Metal is classicaly infused and in a concerto you won't see the violinists improvising or some shit like that. I mean, if it's a solo improvised in the studio you can improvise when you play it but if it's a composition treat it like one, at least that's my take on this.
    Originally a concerto only had the main melodic idea written, it was up to the virtuoso to improvise his/her own embellishments on it. Overtime the improvisations have been transcribed. It's only the modern classical musicians who think improvising is bad.
    Quite agree. However, sometimes it can be cool even in metal when guys play extended songs and solos live: perform all the original stuff note to note and then have some extra bars for improvisation and variation.
    i remember watching alexi laiho play a solo to some song, i forget which song, that was added on to. I knew it was coming so i looked up and watched him hit it, he had added twice the notes and went twice the speed and it blew my mind. His little improv has been a great concert moment in my mind and i believe shows that a little improve is a good way to go. Don't change the whole solo, just add some twists.
    Irwin Navarro
    IMO, Improvisation makes a song more interesting and fresh. Having someone play a solo NOT PER NOTE is robitic and doesnt add that much personality to the song
    True, and while I agree with you for many solos (god knows Megadeth has a ridiculous amount of soloing), certain iconic solos like in Tornado of Souls, Hangar 18, In My Darkest Hour, and Symphony of Destruction should be played the way they were written, more or less.
    But David Gilmour plays the Comfortably Numb solo slightly differently each time he plays it live. Whilst I agree that guitarists should stick with the feel of the song and not go off the rails, a little improvisation can add personality to the solo. If I wanted to hear an exact rendition of the record, I'd listen to the record
    Completely agreed. Performing a solo exactly the same, show after show, is bound to get tiring both for the guitarist and the audience.
    Improvisation (if done successfully) is the best thing in live performances I could ask for. Sure, I love the solos and parts laid down in the studio, but why not expand on that? EVOLVE? Oh yeah, i forgot Mustaine can't understand evolution.
    He just stated that you wouldn't want someone coming in and doing the "beat it" solo on peace sells do you? Improvising is for when the lead guitarist gets to do his 5-10 minute solo piece by himself at halftime. Keep the solo's true because that is how the song or music became famous or popular,imo.
    ...or by adding your own flourishes in there. It seems like a shame to have all of these guitar players have to stick note-to-note to someone else's parts without being able to add a little bit of their own style and personality to it. Would the fans seriously complain if the Megadeth guitarist deviated on a couple notes of the solo and made a lead fresh again? In that case, why not just play all of the lead guitar parts out of the PA and have the current guitarist only come out and play HIS songs? What a stupid "rule."
    This happens on Maiden solos and they sound shit compared to the originals. I respect that the band might get sick of playing the same solos 300 times but if solos are melodic and iconic (hangar 18) they are part of the tune and must be respected at least 90 % of the time.
    I ****ing LOVE improvising solos. I can see why he would say that, though. When it comes to recognizable and iconic guitar work, you probably shouldn't mess with it.
    I'm with Dave on this one (which is rare). It's possible to play a solo 'note for note' and still bring one's own sound to the strings via their own pick attack, vibrato, etc. It's also probably worth noting that since Chris is a classically trained guitar player, he may not be the best improviser.
    "Some people don't want music, they want me to record 'Black Friday' 12 times on a record for the rest of my life." Megadeth fans in a nutshell.
    False Dichotomy, Dave. You can make a solo awesome while improvising. Take a look at K.K. Downing for example.
    "What would you think if someone went up to do 'Comfortably Numb' and did 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'?" It would be hilarious. Sounds like something Frank Zappa would do. This also incredibly insulting to Megadeth's origins, considering Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson were jazz musicians.
    if you wrote the solos you may inprovise but if they solo aint whitten by you it should be played the way it was written or if the leaders says otherwise, that what i think
    Even Randy Rhoads varied his solos a bit. Not entirely, but in a few parts. As long as you leave familiar phrases in the solo live and improvise some it would sound amazing still.
    Dave is right, new guitarist into the band can do anything to new recording song but they should leave the guitar work in old song untouched!
    Mustaine didn't play the solo in Cemetery Gates note for note, so by his logic, he disrespected Dimebag Darrell.
    Always there has to be the freedom to improvise! I don't like playing songs note to note so I improvise at solos and when I'm playing bass, I watch the chords and build my own bass line. Dave just should let Chris has his freedom at soloing. I understand how legendary those solos are but it's time to evolve those songs. I guess it's pretty boring to play those same solos every damn night through 30 years.
    I can't honestly see why this was downvoted. No, I don't want to hear somebody play exactly the same as they do on the record every time they play live. As long as it doesn't ruin the structure of the song, and it doesn't sound like shit, go wild.
    That's true mate. I really enjoy going to see live concerts and I wan't to hear those different live versions. If I want to hear these songs like they were played in studio, then I listen to those vinyls and cd's. Guitarist maybe good when he/she plays exact the same notes on Hangar 18 but you know that he or she is talented and great when he or she can improvise that solo, but still with the same feeling that the original has. Sorry for my english but yeah, as a Finn it's really hard to write what I really want to say. And this Super Collider is not that great album. I haven't actually enjoyed it at all :/
    I have to agree with Dave on this. Imagine: you go to a Megadeth show and they start playing Tornado of Souls, then when it comes to solo, Broderick ****s it up and plays some improvisation instead of it. That would be total crap! Same thing for songs like Holy Wars, Wake Up Dead or even She-Wolf...
    Mustaine doesn't even understand live shows, if I wanted to hear the song perfectly I would stay home and listen to the CD. Man he has turned into one massive ****.
    Opinions, opinions... Broderick is a amazing guitarist, but i couldn't care less for his style of playing, or to put it better. His lack of identity in playing a solo. Therefor its for the better these iconic solos are played identical, or at least with the current line-up.. Its not like i still have alot of faith in Megadeth.. Not after those last 2 albums... So they might aswell deliver a perfect show of classic songs.
    i see what your saying but don't necessarily agree. I do however feel that if dave wants that studio vibe, he has to actually sing. ive seen em 3 times and each time his mic is so quiet. i hear the guitars but not his voice.
    One of the best parts of a show is hearing the differences between it and the album. Playing note for note may be impressive but if I wanted to hear that, I would listen to the damn album! Look at Dimebag, he did little things to his solos all the time and it was still magnificent!!
    I agree with Mustaine, probably for the first time ever. I wouldn't want to hear improvisation in guitar solos. If I've listened obsessively to the record I want to hear the same thing live. It may be slightly autistic but it's the nature of metal, especially thrash.
    I mean...if you wanted to hear the song or solo played perfectly, just sit at home and listen to the CD with your friends. I love hearing players put a new spin on an old favorite, no matter which band it may be.
    In addition, here's a video of Marty Friedman committing the mortal sin of changing up the solos on Peace Sells to suit his tastes:
    Always seemed like Marty had a hard time imitating Poland's style. I don't blame him, no one sounds like Poland.
    Actually David Gilmour improvises alot during the Comfortably Numb solo live...
    part of the fun of going to a concert is that the band will do some interesting stuff, otherwise it's just like hearing the album itself. i think improv is part of the live experience, he's talking about comfortably numb? gilmour took the solo to the ****ing heavens in pulse, because he stretched its limits and expanded it. but it's a personal perspective so...
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with improvising and changing up a solo i think its pretty boring hearing and playing the solo the exact same way or riff the exact same way every time. i think its cool when you hear it and it sounds different its like a hearing a new song that is fresh for the first time.
    Imagine if slash improvised the opening riff to Sweet Child. Would that go over well?
    That would change the entire structure of the song. IMO, just know the importance of what you're playing. If what you're playing is truly iconic, stick to the script; If what you're playing is from the soul, play it as such.
    If I'm seeing Megadeth live the solo to Tornado is coming up. I expect it to be the solo I rock out to in my car listening to the track. Broderick is an amazing musician and I hope he is alright with performing Friedman's solos because I want to hear those solos repeated during live gigs. I wanna rock out to them in a pit of shitheads like me!!!
    if Broderick was not okay with it Im positive he would have left Megadeth by now...
    Apparently Dave forgot how he improvised the symphony of destruction solo on the rude awakening cd
    When I play my own music I improvise to an extent. I usually start off with the original lead in, and then slightly improvise the rest. If it's flash that's the only way to go about it. However, if it's melodic and you can really feel it when you play it then there's no other way than note for note.
    Who ever mentioned rude awakening, the symphony of destruction extended solo Dave plays is actually the solo recorded on the demo. When they made the final cut of the track, they reduced the solo simply to Marty's part. So in reality it wasn't improvised at all, they just brought it out of the attic because they figured it would be cool
    "A couple of guys filled in for him and they were good players but they wouldn't play Randy's solos and I thought, 'Shame on you, guys." Really Dave? Maybe you should go & have a look at the video of you playing the final solo in Cemetery Gates with Dream theatre & get back to us on that one.
    I won't even try to deffend that performace, he failed miserably. However, there is a difference between a one off guest appearance and a regular job as replecement for somebody, wouldn't you say?
    As long as you stick to the core composition, do it with feeling and you're confident that you can improve the solo by doing it, go ahead and improvise. I don't see why people on here are so afraid of variation.
    I do have to agree with Dave but its not just the improvisation that defines the guitarists. You can listen to a recording of both Marty Friedman and Chris Broderick playing the exact same solo but they're going to sound different. Marty would have a different sense of feeling, so every bend, every pick and every part of the solo would sound like someone else is playing it but its the exact same notes.
    the did improvise on this one
    Thos isnt an improvisation this is a guitar duel and drum solo put in the somg between the ending riff and the closing riff with vocals
    Does anyone know the names of the 3 b-side tracks on super collider and where i can find them
    totally agree!! the only one who had permission for improvise were friedman!!So no improvision is allowed for Chris =D
    IN Earlier earlier Megadeth albums with Chris you could usually tell when it was him with a solo....So nowadays its hard to tell whose solo it is. Saying that imo I would not say that Dave keeps Chris from doing his thing. And sure there is improvisation in Megadeth when creating a solo for a new song that will be on new albums. If you read its talking about with other peoples solos that there is no improvisation.