Dave Mustaine: 'Three Best Rhythm Guitar Players in the World Were Myself, James Hetfield and Malcolm Young'

Megadeth frontman also seemingly touches on his controversial comments about African women.

Ultimate Guitar

Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine recently touched on the matter of rhythm guitar, dubbing himself, Metallica's James Hetfield and Malcolm Young of AC/DC the world's leading trio.

Discussing how music brought him closer to Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich in the early Metallica days, Mustaine brought up AC/DC, telling Rock Cellar Magazine that his "favorite part about AC/DC isn't Angus Young's solos as much as it is Malcom's rhythm playing."

"I used to say this for a long time, and granted, there are so many more great new rhythm guitar players, but at the time I used to say the three best rhythm guitar players in the world were myself, James Hetfield and Malcolm Young," Dave added. "Because you really have to hold the fort down, being an anchor for the rest of the band."

During the rest of the chat, the frontman seemingly focused on his controversial comments about African women. Without giving specific details, Mustaine noted, "I remember I was doing an interview with a young guy, much like yourself, and we were just kind of chatting. He goes, 'You know, the last time my magazine did an interview with you they said you said something-or-other ...' and he said something that was so horrible ... it was me talking about a particular type of person, and in general saying that they don't have any right or purpose to have kids.

"And I was like 'You f--kers ... how could you say something like that?'" he continued. "And the problem is, the people who read this are gonna go 'I wonder if he really said that ...' versus the guys that really know me, who will say 'Mustaine would never say that! He might get in your face and say 'F--k you, you're a punk' but he'd never tell anybody they don't have the right to have a child.'"

As reported, Dave told LA Weekly back in 2012 that African women should "put a plug in it." "I really think that, if the parents aren't going to stick together, they shouldn't make that kind of commitment to life," he said. "I watch some of these shows from over in Africa, and you've got starving women with six kids. Well, how about, you know, put a plug in it? It's like, you shouldn't be having children if you can't feed them."

157 comments sorted by best / new / date

    There was a time when James and Dave were on top of their game and certainly could be considered among the best of that genre.
    Okay Dave
    The 3 most humble people on the planet were are Myself, Dave Mustaine and Gandhi.
    In fairness, he is a really good rhythm player.
    He's a fantastic rhythm player, same with Hetfield. I know almost nothing about Malcolm Young though.
    Basically Malcolm plays every single ACDC riff. And the riffs are the only good thing about ACDC too
    There's only "favorite musicians", not "best musicians". You can't make lists about an art so subjective as music. You can try, because it's fun, but most people will always disagree.
    there's a little riff machine called tony iommi. just sayin'.
    I can't help but wonder what Iommi might have been able to do on the guitar had his finger tip not been severed. He soldiered on pretty well but i bet he would have been a lot more advanced as the years went by.
    the man is just amazing, you really can't help but wonder, what would have happen had he not been injured. watched the classic albums episode about sabbath a couple of days ago, and he completely blew me away.
    If he didn't loose his finger tip, a lot of contemporary music would sound very different (assuming someone else wouldn't have started using power chords), try count the songs that have used the 1st and perfect 5th chords since he started using them and how many songs used them before.
    Yep. Although he's the only guitarist in Sabbath and so technically not a "rhythm guitarist", I think deep down that's the kind of player he was. It wasn't his solos and leads that truly defined him although he did write a few good ones. It was those 500 ton riffs he wrote that basically kick-started a whole new genre of music.
    I can't help but wonder what Iommi might have been able to do on the guitar had his finger tip not been severed. He soldiered on pretty well but i bet he would have been a lot more advanced as the years went by.
    As much as I love Sabbath, Iommi's riffs are pretty basic. I wouldn't put him anywhere near the top of the list.
    Back in the 70's nobody was doing what Sabbath was doing. They're basic as in being at the base of the modern rock and metal foundation.
    Yeah but I think for the sake of Dave's argument, Tony is THE guitar player in Black Sabbath. Dave is talking about (I think) of the bands with a lead guitarist and a rhythm guitarist. Then again, it wouldn't be the first outlandish statement/diss that he's ever said, nor would it be the last. Although why we're reporting about something he originally said back in 1995, I have no clue
    iommi is a riff lord as was jimmy page and jerry cantrell, but take page out of that list and theyre actually just average guitarists, and they stood alone on guitar in their band when dave is referring to bands like metallica megadeth slayer that had rhythm and lead guitarists
    Even though he is flattering himself, I do agree that James and Malcolm are among two of the greatest rhythm guitarists.
    hmmmmm lets think on this shall we..... mustaine was the lead guitarist of metallica and originally metallica was a one guitarist band before james was taught how to play guitar by dave mustaine.....
    Actually, Hetfield learned how to play guitar all by himself way before he met Dave. He just preferred singing over playing guitar at the time
    and malcolm young was NOT a good rhythm player, sure he could play AcDc's rhythms, but what guitarist with at least 5 minutes of practice cant?
    Rhythm isn't about playing amazing solos or difficulty, it's about making a groove with the drums and bass for the rest of the band to follow. Plus, Malcolm Young wrote nearly all of AC/DC's songs.
    Maybe that's true if you only listen to rock and metal. I guess when I think of amazing rhythm guitarists I think of session guys like Nile Rodgers or Steve Lukather, and it's just not even the same thing.
    Word. Steve Lukather is a beast. He is one of the most underrated players nowadays IMO. Dude played on over 1000 albums but people still don't seem to know him (curse of session musicians I guess). He is known among musicians tho (especially schooled musicians). His phrasing and bends are the best I ever heard, he can be blistering fast or play one of the most emotional solos ever, from pop to jazz fusion. He finally got some more recognition with G3 I guess. I dare to say he played better than Vai and Satriani. Give this guy a listen, such a modest, nice and funny cat!
    Big fan of Mustaine and Megadeth but i don't like when people are TOO proud of themselves you know?
    I'm much more of a rhythm dude than lead and Dave was my number one influence in my teens. My top 3? 1: Dave Mustaine 2. Jon Schaffer 3. Eric Peterson Stereotypical metalhead top 3 but at the end of the day I'm a stereotypical metalhead so I don't really care.
    It's great to see someone acknowledging Peterson's rhythm playing. In my opinion, he's one of the finest and most underrated rhythm guitarists in thrash. Also, he has developed his lead playing over the course of his career. Although I'm not a fan of Iced Earth, I admire Schaffer's playing. As far as thrash rhythm playing goes, Jeff Waters is another amazing guitar player, but he is overlooked because people tend to view him as more of a lead guitar player.
    Jon and Eric are both underrated. I think Dave deserves recognition alongside James since they both helped shape their sound together
    Jon Schaffer has to be one of the most underrated rhythm guitarists alive. Some of his rhythms are just blowing my ass off every time I hear them.
    My Last Words
    Not trying to be a nitwit here, but Jon schaffer can produce more notes in one minute of sole downpicking than Dave can in a lifetime.
    Dave was never a boring chugging downpicker. He had movement in his rhythms...more so than even Hetfield.
    Because it's all about how fast you can do anything. METULZ 4 LYFE.
    Actually not all metal is speed oriented, but there are subgenres in which speed is very important in order to maintain a certain aesthetic. So **** yeah metal for life.
    He is right, but the order should probably be 1) James 2) Dave 3) Malcom Dave's leads are better, but James isn't known as "The BADDEST right hand in metal" for nothing!
    The guy puts himself in the list. So humble. The guy puts Hetfield in the list. Dave, they're never taking you back.
    considering the success of Megadeth and especially the more recent demise of Metallica as a TRUE metal band, I would think he's pretty happy doing his own thing...
    I don't really care about Mustaine and this topic, but I've always been impressed by Chris Cornell as a rhythm guitarist
    Did anybody read the article? He said that at one point him, James, and Malcolm were the best rhythm guitar players. he amended that statement by saying that there's more great players, but at that point in time he felt that he was being truthful.
    most of daves great works are behind him and he doesnt stand with the new ages guitarists like loomis, brodrick angelo, buckethead etc, but he was amazing and ahead of his time in the 80's and 90s
    Is he being a bit cocky? Maybe. Is he right? Its subjective but I gotta agree with him there. When I think of the best rhythm guitar players in rock music those 3 definitely come to mind.
    i love how because of social media people pretend Dave isnt a good rhythm guitarist or they just dont have a clue what hes actually produced and theyre just metallica nitwits.... lets look at his resume shall wee.. tornado of souls, amazing guitar work 100% from him and friedman hangar 18 holy wars killing is my buisnss lucretia the kiling road victory blackmail the universe sudden death public enemy no.1 washington is next no dave isnt the best rhythm guitarist in the world but hes better than james hetfield in 90% of his songs minus, super collider, cryptic writings, and risk he rips solos that jams could never play... he isnt the best guitarist ever but he is a great rhythm guitarist and an excellent song writer so before we bash him we should think past his dumb rants
    I think Dave has been hangin' out with Yngwie.
    Velcro Man
    He certainly wasn't PRACTING with Yngwie...
    I think Dave is a good, solid musician. However, I'm just not crazy about musicians publicly patting themselves on the back whilst saying they are one of the best in the field. It comes off as extremely pretentious and displays a huge lack of respect for any other musician in their field. He just "one-ups" other people to try to hide his pretentiousness, which, he fails horribly at.
    Oh my god **** off dave, most metalheads have no natural sense of rhythm. Their idea of 'rhythm' is just 16th note lines on the E and A string. Go listen to some jazz/latin jazz. Thats rhythm, and i doubt dave could play it.
    Ah Ultimate-Guitar, where an article about Rhythm Guitar players turns in to MegadetH vs Radiohead in less than 10 comments.
    Maybe in metal but I definitely know rhythm guitarists out of the metal category that are freaking electric.
    What's the criteria for "rhythm" guitarists? Does that mean they, for the most part aren't playing the leads in the band? Or just best at playing riffs without screwing up? Or writes the best rhythms? I got answers for all three lol. To me, the best rhythm guitarists are the ones who write the best rhythm guitar parts. Thus, Chuck Schuldiner, Gary Holt, and Josh Elmore are my current favorites.
    I've never heard of this Myself guy. Wierd name. Is he really that good?
    Nile Rogers would probably want a word but he's too busy being cooler and richer than Dave. Dave couldn't make a funk/disco hit for toffee. Hush your gums Dave Mustard.
    Funk can be hard as fvck to play on the guitar and bass. Great music.
    hahah THOM YORKE is far better than you
    You can't be serious omg... Thom York is one of the deepest **** in music... That guy has so much ego for nothing... Since Kid A he always made same shit... Atoms for Peace is even worse than Lulu... ... ... ...
    are you kidding me ? I think you mix up Yorke and Liam gallagher Acdc give the same riff and beat cd after cd, but you can't complain about the creativity of radiohead, year after year they put out fantastic musics. just think about the quantity and originality of the chords used in radiohead's music, they are a step forward
    Are you kidding me? Radio head is simple and dull. To dub Yorke the best at anything (or even saying he is good for that matter) would be a joke.
    *Sigh* Metalheads...
    Please don't be pretentious about music. It doesn't help Radiohead's case to be condescending to people who don't like them. You're just confirming for lots of people that Radiohead fans are pretentious. Radiohead doesn't magically make people who like them better than anyone else.
    The Virtuoso
    I'm not sure if you're responding to me, but let me assume you are. I am pretentious about art. Deal with it. I really don't think Radiohead cares what some anonymous user writes online, and I really doubt it will affect the quality of Radiohead's music or their wellbeing. Lots of fans of bands are pretentious. This is not a new phenomenon. I don't think anyone is claiming to be superior because he likes Radiohead. Third eye and I are simply saying anyone who says Radiohead is simple or untalented is an idiot. Call them dull all you want, but don't dare doubt their musical abilities or creativity.
    A person with the username "I am metalhead" made a stereotypically closed-minded comment. I think the response was fair. He doesn't have to LIKE them, but to say they are "dull and simple" is objectively dumb.
    Velcro Man
    I think you don't understand the definition of objective. Dull and stupid is subjective and their opinion, you might find Radiohead to be amazing, but other people don't.
    The Virtuoso
    Don't lump all metalheads in with those wankers. I absolutely love Radiohead and Thom Yorke, and if you can't recognize how talented they are, you are an idiot. These three are nothing compared to someone like Vinny Raniolo. Even in metal, there are, were, and always will be rhythm players who are much more accomplished than these three. Hell, I'm sure there are bedroom shredders who are more technically capable (and perhaps smarter) than special Dave. Writing songs is a different matter, and I will take Thom York every day of the week over any of these three.
    oh my god :O same shit ??? kid a is a same shit as in rainbows ?? dude u r drunk with your bullshits !! even a Kid can find them totally different ... paradox all over ur bullshits ! atom for peace have a new sound in all the ways And you say same shit ??? talking about same shit>> ... i'd listen to Megadeth
    > Poor grammar, punctuation, and use of chat language > Vague unfounded opinion put forth as fact, and other opinion-based statements clearly not corresponding with reality > Disregards others opinions as uncorrect based on own > Buzzword comparisons > Upvoted It's happening, what we all feared - The new generation of 12 year old "metalheads" have arrived...
    Velcro Man
    You can't really criticize bad grammar when you have no idea how commas work. Also, "uncorrect" isn't word. Another thing, just because you find a band shit doesn't mean your opinion is somehow unfounded, the measures of a good guitarist are highly subjective. Let me guess, you're 14?
    23, your guess is slightly a tad off - My own less-than-perfect spelling and use of commas can mainly be attributed to that english isn't my first language to begin with, yet I still try the best I can to proofread whatever I post, and don't make obvious and awful mistakes - Furthermore, his opinion is highly unfounded. Radiohead have changed their between each album within the last 14 years, and you have to probably be deaf, or not know a single damn thing about musical genres to notice that, probably both. It's like claiming that The Sex Pistols are free-form jazz - You can attribute opinion to that claim, but it's a claim that is none the less still blatantly incorrect by measure of common sense. You're correct in that the measures of a good guitarist but differing opinions are usually put forth in a respectful and, especially on this site, musically knowledgable manner - GALGOPOWER is making an "apples and oranges" comparison, doesn't even bother elaborating his stance, he just mindlessly bashes it. It's a worthless and immature comment by every standard possible, and doesn't contribute anything to the discussion, just like any other instance of mindless shit-talking.
    Fuck Thom Yorke. I know he's your hipster god. Radiohead is overrated as ****. I actually agree with Dave here.
    i wouldnt go as far as saying **** thom yorke, but Radiohead is overrated (and one of my favorite bands, along with Megadeth)and pretty much everything after Kid A blows IMO.
    Both great albums.
    Some songs stand out. But not really the whole album. In Rainbows was a big step up from these other attempts.
    In Rainbows was more consistent, but didn't do much for pushing the envelope. There wasn't much that kept me going back to that album over and over like Amnesiac did, even though it's hit and miss. Even the weak points are at least intriguing.
    Completely agree, I guess I got too angry there for a second. I didn't mean Fuck Thom Yorke, I think he's talented. Some upvotes would be appreciated!
    So a bit of acoustic strumming is more impressive than 220 bpm downpicking?
    My Last Words
    You really really really can't compare the two... ..However, I have to give credits to Thom Yorke & co for consistency. 2007's In Rainbows was flat out impeccable. Megadeth's latest releases, on the other hand.. I love both bands though.
    It's about how creative and heartfelt the music is, not how fast you can hit a string.
    not how fast you can hit a string, how fast you can hit a string only downpicking \m/
    And once again he misses the point. The problem about his comment was not about the "Right to have a child", because in that regard, he was actually right. Starving Africans, in an ideal world, should not get that many damn children. The PROBLEM about his comment is that it's not their damn choice. First of all in many of those countries, most girls are raped before the age of 12, and secondly, religious cults (that he would likely support in the west) has a stranglehold on many African communities, which makes sure that the consenting adults will not use protection - and, just for the record, in some nations also have a tendancy of deeming children to be witches and kill them. I swear, this guy is so far removed from reality that he's actually doing a 360 on me. It's getting really funny.
    It's the same the world over. People shoot off a little and people take them seriously and then that person tries to save face by standing by what he said or by changing what he said a little.
    Replace Hetfield with Scott Ian and I would agree.
    Anty 7
    Hetfield really is a beast with incredible precision, finesse and sense of rhythm. Scott Ian doesn't compare, there are far better rhythm guitarists in thrash alone. Lars on the other hand... http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may11/ar...
    Should study Anthrax's music as hard as you've done with 'tallica. There are actually few rhythm players as tight as Ian in metal. I'd actually only consider Max Cavalera over Hetfield and Ian, in terms of thrash.
    C'mon man, are you kidding? Hetfield is a TREMENDOUS rhythm player...seriously. Have you heard of Hetfield? Ever listen to one song?
    Oh dave, you never were the best. You're just a sloppy drunk, and the most feeble minded metalhead I've ever heard of. You gotta take this hobby either more serious or way less serious.
    Listen to Rust in Peace and shut your mouth.
    Velcro Man
    Well, Marty Friedman was pretty good on the album, but Mustaine really is just kinda sloppy and not that great. He can WRITE good songs, but he's just not that great of a guitarist by comparison to pretty much every guitarist in metal
    Wasn't it Mustaine who played all the rhythms on the Megadeth records anyway, i'm pretty sure Marty just did his leads.
    mustaine had recorded all the rhythms before marty was even in the band. marty just played leads. and nowadays that dave is sober, he plays way more complex rhythms then james all while singing. id definitely put them in the same class
    what... have u ever heard tornado of souls, yea sure the solo is amazing by friedman but the rhythm is fantastic one of the best riffs ive ever heard from a song.... imo the number 1 solid thrash riff ive ever heard and he doesnt miss a beat when he plays it live so you rally need to listen to more than 2 songs by megadeth or stfu
    Okay, all you guys, check out these bands and please forget about mustaine; -Tool (now that's complex) -Exivious (!!) -Cynic
    Rhythm players are failed lead players. Doesn't mean there aren't great rhythm players who are very good at what they do. Just sayin.
    I would definitely say James and Malcolm are two of the best rhythm guitarists, but I wouldn't put Dave in that conversation because I feel that takes away from his lead playing.
    well hes right. i dont have a porsche becouse i cant afford the insurance alone. same difference.
    at the time it couldve been perfectly plausible to consider them the best rhythm guitarists, but it ultimately all falls to opinions. I personally think that during the 80s and 90s they were the best of the best, but nowadays so many great guitarists have come each time more and more talented. I personally think that all the best rhythm guitars of today are coming from Japan, but as I said, its all opinions.
    Malcolm Young is THE best rhythm guitarist, and I don't care for Dave's self-promotion to the title.