Monday, September 12, 2011

Metal Memoir: Mustaine

This one has been a long time coming.

I've put this book on hold at the library four times, and each time, when it comes in, I forget to go to the library and pick it up.  By the time I remember, my hold has expired, and the book is off in someone else's hands.  Fifth time's the charm though, and with late fines through the roof, I pushed this one not only up to the top of my 'to read' pile, but also up to the top of my 'to review' pile.

So what is book all about?  Well, Mustaine is the memoir of Megadeth's founder, frontman, and guitarist, Dave Mustaine.

Ever since the Countdown to Extinction album came out and subsequently rocked my 11 year old world,  Megadeth has been one of my favorite bands.  Though my fanaticism for the band has faded a bit over the years, their power trio of albums, Rust in Peace, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia are still incredible and get steady play in my stereo.  So, when Mustaine came out last year, I thought it might be cool to give it a read and hopefully learn a little bit about one of my favorite musicians and favorite bands.

Well, I sure did learn a lot.  Like how many times Mustaine has been in rehab, (17 times), how much getting kicked out of Metallica haunted him for years, how many chicks he banged, and how many lineup changes Megadeth has been though over the decades.

And, that's pretty much the whole book in a nutshell.  There's some bits about his sadly messed up childhood, and some bits about his personal life, but make no mistake, this is a memoir that covers what the fans wanna read about: sex, drugs and rock n' roll.  With slightly more emphasis on the drugs.

I guess I'm not your typical Megadeth fan because the thing is, I was sort of hoping for more information about his guitar playing technique, which I feel he downplayed in favor of giving props to other band members, and more information about the band, song writing processes, album recording, inspiration, and that sort of stuff.  Sure, Mustaine did cover all those things to some degree in the memoir, but very little amount of the book is focused on those items.

As I mentioned earlier, much of the focus is on drug use in Mustaine which makes sense, given how large of a role it played in his life for many years. But hearing story after story about how drugs ruined a relationship with a band-mate, got him in trouble, or jeopardized his career got a little tiresome for me, while other aspects that I'd have liked to read more about were merely given lip service.

The aspect I appreciated the most was Mustaine's openness about himself, his drug use, his sometimes caustic relationships with band mates and the controversy over his expulsion from Metallica.  While every story was, of course, told from his point of view, I felt like he was very candid about what happened, honest and up front about his own role, no matter how shameful, in the various events.  I got the sense that it has taken a lot of time and soul searching for Mustaine to come to terms with his past and own up to his actions.

Overall, this was a mostly interesting read, though maybe not such a sure fire hit for non-Megadeth fans.  If you do happen to be a fan, there is some interesting stuff here, especially in terms of Megadeth line-up lore (nearly as many band members as rehab trips).  If nothing else, Mustaine will inspire you to stay away from drugs, and listen to good music!

Grade: C+

Warning: scientific experiments enacted upon goofy looking aliens!


Justin said...

I agree. Parts of it were interesting but unlike most people I'm tired of reading about rock n roll cliches (drugs, rehab, fights, etc).

Ryan said...

Have you read any other "Metal Memoirs"? It seems like everyone is getting a book these days.