The Music Blog: Hello Its Me Again

You have to say this in your best Sean Penn stoner surfer valley voice.

“It’s better than death man, you now they’re mega. Megadeth brah.”

Dave Mustaine and his band Megadeth.

I am sure you know the story. Dave Mustaine was the original guitarist for Metallica but his drinking and drug use got too much for them so one night they tossed him and his gear out of the van. He was angry and certainly felt his behavior wasn’t any worse than any of those other guys. So he made a vow, sort of a vow of revenge do it better faster harder than Metallica and he named his band Megadeth to send that message. Some say that feud is long over some say it isn’t. He wasn’t invited to Metallica’s Rock Hall of Fame presentation and felt slighted. I have always wondered why Metallica made the hall of fame anyway. It’s ridiculous to say they are some sort of legendary band. They aren’t. They are sellouts, every last one of them and it aggravates me a little that Dave Mustaine, who I love so much, would want to be affiliated with them anyway.

Sellouts? Really Samurai Mike? That seems harsh. Are you drunk? Excuse me have you seen the title of my page.

First if all this isn’t a blog about Metallica which by the way in my home is pronounced Metal-Licka. I am not a fan of theirs. Don’t for a second think I resent them or call them sell outs because of their black album which was clearly a successful attempt to give them access to a wider audience and make a little money. Bands are entitled to make money anyway they want and anyway they can. Believe me if I felt or thought for a second I could make money writing plays I would do so even though I don’t particularly like plays. I would do it just so that it might give me a little inroad into getting something I do love published. So I don’t fault Metallica for changing their music a bit. Dave Mustaine actually followed their lead and did the same. Metallica doesn’t quite reach my hate category because of some of those more commercially successful songs several of which I love. I still think their Whiskey in the Jar cover is drop dead amazing. My issue with Metallica is their position on Napster.

Now before you go all nutsy on me I will explain. When the big downloading craze hit many people jumped in enthusiastically. I know I did. Then one day this realization hit that what I was doing was stealing. Even if I were downloading an Aerosmith album and those guys are gazillionaires it was wrong. I know how hard it is to get something published and I know what those repeated rejection letters do. It’s why I don’t like the term one hit wonder. People say that in some mocking way not realizing how much work how many rejections went into that one hit song. Those artists should be enormously proud. I feel about the same when people tell me to keep putting myself out there or chastising me because I complain because no one is reading my blog as I do when people minimize my vision impairment. Just get out there its easy just do it. They aren’t the ones who have to deal with the falls the running into things with getting lost 2 miles from your house and not being sure how to get home, the fear I have of crowded places, the fear of getting on a plane. Just like that they don’t have to deal with the heartbreaking rejection that eats away at your confidence and at your heart and your soul. Being told how long it took Stephen King to get published or JK Rowling doesn’t help it just adds pressure and they don’t have to deal with that either.

I don’t blame Metal-Licka for wanting to be paid for their music, for their work because they are entitled to get paid for their work. I am angry with them for being the face of the stance against Napster. Metallica had to work their ass off almost double what other bands had to because when they started it was all spandex and hairspray and that’s what clubs wanted. No one wanted speed metal. Venues were few and far between and because of that Metallica built their fan base brick by brick, fan by fan through the underground, which meant young people who loved that style of music handing bootleg tapes to their buddies and saying, “listen to this.” It made them look petty, clueless and unappreciative to their fans to be bashing Napster. They should have left that to another band or bands, other artists. They were right but they should have realized better who their fans were and they didn’t.

Of course this isn’t a blog about Metal-licka. Oops! My bad!

For the record I am not a big fan of speed metal. If you know me then you know that for the most part speed metal violates one of my rules that music should be easy to digest, meaning it has a melody and speed metal just doesn’t meet this requirement. I have some too, beyond Megadeth and Metal-licka. I became interested in Metal-licka because of a seminar I went on about the evils and dangers of rock music and part of that seminar dealt with album covers, Master of Puppets a Metal-licka album was one of those covers. So naturally since the entire seminar was comical I had to have the album. I have other albums by metal-licka because of the very human story of Cliff Burton. Megadeth was not a band I was interested in until the Cryptic Writings album which was really Mustaine’s response to Metal-licka’s black album. On that album there is the song Almost Honest and I fell in love with the guitar riff. Because of that song and album which I bought I wanted more and so I bought more. I bought everything up to that time and discovered something unique about Mustaine. Sure he has some music I just don’t care for, but he also is incredibly intelligent and witty which comes out in his lyrics. He really had a lot to say a lot more than what I ever expected. He had some genius songs and I think he is a brilliant guitarist. Countdown to Extinction, Peace Sells But Who’s Buying and Symphony of Destruction are amazing songs. Hangar 18 is a speed metal masterpiece. My favorite though is Sweating Bullets for the absolute absurdity of the song, the brilliant conversation with himself. There is a tremendous depth to Mustaine as a songwriter.  Mustaine has fought demons including a serious drug addiction. He has fought through injuries related to a serious accident where he was told he wouldn’t be able to play again. He found God, lost his sister to cancer and then had to fight his own cancer. I have followed him on Twitter and I find him honestly a lot like Marilyn Manson, witty, sometimes charming, sometimes humble and sometimes snarky as he can be. He is not almost honest, he is incredibly honest something you don’t get from a lot of other stars. I have enormous respect for him. Megadeth isn’t for everyone. You can say that about any band. The Beatles aren’t for everyone. Beethoven isn’t for everyone. Zappa isn’t for anyone, seriously, Zappa isn’t even music. I am certainly not going to suggest that you run out and buy all of his music or even spend time listening to the music I will share on facebook over the next couple of days. I expect that most of you know what you like and what you won’t like. Me? I will listen to anything once and most things twice except for, oh we don’t need to go there again.

If you think though that Megadeth is just heavy speed metal then you will be right and a little wrong. There are many songs that are just good old fashioned rock and roll songs. Mustaine has clever riffs and hooks can really play and has a really rare ability at tongue in cheek lyrics that will at times leave you chuckling. I always love an artist that doesn’t take himself too seriously. I think Dave Mustaine is one of those guys.

Mike out

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