As many of you may remember, Dave Mustaine was a member of the heavy metal giants Metallica from 1981 to 1983. In April, after his passion for alcoholism and drug abuse and overly aggressive behaviors, Dave Mustaine fired from the band.
Recently, one of the close friends of Metallica members, Scott Ian, opened up Metallica’s Dave Mustaine-era and recalled his firing. The 56-year-old musician said that Dave Mustaine was a kind of the not-fun guy when he would get too drunk and that it was the beginning of the end.
Scott Ian said, “They all drank, but Dave drank more than they did. [Laughs] And the difference with Dave was, from my memory of that time – ’cause we were there all the time, we were hanging out with them all the time…
“All those other guys would get drunk and it was always fun, and Dave was kind of the not-fun guy when he would get too drunk. I mean, everybody knows one guy like that. And I think that was basically the beginning of the end because now they were living together, and they were in close quarters all the time together.
“And I think they realized, they were, like, ‘How the hell are we gonna keep doing this and move forward if we’re constantly worrying about this?’”
When Scott Ian continued to his words, he remembered the first time he heard Dave Mustaine’s firing and revealed that Cliff Burton told him at first.
“I remember walking in one day and Cliff was standing outside having a smoke. And I went, ‘Hey man, what’s up?’ He was, like, ‘Not much. We fired Mustaine; he’s on a bus, he’s on a Greyhound back to the Bay Area.’
“And I was like, ‘Yeah, right…’ He was like, ‘No. I’m serious.’ And it’s Cliff, so he was that total ballbuster wise-ass, and he was just kind of smirking at me and I’m like, ‘Shut up. You’re playing a show week. Who’s gonna play guitar?’
“He was like, ‘We’ve already got a guy coming.’ I said, ‘Get the fuck outta here!’ He goes, ‘Go upstairs. Ask James.’ So, I go up to the room, they’re just kind of dicking around in the room – I don’t see Dave and I’m, like, ‘What’s going on? Cliff tells me you guys fired Dave…’”
Following, Scott Ian walked into Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield to talk about the issue. He said that when he asked about who would replace Dave Mustaine, Hetfield and Ulrich told Kirk Hammett.
“And Lars was like, ‘We did. Early this morning, we put him on a bus. He’s already five hours on the way back to California.’ ‘What? What?!’ We had no idea. I went, ‘What are you gonna do?’ ‘We’ve got this guy [Kirk Hammett] coming from this band Exodus that we know. He’s getting here tomorrow…’
“People don’t know that James wasn’t James yet. When I first met James, he would drink and he would change, but James, he was kind of like a shy, quiet dude. Dave was the mouthpiece. Dave was the guy. He was the frontman. 100%.
“He was the attitude, he was the personality. It was everything. And I was kind of like, ‘You think this is the right idea?’ ‘We had to – we couldn’t deal with it anymore. He was getting us into trouble.’
“Everyone knows the stories, but they just didn’t wanna have to deal with that. It was hard enough living on the floor of a freezing-cold building, I guess, and dealing with your own issues and have to worry about someone else’s… I mean, I get it. I understand.
“It’s what had to happen in that moment. I’ve been there myself, making personnel changes in my band. I understand it. Sometimes it’s the most impossible, worst thing in the world to have to do, but in order to take that next step forward, you have to.”
Scott Ian is currently promoting “The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo” with Mr. Bungle, who released an album for the first time ever after 21 years.
Watch the entire interview below.