Megadeth's Dave Mustaine: My Life in 15 Songs

Singer/guitarist reflects on nearly four decades of thrash-metal masterpieces

"Ride the Lightning"

Metallica's Ride the Lightning (1984)

There's certain riffs that you hear, and you just know who the songwriter is. And I'm not talking about just when I write. So there are certain parts of "Ride the Lightning" and "Leper Messiah" and the first album, all that stuff, you can tell little things that are similar with Megadeth's guitar playing 'cause you know there's so much you can do with an instrument. I think they did great with it.

I didn't write all of the music in "Ride the Lightning." Lars wrote the melodic intro, and then the next part I wrote and then the next part I wrote and then the next part and then it went back to his part and then it went back to my next three parts and then at that point ... who's keeping score?

I got over them using my songs a long time ago. You can obsess on shit like that or you can let it go, and nothing is gonna change it. You've got two great bands. We're friends. Stuff happened. Fuck, I forgave Ellefson after suing me for 18-and-a-half-million dollars, I can forgive those guys for using my songs. And honestly if it hadn't have been for that vehicle, what we started – and I mean we with a capital fucking W-E – you know, I think they did great. I'm really proud of them.

By the time we put out Killing in 1985, I had moved on. But I had all this stuff in my mind, in my catalog that I didn't get a chance to show those guys. We were progressing down a very simplistic road with that band. I can't remember who said it, but someone very prominent, very smart said, "Metallica is like to the Ramones what Megadeth are to the Clash." And I thought that's probably one of the best things I've ever heard. I saw another comparison "Metallica is Iron Maiden to Megadeth is Led Zeppelin" and I thought, "Hey that's really a good way to look at it, too." Because we are a little bit more twisty and turny.

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