Megadeth's Dave Mustaine: My Life in 15 Songs

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

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"Hangar 18"

Rust in Peace (1990)

"Hangar 18" was something I had from the band I was in before Metallica [called Panic], also. It was called "N2RHQ" and it was about an environment that was up on another planet, and as it morphed through going into Metallica and us deciding whether we were gonna do that song, I just waited to revisit it in Megadeth, just like in Panic, I had the song "Rust in Peace ... Polaris" completely done; it was called "Child Saint" back at that time. And I'm sure that if I would've shown it to the guys, Metallica probably would've recorded that one also.

The lyrics about Area 51, that was Nick [Menza, drums]. He believed in alien lifeforms; I didn't. I believe that there's a spiritual world and there's stuff that we see and stuff that can't be seen, but as far as, like, aliens, I've never seen one. So what do I know? There could be. I figured it makes great song material [laughs]. "Hangar 18" was a song that, to me, was another song with a really driving [guitar riff], pedaling on the D string and then the moving chord on everything else with a floating bass line like the Beatles thing on "Holy Wars ... the Punishment Due."

The chords and chord movements are similar to [Metallica's "Call of Ktulu"], but it's definitely not the same. You can go on the Internet and look up the four-chord songs and you'll find 300 or 400 of them. "Call" was completely, 100 percent my song. I wrote every fucking note in that song before they changed it from [demo title] "When Hell Freezes Over." They added this long drawn-out part in the middle of it and I don't know where that came from. It was really strange the first time actually hearing it because it took on this really, like, orchestral modulation to it. It was one of those pieces that moved me so much that I think, "Hey, my piece with that piece really made something fantastic."

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