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Megadeth's Dave Mustaine: My Life in 15 Songs

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

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"In My Darkest Hour"

So Far, So Good ... So What! (1988)

I wrote the music when I heard that Cliff [Burton, Metallica bassist] had died. A friend of mine, "Metal" Maria Ferrero, called me to tell me that he had been in a bus accident. I took it really personal because, I figured, "You fuckers, you know we're all brothers in a band and he dies and you have someone else call me?" So I took it very, very, very bad. I've come to understand now that in grief, people do strange things so I've changed my outlook towards her calling me, but at the time I was very upset and I wrote the music in one sitting and then I started chipping away at the lyrics as fast as I could. ... It was a very, very painful period writing that music.

The last time I'd spoken to Cliff was probably at an odd show that I had gone to. Those guys were still threatened by me so I would never get a backstage pass; I'd always get an after-show pass, which I think is pretty chicken-shit. So whenever we would go to the concerts, me and Ellefson would see them after and we'd get invited to wherever they were partying. I didn't wanna go to a party; I wanted to come see my friends and hang out. But I guess we're not friends; the last time I talked to Cliff was probably at one of those shows that they had done in the States.

The "darkest hour" in the song is me knowing that I was alone. The lyrics are about Diana, my muse [laughs], the same woman I was dating around "Loved to Deth." I wrote "Tornado of Souls," "Trust," "This Was My Life," "99 Ways to Die" – those were all about her, too. I'm very, very happily in love with my wife, but there's only been one other person who's really gone to that depth inside my heart. And I think we all have that where we have a relationship with somebody we really fall in love with but it doesn't necessarily always last.

That song evokes a lot of feelings. The first time I played it, Cliff's mom and dad were at our show. I could do it in the studio and in rehearsal, but with them there, I could not get through it. You don't even know where those feelings come from. It's like, do I have these feelings? And then all of a sudden you do a song and we can't control ... It's like, shit, those are real. I didn't really have a chance to say goodbye. I mean, I didn't even know where he was buried. So that kind of shows how that all went down. But I'll see him in heaven. That's the cool thing. At least I believe that.

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