The fourth track on Megadeth's 2001 album, The World Needs a Hero, is "1000 Times Goodbye." Written as a breakup song, its title is more meaningful now that after nine studio albums and nearly 20 years, Megadeth have bid the world farewell.
Frontman Dave Mustaine made the announcement Wednesday (April 3) in a written statement. "For the time being, I have decided to exit Megadeth and explore other areas of the music business," he said.
Mustaine's decision was triggered by a series of episodes that date back to the beginning of the year. In January, he relapsed after over a decade of sobriety, a friend of the band said. He checked into a rehabilitation center in Texas, where he sustained an injury that caused severe nerve damage to his left arm and hand, endangering his ability to perform.
"My doctors tell me it will take about a year to make as complete a recovery as I can," he said. "And even then, we don't know how complete that is going to be. I am working hard with a great team of doctors and physical therapists daily, and God willing, someday I hope to play guitar again."
During his recovery period, Mustaine plans to spend more time with his wife, Pam, and his two children, Justis and Elektra.
"Pam has done a wonderful job carrying the load while I was a long-distance husband and father in the studio or crisscrossing the world on tour," he said. "But in terms of being a Gold or Platinum parent, I have a long way to go, and I'm eager to get started."
Mustaine thanked his fans for their longtime devotion and expressed gratitude for the success he's enjoyed over the years.
"I have had a terrific time singing and playing for you while I was in Megadeth," he said. "I can never thank you, our fans past and present, enough for your loyalty and affection."
Before forming Megadeth in late 1983, Mustaine was the guitarist for Metallica. He was booted from that band early that year for personal and creative reasons. The first Megadeth album, Killing Is My Business ... And Business Is Good! came out two years later and cemented the thrash band as a musical force to rival other dominant metal outfits of the era. Between 1990 and 1997, Megadeth garnered seven Grammy Award nominations for Best Metal Performance, though they never won.
The group scored its first mainstream success in 1986 with Peace Sells ... But Who's Buying? (A snippet of the title track is used as the musical outro for MTV News segments.) Megadeth's most successful record was Countdown to Extinction, which reached #2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
On the 1994 album Youthanasia, Megadeth shifted direction slightly, slowing their tempos and experimenting more with melody and atmosphere. The evolution continued through 1997's Cryptic Writings and hit a peak with the appropriately titled 1999 disc Risk, which included Middle Eastern string melodies on "Insomnia" and electronic-industrial clamor on the anthemic "Crush 'Em."
In 2001, Megadeth returned to their hard rockin' roots with The World Needs a Hero and recently released the double-disc live album Rude Awakening.