Outside of Ted Nugent at his cat-scratchiest, I can't really think of
another musician whose new albums I look forward to more for the accompanying
press material than for the music itself than Megadeth's ever-quotable
leader, Dave Mustaine.
Perhaps you've seen the video for "Crush 'Em," which features noted
nonmusical headbangers Jean-Claude Van Damme and Goldberg. Well, here's
Dave's comment on the video: "As a martial artist, I respect Van Damme,
and I admire Goldberg's athletic abilities." Note that there's nary a
word here about Van Damme as an actor or Goldberg as a wrestler
Mustaine ingeniously says something technically nice about these two
testosterone-clogged clods without having to address the reality-check
fact that if you handed both of them paper bags, Van Damme couldn't act
his way out and Goldberg couldn't fight his way out. Brilliant!
The impetus for penning "Crush 'Em" (RealAudio
excerpt), Mustaine explains, stems from his love of ... hockey!
"I go to a lot of Phoenix Coyotes games and whenever they score a goal,
they play 'Rock and Roll, Part II' by Gary Glitter, and I'm just tired
of that song. I thought maybe we could do something that is celebratory
So, dig, you've got this great visual combination of Coyote goalie (best
name in the NHL) Nikolai Khabibulin making a skate save with one of
Glitter's foot-high platform boots "inspiring" a knuckle-scraping stomp
whose chorus sounds an awful lot like Alice Cooper's "School's Out"
which actually makes it even cooler, since it only adds to the
fun of trying to figure out precisely what goes on in that mysterious
space between our boy Mustaine's sonically addled ears that results in
the kind of stuff found on (bet you thought we'd never get to it!)
Megadeth's new collection, Risk.
Take the leadoff track, "Insomnia" (RealAudio
excerpt). Now we all know that when he was just a young cracked
pup, Mustaine was a member of Metallica, and they had that big bit with
"Enter Sandman." With "Insomnia," however, Mustaine and crew create enough
hellacious noise to make damn sure nobody gets to Never-Neverland.
And we just love the fact that whenever there's a semblance of melody
lurking about as on "Breadline" [RealAudio
excerpt] (great song, by the way), "I'll Be There" and "Ecstasy"
they throw in a tambourine to subliminally get you thinking more
pop than thrash.
Either way, though, sturm or drang, what you get throughout this
album fits quite nicely into the basic Megadeth (as they say on the police
blotter) "profile": Plenty of accelerated lane-change-without-signaling
riffs, plenty of lyrical references to the wages (not to mention the 401K
plans) of sin, and besides, what can be said about Dave Mustaine's
caterwauling vocal that he himself can't say far better than we?
"I took vocal lessons before I went in the studio," discloses Dave, "Which
helped me improve my posture and technique."
To which all we can say is if improved posture makes you sound like Geddy
Lee being scalded in the shower a sound Mustaine approximates on
the frighteningly Rush-like "Time: The Beginning" perhaps he should
think about seeing a chiropractor rather than a vocal coach next time