Dave Mustaine's never been afraid to speak the truth — or at least his version of the truth. So when the Megadeth frontman is asked what exactly inspired his decision to pull an Ozzy and launch his own metal festival — the ominously named Gigantour — you'd expect him to come back with a biting comment about how he's trying to change the deplorable state of heavy metal for the better. Something like that.

But instead, Mustaine said his festival — which features Dream Theater, Nevermore, Dillinger Escape Plan, Life of Agony, Symphony X and his own band — is about spreading positive vibes, dude. And no, he's not looking to eradicate Ozzfest.

"I have no crosshairs on any of the other festivals," he said. "I'm not the giant-slayer that's gonna go take on these other festivals and make 'em look bad. I want to have a festival that's positive, encouraging, fun — something people will look forward to. After all, what are the first two syllables of festival? Festive, man!"

The bands the legendary metal axeman handpicked for Gigantour's inaugural trek, he says, craft and execute superb metal.

"The music business recently has been bereft of any kind of guitar heroes," he explained. "Certainly, the ones that show up in guitar magazines nowadays, who say they're guitar heroes, ain't the kind of heroes I knew growing up: [Michael] Schenker, [Jeff] Beck, Jimmy Page. Some of these guys today, it's like, 'OK, tune your guitar down to Z and never do a solo because it's not cool.'

"As of late, there have been numerous musicians who have decided to take naps onstage, and I don't want to be around that negativity. I wanted to have positive and encouraging bands out there who would be positive and encouraging for young people, young musicians, young music fans. People, they're gonna come [to Gigantour] and see people take a guitar and actually make it work."

Mustaine added, in so many words, that, at an average of $35 a ticket, Gigantour's a better headbang for the buck. He plans on adding one more band to the lineup — he has two in mind but hasn't decided which one to go with yet. He also said he hopes Gigantour becomes an annual event: "I would love to say 10 years from now, 'Thank you for you wishing me a happy 10th anniversary,' like Ozzfest," he said.

As for whether we'll see new material from Megadeth in the future, Mustaine didn't entirely rule it out. "You can probably expect to see some music come out of us at some point, whether I decide to call it Megadeth or go on as my own."

In the meantime, Capitol will release a collection of Megadeth tunes on June 28 called Greatest Hits: Back to the Start, and there's also a two-DVD retrospective, "Arsenal of Megadeth," due September 27.

Gigantour starts July 21 in Fresno, California, and runs through September 10 in Seattle.

The rest of the week's metal news:

Swedish thrash titans the Haunted — who'll be playing a number of Ozzfest off-dates this summer with Arch Enemy, Black Dahlia Murder, Shadows Fall and It Dies Today — recently shot a video for the track "No Compromise" with acclaimed director Roger Johansson (In Flames, Soilwork); look for it to debut on "Headbangers Ball" next month. Singer Peter Dolving described it as a "pretty boy-band video to make us ugly f---ers look sweeter than your next-door, Class-A, golden-boy jock meat." ... Less than two months after the death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson, American Head Charge have scheduled a full tour with Static-X. Dates run from June 13 in Tempe, Arizona, through August 15 in Portland, Oregon. Guitarist Benji Hellberg — who took Ottoson's place during the remaining shows of the Mudvayne tour — will play all shows. ...

Bassist Matt Deis has left Massachusetts metallers All That Remains "to pursue other exciting avenues," according to the band's Web site. In the same posting, it was revealed that Deis' replacement has already been found. Josh Venn of Blood Has Been Shed has decided he'd like to be in two bands — much like BHBS' singer, Howard Jones, who also fronts Killswitch Engage. ... Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society have shot a video for the "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott tribute track "In This River" with director Eric Zimmerman (Megadeth, Napalm Death). In the video, Wylde's seen strumming an acoustic guitar and seated at a grand piano set in the middle of a flowing river. Once the song reaches the guitar solo, the Wyldeman smashes his guitar and sets the piano ablaze. ...

On June 28, Twisted Sister will release the DVD-plus "Live at Wacken: The Reunion," which captures the band's 2003 appearance at the German rock festival. One side of the disc will be a DVD of the show and the other will feature a CD of the same concert. Twisted Sister will perform a show in Philadelphia on July 15 to help fund a liver transplant for their former sound engineer, Charlie Barreca. ... Monster-loving shock-rocker Alice Cooper will release his new album, Dirty Diamonds, on August 2. Cooper will also launch a tour with power-pop legends Cheap Trick on August 20 in Cincinnati, with dates running through September 16 in Phoenix. ... Industrial-tinged death-metal band Fear Factory will release their seventh album, Transgression, on August 23. The group will preview some of the songs live during the aforementioned Gigantour. ...

Alabama slammers Haste have spent the last few months writing material for the follow-up to 2003's The Mercury Lift. The band's completed a three-song demo, and in a posting on its Web site, guitarist Nick Brunson claims Haste have been getting some positive feedback on the tracks. "Most of the people that heard them said they liked it a lot," he wrote. "Maybe that's because I had a gun pointed at them and dared them not to like it." ... Death legends Obituary will film a video for "Insane" next week. The track's from the band's forthcoming, self-produced album, Frozen in Time, which hits stores July 19. ... Himsa have finished working on Hail Horror; look for a late September/ early October release. ... Death merchants Paria need a new singer. That's because barker Brian Craig's decided to pull a Rodney Dangerfield and go back to school to "further his education and continue pursuing a career." In the meantime, former Analog frontman Paul Pettit's been called on to substitute during Paria's August tour. It's quite possible he may become a permanent member of the band. ...

Finnish black-metal veterans Impaled Nazarene have just released the live album Death Comes in 26 Carefully Selected Pieces ahead of schedule. The record was recorded in Helsinki in December 2004 and includes the tracks "The Horny and the Horned," "Goat Perversions," "Motorpenis" and "The Endless War." ... "Osmose NoisyMotions," a two-and-a-half-hour black- and death-metal DVD, will be released August 23. The disc includes performances by Immortal, Absu, Melechesh, Dark Tranquillity and Abominator. ... The last three dates of Eyehategod's U.S. tour have been canceled due to "logistical reasons." Fans who bought tickets for shows in Birmingham, Alabama (June 16); Hickory, North Carolina (June 17); and Johnson City, Tennessee (June 18), can obtain refunds at point of purchase. ...