Published July 02. 2013 4:00AM
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine is on vacation in Paris with his wife and daughters and, if there's any mercy in the world, he shouldn't have to do trans-Atlantic telephone interviews.
On the other hand, Megadeth is about to embark on the Gigantour 2013 - the fourth in a series of Mustaine-conceptualized traveling metal festivals. This latest version arrives at the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday and, along with Megadeth, features Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah, Newsted and Death Division.
A little publicity can only help, right?
"Oh, definitely, I'm always happy to talk about Gigantour," Mustaine says. "It's my wife who gets a little annoyed if we're on vacation. But she's down in the spa and doesn't know I'm doing this." He laughs. "So, if she comes in suddenly, don't be surprised if I say something like, 'Yeah, could you bring up some fresh towels?' and hang up on you."
As most fans know, Mustaine is not exactly the typical metal dude. The long-time addict has been sober for years, is a born-again Christian, and espouses a decidedly conservative political view. In the world of thrash, that he's been able to keep Megadeth at the top of the charts and filling arenas is a testament to his talent, charisma and the fact that Megadeth makes distinctive albums that fans love.
The band's latest and 14th studio album, "Super Collider," was released in June and, after numerous personnel shifts over the years, Megadeth seems to have settled into a solid lineup with Mustaine, co-founding bassist David Ellefson, guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover.
Here are excerpts from a recent conversation with Mustaine.
On being a thrash guitar hero, a dad to a teenage daughter, and the reality of multi-generational fan demographics:
"I look out from the stage every night and see fans that have clearly been with us for years. And right along with them are kids 18 years old - even younger than that - and they know all the songs.
"It's funny. Here in Paris, we were on this bridge and my daughter, who loves country music, points out this punker and says, 'Look at him, dad!'
"I said, 'He's totally cool.' And he is. Maybe the hair's a little different and the music's a little different - but what I see is the fire in the belly and someone who deserves to be treated the right way. Most people see a mosh pit and think it's violent but, no, it's a dance. It's expression. I was a surf rat and started playing guitar and got into Devo and the Dead Boys. Metal was a natural progression. It's all rebellion and expression through music."
On introducing up-and-coming bands to big crowds through Gigantour:
"Well, clearly, there are just some great young bands out there, and they deserve a chance and the exposure. Beyond just that, though, I hope we set an example for them because, let's face it: rock stars can act like jerks. I recently watched a very famous female pop singer in South America, and she had this polite tour guide. And she just poured a bottle of champagne over the guy's head because she felt like it. Completely uncalled for - and stuff like that gives all of us a bad name.
"Look, I've done a lot of things I'm not proud of, and I'm not a prude. I'll have a beer with you. But just to abuse celebrity power because you have it? This is a great job and I'm lucky. I remember so many times saying, 'Gosh, I just wish I could get a break.' You try so hard and want it so bad. And it happened. So it's a pleasure to bring these young guys out. The fans are going to love these bands. And from my perspective: who better to tell them the flip side of what's going on than someone who's been there?"
On how to stay fresh as a songwriter and keep the music from stagnating:
"I've never needed a booster shot in terms of inspiration. I think it's pretty simple, really. If you've got good influences, they'll rejuvenate you. Mine were the best: the Beatles for songwriting and Led Zeppelin for heaviness. Once I started to actually evolve on guitar and follow my own creative instincts, I got into Diamondhead and AC/DC and (Judas) Priest. (Laughs) On the other hand, you can't forget that rock 'n' roll always goes back to Robert Johnson."
On whether, considering he's written more than 100 songs, there are any tunes from the Megadeth catalog he refuses to play:
"Two. One is simply a song I didn't write, and the other has a black magic hex in it. I jumbled those lines out of responsibility to our fans. The song still makes sense, storytelling-wise, but the magic won't work. I think it's a great song, but I feel an obligation to let that one go."