Dave Mustaine decided to take “a new angle towards writing” for Megadeth’s 14th studio album, “Super Collider,” whose No. 6 debut on the Billboard 200 is the group’s highest showing since 1994’s “Youthanasia.”
An astute and outspoken observer of both domestic and global politics over the years , Mustaine tells Billboard that he felt a change in tact would be prudent for the thrash metal group’s 11-song set.
“I thought it’s just not the same climate anymore where you can really talk about stuff like that,” he explains. “People are so polarized they’ll chuck a musician that they really like because of them being a Democrat or them being a Republican or whatever. I’m not a partisan guy, and I seem to always get lumped in as a Republican, which I’m not. So I was trying to walk away from all this controversy and stuff that seems to follow me and let the music do the talking.”
The focus for Mustaine on “Super Collider,” then, was “a little bit more about human politics this time, like my mother-in-law having Alzheimers and things like that. Not everybody watches the news, so when you tell somebody that this is going on, that’s going on, this guys is part of a cover-up, this guy is a philanderer, they don’t want to hear it. But if you say, ‘Hey, my mother-in-law has Alzheimers or something they might have going on in their life, too, all of a sudden you’ve got that bond. So I figured I would write about what goes on inside my heart instead of inside my head this time, and I think it really came across that way.”
He also notes with a laugh that the song “Burn!” is “the first record in my career I’ve actually said ‘baby’ in a song other than when I was mocking the girl that was the subject matter of the song ‘Love it to Death’ on my first record (1985’s ‘Killing Is My Business…’). It’s just so weird to sing that and know that I’ve never done it before.”
“Super Collider” — which features guest vocals by Disturbed/Device frontman Dave Draiman on “Dance in the Rain” and a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Sold Sweat” — is further distinguished as the first time since 1997 that Megadeth has made an album with the same lineup. Mustaine acknowledges that the sessions were more collaborative for the consistency, “especially for Shawn (Drover, drums) and Chris (Broderick, guitar). They did collaborate more. Dave (Ellefson) has been a songwriter for awhile, and he’s a talented songwriter and lyricist. Just like any situation, the more you have the same group of guys together the better you know each other and the more you feel like a unit. so everyone’s more comfortable putting out their ideas.”
Megadeth launches its next Gigantour package on July 3 in Gilford, N.H., with Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah, Newsted and Death Division. Mustaine feels that the lineup “has the potential to be a really, really cool Gigantour. All the bands on it are super-aggressive, just extreme metal.”
And he teases that he’s open to Jason Newsted’s proposal of joining forces for “an old Metallica song” at some point. Megadeth is also slated to play the Heavy MTL festival on Aug. 10 in Montreal and will be supporting Iron Maiden on a half-dozen U.S. shows and Black Sabbath on an October jaunt through South America.