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Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,634 ratings  ·  259 reviews
The fall and rise of a heavy metal icon

Dave Mustaine is the first to admit that he's bottomed out a few times in his dark and twisted speed metal version of a Dickensian life.

Impoverished, transient childhood? Check.

Abusive, alcoholic parent? Check.

Mind-fucking religious weirdness (in his case the extremes of the Jehovah's Witnesses and Satanism)? Check.

Alcoholism, drug a
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by It Books (first published 2010)
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Nathan Timmel

The main problem I had with it is the same one I had with both Slash's and Anthony Keidis' memoirs: WE GET IT, YOU WENT TO REHAB A LOT. Instead of taking one chapter and devoting it to the numerous times in and out of sobriety, it's done in "real time." So every time he goes into rehab, he writes about it and everything slows to a grinding halt. The other problem I had is the inability of people who replace their addiction to drugs/alcohol to an addiction to religion to understand that's all the
Dirk Grobbelaar
I think there are a lot of positive things that can come from a book like this. There are lessons here, and warnings, more than a few. It takes something to be this candid and open about the mistakes you’ve made, perhaps even more so if you’re Dave Mustaine. If you’ve ever read up about him, or if you’ve followed his career, you’ll know. He owns up to a lot here, generally clearing the water. Let’s face it, there’s only so much you can learn about someone like this on Wikipedia.

This is a confess
Ramakrishnan M
There was a time when Megadeth was my favorite-est band; Dave Mustaine (founder, leader, composer, singer, everything), personally, was GOD to me. I loved their aggressive music, I was inspired by their lyrics, and I could never stop talking about Megadeth with friends, family, whoever was tolerant to hear me out. Their music went through tumultuous ups and downs, and my personal tastes moved to more aggressive genres and artists. But, I always remained doggedly dedicated to the old era of Megad ...more
Darrell Reimer
It's hard to believe now, but there was a time when Metallica was scary. Not “discomfiting,” “unpleasant,” “grating” or “annoying” — scary. This was a pre-merch era, when kids cut the arms off their jean jackets and used a Bic pen to emblazon that scary band logo on the back. If there was any ink left in that crappy plastic tube, it was applied to the pants. After that, they might add some scary Metallica lyrics to the ink-heavy covers of their notebooks. Today that might be the equivalent of ta ...more
Dec 21, 2010 Charles rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who RAWK! (No poseurs!)
My impression of Dave Mustaine before this book was based almost exclusively on two things: his appearance in the rock star deconstruction piece Some Kind of Monster and his appearance on VH1's Rock N Roll Jeopardy. I'll get to the book in a minute, but those are really worth watching:

Some Kind of Monster clip
Rock N Roll Jeopardy clip

Pretty smart guy, eh? Granted, there are first semester ESL students that would have bested Frank Zappa's kid, and George Clinton's pregame ritual clearly failed
David Melbie
Apr 26, 2011 David Melbie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans and addicts
Recommended to David by: my son, Andy
Occasionally I like to read about musicians and their "war stories" and this is a very good story. I have always preferred Megadeth over Metallica, for reasons that have to do with the music itself. After reading this book, I am convinced that Metallica made a big mistake firing Mustaine. Of course, Mustaine still managed to gain success without them, so it all worked out. The important aspect of this story is the triumph of the will, surrendering and changing bad habits. Mustaine is a survivor, ...more
Lo stile è scontato. Così come molto di quanto vi si narra. Tuttavia non è un libro sciatto. Descrive impietosamente, a volte con disgustoso realismo, il cammino di un (ex) ragazzo californiano qualsiasi, con un'infanzia non troppo bella, che ha tratto il massimo dalla sua passione in modo fortunato e fortunoso, sempre camminando a braccetto con una perversa cupio dissolvi; e di come sia infine ... uscito a riveder le stelle. Il racconto ha un pregio di sottofondo: rappresenta in modo involontar ...more
Entertaining enough, but not exactly what I was hoping for. What I really wanted was an in-depth look into the creative process behind Megadeth's music; instead, what I mostly got was detailed account of Mustaine's battles with drug addiction and his revolving-door approach to hiring and firing band members.
Megadeth has always been one of my all-time favorite bands, but I'm not the kind of person to take my fandom to extremes by joining a fan club, collecting live bootlegs, or arguing with hater
I've cheered him on for over 20 years...great musician - but what a retard. And this book is proof.
I'm glad the book ended the way it did: Dave is still alive, still making music, still married, still learning about Christianity. Go Dave!

I read this biography in 3 days. A fun fast romp through the dark side of the music industry. (is there even a light side?) I've read numerous music biographies: and they're pretty much all the same. Maybe someday Bruce Hornsby will write one; that would be diff
Randolph Lalonde
I've been a fan of Megadeth since Peace Sells. My love for David Mustaine's sound (he is the lead guitarist, singer, and writer for the band - also the only original member), redoubled when the album "Rust In Peace" came out. I idolized the drummer of that period, Nick Menza, and when the lineup changed again, leaving him out of the band with other members, I found myself asking a lot of questions. Those questions were left mostly unanswered until I read this book.

It's carefully written, and whi
Chris Reading
Warts and almost all.

Despite his many public whinges, I'm a massive fan of Dave Mustaine. He is one of the most underrated guitarists and song writers out there. The guy has had a difficult and chequered past, through his childhood, to being kicked out of Metallica and rising like a pheonix in the form of Megadeth. The majority of this is covered though this well written and engrossing read. There is much about Dave's childhood and formative years, helping us discover what makes the guy tick. We
Okay, so I kind of feel bad for giving this only three stars. I know, I know Dave Mustaine isn't a writer, he had help-- and my issue is not with the writing or the book, as it's pretty standard for random celebrity biography. It's just that Dave Mustaine comes off as overly fucking unmetal, in a bad way. I don't want anyone to think I want my rockstars filling typical male roles... but they don't have to spend over 100 pages convincing me (but not very convincingly) that they aren't egonmaniaca ...more
If you can't make yourself look like the good guy in your own story (and you're trying to), you might be a jerk. Mr Mustaine is also a crybaby, hypocrite, and a bigot on many levels. Couldn't put it down!
Even I couldn't get behind this. The only thing he admits he failed at in his entire life is bedding Belinda Carlisle.
Matt R.
Dave Mustaine's autobiography is a must-read for any Megadeth fan (or any hard rock/metal fan). He is truly one of trash metal's pioneers. I have been a fan since 1988 and have seen them in concert many times over the years so this book to me inside the studio, backstage and hanging with the band – an intimate view of the good, the bad and the ugly. Mustaine really comes clean in this book and his stories make you wonder how it is that he is still alive. He describes his battles with drug and al ...more
Rae Gee
I'm not a huge fan of rock star memoirs because they all appear to follow the same formula of sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Dave Mustaine's book is no different, although you do get the feeling that A. Certain things have been missed out (whether through Dave doing the Christian thing or, more likely, legal issues which would have arisen from them) and B. the ending seems far too rushed. Most likely that was to do with David Ellefson rejoining the band and everything having to have a quick rehash.
In Megadeth, Dave Mustaine created one of America's most successful metal bands of all time. Anyone else would consider him a success. But Dave will always compare his work to that of Metallica, the band he got kicked out of in 1982 just before they got big. And because Metallica got a little bigger than Megadeth, part of Dave will always consider himself a failure.

To his credit, Dave's memoir doesn't come off as whiny, petty, or privileged. He's pretty honest about his abilities and his obstacl
Teddy M.
Dave Mustaine is proclaimed as the godfather of Thrash Metal. If you are a fan of Megadeth and the first Metallica album, Kill Em’ All, then this autobiography, Mustaine, is a must read. Dave goes through his life from point A through z listing his incredible journey from being a poor drug dealer to making his name known in the metal scene. Dave grew up in La Mesa, California, with three sisters and an alcoholic, abusive father. As a kid, he moved a lot because his mother was constantly running ...more
George Majchrzak
First off, full disclosure: Megadeth is, with Iron Maiden, one of my two favorite bands ever. While I enjoyed this book because I grew up with the band and knew most of the stories included already, the main issue I had with the writing was the voice. Having read many interviews with Mustaine over the years, I am very well acquainted with how this man speaks and carries himself. Journalists have done a much better job through the years capturing Mustaine, bruises and all.

Here in his memoir, wit
The first two words of this book are "James Hetfield". You really have to feel for Dave. He has had tons of success with Megadeth, and yet, because he was kicked out of Metallica, he missed a chance at super stardom. Though Mustaine probably has more money and is more famous than 99% of the people of the world he still tends to dwell on that extra 1% he could have had with Metallica. And you know what? I can't blame him. I'd probably spend tons of time imagining what could have been.

Anyways, thi
Steve lovell
With musical tastes ranging from the mainstream through to country, I have little knowledge of metal and had no idea who the 'dude' was whose photo graced the cover of this autobiography. So then why read a book about one of the founding members of Metallica and 'owner' of the Megadeth franchise? With a son-in-law who is heavily in to metal and who has managed to convince my daughter to veer into that territory too, when a respected colleague waved Mustaine under my nose and suggested I might li ...more
Otto Lehto
Artist biographies, especially metal biographies, are a worn-out deal, but when they work, their generic nature can work in their favour, because the reader knows to expect every broken family and drug overdose with a mixture of giddy anticipation and friendly empathy.

This book has all of the clichés, and not in short supply - but the remarkable thing is their veracity. As Dave himself puts it, the movie This Is Spinal Tap is pretty much an accurate representation of the industry.

As a fan of th
I had wanted to read this book for some time, but finally got around to buying the Kindle version when I was given an Amazon gift card for Valentines Day (thanks to my beautiful wife!). Since I'm in the middle of reading another book, I had intended to wait until I was done with that one before starting this one. But I decided to read "just one chapter" to get a taste of it, and ended up tearing through the whole book in just 3 days. I'm not a fast reader, so this is quite an accomplishment.

Mark R.
Excellent autobiography of one of heavy metal's most controversial front men. The book is co-written by a guy named Joe Layden, unfamiliar to me, but I get the impression that Mustaine put most of it together himself. He's a good writer. Megadeth fans already know that, due to his thoughtful, inspired lyrics from the past twenty-five years, but writing song lyrics isn't the same as writing a book--and here Mustaine proves that he's damn good at that too.

The guy's got a reputation, at least in so
I had the chance to meet Dave Mustaine (and the other members of Megadeth) at an after-concert gathering back in the later part of 1999 while the band was on the Risk tour. Of the four, I found bassist David Ellefson to be the most approachable (actually, he came over to our little group and introduced himself - virtually unheard of when we're talking about a celebrity!), with Mustaine coming in a close second. Even though my actual interaction time w/Mustaine was short - his "heavies" wanted to ...more
Rohan Pradhan
I was really really glad when this book arrived. Being a Megadeth and Dave Mustaine fan myself, this book was a real delight.

I hadn't expected this book to be as good as it finally turned out to be. By far this was the most intense autobiography that I have read.

This book gave me the inside story of Megadeth and Mustaine, something which the documentary was not able to although it was really good.

Overall this book was a great experience. From the angry riffs to poetic verses .. Dave Mustaine ha
Cyrus Ghahremäni
megadeth was my favorite band throughout high school, so i had to pick this up out of sheer loyalty to myself. in the spirit of the ozzy book, which i also recently reviewed, there are some absolutely unbelievable stories in here - occurring between the seventeen times mustaine ended up in rehab for drinking, coke, heroin, painkillers, et cetera. in general, mustaine has such a hilarious way of storytelling (or speaking in general - check out some of his stage banter on youtube). his life is suc ...more
This is easily my favorite autobiography; Period! I truly identify with Dave Mustaine, one of my teenage heroes and one of the reasons I am a musician (and a metalhead). It tells the hard-luck story of a LA street kid who overcame his hard beginnings and the over-indulgences of the metal scene, and became a changed man with his priorities properly aligned. Dave Mustaine is one of the few childhood heroes I feel justified in keeping as an adult. His writing style is executed as if you and he were ...more
You have to feel for Dave Mustaine. Along with all the glory we see of rock-stars they are often flawed and disturbed individuals who have numerous everyday problems' if not extra ordinary problems.
His rejection from Metallica has left him a scarred genius who simply could never come to terms with his individual success and enjoy it.
I recall being in high-school and was always admiring how articulate Dave's interviews were. He may seem like another long haired stereotypical metal head but, he's
Charlie McKittrick
Sep 04, 2012 Charlie McKittrick rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: metal heads and music lovers
Recommended to Charlie by: Chase Bryant
This was a great read. I had trouble putting it down and ended up flying through this book in less than a week; not my typical timeline. It was interesting to hear Dave's side of the story in regard to the early days and this departure from Metallica. He is very open about all of his relationships, alcoholism and drug use and admits as many faults as he does victories. A very exciting, up and down story of a man driven by passion and fired up by music. He definitely lead the Rock and Roll lifest ...more
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Mustaine is one of the luckiest men to ever live. 3 21 Aug 20, 2013 07:46AM  
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“Pop and metal aren't friends. Each knows exactly where the other lives and tries to keep its distance. They choose different streets, neighborhoods, zip codes.” 38 likes
“All bands eventually break up because of one or more of the four P's: power, property, prestiege, pussy.” 16 likes
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