Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine was born September 13, 1961, at Grossmont Hospital in San Diego. His parents split when he was young, and his mom raised him as a Jehovah’s Witness. He left her La Mesa home as a teen.
In 1981, he quit his first band Panic to become Metallica’s original lead guitarist, before getting replaced by Kirk Hammett in 1983. Mustaine moved to Rolling Hills Estates in Fallbrook in late 2004, along with his wife Pamela, their kids, and their horses.
In summer 2005, Mustaine told KNAC’s Philthy Phil that he won’t perform certain songs now that he’s embraced Christianity. "The ones that I did that I’m not doing anymore that to me are just wrong [include] the Sex Pistols' 'Anarchy,' 'cause it says, 'I'm an anti-Christ.' I'm not really anti anybody, so I had to kind of take a look at that." Regarding his status as the only permanent player in the band he calls Megadeth, Mustaine said, "I think the people are aware; when I left Metallica and came home on a bus, I did not stop off and pick up a bass player. I went home and started it on my own."
Mustaine's Gigantour -- with Megadeth, Dream Theater, and others -- experienced booking problems in 2005. Several venues, including SDSU's Open Air Amphitheatre, couldn't accommodate the show's second stage, and promised bands (such as Symphony X, Dry Kill Logic) couldn't play. Mustaine posted on his website, "We're working on the problems," but the snafu was never explained.
Besides San Diego, fans in San Antonio, Cincinnati, and Boston missed out on a second stage. Billboard's attendance figures indicate that promoters sold 2228 seats of 4598 available for the 2005 tour's San Diego stop.
Gigantour’s second edition launched in September 2006, with Megadeth, Lamb of God, Opeth, Arch Enemy, Overkill, and others sharing the bill. The tour was sponsored by Microsoft's game "Gears of War," the name of a song on Megadeth's subsequent album.
Mustaine filed a petition for divorce in San Diego Superior Court in 2006, seeking dissolution of his marriage to Pamela Anne Casselberry, whom he wed in April 1991 before the couple moved into their $1.2 million house in Fallbrook's Rolling Hills Estates.
The couple had a son in 1992 (Justis David), a daughter in 1998 (Electra Nicole), and another son in 2002 (Victor Gar). Victor Gar was named after Megadeth mascot Vic Rattlehead and former band drummer Gar Samuelsson, who died in 1998. Justis plays guitar and has appeared in several local theatrical productions, including one in which he played Elvis Presley.
Megadeth's DVD Blood in the Water: Live in San Diego, filmed in May 2008 at Cox Arena, premiered on HDNet television in early November '08.
The recording process for Megadeth's 12th studio album began on January 7, 2009, at the band's own Vic's Garage studio in San Marcos. Released by Roadrunner Records and produced by Andy Sneap (Sabbat), it’s the group’s first album with guitarist Chris Broderick, who replaced Glen Drover at the end of 2007.
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, out September 28, 2010, includes Megadeth. Around the same time, the band hit the road for a 20-city U.S. Jagermeister Fall Music Tour, featuring the original 1991 American Clash of the Titans lineup: Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax.
In late October 2010, Slayer guitarist Kerry King joined his former band Megadeth on stage for the first time in 26 years, at the Hollywood Amphitheater.
The band was nominated for a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Metal Album. Around the same time, a rare tape of Megadeth from a February 19, 1984 show at The Stone in San Francisco was posted on the Metal Den website. The early lineup includes Mustaine on guitar and vocals, future Slayer member Kerry King on guitar, David “Junior” Ellefson on bass guitar, and Lee Rausch on drums.
In May 2011, the band began recording a new album at Vic’s Garage, with producer Johnny Karkazis (Machine Head, Disturbed) and slated for a fall 2011 release through Roadrunner Records.
“We have one song completely done and submitted for a video game,” reported drummer Shawn Drover in May 2011. “Without going into the details of it, anybody who knows me and what I like musically, this tune put a big smile on my face. In time, you will all hear what I am talking about.”
It later emerged that the song is part of a customized soundtrack for the action-adventure franchise NeverDead. “Never Dead,” the official song sharing Konami’s video game title, will appear on Megadeth’s 13th album.
The band cancelled their August 9, 2011 performance at the Zoo Amphitheatre in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (the Mayhem Festival), citing illness. Mustaine underwent surgery on his neck after sustaining an injury during the Mayhem Festival U.S. tour that was still causing pain in his shoulder.
As for the album name TH1RT3EN, “I started playing guitar at 13 and this is our 13th record and I was born on the 13th,” Mustaine told Rock Radio DJ Tom Russell. “As soon as I said I was going to call it 13, I started noticing 13 everywhere. They never used to have 13th floors in hotels, but now they have them again!”
One of the new songs, “Black Swan,” was originally released as a bonus track for fan club members as a pre-order perk in 2007. The new version features cleaner production courtesy of Johnny K and more intricate lead guitar work.
They performed songs from TH1RT3EN on Jimmy Kimmell Live on Halloween night 2011, just hours before the album was released. Mustaine took the stage dressed as Frankenstein's monster, as the band played their new track “Public Enemy No. 1” and their 1992 hit “Symphony of Destruction.” Other band member costumes included the Wolfman and Dracula, while lead guitarist Chris Broderick added some class with his Phantom of the Opera get-up.
A new iPad application released in 2011, Dave Mustaine: Guitar Prodigy, teaches fans to play songs like “Tornado of Souls” or “Public Enemy No. 1” from TH1RT3EN.
The latter track “Public Enemy No. 1” was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, competing with tunes by the Foo Fighters, Dream Theater, Mastodon, and Sum 41. Gigantour 2012, with Megadeth, Motörhead, Volbeat, and Lacuna Coil, kicked off January 26 in Camden, New Jersey, wrapping up February 28 in Denver, Colorado.
Their unplugged set at the Palace of Auburn Hills over the first week of February 2012 included acoustic versions of “Public Enemy No. 1,” “Angry Again,” “A Tout Le Monde” (with Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil), “Symphony of Destruction,” and “Use the Man.” Footage of the show was posted online.
A co-headlining tour with Rob Zombie kicked off May 11, 2012, in Holmdel, NJ, wrapping up at the Rocklahoma festival. Dave Ellefson’s 2012 book Unsung features original lyrics and images never before published.
However, they cut short their June 5 show at Metalfest 2012 in Croatia after Mustaine was struck on the head with a stone thrown by angry fans, reacting to a rumor that Mustaine had caused Blackie Lawless and WASP to cancel their own set.
DirecTV's Guitar Center Sessions featured Megadeth in the July 13, 2012 episode, taped at Guitar Center in Hollywood on March 22. Later that year, Mustaine told a Singapore audience that President Obama is behind the recent movie theater and Sikh temple shootings. “Back in my country, my President...he’s trying to pass a gun ban, so he's staging all of these murders...Aurora, Colorado, all the people that were killed there...and now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple...I don’t know where I’m gonna live if America keeps going the way it’s going because it looks like it’s turning into Nazi America.”
The band celebrated the 20th Anniversary of their album Countdown To Extinction with a new deluxe reissue, released on November 6, 2012, as a 2CD lift-top box and digitally. The remastered original album is paired with a 1992 concert, recorded live at San Francisco's Cow Palace, which had never before been released in its entirety. The concert audio was been newly remixed for this release, and the physical and digital versions both include a booklet with a new liner notes essay by music journalist Kory Grow, and the 2CD box also contains a 24" x 36" poster and four collectible postcards.
They celebrated the 20th Anniversary of their album Countdown To Extinction with a new deluxe reissue and a November-through-December 2012 tour, during which they played the entire album.
A new Megadeth slot game on Facebook launched in late 2012 features band members as the main symbols, along with their instruments and cartoon mascot Vic Rattlehead as the Bonus Symbol. As the reels are spun, their songs “Symphony of Destruction,” “Head Crusher,” and “Hangar 18” play.
Having wrapped up their deal with Roadrunner Records, they began work on a new album at their San Marcos studio, as well as earning a 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for their song “Whose Life (Is It Anyways?).”
Super Collider, the new album recorded at Dave Mustaine’s Vic’s Garage studio in San Marcos, dropped in June 2013 via his new label, Tradecraft (distributed by Universal), the band’s first release after splitting from Roadrunner Records. Horn player Bob Findley guests on the track “A House Divided,” having previously performed on Megadeth’s 2001 album the World Needs a Hero (on the instrumental tune “Silent Scorn”). Super Collider was released as a limited-edition CD with a 3D cover and bonus tracks, regular CD, regular LP, limited edition LP plus seven-inch vinyl, and as a digital download.
A European tour started in Romania on May 22, 2013, concluding June 9 in France before a stateside gig on July 20 at the Chippewa Valley Rock Fest. They followed up by playing several shows with Iron Maiden, beginning in Raleigh, NC on September 3 and concluding with the Battle Of San Bernardino on Friday the 13th, which also featured Anthrax, Testament, Overkill, and Sabaton at the San Manuel Amphitheater.
Mustaine had a fan ejected from a show in Manchester, England on June 5, 2013, with video now posted online. The concert had been stopped for around ten minutes due to technical issues when a fan started booing, causing Mustaine to launch into a profanity-laced verbal beatdown.
Super Collider debuted at number 6 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart and number 3 on the Hard Music Chart. The title track debuted at number 1 on the CMJ Loud Rock Chart.
In September 2013, Tradecraft/UMe released Countdown to Extinction: Live, a definitive document of the sold-out tour. Recorded and filmed at Los Angeles’ Fox Theatre, it was made available in several video and audio configurations, including deluxe Blu-ray/CD, DVD, CD, Digital Album, Mastered for iTunes Album, and Longform Digital Video.
In addition to Megadeth’s performance of the entire Countdown to Extinction album, including the essential “Symphony Of Destruction,” “Foreclosure Of A Dream,” “Sweating Bullets,” and “Skin O’ My Teeth,” the release features all the other Megadeth classics the band performed at the concert, including “Holy Wars” and “Hangar 18.”
A new album was already in progress in Autumn 2013, as Dave Mustaine tweeted “I have been studying a lot of world history and a lot of crazy science stuff for new lyrics...this world is so fascinating!” They next played U.S. dates with Iron Maiden through September before joining Black Sabbath for an tour of Latin America starting October 4 in Santiago, Chile.
They also provided Jammit with original multi-track masters, allowing users to isolate instruments and play with individual parts of Megadeth's “Rust In Peace,” “Youthanasia,” “Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?” and “Countdown To Extinction,” with plans to add more tracks.
They appeared at Nashville's George Jones tribute on November 22, 2013, performing Jones' 1998 song “Wild Irish Rose” on a bill that included Kid Rock, Sam Moore, Charlie Daniels, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, and Reba McEntire. Their Super Collider tour with Fear Factory and Nonpoint kicked off November 23 in St. Paul, Minnesota and concluded December 14 in Socorro, Texas. They announced they'd also headline the Skogsrojet Festival in Rejmyre, Sweden on August 1, 2014, on a bill with Gamma Ray, Unisonic, Quireboys, and others.
Megadeth canceled several early 2014 live dates following the death of cofounding bassist David Ellefson's brother. Then, “Dave [Mustaine] and I are in the studio this week in California working up some of the new riffs,” said bassist/cofounder Dave Ellefson in June. “We're having fun, just throwing it down and keeping it chill. These are essentially writing demos at this point, so just grinding out the tunes like a metal band should.”
Their first five Capitol Records were issued on limited edition picture disc vinyl for the first time in the U.S. in 2014, including Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?, So Far, So Good…So What!, Rust In Peace, Countdown To Extinction, and Youthanasia.
In late 2014, guitarist Chris Broderick said he's leaving the band after seven years due to "artistic and musical differences," while drummer Shawn Drover quit after ten years with the group "to pursue other musical interests." With new drummer Chris Adler from Lamb Of God replacing Drover, the band embarked on a new studio album called Dystopia, with Kiko Loureiro (formerly with Brazilian band Angra) in place of Broderick.
Their album was said at the time to include two cover tunes: "Melt The Ice Away" by Budgie and "Foreign Policy" by Fear. Megadeth's new lineup made their live debut in Canada at Quebec City Summer Festival on July 18, 2015 with Adler on drums and new guitarist Loureiro.
Mustaine's house in Fallbrook's Rolling Hills Estates was listed for sale at $5.375 million in late 2015, as he announced an impending move to Nashville. Built in 1990, the 9.5-acre property includes vineyards, pastureland, and a pond, with a five bedroom five-bath country English-style main residence featuring 5,345 square feet of living space and ten fireplaces.
Dirk Verbeuren, formerly of Swedish metal band Soilwork, officially became Megadeth's new drummer in summer 2016.
March 2019 saw the release of a 35th Anniversary compilation, Warheads On Foreheads, a 35-track, career retrospective. July saw BMG rereleasing three of the metal band's iconic albums on CD and vinyl: their 11th studio full-length United Abominations (2007), their 12th studio album Endgame (2009), and that record's studio followup TH1RT3EN (2011).
During the early 2020 pandemic shutdown, Mustaine shared a Quarantine Playlist via Spotify, described as "A collection of songs to help you get through this weird and uncertain time." The playlist features some of Megadeth's classic songs along with tracks from Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies, Ozzy Osbourne, Angel Witch, Carcass, Accept, and more. Mustaine says in a video clip "Me, I've been staying indoors, I'm on Day 12 right now. I've been washing my hands a lot, and listening to a lot of Megadeth music, putting the final touches on a new book, and working on the new Megadeth album. Looking forward to doing our next tour, once this is all over."