In a recent chat with Jeremy White, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine looked back on the band’s days working with producer Max Norman. First mixing their legendary album “Rust in Peace,” Norman then came in to produce three consecutive Megadeth albums, starting with 1992’s “Countdown to Extinction.”
When asked whether the band was ever pressured to work with the likes of Mutt Lange or Bob Rock, who were known for their work with big metal bands and who would make things “glittery and glossy,” Mustaine said how this is what kind of happened when they hired Norman. He offered (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):
“Some people would argue that that happened with Max Norman. I thought Max was great because he did Ozzy’s stuff. When Ozzy first went solo, ‘Diary of a Madman and ‘Blizzard of Ozz,’ Max Norman had done [them]. And Max mixed ‘Rust in Peace’ which was a great mix.”
“And when we did ‘Countdown [to Extinction]’… ‘Countdown’ was our biggest record ever. So stands to reason I’m gonna think this guy is our best guy. So we did ‘Countdown’ and the next record we did was ‘Youthanasia’ and the fans started to get bummed.”
As Mustaine further adds, Megadeth fans were used to a different sort of a song structure. Instead of following the popular patterns, they just did their own thing. He continued:
“And why was that? Well, it was because the songs slowed down and they all started taking on radio track structure. Megadeth didn’t have songs that were based on verse-chorus-solo [structure]. It was beginning of the song, talking about bunch of shit, do a bunch of jam and trading solos, do like yelling at the end and then balls out to the end of the song.”
“It’s kind of like what we were doing then. Then you start thinking verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus, out, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, chorus, out… It’s sucking the life out of our creativity. And that’s why we made some management changes.”
Going more into it, Mustaine also pointed out that a management change can also make a world of difference when it comes to the overall musical direction. He explained:
“You know, making a management change too is just like anything in the music business. When you make a change for most people on the outside, it doesn’t look like anything happened.”
“But in reality, because of how tentacular person is in the music business… You know, a manager has his fingers in everything. So when you let a person like that go, especially if they’re a bad one, it’s like turning an aircraft carrier around. You it’s turning it just don’t look like it.”
When the interviewer said that this can feel “invigorating” when you’re taking back control of your own band, just like when going out of a toxic relationship, Mustaine commented:
“Boy, I wouldn’t even know what to do in situation like that anymore. Because I’ve learned my lesson so many times over the years with just meeting people and taking the time to actually invest in a relationship instead of meeting somebody and kind of superficially saying ‘Okay, you’re in the club.’ And then finding out it’s somebody that I don’t generally mix with. What happens then? You’ve got to say, ‘Hit the road, Jack.’ And that’s never welcome news.”
Recently, it was officially confirmed that Gibson is releasing Dave Mustaine signature guitars under their subsidiary brands Epiphone and Kramer. These instruments are intended as cheaper alternatives to Gibson’s regular and Custom Shop Dave Mustaine signature guitars.
There’s a total of four new models, two Epiphones and two Kramers. The Epiphones cost $1,499 and $1,399 while the two Kramers are slightly cheaper, $1,299 each.
The Epiphone variants, called Flying V Prophecy and Flying V Custom, have a more Gibson-like design with the usual V-style body that the company is known for. Kramer, however, brings a “sharper” twist to the design. This is also accompanied by a longer scale length of 25.5 inches whereas Epiphone variants have the usual 24.74 inches.