Dave Mustaine Says He Thought He’d Never Achieve Success as Musician, Reveals His Pre-Show Warmup Routine

Reflecting on his career as a frontman and leader of Megadeth, Dave Mustaine said that he never expected to achieve the success that he did. While chatting with Chaoszine about his pre-show warmups and how it changed over the years, Mustaine touched upon his career and how the success he enjoys today was something he never thought would happen, explaining (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“It’s the people that get in your way and tell you that you can’t do things that you need to get out of your life. Because they’re the ones that are going to stop you from achieving those dreams.”

“Who would have ever thought I… If you would have asked a young Dave Mustaine that I would have lived this long, I would have said ‘No.’ Or if you would have said that I would have been successful for 40 years straight, I would have said ‘No,I don’t believe it.'”

My Story As Metal Frontman #52: Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)

“But you stick to your guns, you have your own personal truth and you stick to it. And you don’t have to ever remember the lies. Sometimes you will upset people and disappoint people. There’s nothing worse than when someone comes into your presence and tries to change you. It’s kind of like, what did you like about me in the first place?”

Going more into the matter, Mustaine then added that he’d never really consider getting an actual vocal coach because, as he claims, his voice and singing is a crucial component of what he is as an artist. Dave continued:

“Getting a vocal singer coach to come in and change my voice would be wrong because I sang with the same approach for so long. Making me value my instrument better and be able to perform longer is a different thing. That’s a conditioning coach, right?”

Megadeth - Holy Wars (Dave gets pissed off at drunk guy in crowd), live in Stockholm Sweden 2023

And to Dave, it’s all about being what you are, not what other are expecting of you:

“So I think if you pay attention too, you’re going to learn what you need. Don’t just go and do what people tell you what to do. Just have your own critical thinking. And if something doesn’t feel right with your voice, go see an ear, nose, and throat doctor. You may have polyps, you may you may have throat cancer, like I did, like Bruce Dickinson did.”

“I guarantee you, if you asked him, he’d probably say the same thing I did. He didn’t expect to get cancer. I didn’t expect to get cancer.”

Megadeth - Wake Up Dead / In My Darkest Hour - Live - Quebec - May 10, 2023 4K

Speaking of throat cancer, which he was diagnosed with in June 2019, Mustaine was asked how he had to change his pre-show vocal warmups after winning the battle against this nasty disease. He replied:

“The warm-up routine that we have right now is something that I’ve been doing for a while. Just doing some scales before we go on stage. And there’s a certain period of time in our dressing room, we don’t let any people in an hour before the show. We start clamping things down. Half hour before the show, no, not even family.”

“So at an hour, you know, our dressing room is just us, family circle. Half an hour — we start to really get focused. And then during that half-hour period, is where we change in and do our final adjustments, put our in-ear packs on, and get ready to go on stage.”

Megadeth w/ Marty Friedman - Tornado Of Souls Wacken 2023

“That vocal warmup that we do is an 11-minute warmup. And sometimes we can get through all of it. Sometimes we get through part of it.”

“The thing is, you don’t want to take a vocal lesson right before you sing a concert. That’d be like, you know, going to the gym right before you have sex. I mean, what guy wants to come half-empty to do the greatest act? You make sure that you get warmed up, and then you go out on stage and you give it everything you’ve got.”

“So the times that I go out there and I’m unprepared happens because I’m distracted. I’m either goofing around or I’m in the middle of something very important. And either way, I found that when I take the time to warm my fingers and my voice up, I have a better time for myself.”

Megadeth - Holy wars live in Tallinn 26.07.23🤘🤘🤘 4k - 60fps

“Because I hear what I’m playing. I can tell if I make a sour note and it doesn’t make me happy to do that. And I don’t think just like ‘Ed, fuck it, you’re lucky to be watching me play, bad notes or not.’ That’s not me.”

In early 2020, Mustaine officially revealed that he was finally cancer free. Asked about this in an interview in 2022, he replied:

“I’m cancer-free now, thank God. I just went and saw my radiologist and he told me October [2019] was the month that they had said that I was cancer-free. So I’m coming up on, I think it’s three years now.”

Megadeth - We’ll Be Back: Chapter I

“I don’t even think about it anymore. But it was something that made me take into consideration life in general, not so much what I do when I get onstage but just how much do I really appreciate the people around me? How much do I have a capacity in my heart to tolerate people that get on my nerves? Am I gonna send somebody away mad at each other and never see ’em again?”

Photo: Sven Mandel (Megadeth – 2017216231609 2017-08-04 Wacken – Sven – 1D X MK II – 1246 – AK8I0462)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.