Dave Mustaine: ’I Wasn’t Born to Sing’

Although decades have passed since Dave Mustaine formed Megadeth, his voice is still easily recognizable. In fact, it’s easily one of the most unique voices, not just in metal but in modern music as a whole.

On the other hand, Dave doesn’t really think he’s a natural when it comes to singing. He’s more of a guitar-oriented guy. And, as we can see, he’s still pretty much focused on virtuosic playing, be it riffing, chord progressions, or lead parts.

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While chatting with Sweetwater, Mustaine reflected on how he perceives his position as a vocalist in Megadeth. He said (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“I like to take my approach to writing as organic as possible so that I know what the melody is. And it makes it a lot easier for me to sing something over it because I’m not a… I wasn’t born to sing. I believe I was born to play guitar, but I don’t think I was born to sing.

He also adds:

“And there’s a lot of people out there that would say, ‘We agree.’ [Laughs]”

Well, it all comes down to personal taste. But no matter what you think of his singing, no one can deny that it’s easily recognizable. When reminded that fans think that way about his singing, Mustaine said:

“Yeah. It works for me, I think. The funny thing is before I got [throat] cancer [in 2019], I was having a lot of problems with my voice. And then cancer came, and I got treatment, and I got healed, and then I had to kind of learn how to sing again, which has been bizarre because it’s like learning how to talk again.”

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“I think there’s a lot of things inside here [points to his neck area] that kind of got messed up from the whole process, ’cause they are putting beams of light through you that disintegrate stuff. And I had nine… I think it was nine doses of chemo and 32 doses of radiology. It was a lot — it was a lot. And when I started singing this tour last leg, I wasn’t having a good time singing, but the desire to sing better was there, ’cause I was feeling better about myself.”

“And you’d be surprised when you feel good about yourself how you wanna make that 360-degree feeling. And I’d heard from Kiko [Loureiro, Megadeth guitarist] — he was living with me for a little while during the record ‘Dystopia’ — he had said that as long as you get one percent better every day, it’s only gonna take a hundred days till you’re completely changed and a new you. And I thought, ‘You know, that’s great.'”

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“So that’s kind of when I started doubling up on my training and my classes, taking care of myself better and learning a little bit about what’s wrong with my voice. I contacted Tom [Keifer] from Cinderella [who overcame vocal cord paresis], who’s a really nice guy. And we would have been mortal enemies back in the ’80s, right?”

Photo: Sven Mandel (Megadeth – 2017216231552 2017-08-04 Wacken – Sven – 1D X MK II – 1257 – B70I0729)


  • 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.