Ex-Megadeth Guitarist Calls Out ‘Pathological Liar’ Dave Mustaine, Speaks Up on Why He Really Left the Band

Jeff Young, former Megadeth and current Kings of Thrash guitarist, was recently interviewed for Misplaced Straws. During the chat, Jeff looked back on how he joined Megadeth and how his journey in the world of thrash metal began. Asked about the matter, he replied:

“Oh, it’s a long, sordid story, but Jay Reynolds and I, the guitarist you’re speaking about, was one of my guitar students, I don’t think he ever recorded anything for the record actually, but he did hire me for 50 bucks an hour to help him transcribe Chris Poland’s solos, which I had to do by ear, at that time, there was no YouTube or instructional videos, or tab of any such licks.”

“So, of course, I was a guitar teacher at the time, just graduated GIT Musicians Institute, so I was only too happy to oblige. Just throughout that process, I think it was mostly David Ellefson and the drummer kind of passing through the room at the recording studio, Music Grinder down on Melrose, I’d be teaching Jay in a quiet room and they’d walk through on the way to the studio and raised an eyebrow when they hear it. I think the first thing I was writing for him was ‘Hook in Mouth’, the solo.”

Hook In Mouth (Remastered)

“I knew he liked Michael Schenker and he had a Flying V, so I wanted some kind of German, Teutonic, repetitive, Randy Rhodes ‘Over the Mountain’ or ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ thing, It’s really hard to play.”

“To this day, even when I wasn’t in Megadeth, that’s a little solo flight that I would use just as a warm-up or to keep my chops up, so it turned out a little trickier than I intended it. They, I think saw him struggling to play it and they cut out the middle man, so to speak.”

During the interview, Jeff was also reminded about how Dave Mustaine blamed him for the abrupt end of the Magadeth’s Australian tour in support of the ‘So Far, So Good… So What!’ album. To clarify, over the years, Dave Mustaine claimed that Jeff Young ran out of heroin while the band was in Japan, ultimately leading to the cancelation of upcoming shows. Young said of it:

“That’s what a pathological liar does. Are you talking about the YouTube video where he says I ran out of heroin in Japan and canceled the Australian tour? Yeah, I’ve been owning him in the media ever since he’s done that. If Pinocchio has a brother, you know what I’m saying.”

“I was a straight edge when I went in that band and I never drank, I didn’t smoke pot, to fit in, I kind of tried to hang with those guys a little bit, but he was the one that canceled that tour.”

“That’s why I left the band because early on, being a straight edge and three nights in the guitar tech gets arrested in East LA score and heroin from Mustaine, and he doesn’t show up to the studio that night and the drummer tells you, you realize, ‘Okay, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.'”

“I made a pact with myself, I can remember the exact sentence I said in that moment at the Music Grinder studio when I found out the news, I said, the first thing I literally said was, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore’, and the second thing was, ‘I’m gonna stay in the situation as long as it’s healthy for me’, which you see exactly how long that duration was.”


Over the years, Mustaine openly talked about this tour cancelation, putting all the blame on Jeff. In an interview conducted in Australia back in 2009, Megadeth mastermind said:

“We got banned down here [Australia] a long time ago because Jeff Young was playing guitar for us and we were all pretty messed up — heroin was really prevalent — and Jeff ran out in Japan. So he wanted to go home. Now, when I ran out, I just drank. [chuckles]

“But he wanted to go home. And we cancelled Australia. And consequently, we stuck our head into a noose and we didn’t come back here for 10 years. When we did come back here, we had a different promoter. We started to make amends to the Australian audience for what had happened.”

The Conjuring Live Megadeth (Jeff Young and Nick Menza) rare footage

“You know, it’s a long way to come down here and to get people’s hopes up and not come, that sucks. Especially because I’m sure it happens a lot. I’m sure there’s a lot of people that say they’re coming and they change their mind. So I don’t wanna ever be like that again.

“So when we came down here, it was all about regaining the relationship with the Australian people. And the metal community here is very forgiving.

“I think if you are honest and you can say, ‘Hey, look, we made a mistake…’

Megadeth - Essen, 1988 (1080p50)

“I should have beat Jeff’s butt and stuck him in a suitcase and went to Australia. [laughs] But, at the time, there was just no reasoning with him. This is the same guy that called up my girlfriend and said, ‘I fantasize about having sex with you when I have sex with my girlfriend.’ And I went, ‘What did he say?’ So I fired him on the spot for that.”

“This happened [after the heroin incident]. ‘Cause it was like the dust that accumulates makes mountains and this thing became like Mount Everest; it got to the point where it was like, ‘No more.'”

“‘Cause he opened up my suitcase one time and he found this love letter from Doro [Pesch] that she sent me. And he was in love with Doro, and he goes, ‘I quit.'”

Megadeth So Far So Good So What! Interview

“And his guitar tech came up to me and he goes, ‘Hey, I can play his stuff tonight — don’t worry, man.’ I said, ‘No, you can’t. This stuff is so involved.’ [laughs] And he goes, ‘Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve been spitting in his water bottle every night.’ And I went… [makes puking face]. ‘Cause it was so disgusting to hear the guy do that.”

Photo: S. Bollmann (Megadeth Summer Breeze Open Air 2017 18)

  • 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.

    View all posts