on 26 June 2016
Several fans have read this and thought it was a good account, easily read and enjoyable-goes into some of the seedier side of metal (drugs, groupies etc) so bear that in mind if its for a younger reader.
on 28 September 2010
I've always been a huge fan of Megadeth, ever since I saw them back in 1986 on the Peace Sells...tour. I always knew that Dave Mustaine had a issues with drugs but I had no idea on what kind of scale until I read this book. Almost every page has a reference to heroin, cocaine, dope, valium, quaaludes - you name it, Mustaine's taken it.
The book makes an interesting read and although the cover makes out that Dave Mustaine is the author, it's actually written with the help of sports writer Joe Layden. At times it's written as if Mustaine was being interviewed and kind of transcribed to make it sound as if he's written it himself. That's not really a bad thing as the book is a real page turner for any fans of thrash metal and of the constant feud with Metallica. He gives in depth details of band members and why he hired/fired them.
Two small criticisms: Firstly some of the photographs contained within the book are quite often randomly on pages that have nothing to do with what he's talking about. Pictures of band line-ups where he's talking about an album that those members didn't appear on. And secondly, how come the American version of the book get a stylish photo of Dave Mustaine on it and the UK version gets a scribbly cover?
Still, I recommend this book to any fan of heavy metal, or to anyone who wants to know how drugs can screw up your life.
on 30 November 2010
If you think that Dave Mustaine is an ego maniac then this book will not change your mind. If you were to believe everything that Dave says then you'd know that he more or less single handedly invented Thrash Metal. Admittedly he does have the skills and the history to back up the claim to an extent, but he is not as important as he obviously thinks he is.
Fans of Megadeth (and the bands involved in the early development of thrash metal and, in particular, the other members of the 'Big Four') will enjoy this book. However, I can't see it appealing to any other casual readers. This is not 'The Dirt' (apart from the drugs, they must be the most tame touring band out there - the guitarist puts gay porn on in the bus which gets him chucked out - Errr is that it?) it's not even 'Are you Morbid?' or 'This Monster Lives', it's sanitised, surface level stuff and you really don't learn anything about Dave that most fans of metal won't know already.
The back cover sums it up nicely, this book and it's subject matter are really only interested in telling us about how many bags of heroin can be consumed and how 'tough' Dave thinks he is. If you didn't like Dave before reading this then you certainly won't finish the last page feeling any warmth towards him. A missed opportunity in some ways (surely a chapter on 'Peace sells...' should be expanded and we should be given more details about touring, breaking MTV etc. rather than the repeated herion stories which aren't scandalous or funny) but still a reasonably interesting read which can be digested in a couple of days.
on 4 October 2010
Extraordinary guitar virtuoso, Dave Mustaine, has always been a contentious individual, something he makes no bones about in this `warts and all' history of his life and career thus far. Dave's memoir (written with Joe Layden), is a revealing and entertaining read that moves at breakneck pace from his troubled childhood through to the early days of thrash metal's biggest act, Metallica, before topping the heights of metal stardom with his own act Megadeth. Dave wryly and honestly guides you through the highs and lows of both his public and private lives to an apparent career ending injury followed by a startling rebirth of both Dave himself and his band.
Great things - piles of anecdotes and proper explanations of some of the more bizarre moments in Dave's history as well as what really happened in every lineup change, the stories behind (at least some of) Megadeth's catalogue. The story of Dave's time and influence in Metallica's early days and how those events went on to fuel a bitter feud that, reading between the lines, continues to trouble him today, even though hatchets are apparently long buried.
Not so great things - quality of the paper and photos printed on that paper that gives the book a cheap feel. Also, as others have noted these images often don't relate to the section you're reading. These are minor quibbles though in comparative terms.
Overall this is a fascinating insight into a life driven by anger and fear exacerbated by drugs and alcohol that is by turn funny, sad and more than a little frightening. Love him or hate him, Mustaine tells it like it was and whilst `regrets - he's had a few' - you feel he has come out the other side of a tornado of a life more at peace with himself than ever before. A riveting read which goes past faster than one of Dave's excellent arpeggio laced solos - highly recommended.
on 10 October 2010
I, like a previous reviewer read this in two sittings and found it to be a gripping read. To be honest I've never been a great Megadeth fan, Killing is my Business was hopeless alongside, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and lets please include Exodus. Needless to say, Mustaine pretty much confirms my opinion, and I do like the way he's happy to accept the mistakes he's made throughout his life. It is a warts and all auto-biography and if you're hoping he sticks the knife into other members of Metallica or Slayer, he gives an honest account without slinging mud. I've docked it a star for two reasons. Although Dave gives us a horror story of his use of drugs, he does sometimes glamorize that side of his life, suggesting that drugs are OK if you're a rock star. Also, the book does lose its appeal towards the end, particularly with his 'born-again' ideals. I hate the way he cancelled the tour with Rotting Christ and Dissection because they are "Satanic", which is incorrect in both cases. He mentions some quotes made by the Dissection singer which are exactly the sort of bollocks Dave himself used to say back when he was still mad with Lars and James et al. He's also happy to share stages and cocktails with Slayer these days, and I'm failing to see the difference between Slayer and Rotting Christ. Slayer may not have Satanic beliefs, but who does? - Even the majority of Black Metal bands might have a pagan or anti-religious theme, that's because Satan sells, it always has - just ask Black Sabbath. It doesn't mean any of them practice what they preach and is it any more dangerous than taking drugs? Maybe this more of an opinion of Dave himself rather than an appraisal of the book but it did make me angry as I reached the end. It is amusing that I find So Far So Good...So What to be my favourite Megadeth album, and I much prefer the original to the remixed CD version. Perhaps Dave and I wouldn't agree on many things if we ever met
Poor Dave Mustaine. He's had a tough time of it, you know. Now some might say that's down to his extreme arrogance and abrasive personality, others would say he's strong willed and a perfectionist. I'm sure the truth is somewhere in the middle, but nothing can take away from the fact that this autobiography is a remarkably open account of his many years in metal.
He's been through drug and alcohol addictions, musical highs and lows, and about a hundred different lineups of Megadeth, before sobering up, losing the ability to play the guitar, finding God, and returning to music and metal. Through all that, he has retained his own vision of what thrash metal should be, and no matter what you may think of some of his output, his relentless pursuit of his muse makes for a very interesting tale.
Of course, before Megadeth, there was Metallica, the band he was thrown out of (at a bus station), for excessive drinking. Now considering that Metallicas nickname on their rise to fame was Alcoholica, you have to assume that Messrs Hetfield and UIrich just didn't want to deal with the personality that is Mustaine. Despite platinum success with his own band, Mustaine carried a grudge against Metallica from then on. A grudge he maintained for nigh on quarter of a century. Possibly because Megadeth were always regarded as second best. That is, of course, until Metallica abandoned metal!
However, it's his personal story that really provides the foundation for this book, as he veers between addiction and rehab and relapses, and back again. Despite the fact that he never comes across as a nice person, it still makes for a good read for those of weaned on eighties metal. Granted, some of the stories may or may not be as Mustaine remembers them. After all, people in the throes of addiction aren't exactly the most reliable of witnesses, but there is a kernel of truth in every tale, and the whole point of an autobiography is that it's his story. It's not anyone elses and Mustaine makes damn sure that everyone knows that it's all about him.
The many lineups of Megadeth are covered, with Mustaine being brutally honest about why people were fired, and why some got more than one chance. And his honesty can't be questioned after he admits that Marty Friedmans departure from the band may well have been down to Friedman being a better musician than Mustaine! One thing that that has always come across, through all the arrogance and posturing, is his intelligence, which explains why you find yourself shouting at him from time to time, as he heads down yet another chemical avenue.
The story of his redemption and return to music makes for an unusual ending to a book, as it's not something you encounter every day in the world of heavy metal. It's a story well told, and anyone who grew up with thrash metal will find this a thoroughly enjoyable read.
on 16 February 2012
This was a book that I knew I would buy and had to read. Having been a fan of both Metallica and Megadeth since the 80s and having grown up with the feud and animosity between, not only the bands, but the fans of the bands, I was hooked as soon as I saw this.
The book itself is a good insight into Mustaine's life, from the early beginnings, to his version of the firing from Metallica, and onwards, and there are some nice back stories to song inspirations, lyrical inspiration and the behind the scenes look at the workings of the band. I did feel sorry for the guy at the way things were handled at various times, and it does give an interesting look at the 'do no wrong' image of Metallica, but I hoped for something a little more in depth from this - some of the time periods and subjects were glossed over - his repeated trips to rehab, the falling off the wagon time and time again, are dealt with in a couple of sentences. There must be more that drives someone to drugs and drink surely, other than a 'it was there and I was bored' mentality which he seems to profess.
Having said all of this, I finished the book in a weekend and found that it was addictive reading. At the end of the story, I felt a little more sympathy and understanding towards the man, (I always liked his music, I just wasn't sure about him) and it re-kindled my interest in the band enough to go get the new album!
on 25 May 2013
A good book and a better reading than many other music biographies you find around. Not a masterpiece but definetely a good book you will find hard to put down. I was personally surprised by the man himself, who emerges like a lot more an interesting character (and, why not, a better person) from the book than what could have been thought of from his public image.
I have loved reading about the metal/rock scene of the 80's and 90's from behind the scene in such genuine manner. It made me laugh a lot about my younger self and the sacred awe we were of these guys in back then.
So even if I was never a metal fan and had never heard more than three songs of Megadeth, I would definetely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in rock music or guitar.
on 25 April 2013
Just finished reading this and am slightly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I'm not a big Megadeth fan at all, they were always my least favourite of the big 4; but this is just a really interesting, occasionally funny, very well written book. I guess if I were a bigger fan I'd have liked more info on the background to songs and stuff, but as a casual reader it's up there with the best rock biogs I've read. A perfect holiday read.
As you might expect there is a lot to recommend Mustaine's biography and a lot to compel you to keep turning the pages. If you like metal and you are even vaguely aware of the man, you'll smash this in a couple of days.
It is genuinely entertaining to read about his transformation from angry, resentful, agnostic teenager to angry, resentful Christian multi-millionaire rock star; although not always for the reasons that he himself probably hoped.
There is no doubt, this book is a tool for self-vindication only. The kind of ego-soothing self medication that only someone as rich and blatantly frustrated as the author can administer. Behind the entertaining anecdotes of his brief interaction with Mssrs. Hetfield and Ulrich and chaotic early years of Megadeth through their bloated, meandering mid-phase and beyond the content seems desperate to serve only two purposes:
Firstly, it is repeatedly rammed down your throat how hard Mustaine is. It's almost as if the book itself is meant to serve as some kind of veiled threat to the reader as to what will happen if you mess with him. Whatever; methinks you protest to much Sir and behind all the little jabs about how a young Hetfield chickened out and left him to kick ass, Dave Ellefson needing him to step in on his behalf and on and on, the biggest picture that comes to mind is how sad, weak and deflated he seemed in his appearance in Some Kind of Monster.
On that very subject: purpose number two of this book is to finally set the record straight on how Mustaine had a role of seminal importance in the formation and early days of Metallica. Well, as a long term fan of both bands, by his own hand, he has finally dispelled this myth. His tenure was indeed short, his influence over the rapidly developing Hetfield limited and his presence appeared to be little more than a rather nasty personnel problem in the fledgling days of Metallica Inc. You don't hear Metallica's first bass player crying do you?
In all this the saddest part for Mustaine is not the level of his delusion, it is the fact that here is a man who is an outstanding musician, riff-writer, guitarist and even leader, at the helm of one of the biggest metal bands of all time, with a fistful of killer albums to his credit but yet he doesn't care about that. All he cares about is getting you to admit that he was important in the history of Metallica. I think that ultimately, his achievements will simply be a background noise to his legacy as `that dude who kept trying to claim he invented Metallica'.
Now, I know I'm coming off as a Dave-Hater here. Well, I really am not. The guy has some big balls and it is nice to read him lambast the corruption and corporate controlled nature of the modern music biz. At one point he is honest enough to say the industry doesn't simply dissuade new acts from trying to break in; it physically tried to keep them out.
But ultimately, for all the good stuff in here, 80% of the entertainment value is reading about a guy with a massive chip on his shoulder embarrass himself. Lets face it, that's what got the book on the New York Times bestseller list.
Sorry mate, Metallica would have happened regardless. At least you did have a decent band of your own. Although, the name temporarily escapes me...