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on 16 September 2010
Such a well-written book, I read it in two sittings without even realising how quickly the pages were turning.

Dave Mustaine presents his take on his life and the events of a turbulent music career. The early days with Metallica are covered, but this time from Mustaine's mouth.

He's been driven for nearly two decades by wanting to beat Metallica, and it shows here. He's clear in his view that Metallica are legends, but part of getting there was earning a cult following on the tape-trading scene, which was a result of Dave's compositions (four of the seven demo songs) and blistering solos. This monkey on his back comes back again and again, even in the comparatively recent past where he felt he couldn't attend Metallica's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, unless he was on the stage with them. This seems to have impacted him on every step of his journey. (He saw flashbacks to the past when Enter Sandman became a hit with the same "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep ..." children's prayer that he had included in Go To Hell at the same time; every time he tried to step ahead, Metallica was always there.)

There are all sorts of trivia points: He's careful to let us know where the name of the band comes from, what inspired certain lyrics, and why MTV considered A Tout Le Monde to be about suicide. (Dave thought the next song in a live performance was Skin O' My Teeth, introduced it as being about trying to kill himself, then realised his mistake and carried on the live performance anyway.)

There are hirings and firings covered in detail, and it's interesting to see that he was big on giving people several chances, as he wished he'd had in Metallica, rather than being the tyrant that outsiders considered him to be. There's an interesting titbit involving a deviation from sobriety and return to rehab when Marty Friedman arrived, because he realised how much the pint-sized shredder was than him, and developed severe anxiety.

It's a top book, covering all the stuff that was only hearsay and partisan when I was growing up. I like it (and Dave, as it turns out) an awful lot. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2010
If you grew up in the late 80s or early 90s listening to thrash metal, then this will be a nostalgic reminder about everything that was so brilliantly absurd about that scene. As someone who listened to 'Rust In Peace' pretty much constantly, and bought 'Countdown to Extinction' the day it came out, Mustaine was a bit of a hero to me, both in terms of talent and persona.

His unapologetic arrogance still comes through, but there's also wit and intelligence, even if some of the polish is supplied by the co-writer.

Inevitably, the early days are the most entertaining sections, charting the rise of Metallica, then The Firing, and finally the gradual rise of Megadeth as a true competitor to the throne of Metal. The whole adventure is fuelled by drug abuse and conflict, and it's amazing that Mustaine actually managed to produce some classic albums through this period.

I began to lose interest towards the end, where everything seems to have gone wrong: having relapsed and lost the ability to play guitar, Dave is on the verge of losing his wife and kids. 'Finding God' is such a cliché for disgraced celebrities, but it's obvious that Christianity now plays an important part in Mustaine's life. He does try to take an 'each to his own' attitude and 'not shove it down people's throats', but it just seems completely at odds with the rest of the story, and my respect for him began to ebb away.

Last chapter aside however, this is an entertaining and candid autobiography.
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on 17 September 2012
There are way too many pictures in this book. Really, there are only so many times you need to see a photograph of Dave Mustaine holding a guitar. One would do the job. Perhaps two. One to show what he looked like at the start. Then another one to show what he looks like at the end. I can't escape the feeling the book is pitched at people who the publishers don't believe usually read books, and so the pictures are a way of dumbing down and making all those words less scary.

His life has been interesting. Unfortunately he concentrates so much on his sex and drugs lifestyle (with some added religious issues) that the music gets squeezed down into the sidelines. He barely mentions the albums and songs. I really wanted to know about the writing and recording of all those albums. Instead you get about two short pages on each of them. And even then he spends a lot more time discussing his cover versions on the early albums than he does on his own original songs.

He is too vague and rarely goes into any detail on anything musical. His songwriting and recording stories should have made up at least half the book. Instead it probably accounts for only ten percent of it. His touring (drug stories) and band member turnover problems (more drug stories) eats up way, way more space.

If you want to know about his music then the book will disappoint. If you want to know about his drug use then you will learn all you could ever want to know. His (and his co-writer's) writing style is straightforward but due to a lack of colourful detail it comes up short of being anywhere near as compelling as The Dirt by Motley Crew.

The Metallica stuff is covered in a decent amount of detail. You might be left with a few questions but he does tackle it head on and doesn't evade it. The only complaint I have is that I feel he could have discussed how the commercial, mainstream, over-ground success of The Black Album impacted on the thrash metal world. Surely it was a seismic event that changed greatly what he was making and what his record company's expectations were. He doesn't even give his reaction to the so-called "Metallica selling out" issue. I really feel this should have been mentioned.

Overall the book is very readable and interesting enough. I just wish he had put his music first before all the other stuff. Once you've read one drug story you kind of get the idea and you don't really need to know the rest. I walked away from the book knowing almost nothing new about his albums. I say that as someone who only owns a few and never really played them, instead favouring only The Greatest Hits and Rust in Peace. So it's pretty damning that I went in knowing very little and coming out knowing pretty much the same info. If you are knowledgeable about the band then I really doubt you will learn anything new.

I mentioned that I was reading this book to someone. He said that he had started it and gave up halfway through as the endless drug stories were boring. I think he was being a little harsh, but I can see his point of view.
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on 6 September 2013
I'm a Metallica fan and a Megadeth fan, more so Metallica but I'm very open minded and read this book with no bias at all.

I really enjoyed reading about Dave's life however I find it quite incredible that he can still be so bitter about his departure from Metallica after all of these years. If Dave's recollection of events is accurate and true then I think the way the situation was handled was very unfair, to not even check he had enough money for food for the long journey home was unforgivable, however, I can see why they let him go. Quite frankly in his younger years, and even as recently as the early 2000's, the man was a liability.

He created a massively successful band, earning millions in the process, selling millions of records and had the proper "rock and roll" lifestyle yet I feel all of this is still tainted for him as Metallica's successes outweigh his own. I'd be happy that despite everything I had been through, I managed to pull off what he has!!!

Being so dead against religion as a result of family members being Jehovah's Witnesses and his experiences from that, I was then quite surprised that in the end he turned to Jesus and pretty much states that finding Christ is what saved him in the end. I know this to be true for a lot of people, famous or not, however it's kind of unique (in my eyes) for someone to be set against it and THEN decide to turn towards it. I just found that part a little cliched.

All in all, a very good read but Dave needs to get over whatever happened with Metallica and enjoy the rest of his life with what he has - which is a lot!!
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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.
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on 21 October 2010
Having just finished reading this I was somewhat taken aback I hadnt realized that Mustaine was Chuck Norris' lovechild.

It becomes apparent as you progress through the story of Dave's life that he is one of the hardest men in the world as well as being the best metal guitar player and 88th best singer.

After reading roughly half of the book I discussed the Mustaine personality with a colleague at work and was cautioned that on completing the book I might be put off the music of Megadeth forever, it was close but I still like Megadeth's music dspite Mustaine being a colossal cock

I believe it is possible to like music while having very negative emotions regarding the performer and this is the case with Megadeth.

Mustaine using his own words comes across as the most delusional self absorbed nob head in the whole of metal.

Finally I must confess that it took me very little time to read through this as it a most entertaining read just maybe not in the way that Dave intended.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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on 12 June 2016
Dave Mustaine whines. That is what he does. It would have been really interesting to understand the genesis of the music that I have loved since childhood, but, for example, the entirety of the making of Youthanasia is basically relegated to a couple of paragraphs, surrounded by more of Dave's bitter, drug related navel gazing.

This may well have been a cathartic experience to write, and it may have allowed him to shake out those skeletons and demons that had accumulated over the years, but it does not make a riveting read.

Dave is a supremely selfish as, and this is borne out by the fact that a book that could have really illuminated the music for the fans has become a suppository (sic) of his loathing for himself and others. His tortured genius may have made some great music, but sadly, it makes for a disappointing read.
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