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on 13 April 2017
Amazing stories, amazing life!
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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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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...
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on 29 April 2013
I was excited to read this book by Dave about Dave. Sadly he has left out all the good stuff. He refuses to talk about sacking any band members and how and why he has written any of the songs that he has.
Anyone who has listened to metal throughout the years will have a certain amount of time for Dave, however him writting his own book seems to be a missed opportunity.
Rather than this being a book about a life in metal it's more of a 'my life was bad and then I found jesus' book.
I felt sorry that through buying his music throughout the years I had contributed to his life of misery and now through reading this book Dave has contributed to mine.
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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 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 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 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
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2010
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.
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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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