When I began interviewing bands eight years ago, my ultimate goal was to interview one person: Dave Mustaine from Megadeth, my favorite band since I was thirteen years old. Sitting in front of my parents' computer and ruining my ears through a pair of oversize headphones, I listened and loved Mustaine's snarling vocals and impossibly fast guitar solos. I sat in school and drew pictures of their strange skull mascot, which looked like it was wearing evil braces. I even bought some stupid-ass comic books that were based around the band.
I grew older and found out about smoking pot. I had a phase where I listened to nothing but gabber music. I had a phase where I was into late-'90s industrial metal. I even had a hip-hop phase when I managed to catch P.O.S.' first show at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis.
Throughout all of these segments of musical distraction, one thing stayed constant: my love of Megadeth.
Even to this day, I can still be found stumbling through bars or yelling from rides at amusement parks, debating Megadeth's superior status in the realm of heavy-metal music. In 2009 Metallica played at the Target Center in Minneapolis. On my way home, I stopped people outside of the arena to ask them who they were going to see. After they said, "Metallica," I'd force-feed them my rehearsed answer of, "Oh, you mean that Megadeth cover band?" (For anyone who participated in activities outside of doing drugs in high school, Megadeth's lead singer used to play in Metallica until he got kicked out. He formed Megadeth out of spite and swore to become better and more well-known than Metallica.)
Shortly after the heated exchanges that occurred outside of the downtown venue, I took my status as a Megadeth tried-and-true dirtbag one step further. On a crisp morning before heading out to my job working for the federal government, I keyed "Megadeth" into the side passenger door of my 1998 Mazda 626. I had already keyed the word "car" into one of the doors earlier that week and realized that if I was just keying things into my car, I should key in something meaningful.
On a bright summer day, I still catch glares from my elders and giggles from my peers. I see them mouth the word "MEG-GUH-DETH" as I drive by, and I wonder if they know what it means.
Once, I deliberately thought about Megadeth every day for 27 days in a row.
It wasn't that I am or ever was Megadeth's No. 1 fan by any means. While I listen to the first four albums weekly, I stopped following the band after 1997's Cryptic Writings. But I continued to be intrigued by the band and in particular by its frontman, Dave Mustaine, who had become a born-again Christian and seemed even more "uneven" than the rock & roll tabloids I read about him in when I was young. Once, he said that women in Africa who have too many kids should "put a plug in it." He made "birther" remarks about Obama and claimed that the Sandy Hook Massacre was a conspiracy to take away our guns.
It was fascinating to see a man who once wrote openly Satanic songs and cover the Sex Pistols become a right-winger. But while all of the websites called him a bigoted moron, I stayed with Megadeth.
"I bet he's just trying to get a rise out of people. I bet once you talk to him alone, he's real caring and genuine," I thought.
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