Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine has given his first full interview since being diagnosed with throat cancer earlier this year. In speaking with Rolling Stone, the metal legend revealed how he first learned of the diagnosis, and discussed the outpouring of support he received from the metal community.
Recalling how he found out he had cancer, Mustaine noted, “I was on tour, and I just had some dental work done when I was at home. My teeth are really, really, really sensitive, because I’m a redhead … It just felt like something was wrong in my tooth area.”
He continued, “So I see the oral surgeon, and he was such a cock. I was in the chair, and he looks at me and then he takes off. And I’m sitting there, and I’m waiting and waiting and waiting, and he comes back in and he goes, ‘It looks like the Big C. You need to go see an ear, nose, and throat doctor.’ I was just stunned with his bedside manner; he was just such a dick.”
Recently it was announced that Mustaine had completed his cancer treatments, and that Megadeth would return to the road in early 2020 on a tour with Five Finger Death Punch in Europe. As for how he tackled the disease, Mustaine said, “I thought about every single trick that I had learned about healing my body and the things I’d learned from martial arts, and I did everything that the doctor said to a T, and hopefully this is the end of it and I never hear of it again. But I feel great.”
As for whether he’s completely cleared to tour, Mustaine admitted, “Well, they didn’t say that. But they’re freaking out over how well I’ve healed. I’ve got people around the globe praying for me. I take good care of myself, and I don’t know how anybody can expect any other outcome than this, knowing me. I never settle for anything but complete success or, in this case, victory.”
When he was asked about the tremendous show of support from his metal peers, Mustaine mentioned a few names, but particularly singled out his old Metallica bandmate James Hetfield. The pair’s relationship has been contentious since Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica in 1983, so the Megadeth leader was moved by Hetfield’s gesture:
“A lot [of support] came from people that I knew but I didn’t know cared. Most notably, I got a text message back from my old brother, James Hetfield, and I was so, so happy to hear from him. Contrary to what anybody says and contrary to any of the act that we put on, I love James and I know that James loves me and cares about me. You can see that when the moment of truth is here and I’m telling the world that I’ve got a life-threatening disease. Who comes to stand next to me? James.”
Megadeth were supposed to hit the road in North America with Ozzy Osbourne this past summer, but that tour was postponed when Ozzy injured himself in a fall. While it’s unclear whether Megadeth would have committed to that tour following Mustaine’s cancer diagnosis, they will definitely not be rejoining Ozzy on the rescheduled 2020 outing. It was recently announced that Marilyn Manson will be Ozzy’s support act on the rescheduled tour.
For much more from Mustaine on his cancer battle and the status of Megadeth, read the full interview at Rolling Stone.