Robert Gray of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with former MEGADETH and current HYDROGYN guitarist Jeff Young. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH mainman] alleges that you opened up his suitcase once and found a love letter from Doro Pesch. You allegedly weren't happy, and quit MEGADETH.
Jeff: No. It didn't go quite like that. It was more like Doro Pesch gave Dave a love letter, and he ran in. I kinda had a crush on Doro, and I can't lie: she was cute, she was hot. We were flirting with each other, but apparently Doro has bad taste and she was crushing on Mustaine. Mustaine knew I was crushing on Doro, and he ran in the dressing room with the letter, and he showed it to everyone right in front of me, and read it out aloud right in front of me. I didn't have to go looking in his case. He just added that in to make me seem like I'm sneaky, or devious or whatever. He just came in and he was proud of it. It was a drag; if you have a crush on a chick, and she likes another guy... I wasn't that broken up about it, and it wasn't like anything had happened between Doro and me. We were just friends.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: And you didn't verbally quit MEGADETH as a result of that love letter?
Jeff: No. We hung out. I hung out with him and Doro that night in the hotel room, and they went off somewhere. God knows what happened from there. We all hung out on a few nights. We hung out many nights on the tour; she'd come back to the hotel room, and we'd all hang out. You could tell she was crushing on Dave at that point. If you have a crush on a girl, and she's into another guy, you just think "OK." That's where I was, but the drama always gets picked up because it looks better in print, and Dave likes to look good in print, and make drama, likes to hype the drama.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You alleged that you, Dave Ellefson [MEGADETH bassist] and Chuck [Behler, MEGADETH drummer at the time] had come to an agreement with the soundman on tours to bury Dave Mustaine's contributions in the mix, and that he had to be carried offstage each and every night.
Jeff: I like that you said his contributions, quote unquote. Well, it's just like when someone's fucked up; it makes their singing out of tune, and their playing sloppy. We wanted to sound good, right? We just told Louie, the soundman, "Dude, when he's sounding lame...", and many bands do this. If the singer's having a bad night, maybe they won't have him so loud in the mix. It wasn't like we paid the guy off. It wasn't a conspiracy, but he knew. You can hear live tapes, and you can go back and listen to bootlegs. You can hear it for yourself.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: And you allege that Dave Mustaine was that wasted on tour that he had to be carried offstage every night?
Jeff: Every night, and the worst night was... And this for me was one of my most embarassing moments in the band, and that I'm telling the story because it involves METALLICA. This night was on that DIO tour, on the "Dream Evil" tour, in Oakland, California which is right outside San Francisco, where METALLICA are from, of course. MEGADETH and DIO were playing the Coliseum, whatever the big arena there in Oakland was, and James Hetfield and Lars [Ulrich] came to the show. They were standing on the side of the stage for our set, and ya know, no-one needs to retell the story of what happened between Dave and METALLICA. MEGADETH was doing great right there; our album was twenty-eight on Billboard, and we were one of the first speed metal bands I think to crack the Top 30. We were ready to seize the moment right then, and Dave, in that moment on that night, had the chance to shove their noses right in it. He had the chance to go on that stage, and play the fucking show of his life. Remember that scene in "Some Kind of Monster" where Lars went to see Jason Newsted's new band, and Lars is like "Jason's the new thing man. METALLICA's washed up... Jason is the shit?" Dave Mustaine had the chance to make those guys feel that that night, but he could not — for forty-five minutes — stay sober, and get through that show. He ended up getting so wasted, exactly the thing that they fired him from METALLICA for doing — getting drunk. He was so wasted on that stage, and when you open for a band, you know you got forty-five minutes. It's about going out, picking your best songs, and going out with guns blazing. You shove it down the audience's throat, and you get out of there without a lot of chitter chatter. You don't go on that stage, and put on some kind of a drunken rant for like eight to ten minutes of a forty-five minute set. I don't even know what he was saying. You're in an arena, so it's echoing like crazy. People can't even hear or understand what you're saying. He talked out of his ass, and Junior was over on the other side of the stage flailing his arms furiously. I was standing on the side of the stage playing the Oakland Coliseum, and James Hetfield and Lars were there. That was the first time in MEGADETH where I said "I am so ashamed to be here. I did not work my whole life, and practice fourteen hours a day... but here I am. How is it possible? That I'm playing in front of thirteen thousand people a night, and I'm ashamed?". I could see Junior ashamed. Finally he stopped, and we got through the show. All of us then had to walk right by Lars and James with our heads down because our singer made an ass out of all of us. So that's Dave onstage with MEGADETH. That moment was his moment, where he could've shown them, and then all this drama he's had all these years with METALLICA never would've happened. That night he could've put a lid on it, and said "I just took the helm, babe." He had that chance that night.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: How do you look back on your time in MEGADETH?
Jeff: Well, I try to look back on it with positivity. I try to only remember and think about the good stuff, and all the good that came from it. The fans that like "So Far, So Good... So What!" are as loyal today; as soon as I opened a MySpace page, they started finding me — so many fans, fan after fan. People who say that I wrote that blog for press to sell my album... I don't need the money. I already have enough money, so I don't have to work another day in my life. The fans are already there; the MEGADETH fans who were into me have already contacted me. I don't need to do anything for any reason. It's amazing how loyal the fans are; I played on one album and played on a few tours, but they still remember, and that's really touching. It's cool. That's an amazing part of being in the band. Like I said, the shows, the touring and everything is cool. And see, that's the thing. Even though I have a bad feeling about Mustaine as a person... I think he's a poser; I think he's one of the biggest phonies in rock 'n' roll and music. His whole thing is an act. The whole tough-guy thing — it's not real. But I can still appreciate if I hear "Hangar 18", for example — I don't have to be on the song. "Tornado of Souls"... There's been certain songs that I've heard over the years. If a guitar student brings a song in and says, "Hey, can you help me figure out this solo by Marty Friedman?" or whatever, then I say "OK, man. That's cool". I can totally appreciate the good songs that he's written, and so can his fans. The unfortunate thing is that it's hard for me to appreciate and look back on my time fondly, and it's hard for the fans to enjoy the music, when he won't shut his fucking mouth. Frank Zappa said it best: shut up and play the guitar. That's all I'm saying. That's what I meant. When I challenged him to a guitar duel, I was joking about that, like "I challenge you to a duel, sir", like they did in the Wild West or whatever. I totally would've done it, but if you're gonna talk shit, someone's eventually gonna say it's enough. I think he's done enough that he can be proud of without taking credit for other people's contributions to his band. He was in METALLICA, and he's in MEGADETH. He's written all these songs, has played all his own solos, sang all his own vocal melody lines, produced albums, and toured the world. He's got enough, but he's like the kid in the sandbox that has to have all the toys in his corner, and he doesn't wanna share any credit or anything. Just like the three-way partnership with me, just like with Junior with the money; he thinks that it's all his, and he doesn't wanna share any credit. I don't understand that kind of narcissism.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Will you be purchasing Dave Mustaine's forthcoming autobiography?
Jeff: I wouldn't read it if you handed it to me. It'd be like if you said "Would you read an autobiography by George Bush?" He's a professional bullshit artist, and has told so many lies right now that he doesn't know what the lies and the truth are. I can tell you that if he's got any more shit that he wants to sling my way, he better be taking it out before the book's published.
Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.