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Megadeth Bring ‘Dystopia’ to City National Civic

In Music
MASTERS OF METAL: Dave Mustaine of Megadeth has been riding the heavy metal rails for more than three decades.

MASTERS OF METAL: Dave Mustaine of Megadeth has been riding the heavy metal rails for more than three decades.

For more than 30 years Megadeth have been synonymous with heavy metal music. Recognized as one of the pioneering “big four” progenitors of thrash, the L.A.-based band have have been releasing music and touring the globe since their formation in 1983—and they show no signs of slowing down.

Currently on the road behind their latest full-length album—Dystopia, their 15th studio effort, released earlier this year—the quartet comes to the City National Civic in San Jose this Thursday with Amon Amarth, Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church and Butcher Babies

It hasn’t all been easy. The members of Megadeth have encountered plenty of obstacles over the years, ranging from substance abuse to numerous lineup changes. However, according to the Dave Mustaine, the group’s founding singer, guitarist and lead songwriter, the current incarnation of Megadeth is as vital as it ever has been.

Mustaine partially attributes his band’s newfound strength to the addition of two new players—Kiko Loureiro and Dirk Verbeuren—who joined Mustaine, along with co-founder David Ellefson, quite recently.

“Kiko definitely did give us a blood transfusion of sorts,” Mustaine says, speaking over the phone from his home in Nashville. “And it’s really fun for us to go out and get these new guys out there and let people see what they’re all about.”

Verbeuren takes over from Chris Adler—the full-time drummer for Philadelphia death metal outfit Lamb of God who laid down the drum tracks for Dystopia. Mustaine says he sees flashes of two former Megadeth drummers in his playing. “Dirk is remarkable,” he says. “The first time I played with him I said, ‘I love this guy, he’s like Nick Menza and Gar Samuelson rolled into one.’”

Samuelson, who played with the band from 1984-87 and appeared on Megadeth’s first two albums, Killing is My Business…and Business is Good! and Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? died in 1999. Menza, who hit the skins from 1989-98, and played on fan favorites Rust in Peace and Countdown To Extinction, among others, passed away unexpectedly in May at the age of 51. His death came as a shock to both Mustaine and a legion of fans around the globe.

“I know he’s in a better place now, so I’m happy for him, he had a super successful career, he’s got a beautiful child that he left behind, and his legacy speaks for itself, there’s not a lot of guys that make that kind of statement in heavy metal,” says Mustaine.

Mustaine says the band’s current lineup is fun to play with and feels more like a family than many of the group’s more recent iterations.

“We didn’t hang out at all,” he says of previous Megadeth casts. “That’s bad for me, because when you’re spending years of your life with people, you want to be able to hang out more than just ‘I’ll see you up at the salt mine today.’”

With more than 35 years of experience as a professional musician—including his well-known stint as an early member of Metallica—the 55-year-old shredder is also excited to help younger acts get exposure by taking them on tour.

“It’s fun to be able to take these bands [on tour] because in a way you have the power to help break some bands,” he says, noting that many of the bands that have opened up for Megadeth in the past, from Stone Temple Pilots to Pantera to Korn, went on to superstardom. “I love being able to do that for people—to give them a shot, an opportunity to do something that they wouldn’t necessarily do.”

He’s also excited to hit the road with older, more established bands, including ones that inspired him when he was younger.

“Metal Church is a band I loved growing up listening to,” he says. “I remember that very first record that they had, that guitar riff for the song ‘Metal Church’ was just mind-blowing. That was one of the most metal riffs I head ever heard in my life up to that point.”

Sep 29, 6pm, $50-$60
City National Civic, San Jose

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