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Lost Band Members: Dave Mustaine

Dave Mustaine joined Metallica as lead guitarist in October of 1981 and left in April of 1983. During his time with the band Metallica continued to grow into a serious force in the metal scene but Mustaine reportedly had a problem with alcohol and drugs and there were several arguments and fights with other members. He joined after answering an advert in The Recycler newspaper for a lead guitarist and he quickly impressed Hetfield and Ulrich with his skill, talent and expensive guitar. Mustaine co-wrote several songs with Metallica and they later appeared on Kill Em All and Ride the Lightning he also recorded the No Life Til Leather demo with them. The band toured extensively with Mustaine on lead guitar but by all accounts he was developing a serious drink and drug problem and he didn’t handle it as well as the rest of the band, often turning violent and abusive. There are various stories about Mustaine’s antics including the story about his dog scratching original bassist Ron McGovney’s car which provoked a physical fight with Mustaine punching Hetfield and getting thrown out of the band only to beg his way back in the next day. He also reportedly poured beer into Ron’s bass which ruined it and gave him an electric shock when he plugged it in. Then he nearly crashed the car when the band was on a road trip on their way to New York because he was drunk. It is impossible to know the truth of these stories but what we do know is that Hetfield and Ulrich had decided they wanted to become more professional and this would mean getting rid of Dave. After a final gig in New York Mustaine was told that he was out of the band and given a ticket for a Greyhound bus home. Kirk Hammett was brought in as a replacement and with much bitterness between them Dave Mustaine went on to form Megadeth with the intention of besting Metallica in the rock scene. Megadeth were a big band and they enjoyed massive success but they never reached the same heights as Metallica. The feud between Mustaine and Ulrich and Hetfield continued with claims from Mustaine that he co-wrote Metallica material and contributed ideas that he was never credited for. Mustaine and Ulrich exchanged various barbed comments in the press and their attempt at reconciliation in 2001 was filmed, with part of it appearing in the Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster. Mustaine challenged Ulrich over kicking him out of the band instead of trying to help him and admitted he had been hurt. He later claimed the footage was edited to make him look bad and that Ulrich left the meeting in tears. Despite claims he doesn’t care about Metallica Mustaine has said some seriously nasty things over the years mostly directed at his mild mannered replacement Kirk Hammett but Ulrich has been equally vocal. The bad feeling is reportedly now forgotten but you’d be forgiven for being sceptical.