When Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine launched Gigantour in 2005, he was fighting for headbanger attention from the well-established Ozzfest and another upstart package, Sounds of the Underground. i Both of those are gone now. There’s some new competition — including Mötley Crüe’s CrueFest and the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival — but Mustaine feels that after three Gigantours across North America, Australia, Japan and the U.K., he’s the elder statesman this year.
“It’s definitely built itself up as an international thing,” says Mustaine, 46, an Arizona resident who was a founding member of Metallica before parting ways in 1983 and starting Megadeth. “We’ve gone from doing it States-wide and going up into our Great White northern neighbors to going into Japan and Australia twice, and we just did a successful run through the U.K.
“It’s interesting to see there’s a lot of people that have seen the success of Gigantour and they want to emulate that. I’ve been trying to keep Gigantour from being anything but just another festival. But if people want to imitate you, I suppose that’s flattering, isn’t it?”
Gigantour — which opens this year’s DTE Energy Music Theatre season — has gone through it’s own changes, of course. This year’s third edition, for instance, has no second stage and features four other bands — In Flames, Children of Bodom, Job For a Cowboy and High on Fire. It’s smaller than in previous years, but Mustaine says it makes more financial sense and also feels that this arrangement lets fans focus more on each of the bands rather than feeling scattered — and, ultimately, fatigued — at an all-day affair.
“It goes down to the old Golden Rule; I think as long as you treat people — the fans and the other bands with the kind of respect you want to be treated with, you’ll be OK,” explains Mustaine, who took the Gigantour name from the 1960s animated series of a similar name. “It’s so much easier if I treat people the way I want to be treated. And if they’re acting like a (jerk), whose fault is that?”
Mustaine’s process for choosing Gigantour bands this year was the same as on its predecessors.
“It’s about bands that have good musicianship, good playing ability,” he says. “We just went through a terrible dry spell in the music industry. About 10 or 15 years ago, there were almost no guitar players that could play guitar solos. It started to teach a new generation that guitar solos weren’t cool anymore.
“I disagree. I think guitar players that don’t explore all six strings and 24 frets are missing it. So at (Gigantour), you’ll hear a lot of guitar playing, I promise you.”
Megadeth fans will also get a chance to hear the latest incarnation of Mustaine’s band, whose lineup has shifted again even since its last album, “United Abominations,” came out in 2007.
The latest is the addition of guitarist Chris Broderick, who Mustaine says was actually recommended by his predecessor, Glen Drover.
“It’s totally amicable, no bad blood or anything,” Mustaine notes. “I think (Drover) secretly knew Chris was better and he wanted what was best for us ‘cause his brother (Shawn) plays drums in Megadeth.”
Broderick has been well-received by the Megadeth faithful, according to Mustaine, who adds that the current version of the band has rekindled some of the faith he lost when he temporarily ended the group between 2002-04.
“I’m excited about what Chris is gonna bring when we go in (the studio). Watching him play really excites me about playing again,” Mustaine says. “I really am excited now. (Megadeth) has gone through its period with drugs, then when everybody got sober and it was, ‘Hey man, what’s up?,’ just kind of boring, then the period where I went into retirement.
“These guys I have now, it’s just ... exciting. I keep saying that, but they are exciting to play with. I’m glad I’m feeling that way again.”
Gigantour, featuring Megadeth, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Job For a Cowboy and High on Fire, is Saturday (May 3) at 5:30 p.m. at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $39.50 pavilion, $20 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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