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Interview:
Megadeth's Dave Mustaine happy with "really, really" cool Gigantour package
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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Megadeth's Dave Mustaine hasn't exactly slouched in putting together the four previous editions of the Gigantour heavy metal package.

But even he's impressed with this year's lineup.

"This has the potential to be a really, really cool Gigantour," says Mustaine, who launched the concept in 2005 and this year has tapped a particular potent gathering of Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah, Newsted and Death Division. "All the bands on it are super-aggressive, just extreme metal.

"We're expecting a lot of good times."

These are good times for Megadeth, too. The group's 14th studio album, "Super Collider," debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart in early June -- its highest showing since 1994's "Youthanasia." The 11-song set also represents something of a change in tact for the quartet -- not sonically, where things are also brutally thrashy as ever. But lyrically, Mustaine, an astute and outspoken observer of both domestic and global politics over the years, decided to steer a more personal and internal course this time out.

"I thought it's just not the same climate anymore where you can really talk about stuff like that," explains Mustaine, 51, who formed Megadeth in 1983, after being dismissed from Metallica. "People are so polarized they'll chuck a musician that they really like because of them being a Democrat or them being a Republican or whatever.

"I'm not a partisan guy, and I seem to always get lumped in as a Republican, which I'm not. So I was trying to walk away from all this controversy and stuff that seems to follow me and let the music do the talking."

For "Super Collider," then, Mustaine -- who co-produced the album -- changed the focus to "a little bit more about human politics this time, like my mother-in-law having Alzheimers and things like that. Not everybody watches the news, so when you tell somebody that this is going on, that's going on, this guys is part of a cover-up, this guy is a philanderer, they don't want to hear it. But if you say, 'Hey, my mother-in-law has Alzheimers or something they might have going on in their life, too, all of a sudden you've got that bond.

"So I figured I would write about what goes on inside my heart instead of inside my head this time, and I think it really came across that way."

He also notes with a laugh that the track "Burn!" is "the first record in my career I've actually said 'baby' in a song other than when I was mocking the girl that was the subject matter of the song 'Love it to Death' on my first record (1985's 'Killing Is My Business...'). It's just so weird to sing that and know that I've never done it before."

"Super Collider" also sports a cover of Thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat" as well as a guest appearance from Disturbed and Device frontman David Draiman on "Dance in the Rain." The two have known each other for years but recently became closer as Mustaine and his family contemplated moving to Texas and consulted Draiman, who lives near Austin.

"We're horse people. We want to go to the country, so we hooked up with (Draiman) to see what it was like where he was," Mustaine recalls. "And I went to listen to his band, Device, to see about having them on Gigantour and loved them.

"So I'm listening to him and wanted to ask him to song on ('Dance in the Rain,' going, 'Do it, do it, do it. Ask him, you big chicken!' So I did, and two days later we cut the track and it was great."

Gigantour runs through Aug. 11, with Megadeth slated to join Iron Maiden for its short U.S. tour in September and then play South America with Black Sabbath during October. Mustaine expects to be on the road into 2014 to support "Super Collider," hoping for unexplored territories such as China and Africa.

"Being an international band, we have to take all those (places) into consideration," Mustaine notes. "We have a year-long tour in mind, and once you go through the globe once, the second time around you want to do something a little different. Gigantour has been kind of a different alternative for us, but this time we're doing it right out of the box. But with this group of bands I think it'll work really well."

Gigantour 2013 featuring Megadeth, Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah, Newsted and Death Division, starts at 4 p.m. Monday, July 8, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $20-$75 pavilion, $15 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

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