Megadeth's Dave Mustaine says hard living is behind him

Dave Mustaine, lead singer and guitarist for Megadeth, used to live the life of the stereotypical heavy-metal rock star.

"I never went to sleep, I passed out," Mustaine said. "I never RTC woke up, I just came to. It's really no way to live."


Mustaine will freely admit that he is a "serious, raging, full-blown drug addict," but he's been clean and sober for more than 14 months .

"When I got arrested I had nine different chemicals in my body," said Mustaine, who leads "The Clash of the Titans," featuring Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax and Alice In Chains, at the Baltimore Arena Sunday. "It started out with alcohol and pot, and then came the cocaine and the heroin and the freebase. Up until 14 months ago my entire recording career had been shrouded in a cloud of heavy drugs. I had a ludicrous relationship with a manager who was Fed Ex'ing us dope on the road to keep us inebriated so we wouldn't realize the wrongs being done to us."


Once Mustaine controlled his drug problem early last year, he decided to put Megadeth back together with bassist David Ellefson, who helped recruit a pair of new sober members for the band. Guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza came in to record the band's latest album, "Rust in Peace," and are now part of the band.

"The Clash of the Titans" has turned out to be just that, on stage and and off, as the quartet of bands compete for adulation when they're playing and give each other the cold shoulder when they aren't.

"It's a lot to get a hello backstage when you see someone," Mustaine said. "It's not that we don't get along, it's more that we don't have anything in common."

Worse yet, Mustaine said he sees some members of other bands getting involved in the same problems he had earlier in his career.

"It's not my place to tell anyone how to live their lives," he said. "I know the way I was when I was on drugs. I wouldn't listen to anyone. I work with kids who have drug problems back at home, and the difference is that they're reaching out for help; that's the first step. Denial is the part you have to beat first.

"There is a lot of quality music and four terrific bands," Mustaine said, 'but there is also some soul-searching that needs to be done.

"It's almost like you need to have that carrot taken away from you for you to appreciate it. I had it when I was with Metallica in 1983 and lost it. I had it when I started Megadeth and then I lost it again to drugs. I've got it again and I'm not going to screw it up a third time. I'm tired of making the same mistakes."



The concert calendar . . .

Ben E. King will open the Pier Six Pavilion season with a show on July 25. General admission seats are just $6. Also at Pier Six on the opening weekend are Hall and Oates and Pat Benatar (July 26), John Denver (July 27) and The Temptations and The Four Tops (July 28). Little Feat has been added to the schedule with a show Sept. 22. Tickets for the shows go on sale Sunday.

Merriweather Post Pavilion has the Doobie Brothers and Joe Walsh (Saturday), Reggae Sunsplash (Sunday) and Dan Fogelberg (July 6).

Hammerjacks has Child's Play (Saturday) and Kix (July 4 and 5).

The Capital Centre hosts AC/DC and L.A. Guns (July 9) and Yes (July 20).