I think if you boil it down to its lowest common denominator its respect for the people who are listening to your music and having something important to say. “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”(laughter)…I can see where that’s like a dance thing for people who aren’t really paying attention to the moment and are just celebrating but if you feed your audience pabulum like that you basically think that they’re musical babies and I know that our fan-base is pretty different for any other fan-base for any other band. There are a lot of bands that are similar to Megadeth in nature but our fans are so different from age groups to nationalities to what they do for a living. The majority of our fans are salt of the Earth, working class folks but I remember meeting a guy in El Paso that was a heart doctor that goes into pregnant women and operates on the child while it’s still in the uterus and I was thinking “I sure hope you’re not listening to “Black Friday” while you’re doing that stuff.” (laughter)
Why do you think metal continually doesn’t get the respect it deserves?
You’ve got to look at a lot the participants in it. To their own demise, a lot of heavy metal performers act stupid. You know, “Hey bro, duh.” It doesn’t further our cause any. If you want to be treated intelligently, then act intelligent. I remember a lot of the opportunities that I’ve had to do coverage for different shows or stuff, with the whole political process. People forget that. You don’t have to be like “Hey F You dude,” this kind of stuff to be cool. I think that rock n’roll and heavy metal is about rebellion and if everyone thinks you’re stupid then rebel, be smart.
A lot of the bands that were thrash and speed metal bands were anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment bands but there were also a lot that played heavy metal that were singing about mythology and taking it to the extreme with death and black metal bands. I have nothing against it. I just kind of think that’s where it started to spider web into all these different fragments of metal. Think about it, there are dozens and dozens of types of metal. To me, it’s all metal. It’s basically how you sing. The majority of these black and death metal bands have great players but people won’t take them seriously because of their lyrical content. I think if you want to appeal to the masses you have to talk about what’s happening in the real world or you have to address things that are happening emotionally with people that’s going on inside their own personal world. If not it’s like in Purple Rain when the guy looks at Prince and said “The only person who understands your music is yourself.” That’s one of my favorite lines in any musical movie because you can very easily lose the plot.
What are some current bands that you think Megadeth have influenced?
Influenced? I’m not going to say that. Last time I said that I got into a lot of trouble (laughter).
But do you still listen to new, modern metal bands?
There are some new bands I like but you know, they’ve got either great music or great singing. It’s pretty few and far between where you’re finding a new band that’s like a new Guns N’ Roses or new Nirvana. There’s nothing that’s really shaken up the music world where it’s like “You’ve got to hear these guys.” We’re overdue for a new band that’s going to really knock the music world on its butt again. It’s been a long time. Every once in awhile you get somebody good but then they can’t handle the pressure and they fall apart. The last big band that changed anything would probably be the Foo Fighters.