It’s rare a musician gets bounced from a major group like Metallica for drug abuse and being difficult (the former usually causes the latter) and starts a successful group.
Launched in ’83, following guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine’s stint with Metallica, Megadeth‘s debut “Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good” dropped less than two years later. Next, the group released the lesser “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?”
Guitarist Jeff Young and drummer Chuck Behler then joined Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson. “So Far, So Good… So What” followed with “Mary Jane” and covers of Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and the Sex Pistol’s “Anarchy In The UK.”
It was after that album Mustaine checked into rehab and it appeared to take hold.
Turned out that Young and Behler were not long-term players. Guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza replaced them. This line-up produced Megadeth’s pinnacle “Rust In Peace” (’90).
“Countdown To Extinction,” with “Sweating Bullets” was released two years later with the group’s most accessible and popular album “Youthanasia” hitting stores in ’94.
‘97’s “Cryptic Writings,” drummer Nick Menza’s last album with Megadeth, debuted at #10 on the Billboard album chart. Subsequent albums, “Risk” and “The World Needs A Hero” landed in Billboard’s Top 20. And that might have been the end of it.
Mustaine suffered a debilitating arm injury in ‘02 but he was never the type to just fade away. After a three year lay-off Megadeth returned with “System Has Failed,” the group’s 10th album. It too cracked the Top 20.
A short time later, Mustaine dismissed the band and started from scratch picking up Canadian Thrash Metal vets Glen and Shawn Drover. The brothers played guitar and drums, respectively. Also added was James Lomenzo (JLo), former bassist for Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society for “United Abominations.”
Megadeth went into the studio in September, ’08 and came out with “Endgame” arriving a year after it work on it began. The album made its debut at #9 on the Billboard album chart. “Head Crusher” was the lead single.
The group’s “TH1RT3EN” dropped in ‘11. “This record is the culmination of my work over the 13 records I recorded,” said Mustaine. “There are moments on “TH1RT3EN” that capture my every emotion, and other moments where I am releasing feelings I never knew existed!”
After completing the American leg of the Countdown To Extinction 20th anniversary tour Megadeth returned to the studio to complete “Super Collider,” the band’s fourteenth studio album. They completed recording on a date that seemed to reference their previous set. “More 13 weirdness… we finished the record on 31313,” tweeted Mustaine. “13 of 14 songs used; song 13 left off.”
“Super Collider” was the group’s first album released on Mustaine’s own label, Tradecraft, and it was the first album since ‘97’s “Cryptic Writings” not to feature a lineup change from the preceding album.
“Super Collider” sold 29,000 copies in its first week to land at #6 on the Billboard 200.
In October, ’14 Drover and Broderick quit Megadeth one day apart, after tenures of ten and seven years, respectively. The split left Mustaine and Ellefson as the only current members.
With so much swirling around Megadeth it was almost anticlimactic when they officially confirmed that Lamb Of God drummer Chris Adler would be a guest player on their next studio album. And just a few days later, the group announced the addition of guitarist Kiko Loureiro. The pair were brought in after an attempt to reunite the band’s “Rust In Peace” era lineup failed.
That same year, Megadeth unfurled its 15th studio album, “Dystopia.” “I knew from the start that I wanted to go back to my roots, and I wanted to make a thrash record,” said Mustaine.
Megadeth picked up the Best Metal Performance Grammy for the title song from “Dystopia.” It was the group’s first win after twelve nominations.
“The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” was the first Megadeth album to feature drummer Dirk Verbeuren, the second with guitarist Loureiro. During the album’s recording founding bassist David Ellefson was forced out of the band due to sexual misconduct charges with his bass parts re-recorded by Testament’s Steve Di Giorgio.