Dave Mustaine reckons thrash metal may not have existed without his early input and he believes that he steered Metallica onto the path for which they have become famous.
Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian famously described Dave Mustaine as ‘arguably the Godfather of thrash metal in his 2014 autobiography.
Writing in his book ‘I'm The Man: The Story Of That Guy From Anthrax’, Ian said “The guy is arguably the godfather of thrash metal. He wrote a lot of the riffs on Metallica’s 'Kill 'Em All' and even some of 'Ride The Lightning'. Without Dave Mustaine, maybe thrash metal never would have happened. At least in the beginning, he was the driving force, artistically.”
Now Loudwire have asked Mustaine directly for his thoughts on being crowned the Godfather of thrash metal.
In an interview the Megadeth mainman admits he is aware of the key role he has played in the genre but he is reluctant to take the credit.
“I think there's a good chance it (thrash metal) might not have… The guitar player that we hired in Metallica before James Hetfield actually started playing guitar and was… he wasn't metal,” recalls Mustaine.
“And if he would have been the guy that we chose over me, who knows what would have happened? And I think that if you really look at the mathematics of Metallica in the beginning, me being the only guitar player, if I wasn't there, there probably wouldn't have been a Metallica.”
He continues: “But let's not kid ourselves: James is a great guitar player; he really is. And I'm sure that at some point they would have realized that he needed to play guitar and sing, and they would found a guitar player as good as I am. I just know that about those guys; they're excellent musicians and they know what they want.
“Now, if James would have been playing guitar at the time when I joined? I don't know… I don't know that that would have held the same kind of merit. You know what I mean? But since I was the only guy there, I think it's probably pretty accurate.”
Mustaine left Metallica under a cloud in 1983 with the two camps disagreeing on his value and input into their early material.
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich commented in an interview with The Plain Dealer in the past: “Dave Mustaine never played on any Metallica records. No disrespect to him. But there [were] half a dozen other people that were in the lineup in the early days. We thought . . . the fair thing to do would be to include anybody that played on a Metallica record."
He added: "Dave Mustaine was in the band for 11 months, predominantly in 1982. . . . I'm not trying to play it down. I have nothing but respect and admiration for his accomplishments since.”