“For five years, I was spending $500 a day on cocaine and heroin”: Megadeth Singer Talks Past Drug Addiction

Megadeth singer
Dave Mustaine: Megadeth Facebook/ Countdown to Extinction: Hugh Syme, label: Capitol, Megadeth
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Prior to the band creating their fifth studio album, Countdown to Extinction, Megadeth singer Dave Mustaine was struggling with a serious drug problem.

Per a Metal Hammer article that explores the band’s history with drugs, referring to his money spending habits when it came to buying drugs, the Megadeth singer shared the following:

“I’m lucky, with my intake of drugs and drink, that I didn’t end up as a glob of shit,” Mustaine admitted to Q magazine in 1992. “For five years, I was spending $500 a day on cocaine and heroin. Every single day. [My] loved ones were watching a man become a hollow shell.”

Ex-Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, who also struggled with serious drug addiction, spoke to Metal Hammer about how a tour with Suicidal Tendencies and Testament really helped him get focused on staying clean.

“Clash Of The Titans was very strategic for Megadeth,” Ellefson tells us. “It was the stepping stone that took us from being a dishevelled, broken-down, drugged-out shell of a Megadeth in 1988/1989 into being the band that could fill arenas on our own.

Rust… was our first record with clear minds and clear ambitions. It was interesting to juxtapose where we were in ’90, kinda fresh and going out with Slayer as this new unit, to the end of the following summer where we were ready to go it alone and do things for ourselves. We were shooting for the stars.”

It was thanks to these shows and being driven to create new material – which would help to form their record Countdown to Extinction – that Mustaine and Ellefson found inspiration to become clean.

In a past interview with the ex-Megadeth bassist, he shared that, during the creation of the band’s studio album debut Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good!, he said he could “hear color.”

To read more about that story, you can click on the link below.

Ex-Megadeth Bassist Talks Heavy Drug Influence On Debut Album

Countdown to Extinction – which released on July 14th of 1992 – will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in just a couple months! Where does this record stand for you among your ranking of Megadeth albums?


Words by: Michael Pementel