Oh, Dave… you say you’re over stuff and that you’ve moved on, but then you have to drop some real passive-aggressive comments about Lars Ulrich.
Recently, Dave Mustaine spoke about a collaboration he and Metallica guitarist James Hetfield were considering working on; that project ended up falling apart though due to another discussion that went sour. That other conversation involved musician credits associated with the Metallica demo No Life ‘Til Leather. Dave Mustaine wanted to get credits associated with that demo sorted out, but when he saw Lars Ulrich getting more credit than Dave thought he deserved, and he saw Kirk Hammett getting credit for work he didn’t do (per Dave), Mustaine wasn’t having it.
Per a new interview with SongFacts, Mustaine goes into more detail about this whole situation and what went down. He also ends up throwing a few passive-aggressive jabs at Lars Ulrich. When asked about potentially collaborating with James Hetfield, this is what Dave had to say:
“The last time we talked it didn’t end very well because we have some memory of a couple of things that took place when I was in the band. I remember it one way and he is saying that it happened another. But it’s about somebody else – it’s not even him. He’s talking to me on behalf of ‘you know who’ [Lars Ulrich].
“They wanted to release No Life ‘Til Leather [the early Metallica demo Mustaine was on] – 27 songs, posters, flyers, pictures, everything. I said I would love to do this thing, and James said, ‘Look, we fucked up. The last three things we’ve done failed abysmally.’
“He said it was Lulu [Metallica’s collaboration with Lou Reed, released in 2011], something called Orion [a festival called Orion Music + More that took place in 2012 and 2013], and there was one other thing… I think it was a film about a fan or something [the 2013 film Metallica: Through The Never]. I don’t know. I don’t see them as a failure.
“But, I had said, ‘Yeah, I’d be interested.’ And he said, ‘We’d like to get everything right with all the history, the publishing and stuff.’ And I said, ‘Good.’ Because part of the reason why we haven’t been able to really reconcile is because I had songs that when I left I didn’t want them to record, and they went ahead and recorded them but they didn’t pay me what my share of the songs were.
“James and I wrote ‘Metal Militia’ and ‘Phantom Lord’ – every note. And somehow, on the record [Kill ‘Em All] it says Lars gets 10%. And on ‘Metal Militia’ that Kirk gets some of it, and he wasn’t even in the band! So I’ve come to terms with it, and when he said, ‘We’d like to get this right,’ I said, ‘Great. Let’s do it. I have no problem.’ And when I said, ‘This is what it is,’ he said, ‘No. It’s kind of what it was, and that’s how it is.’
“And I thought to myself, you know what? When you guys did that to me before, it was not cool. I said, “Don’t use my stuff,” and you did it, and then didn’t give me my fair share. So why would I want to willingly enter into something like that? I wouldn’t. So that’s where we stand right now. I would love to work with James. I’d like to work with Lars again, too, but I think the real talent in Metallica has always been around the guitar – everybody makes fun of the drums.
“Lars is a really great song arranger. And believe it or not, I watched him on a piece-of-shit acoustic guitar write the opening riff to ‘Ride The Lightning.’ [Sings riff, which turns out to be “Master Of Puppets”… keep reading. We’ve included the audio below so you can hear it.]
“You know what that was? It was a guy with a guitar that doesn’t know how to play, and he’s going [mimics playing a chromatic run] on the neck. It wasn’t anything really mind-blowing by any means. The way James played it made it mind-blowing.”