Song inspiration can come from the most random of places.
Years into his career, Megadeth mastermind Dave Mustaine had covered a multitude of different topics in his songwriting, so seemingly nothing was off the table in terms of what he’d write about next.
Sometimes though, best intentions don’t pan out. In a 2013 interview with Noisecreep, Mustaine identified the song he hated the most, the Risk cut “Crush ‘Em.”
Of his songwriting sources, he said:
“It’s tough sometimes because there’s only so many things you can say lyrically — one-liners, idioms, phrases — without repeating something you’ve already said in an earlier song. Especially being known for my lyrics, I have to make sure I don’t say something stupid. I have been pretty fortunate. There hasn’t been too many dumb songs in our discography.”
He then spoke about how the band began seeing some pretty real successes when it came to commercial success, saying,
“We had huge success with our prior album [1997’s Cryptic Writings] big singles and all of that. That had never happened before. So we figured, why not give the label and our management more to work with next time out since the last one did so well on radio. That was a huge mistake.”
This, coupled with Mustaine’s hockey fandom, resulted in something he wasn’t pleased with. Mustaine said,
“I remember the day our manager at the time [the late Bud Prager] came to my house and he goes, ‘I got an idea. Two words: crush ’em.’ The silence was deafening. Look, I wanted to write a hockey song cause I was sick of [convicted sex offender] Gary Glitter‘s song [‘Rock and Roll] being played in all the arenas. I’m a hockey season ticket holder and this is a family sport. I didn’t want that guy’s song anymore. I wanted to write something better. So I wrote the riff and then I see Bud’s lyrics and I think to myself, ‘This isn’t what I was thinking.’ So yeah, it didn’t work.”
His criticism comes through pretty clear on the track. It definitely sounds like something intended to be played extremely loud at hockey games, and almost intentionally anthemic. It’s hard to call anything in the track “metal” aside from maybe Mustaine’s vocal delivery, as the band riffs out a pretty generic rock instrumental. It also appeared on the soundtrack for Universal Soldier: The Return, a pretty bad movie with an alright soundtrack.
Hear the track for yourself below. Was Mustaine too hard on himself?