Look, we all know that heavy metal is an awe-inspiring force. The songs crafted by our favorite bands and musicians transcend mere background music and enter the realm of pure magic. It’s a beautiful, psychically gratifying and spiritually fulfilling medium, and there isn’t a single headbanger alive who would debate the practical power of raging sounds.
Metal can hype up fans while simultaneously tearing down enemies. While the hard stuff can heal as much as it can hurt, it’s generally accepted that these qualities are more figurative than literal. That might be true for some people, but try telling it to Dave Mustaine.
In a 2011 feature on his most prized possessions, the Megadeth main man told Spin: “I met a fan in Kentucky who had throat cancer. He was only supposed to live a few weeks. For some reason, I reached out, grabbed his throat, and started praying for the dude. He lived long enough to give me this on our next tour. It’s signed by the governor and says I’m an honorary Kentucky Colonel. As far as I know, it’s the real deal.”
Mustaine’s born-again christian faith has been a cornerstone of the guitarist’s life for quite some time now, providing him with a sense of strength and guidance through dark times and good. That being said, when it came to his own throat cancer diagnosis almost a decade later, he was sure to credit good nutrition and medical science for his years of remission.
“We worked really hard on all of the treatment and on the nutrition and all the personal stuff that I had to do outside the hospital,” he told The Irish Times. “The doctors set up this really brutal program to address the cancer. They wanted to kill it without having to do any surgery.”
Mustaine continued: “I told the doctors that I was a little concerned that Eddie Van Halen had part of his tongue cut out. Bruce Dickinson — the Iron Maiden lead singer — and [actor] Michael Douglas had got it too, and I was part of the club. We had a great program.”
“My doctors are really great,” praised the guitarist. “Whenever anybody goes to see a doctor and gives you the all-clear for your health, you are usually really, really grateful.”
“It doesn’t have any power over me anymore,” he concluded. “I want to make sure that people don’t get discouraged when they hear news like that. I went to two doctors in Tennessee, and they knew how important it was for me to continue singing.”