Thursday, February 16, 2012

When good musicians say bad things

One of my favorite musicians recently said something awful.

He quickly backtracked, barely, but the damage was done. News sites that usually never give Megadeth the time of day posted the story, littered with comments expressing mockery, disdain, amusement, schadenfreude, and from those who apparently haven't followed Dave Mustaine for the past ten years, shock. Worst of all, the quote showed Mustaine as what he really is--a deluded old bat with no grasp on the issues he writes about.

It wasn't always this way. He seemed like a role model when representing Rock the Vote at the Democratic National Convention:

In his best-known song, Mustaine decried a government that wouldn't solve its own problems. So much for all that time spent convincing the world his politics had any merit.

The video for Megadeth's gap-bridging Sex Pistols cover depicted President Reagan as gun-toting cartoon cowboy, getting his brain removed in a sequence that would please Gerald Scarfe.

Enjoy the song, because you'll never hear it live again. As a born again Christian, Mustaine recently admitted that he won't play "Anarchy in the U.K." anymore, paralyzed by the lyric "I am an antichrist."

Comparisons to Ted Nugent have been rolling in, but in many ways this is worse. "Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds," quoth the Bard. Dave Mustaine is no lily, but watching him fester is still painful. I'm even unhappy with him chiding Romney and Gingrich for their attack ads--those are big words for a guy who smeared nearly everyone who played an instrument in the same room as him in his autobiography.

By all accounts, Dave Mustaine is not a friendly, sane or logical guy. But I don't need him to be. Boycotting his music would be as silly as boycotting the Dixie Chicks. Knowing that Dave Mustaine supports a homophobic, misogynistic wingnut doesn't change a note of his music. Listening to Rust in Peace while I type, I can say it's my all-time favorite thrash metal album.

MegaDave will probably lose fans, and it'll be his fault. I can't imagine that too many Republicans will be inspired by Dave's words to check out his music, and some of them will still believe it should be banned. But I feel sorry for those conservatives, as do I for liberals blinded by Dave's values, or anyone who lets Dave Mustaine's insufferable personality keep them from enjoying anything as tremendous as "Holy Wars."

Click Here To Watch The Video

Cosmo Lee, one of rock journalism's finest, had this to say on Rust in Peace's anniversary:

"But despite his repulsive public persona, Mustaine is a musical genius. People like him are why we separate creators from their creations. I don’t want to know about James Brown’s or Varg Vikernes’ personal lives. But I can’t help but know, thanks to the overeager media – and even then I’ll look past them to their musical legacy. I believe in functional musical consumption: take what you need, and ditch the rest. All that baggage about killing people and beating wives and being all-around douchebags? That’s between those guys and their makers."

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