October 2, 2012

Rocktober 2: Megadeth vs. Metallica

October 2, 2012

Rocktober 2: Megadeth vs. Metallica

I kicked off Rocktober 2012 yesterday with “the basics” theme that’ll continue for a few days. By basics, I mean huge rock bands. And since my rock fandom is rooted in the harder stuff, today’s installment is Sweating Bullets by Megadeth (embedded here). Not so much for the song itself but the story behind it.

Fact is, I don’t even like the song. But tons of people do, including many metalhead friends. One version of Sweating Bullets has 2.1m views on youtube and the album it’s on went double platinum and charted at number two in 1992. I don’t like the song because it’s all cartoony and hard for hard’s sake, rather than actually being good ol’ metal. Listen to the opening line and you get the idea.

But this song makes the list because it contains the lyric that led to the most famous rock ‘n’ roll cocktail: The Blacktooth Grin, a mix of Crown Royal and/or Seagram’s 7 with a splash of Coke.

And what is hard rock without hard boozing?

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine certainly knows the answer to that question. He was a founding member of Metallica but was booted for excessive boozing. It went something like this:

Mustaine joined Metallica as guitarist shortly after singer James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich met in October 1981. About one year later, Ulrich and Hefield discovered bassist Cliff Burton who was playing a show at the Whiskey in LA, and after a few months of trying to recruit Burton, that four-man lineup played their first show March 1983. A month later, Mustaine was fired because of his out of control drinking, drugging, and violence toward the other three band members.

Mustaine formed Megadeth almost immediately after, with a mission not to be better, but to be harder. Motivation skewed more toward spite than creativity led to the signature schtick you hear on Sweating Bullets. To this day it seems more about attention than music for Mustaine, who said last month that Obama staged Aurora and other horrific shootings.

All that said, there’s no denying Megadeth’s giant influence on metal over the last three decades. They’ve sold 38 million albums and it was Pantera, another monster of the genre (and an equally hard drinking band), who invented The Blacktooth Grin in Megadeth’s honor.

As for Metallica, stay tuned to The 31 Days of Rocktober for more…
Song source:
Sweating Bullets – Megadeth (youtube)