02 HOLY WARS… THE PUNISHMENT DUE
“Anytime I think Megadeth, Holy Wars crosses my mind. When the song transitions, it goes into an absolutely massive riff. Very iconic in my opinion. It’s also really clever when you break down what they’re doing. Dave [Mustaine] and Marty [Friedman] were always good at that.”
(Rust In Peace, 1990) WHAT INSPIRED THE SONG? DAVE MUSTAINE:
“We’d been in Northern Ireland. I’d been drinking Guinness and somebody explained some complicated stuff to me in a simplified manner really quickly, and I bought it. I said something from the stage that I shouldn’t have and it caused a scuffle. [Guitarist] David ellefson wouldn’t talk to me the next day. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and he said, ‘You don’t know what you said last night, do you?’ I said, ‘No, I was drunk, that’s the point.’ He told me what I’d said [Dave made an onstage dedication to ‘the cause’] and that we were escorted out of town in a bulletproof bus. I was so disappointed I’d said that.”
WHY DID YOU SAY IT?
“I didn’t know what I was saying. If you know what you’re saying then it’s one thing, but if you’re saying it because someone’s sold you some bullshit… The guy said it was ‘for the cause’, and I was like, ‘What’s the cause?’ And he said it was just prejudice with Protestants vs Catholics. I didn’t know about the whole skirmish. The next day we left Dublin for Nottingham rock City and [drummer] Chuck Behler was nowhere to be found. [His drum tech] Nick Menza hopped up on the drumkit and I started playing the riff to Holy Wars… and wrote the lyrics soon after.” “No. It’s the same stuff, man. There are still religious wars, still people who don’t know such as I didn’t, still people who follow all this stuff and have no understanding of other people’s lives or their cultures, laws and shit like that. Just a couple of different things with liberties from one country to the next can mean freedom to express yourself or you get your head cut off. It’s important not to go into the world and expect things your way.” “I like that young guitar players are learning music on a bastardised version of guitar; it unlocks the world to non-musicians. I just want people to have a good time with it.”
HAS YOUR ATTITUDE TO THE LYRICS CHANGED OVER TIME? THE SONG WAS FEATURED ON GUITAR HERO, OVER 20 YEARS SINCE ITS RELEASE. WAS THAT WEIRD?
MegaDave fucked up with his stage speech,
but we got an amazing song out of it