02 HOLY WARS… THE PUN­ISH­MENT DUE

Metal Hammer (UK) - - The 50 Greatest Riffs Ever - JAMES BAR­NETT, CANE HILL

“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.”

Me­gadeth

(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

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