Guitar WorldAugust 2020
THE WHOLE WORLD IS COMING APART at the seams. At least that’s the way it seems in Nashville this week. A T6 tornado tore the hell out of town just as the Coronavirus hit the Volunteer State. Even the President is in Music City today, surveying the damage from Marine Helicopter One, hovering above us as we step into a dark, downtown studio to meet with a local resident – DAVE MUSTAINE.
The Apocalypse’s first and second horsemen take a back seat, at least for the moment. Right now, we’re more concerned about Dave’s dog. Oblivious to its diminutive size, the long-haired Chihuahua descends upon us like some high-pitched Hound of Hell, menacingly baring his teeth and threatening to devour our very soul if we step any closer to his master.
“Easy, Romeo. Easy,” Dave says, reaching to save us from the snarling beast. We coil back, cautiously offering the back of our hand. Dave laughs gruffly. “Oh, no,” he says. “That doesn’t work with him.”
As the Megadeth frontman corrals his pup, it gives us a chance to check out the legend after his recent health crisis. Mass of fiery mane — intact. Black jacket, jeans, black T-shirt, white sneakers. Honestly? Well, he looks like Dave Mustaine, like the hellraiser still not sold on cheap or easy peace. He moves a bit slow, but not creakily — more like a man who’s fought the Devil bare-fisted and lived to tell the tale.
“Yeah, I’m pretty stoked about that,” he says, grinning as he grabs a bottle of water and motions for us to have a seat in a private, black-walled dressing room. The obvious first question: So, how do you feel? “I’m a little run down, but a lot of that’s from the medication and all the stuff that goes along with treatment. They hit the cancer really hard, nine doses of chemo and 51 radiation treatments, which just beats the hell out of you. My mouth is still messed up but overall, I feel really good.”
Dave settles in on the couch to tell us how he got the news that he was cancerfree. “I was here in Nashville, at my doctor’s office. He had to reach down the back of my throat, which was really unpleasant, but it was important for him to feel and make sure. And he said my progress was amazing, that both sides felt the same. I’ve got a metal plate in my neck that I figured might cause problems, but the doc told me, “Dave, you are in perfect health, 100 percent. You’re free to go.”
Dave pauses to slide a piece of Big Red gum into his mouth, twisting the foil between his fingers, reflecting before he continues. “It sounds bizarre, but I kind of knew. I took good care of myself. I’d done everything my doctors told me to do. I had tons of support from family and friends. And I had lots of prayer. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I expected it. I had faith that I was going to be healed.”
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