I really enjoyed Martin Popoff’s book on Motörhead’s “classic lineup” where he had each band member give an in-depth look at the albums they created. So, finding another that was written in a similar vein about my favourite albums, Megadeth’s Rust In Peace seemed to make for and ideal follow up. It fit the bill even if its weak spots had me appreciating Popoff even more.
Rust In Peace: The Inside Story Of The Megadeth Masterpiece is written by Megadeth’s only consistent member, Dave Mustaine. As you can tell by the title, he is not shy to show his appreciation for his own work. But he is right. Megadeth’s Rust in Peace is one of thrash metal’s best albums of all time. Period.
The book is built on quotes. By that I mean, it is only quotes. Seriously. There is more composition in Slash’s forward than the remainder of the book. This had me missing Popoff’s style, where he would paint a little picture with words, giving you the time and place were the quotes were coming from. The way he would bridge the quotes together gave them better context.
What I do give Mustaine credit for is not shying away from what his fellow band members of past and present say. There are a few times where he does chime in to point out how someone may have contradicted themselves, or to say that he has a different memory of an event. But he leaves what was said untouched, even if it completely negates Mustaines memory or opinion. It is there for you to read and decide who to believe. I know people who refer to themselves as journalists who do far less.
As for the book’s content, it is heavy on the band member’s drug taking, drinking, and other extra curricular activities. Mustaine presents the condition each member was in when they created the album. Mustaine and Ellefson were newly sober as each were dangerously close to heading towards a life ending early from heavy heroin use. Drummer Nick Menza and guitarist Marty Friedman were both new to the band, so their stories are focused on how they each joined Megadeth.
As a result, we don’t get to the making of Rust In Peace until about halfway point.
It’s fine. No really, it is. Mustaine and Ellefson’s paths to sobriety are interesting enough. I got the impression that it was important to Mustaine to show how lucky he is to have this group come together and make this album at this point in his life. How lucky he was to find the right replacements on drums and 2nd guitar and to have them fully execute these tunes to perfection in the studio was all a miracle in timing.
But… I sniffed out a better book.
geeking out intrigued when Nick and Marty began giving better insight on their creative input to the Rust In Peace follow up album, Countdown to Extinction. This is where I started thinking a book about all four albums this crew put together, Rust In Peace, Countdown to Extinction, Youthanasia, and Cryptic Writings would have made for a better read. How those albums came together, with Nick and Marty as full members would have delighted me.
With that said, I’m a big believer in rating something based on what it is, and not what it isn’t. Rust In Peace: The Inside Story Of The Megadeth Masterpiece gives you the inside scoop on how Megadeth captured lightning in a bottle. I did find a lack of context to some of the quotes confusing at times, but Martin Popoff can’t be everywhere.