Dave Mustaine Regrets Punching James Hetfield in Metallica’s Early Days
Megadeth bandleader Dave Mustaine recently expressed regret for punching Metallica's James Hetfield back in the band's early days, when Mustaine was a member of Metallica.
That's what he told Revolver in a new video answering Megadeth fan questions on Wednesday (Sept. 21). Guitarist Kirk Hammett replaced Mustaine in Metallica in 1983.
And while the story of Mustaine's Metallica exit has been recounted many times over the years, the Megadeth kingpin still thoughtfully invoked the era when asked about it.
Watch the video near the bottom of this post.
"Hetfield's still one of my favorite guitar players," Mustaine told Revolver before referencing a recent fan-captured video of Hetfield getting emotional onstage with Metallica in May.
"I saw the thing with James," he adds. "He was saying that he was going through a rough patch. I was sad to see that because it's been one of those really weird love-hate relationships."
Mustaine continues, "I really liked those guys. If I didn't like them, I would just say, you know, fuckin' flush the toilet and be done with it. He's always been somebody that I really liked playing with. I wished things wouldn't have ended the way that they did."
Further looking back, the Megadeth rocker adds, "It was a dumb thing that I did by taking my dog up to practice, and it was even dumber to punch him. I really respect him, and I respect his playing. And I hope he knows that there are a lot of people out there, like me, that like him as a person, and don't give two fucks about him being in Metallica."
Mustaine has previously discussed bringing his dogs to early Metallica practices, to the chagrin of other band members. And he has shown similar remorse for the storied punch. But earlier this month, the Mega-man insisted he was the "alpha male" of Metallica's founding figureheads.
Meanwhile, Megadeth just released their 16th album, The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! In July, a Metallica song in Netflix's Stranger Things gave Hetfield's group a mainstream boost in popularity.
As for touring, Metallica recently wrapped up the majority of their 2022 tour dates. They'll play Global Citizen Festival and the Helping Hands Concert to end the year. Get Metallica tickets here. Megadeth are currently touring throughout North America with Five Finger Death Punch. Get Megadeth tickets here.
Dave Mustaine has always been good to his fans. After we talked to the thrash pioneer about Megadeth's scorching new album … we opened the floor to our readers' questions and had Mustaine answer the best ones. He thoughtfully opened up about the 30th anniversary of 'Countdown to Extinction,' his admiration for Metallica's James Hetfield, his three favorite non-metal albums, a crazy time he had with a Sex Pistol and much, much more. Watch now.