The AC/DC album that changed Dave Mustaine’s life

dave mustaine

Dave Mustaine has led a life that is legendary in scope. He is a key player in the thrash metal scene and has performed with Metallica and Megadeth, two of the movement’s “Big Four.” Mustaine courted controversy and never fully forgave Metallica, yet his enormous influence on music and culture remains undeniable.

Metallica let go of the guitarist during their early years, and he went on to form Megadeth in 1983. Although absent from Metallica albums, Mustaine is acknowledged for writing two influential records, including “Ride the Lightning.” Additionally, he contributed to four tracks on the band’s 1983 debut album, Kill ‘Em All. Being the lead singer and guitarist for Megadeth, he would truly shine. Now that he was in total control of everything, he could get closer and closer to realizing his ultimate creative vision.

Throughout his career, Dave Mustaine has acknowledged a variety of musicians as influences, despite his unbreakable bond with the thrash genre. Still, it should come as no surprise that the punk and metal scenes produce the most notable ones. One band whose sound is at the intersection of these two settings, in a tough rock setting, is AC/DC. This band transformed the life of a young Californian upon hearing one of their most important albums. It’s interesting to note that the quintet influenced thrash so much that they brought Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich to tears.

AC/DC’s 1977 masterpiece, “Let There Be Rock,” features two iconic tracks that remain staples of their live shows: the blistering “Dog Eat Dog” and the electrifying ode to groupies, “Whole Lotta Rosie.” Mustaine explained to Classic Rock how and why it had changed his life. “I lived in Huntington Beach, California, when I was in my teens, and there was a girl named Cindy who worked at a record store,” he remarked. I traded her pot for records, even though I used to sell pot. That’s how I became aware of AC/DC.”

Furthermore, “When I first turned on the record, I was staring at the back cover and thought, ‘What the hell is going on with that dude’s lip?'” But after I heard the music, everything in my life changed.

Dave Mustaine found music to be such an intense beast that it ceased to seem like background noise. It sounded strange to me, as though it were too near to my face. He went on, “Most records are everywhere, but this one was right there [spreads his hand in front of his nose].” It was uncomfortable. From the first millisecond of Go Down, memories flood back. I can still clearly recall every detail, from the opening to the final guitar note at the end of Whole Lotta Rosie.

Though AC/DC would later become megastars, the future guitarist was surprised because they weren’t well-known at this point. “I recall not knowing what schmaltz was when I heard the song Let There Be Rock for the first time,” he went on. “And I noticed that Bon Scott has a voice like someone who has peanut butter stuck to their lips. However, I’ve only recently grown to adore this band. I began gathering whatever I could lay my hands on.

He said, “One of my heroes was Bon,” in closing. When he passed away, I felt so sad. I adore and admire AC/DC to this day. Since then, things haven’t been the same for me—I know Brian [Johnson] is an absolute star. Graciously, AC/DC exists. An amazing band!

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