From time to time, we see Metal musicians talking about each other. Especially when they are old bandmates. Today, we have James Hetfield and Metallica. An archived interview from Total Guitar was published online recently and contains James Hetfield’s thoughts on Dave Mustaine’s firing from Metallica in 1983.
Dave Mustaine joined Metallica in 1981 after parting ways with his band. He was the lead guitarist of Metallica during that year. 2 years after joining, in 1983 Mustaine was fired from Metallica because of his alcoholism, drug abuse, overly aggressive behavior, and personal clashes with founding members Hetfield and Ulrich (as stated in Wikipedia). After getting fired from Metallica, he founded his own band Megadeth and the rest is history.
In the archived interview which was released recently, James Hetfield answered the question: “What about when Mustaine left the band and you became the main rhythm player?”
“I was competing with myself, for sure. You know, ‘Here’s the drum beat, can I play along to that?’ And downpicking always sounded better than alternate picking. Just in the way the string stopped, the chunkiness of it… But there’s a point where you just can’t do it and you’re making too much palm noise while you’re pounding on it, so then you have to go back to alternate picking.”
“But down-picking is tighter and heavier. And that’s the end of it!”
Of course after giving an answer which is mainly about down-picking he got more questions about it. If you are not that familiar with Metallica, James Hetfield, or his picking/playing style, he is known for his down pickings. So he often gets questions about his style. In this interview, he also got one. The question was: “So, do you think that always alternate picking is a bit of a cop-out?”
“Now, not necessarily, no. There are tons of songs that we gallop on. You gotta do that! There may be guys out there who can do that with all downpicking, but it gets to that point where if it’s too fast, it’s muddled.
“The challenge is for it to sound as good as possible. I guess, yeah, in the early days alternate picking was considered a cop-out.”
He also explained stuff like his relaxing ways before the shows or advice for playing complex or hard melodies but those on the above were the important parts of James Hetfield’s interview and his opinions on former bandmate Dave Mustaine and his favorite playing style “down-picking”. For more of this content keep following us and don’t forget to share your opinions.
Read more about our article Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield are friends or not here.