Interview with Ex-Megadeth Guitarist Jeff Young
Band Photo: Megadeth (?)
Due to recent allegations made by Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, Jeff Young finally spoke out after years of silence. In this exclusive interview, Jeff Young gives us his take on events and tells Metalunderground.com about events that he hasn't mentioned in the past 20 years.
Daniel Becker: So how did this whole ordeal about Dave Mustaine transpire?
Jeff Young: I never saw the video myself, but I heard it from my personal assistant in Toronto that passes general news to me. A few disgruntled Megadeth fans sent it to her. They said, "If Jeff was bummed about the story of Dave singing my solos, wait until he hears the whole ordeal with the Australian tour.
Becker: So he never sang any of his solos to you?
Young: Dave was never in the studio during my tracking. I barely met him at the time. Junior was there at times, not while I was tracking, but he came, he would come over the next day or the day after and hear it. Even the producer was not there. They just left me with one of the engineers named Matt Freeman. He would just punch me in and I'd just improvised stuff. I'd mess around with a song for an hour a night and just put something down.
Becker: So when would he do his part? Did he do it in the studio when you were not there or what?
Young: His guitar parts were done. When I got to the process I heard some of the solos were sounding pretty suspect, and I asked if it was a guy I was teaching named Jay Reynolds and [the engineer] said, "no, that's Dave's stuff but it's not comped yet."
Becker: Since you were on the "So Far, So Good, So What" album, who screwed up the Sex Pistols cover? How did that happen with the lyrics?
Young: Dave did, but it was an honest mistake. We did not have Google back in the day so he got a line wrong.
Becker: Dave said that you could not go to Australia because of the heroin thing, but the reality was he was in rehab? What is the deal with the coke can with the drugs in it?
Young: First, Dave smuggled heroin into Japan in shampoo bottles. I was never doing any heroin with him, I think he brought it all for himself. I never really did that but everyone was saying we were all fucked up at the time. I tried a few lines with Slash and [Guns and Roses] but I never liked blow. I didn't smoke pot or even drink, and I never played one Megadeth gig under the influence of anything. I was sober for every show. I was never addicted, and I never had to go to rehab. With the Australian thing, Dave smuggled heroin into Japan. We had a lot of gigs there so we were there for awhile. He went through his stuff while in Japan but he had people get him Opium based liquor to keep himself from having bad withdraws. That got us through the Japan tour. A part of the reason why we did not go to Australia was because he did not think he could get heroin there. Dave wanted to get back to L.A. but we were all burned out. We were all homesick. I never canceled a gig in my life and I never had a drug problem. I don't even drink coffee. But, recently he was down in Australia and he decided to talk shit about me because he thought that he was far enough that word would never get back to me. He could have easily blamed Chuck since Chuck was the second biggest abuser in the band. But he was always jealous of me and it has been deep-seated and it has lasted forever, and everyone who has read the interviews over the years is angry at the crap he spewed. The only things I have responded to are professional issues like Dave claiming that he sung my solos. This is my creativity, my contributions, my little compositions within those songs. Nothing he says in hindsight can change that reality. The Australian issue is literally professional slander. What if my new guitar trio wants to go tour in Australia and he is spreading a rumor down there that I am unreliable and a gig canceler. So what he is saying can jeopardize my ability to acquire work. How would you like someone saying something about you like you were an ex-convict but you were not? How would you feel if you were unable to get employment because of this?
Becker: Dave has been known to give a jab at everyone regardless of whether it is actually true or not. Do you think he meant what he said?
Young: I think he knows exactly happened. But I don't know how bad his memory was because he was doing everything: Heroin, cocaine, twenty-four hours a day. He was also drinking everyday. In the recent Australia video, I have never scene it, but there is a still at the top... he looks more fucked up now than when I was ever in the band.
Becker: You said in Behind the Music there was a lot that you could have said that you didn't. Do you want to break any news?
Young: I don't want to say too much, but I have said what needs to be said on the two professional issues. I could have said a lot of stuff about his ex-girlfriend, Diana and I could have ended that with one sentence but I did not out of respect to Diana. A lot of the other stuff about Doro Pesch is exaggerated. Much the stuff he said about me is personal stuff and incredibly petty. I'm not going to address that at the this time because everyone knows it is bullshit. What he said about the Australian gigs is concerning a professional issue. That is why I was a little bit peeved about it. One time when we were on the tour bus and Dave was very fucked up, he was in the bathroom crying and was all like "Why can't I be as good as a guitarist as you Jeff?" When we did interviews at MTV and he was fucked up, everyone can tell including the producers. So they focused more attention on Ellefson and me. There was a girl at MTV that was getting close to me and magazines were putting me on the cover instead of Dave so it created an obvious conflict between us. Did you hear the story about the guitar tech spitting in my water bottles.
Becker: No, I have not heard about that.
Young: We stole Savatage's guitar tech. He was taking the fuses out of my amps. He would put in fuses that were too low voltage so when I would go on stage they would blow up on me. I think that Dave Mustaine had the guy do this so that I wouldn't upstage him. When I found out this guy was doing this, I fired him on the spot. I know that he was doing this on purpose because my amp technician had put the replacement fuses in a plastic bag; for him to get it wrong, he would have to actually go out and buy different fuses. Then there was the thing about spitting in my water bottles.
Becker: Do you think that Dave is just trying to cover his tracks by blaming everyone else? I think he was a different person back then.
Young: No, I don't think he has changed at all. He is the same piece of shit that he always was. He really tries to go out of his way to discredit people to cover his tracks. I think that some of it is just malicious and other times I don't think he remembers it right because he was so high. Another lie he tells is that he wrote "In My Darkness Hour" about Cliff Burton. He was using the name of his dead former band member to promote that song. Read the lyrics. It is about a relationship with a chick.
Becker: What is with the whole thing about Mustaine not inventing the Spider chord?
Young: Dave did not even make it popular. Every classically trained guitarist knows it and even Randy Rhodes has been playing chords like that in the early 80's. It is has been around since the Renaissance and Baroque period. This approach has been around forever. I don't think he invented the Spider Chord but I think he made it popular for kids who do not know what it is. It's just a common technique like hammer-ons and pull-offs. Dave Mustaine did not invent speed metal. The first speed metal songs were written by Van Halen and Iron Maiden.
Becker: Did you have any good memories of Megadeth?
Young: Not with Dave, but with Megadeth yes. The experience was great and Junior is pretty cool. You are playing for 30,000 people a night. How can that not be fun? I have never cared for Dave's singing, and his guitar tone was pretty gnarly. That is why the sound man buried his guitar in the mix because it sounded off--tune and very sloppy.
Becker: Is the Equilibrium album out?
Young: Yes, it just came out on cdbaby.com last week.
Becker: You said you were up for a challenge with Dave Mustaine. If he accepted, would you actually do it?
Young: In a heartbeat. It would take a few weeks to get my electric chops back.
Becker: Do you think Dave will actually do it?
Young: No. because he cannot learn Chris Poland or my solos.
Becker: Even if he studied your solos?
Young: No, not a chance in hell. Chris Broderick is a an amazing guitarist that I have a lot of respect for, but online some of their fans are complaining that even he cannot play Chris or my solos.
Becker: What events transpired that caused Dave to ask you to leave from Megadeth?
Young: He never got around the chance to fire me because I already packed up my shit and left. So he thinks he fired me but I was already gone by that point. When we were writing "Rust in Peace", Junior and I would go to the studio and Dave was always freebasing cocaine 24 hours a day. I don't know if you know but when you freebase coke, you have the most paranoid delusions. Dave got paranoid that I was going to try and dominate the songwriting and take over his band - in truth I only wrote and presented two songs. That was when the Medieval Times scenario happened. He was trying to get us all to bring heroin down to him and slide it under the fence when he was with his mother and sister. He fired us all in one night. So, the next day, I just went and got my equipment out of the bands storage space.
Becker: He fired everyone in the band?
Young: I was over at Chuck's at the time. Jay Reynolds was also there and Junior shows up telling us that he got a call on his machine from Dave, and he was complaining that he was fired and Chuck and I were just laughing at him. Dave had already called Chuck 20-30 times trying to get Chuck to bring in the stuff. Then I came home and checked my answering machine, and the first message was very sweet and he was all like "Hi it's Dave, I'm down at Medieval Times, can you do this and that for me?" As the messages went on Dave just got more pissed and more pissed. Then he said. "I'll tell you the same thing I told Junior. "If you do not come over here right now, you are never going to get another dime out of this band. You guys are all fired!" So I found out later that he rehired all of us but I was already over taking back in Ohio taking care of my dad who has cancer in Ohio. Then he refired me over the whole Diana thing. Then he let me in again but I wasn't going back. I have kept quiet about this stuff for about 23 years, and I could have made headlines with this stuff back than. I could have got attention from VH1's Behind the Music but I did not until now because I wanted to have a little class. When someone is still trashing me 23 years later, I'm going to speak out. It is not just me, but also a lot of other former Megadeth players who I know and respect. It's been enough and someone has to put the truth out there. I'm not going to say anything anymore after this. There is not going to be no more blogs, no more anything. If Dave wants to do the duel, we'll have at it. I don't want anyone to misconstrue what I'm doing. I don't want to sell albums by speaking out.
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