35 Years Ago: Metallica Fires Dave Mustaine

April 11, 2018

35 years ago two things happened that changed the direction of Metallica forever:

  1. Kirk Hammett was enlisted into the band (He thought it was an April Fool's joke!)
  2. Dave Mustaine was fired

Mustaine was Metallica's lead guitarist since the beginning. It was just him, James HetfieldLars Ulrich and Cliff Burton. They were young, loud, rambunctious, and full of energy, but never acted on any ill-will. Even in their wild, booze-filled party days, they were never spiteful. That is of course except for Mustaine, who had built up a reputation of becoming unstable and unhinged after he knocked back a few.

Mustaine admitted that he got drunk, we would become violent and confrontational. A major factor that lead to his departure from the band.

His end with Metallica finally came on April 11, 1983 at 9AM when James, Lars and Cliff woke him up in a drunken stupor and told him that he was out of the band, and Kirk Hammett was hired as their new lead guitarist without Mustaine's knowledge. 

To make the situation worse, Mustaine was under the assumption that he would be flying back to California. He wasn't. They booked him on a four-day bus ride that was scheduled to leave one hour after he found out he was out of the band. He struggled to get all of his things together, Hetfield drove him to 42nd Street and Eighth Ave in Manhattan, NY, and then that was it.

It's fair to assume that Mustaine was livid. He had just been abruptly kicked out of Metallica and is getting sent home on a bus while they're about to record one of their most successful albums, Kill 'Em All without him. Fuming with anger on the bus, Mustaine started to write lyrics on the back of a flyer from Sen. Alan Cranston, which had a message on stockpiling nuclear weapons that read, "The arsenal of megadeath can't be rid." From there, Mustaine found the name of his new band: Megadeth.

Even 34 years after getting fired and accepting the series of events that followed, he still felt that he could have at least got a sign or a warning from his bandmates ahead of time.