Megadeth and Slayer team up

DARRYL STERDAN - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 3:28 AM ET

Slayer and Megadeth's long-awaited and much-ballyhooed Canadian Carnage tour -- currently rolling through the west -- might live up to its violent billing onstage, but don't expect any hostilities behind the scenes.

While the pioneering thrash-metal outfits have had their share of feuds and traded their share of insults over the years -- and haven't toured together in almost two decades since their aptly named Clash of the Titans trek in the early '90s -- any bad blood has long since dried up and all the hatchets have been buried.

At least, that's what Megadeth majordomo Dave Mustaine and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo told us in separate interviews from their Southern California homes recently. Despite dealing with some niggly personal annoyances -- notoriously cantankerous 47-year-old singer-guitarist Mustaine was battling the flu, while the understated 44-year-old Lombardo was dividing his time between us, a truck windshield repair, another phone and his dog -- both of the old pros were nothing less than gentlemanly toward each other. And toward us.

Here's some of what the Daves had to say about joining forces on their co-headlining tour, their rabid fans and their upcoming CDs -- Megadeth's Endgame and Slayer's 10th studio set, which may be titled World Painted Blood, if you believe the Internet.

On touring together again after so many years

Mustaine: "This tour's going to be outrageous. It has been quite some time. Because we played when we were so young, it seems like it was just yesterday. I think the fans are going to be excited because it's two very powerful bands."

Lombardo: "Obviously, we go back to the '80s. We did Clash of the Titans back in '91. And this has been a long hiatus. So I guess it intrigues everybody in one way or the other. But for me personally, it's just another gig. It doesn't mean anything. I haven't seen Dave in many, many years. We've never crossed each other's paths in any way, shape or form."

On whether there's any friendly competition between them

Mustaine: "No. There really isn't any room in my psyche, my id, to think, 'Well, this guy can play better than I can, so I better get out there and shake my ass.' Dude, it's music. I just go out there to have fun and to play. I've been playing a long time. I'm a legendary guitar player. I've got what I want in life. I'm very confident and very content. If every time I go up onstage, I get caught up in trying to steal back my thunder from the guy who was onstage before me, then I never really had any thunder in the first place."

Lombardo: "Competition? No. Nooooo. There's no competition. It's never crossed our minds. At least, not for me. Whether it's us playing with Megadeth or us playing with anyone else, it's not going to change our performance. We're still going to kick ass. There's only one thing on our mind, and that's to deliver the best possible music and the best performances."

On their new albums

Mustaine: "I've made the record of my career. It's as aggressive as anything I've played in years. It's faster than anything that I've heard in a long time. The record is the best Megadeth record I've ever done by far. It's my favourite record. I've been playing songs to people and everybody goes -- 'Whoo!' or 'F--- yeah!' That's been the consensus -- a lot of whoo-hoos, hugs and f--- yeahs." (Laughs)

Lombardo: "It's not done. There's no title. We haven't done artwork. They're only about 3/4 done mixing. But I have to say that it compares to the classics -- Reign in Blood, South of Heaven and Seasons (in the Abyss). And I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it. (Singer-bassist Tom Araya's) vocal melody and singing approach is very listener-friendly -- not in a way where people are going to say, 'Dude, they went commercial.' No way. It's just more melodic. People are scared of the word melody because maybe it sounds like a happy word. But you can have very dark, extreme music with melody. It's not something to be afraid of. There's only good music and bad music -- and good music has hooks and something to carry you through and entertain you."

On playing new material live

Mustaine: "We're gonna play one of the songs from the new album -- a song called Headcrusher. It's about a medieval torture device. That's by far the most appropriate song for us to play for this audience. It's straightforward, no-nonsense Megadeth thrash metal."

Lombardo: "We might do one or two new things -- maybe Psychopathy Red. That's the newest one. But aside from that, it'll be the classics at full-force energy -- just pure energy out there."

On their fans and haters

Mustaine: "I've been through a lot of stuff. I've been pretty open with my fans about it -- all that 'a burden shared is a burden lessened' bulls---, I believe in that. Our fans know that they can count on me to be honest with them. I talk to them a lot on my LiveLine website. I think sometimes that I should talk to them a little bit more about stuff that's a little bit more meaty -- like political stuff and social issues. But I know if I do that, there's gonna be somebody who's going to take exception with me and make it their life's ambition to tell me I'm wrong. And I've got a couple of stalkers, which is very unfortunate. There's one girl that's following me around saying she's my stepsister and demanding my older sister take a blood-test. It's really disappointing. I'm accessible to the fans ... but dude, my job is not as fun as it used to be."

Lombardo: "Our music brings out an animalistic instinct in human beings. It's animalistic music. It's driving, it's very extreme. It's just like a caveman, you know? But people that take it too seriously, I think personally they're too tightly wound. We can't forget that it's just art, self-expression, pushing the envelope of controversy and the envelope of offence. But you don't see us killing or shooting people."


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