MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine says that he would love play a “Big Four” show where all the bands “got treated fairly” instead of METALLICA performing a longer set and getting more stage space than the other groups on the bill.
The so-called “Big Four” of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX — played together for the first time in history on June 16, 2010 in front of 81,000 fans at the Sonisphere festival at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland and shared a bill again for six more shows as part of the Sonisphere series that same year. They reunited again for several dates in 2011, including the last “Big Four” concert, which was held on September 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Since then, METALLICA, SLAYER and ANTHRAX have played a number of shows together, including the 2013 Soundwave festival in Australia. They also performed at the 2014 Heavy MTL festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
During a brand new interview with SiriusXM‘s Eddie Trunk, Mustaine was asked if MEGADETH and the other bands would be interested in playing more “Big Four” shows before SLAYER finally pulls the plug on its touring career.
“I think if you asked the three of us [MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX] that our camps would probably say yes,” he responded (hear audio below). “If ANTHRAX, SLAYER and MEGADETH all wanna do it, and METALLICA doesn’t, then what do we do? The ‘Big Three’? I’m sure that a lot of people would like to see that, and that may be what it is. You know, you may end up having it be the ‘Big Three’ plus No. 5, if we have EXODUS play with it.
“But it’s not about just doing concerts for the sake of concerts — it was about the movement, it was about what we did together as a group,” Mustaine continued. “And excluding ANTHRAX, we were all like neighbors almost, ’cause we all lived so close; it was just a half hour to an hour at the most between each other’s houses on the freeway.
“So I think it would be great to do more ‘Big Four’ stuff. [We could] do one in Japan, do one in South America — we never did one in South America, we haven’t done one in Asia. Give the people an opportunity to see it before it goes away forever.”
Asked by Trunk if there was a highlight moment for him at any of the previous “Big Four” shows that made the experience “extra special,” Mustaine said: “Not really. They all had significance to it. I think that the playing at the end was fun too. But I think it always kind of soured to me when you watch [METALLICA guitarist] Kirk Hammett say on the DVD [‘The Big Four: Live From Sofia, Bulgaria’], when they’re praying, and he says that ‘we’re the Big One.’ That just kind of shows you how the mentality was there — that it really wasn’t the ‘Big Four’; it was METALLICA and then the three of us.”
Mustaine added: “I would love to see it done in a way where we all got treated fairly and we all played together, same amount of time, same kind of stage situation, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. And it’s cool, because SLAYER‘s gonna down in history, and they don’t need the ‘Big Four’ to make them any more legendary than they already are. Nor do I.”
SLAYER announced last week that it will embark on one “final” world tour before calling it quits as a touring act.
Hammett said last year that he believed that the “Big Four” idea would be revisited again. He explained: “I see those shows as kind of like a celebration — a real celebration of each other, and a real celebration of the music that we all make, and a real celebration of the audience embracing [what] we’ve done. And why not have more of that?”
Five years ago, SLAYER frontman Tom Araya said that the only thing that was standing in the way of further “Big Four” shows was “the politics of character in one particular band,” with some fans speculating that he was talking about Mustaine and MEGADETH.
In his autobiography, “Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir”, Mustaine addressed the issue of where his band fit in the “Big Four” order. According to The New York Times, he assured the reader that he was not offended by being put behind SLAYER. But he added an interior monologue: “O.K., we’ll play ahead of you guys on this trip, and God willing we’ll do it again sometime in the near future and we can flip things around.”
Mustaine was a member of METALLICA for less than two years, from 1981 to 1983, before being dismissed and replaced by Kirk Hammett. He went on to form MEGADETH and achieve worldwide success on his own.
Mustaine feuded with the members of METALLICA for more than two decades before finally patching things up over the last few years. He has jammed with his ex-bandmates on several occasions during “Big Four” shows and at METALLICA‘s 30th-anniversary concerts in 2011.