Megadeth is an American thrash metal band, formed in Los Angeles, California. It was created in 1983 by Dave Mustaine (lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter), after he was expelled from Metallica, where he held the position of lead guitarist. Megadeth is one of the Big Four of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax.

Megadeth is known for its distinctive style on guitars, Mustaine’s peculiar way of singing, the musical complexity shaped by the great technique that his music contains, and the themes of his lyrics, often about anti-establishment, politics, war, and on occasion – romantic relationships.

Through its more than 30 active years, Megadeth has had a large number of official members, with Mustaine being the only permanent member, and the main composer. Bassist David Ellefson has participated in most of Megadeth’s albums and tours, being absent for only 8 years. In all this time, the band has released fifteen studio albums, three EPs, and two live albums.

Megadeth had a number of platinum and gold albums (six in a row in the United States), including the multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated album Countdown to Extinction in 1992. The band has received a total of twelve Grammy Award nominations and earned one in 2017 for the song “Dystopia” from the self-titled album. In addition, it has appeared several times in the top 10 of the Billboard charts, selling more than 50 million copies worldwide.

The group disbanded in 2002 after Mustaine suffered a serious injury to the nerves in his left arm as a result of falling asleep on it, but after intense physical therapy, the guitarist reunited the band in 2004 and continues to lead it to this day. Since the disbandment, Megadeth has released 6 studio albums and has undergone constant line-up changes.


When Lars Ulrich searched for a permanent guitarist for Metallica in a local newspaper in 1982, Dave Mustaine answered and showed up at an audition, whereupon he was admitted to the band. The following year he was fired from Metallica for drunkenness and violence when the band was in New York. Mustaine took a bus to Los Angeles, and during a week-long trip, he got the idea for the band and the name Megadeth, which he saw in a magazine article about the nuclear war. Expression “Megadeath” means “a million dead“, but Mustaine chose to drop the “a” to make the name “their own“.

Dave Mustaine met bassist David Ellefson, who was eighteen years old at the time. Since both Mustaine and Ellefson are named David, Mustaine ended up calling Ellefson “Dave jr.” They considered calling the band “Fallen Angel” which was the name of an earlier project by Mustaine, but settled on Megadeth.

They later found a drummer, Lee Rausch, and an additional guitarist, Kerry King. The latter also played at some concerts, but soon returned to the thrash metal band Slayer of which he was originally a member. Guitarist Greg Handevidt came in for a few weeks. The next guitarist was Chris Poland, and together they recorded the demo Last Rites. Drummer Lee Rausch left the band and Dijon Carruthers became the new member shortly before Gar Samuelson took over. Megadeth’s first concert was held on February 15, 1984.

In early 1985, the band received $8,000 to record their debut album, which they produced themselves. “Killing Is My Business … And Business Is Good!” was recorded and released in May 1985. The album was well received by both the press and metal fans. Next year, Megadeth released “Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying?” with the crew consisting of Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson, but they thought the record company Combat Records had given them small budget, and switched to Capitol Records, which bought the rights to the upcoming album. In November 1986, the album was released.

Guitarist Chris Poland struggled with substance abuse problems, and during the 1985 tour had to stand over, while Mike Albert took his place. Chris Poland was fired two years later on suspicion of stealing the band’s music equipment and selling it to fund his heroin addiction. Drummer Gar Samuelson also left the band, and was replaced by Chuck Behler. Now Megadeth was looking for a new guitarist and had several auditions. Jay Reynolds joined as a guitarist for some concerts during the 1987 tour, before Jeff Young took over as a permanent guitarist.

This lineup recorded the album “So Far, So Good … So What!” in 1988, but as soon as the next tour was over, both Jeff Young and Chuck Behler were fired.

Marty Friedman and Nick Menza then took over and this lineup lasted for eight years. Together they recorded four albums. In 1998 Nick Menza left the band due to a knee injury.

Albums “Rust in Peace” (1990) and “Countdown to Extinction” (1992), were both a success, followed by another well-received album, “Youthanasia” (1994).

After Youthanasia, Mustaine changes producer to Dann Huff, but the next album, called “Cryptic Writings” (1997) received relatively mediocre reviews in the heavy metal scene, but reached a wider audience. Megadeth’s music became popular on the radio for the first time.

Nick Menza was replaced by Jimmy DeGrasso. The album “Risk” he participated on was talked down by most fans and media, and was a commercial failure.

After Risk, Marty Friedman left Megadeth in favor of the Japanese rock band Aikawa Nanase. He was replaced by Al Pitrelli, and “The World Needs a Hero” (2001) was recorded.

On April 3, 2002, Dave Mustaine told fans he had to leave Megadeth due to a nerve injury in his arm. The doctor had told him that he would never be able to play the guitar again. The rest of the band would not continue without Mustaine, and the band’s time was over.

As Mustaine received treatment for his arm, it got better and he started writing new songs that would become an album originally named “Blackmail the Universe“, but this name was changed to “The System Has Failed” (recorded with Dave Mustaine, Chris Poland, Jimmy Sloas, and Vinnie Colaiuta).

Megadeth then saw more changes in the lineup, this time consisting of Dave Mustaine (guitar and vocals), James MacDonough (bass) and the brothers Shawn (drums) and Glen Drover (guitar) from Eidolon.

In February 2006, bassist James MacDonough left the band. He was replaced by James Lomenzo of the White Lion and Black Label Society.

Megadeth released the studio album “United Abominations” on May 14, 2007. In June 2007, the band started its own tour called “Tour of Duty“, which continued as “Gigantour“.

On January 13, 2008, the band announced that guitarist Glen Drover was leaving the band to focus on the family. He was replaced by Chris Broderick (former member of Nevermore and Jag Panzer).

In January 2009, Megadeth began recording their new album “Endgame” in Dave Mustaine and Megadeth’s own studio, Vic’s Garage. In March, the band took part in the Priest Feast tour, which consisted of the heavy metal band Judas Priest as headliner and the thrash metal band Testament as the opening band.

In April, Metallica was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Mustaine was not part of it, but was invited.

On February 8, 2010, former bassist David Ellefson rejoined Megadeth. In June 2010, Megadeth played for the first time with Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, the other three bands from the “Big Four“. This happened under the auspices of the Sonisphere Festival, a festival that travels around Europe in summer. The event first took place in Warsaw, Poland on June 16 in front of an estimated 80,000-1,000,000 fans. In total, The Big Four played in seven cities around Europe and the concert in Sofia, Bulgaria on June 22 was filmed for a DVD / Blu-ray release. Here, members of all four bands played the Diamond Head song “Am I Evil” as part of Metallica’s set.

Megadeth’s thirteenth studio album was produced by Johnny K, due to the fact that Andy Sneap, who had produced their two previous albums, was not available. The album was titled “Thirteen” and contained previously unreleased songs such as “Sudden Death” and “Never Dead.

It was released in November 2011 and peaked at number eleven on the US Billboard 200 chart. The first single “Public Enemy No. 1” received a Grammy nomination for best hard rock / metal performance, which they lost to the Foo Fighters song “White Limo“.

Shortly after the album was released, Dave Mustaine commented that after four years of hiatus, Gigantour would return at the beginning of 2012, and would also include Motörhead, Volbeat and Lacuna Coil.

Album “Super Collider” was released on June 4, 2013 through Mustaine’s record label Tradecraft, and distributed through Universal Music Group after the band’s contract with Roadrunner Records ended. This album reached number 6 in the United States, as well as number 7 in Argentina and Norway, while in Canada and Finland it reached number 4. As part of the promotion of the new album, the band performed at the Gigantour with Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah and Newsted. At the end of the festival Megadeth performed with ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted “Phantom Lord“, an original Metallica song written by Mustaine when he was a member.

In November 2014, Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover announced their departure from the band. On March 28, 2015 it was announced that Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler joins Megadeth as studio drummer. Later on, Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro officially joined the band. Even though not a permanent member, Chris Adler appeared in the official photo of the band and played in concerts.

2016 album “Dystopia” has received very good reviews from fans of the band, claiming a return to the classic sounds of Megadeth. It debuted at number three on The Billboard 200 chart, making Dystopia the band’s second-highest album on this chart, after Countdown to Extinction, which peaked at number two in 1992.

On May 21, 2016, ex-Megadeth drummer Nick Menza died at a show with his new band OHM at Baked Potato in California. In front of a large number of fans, he suffered a cardiac arrest while the group played their third song. He was pronounced dead a few hours later.

Megadeth’s drum technician Tony Laureano alternated on drums with Chris Adler when the latter couldn’t play due to his commitment to the Lamb of God tour. Swedish band Soilwork’s drummer Dirk Verbeuren later joined Megadeth.

In 2017, after twelve nominations, Megadeth won a Grammy in the category of Best Metal Performance, for the song “Dystopia“, prevailing over Baroness, Gojira, Korn, and Periphery.

I took pictures of Megadeth on November 23, 2004 at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall. Their opening act was Exodus:



Exodus is an American thrash metal band from the Bay Area, California. The band was formed in Richmond in 1981 and is signed to Nuclear Blast. The band’s discography includes ten studio albums. Unofficially, Exodus are considered to be the inventors of their style and inspired bands such as Death Angel, Testament and Vio-lence.

Exodus was founded in 1981 by drummer Tom Hunting and guitarist Kirk Hammett. The “head” of the band Gary Holt first worked as a roadie with Exodus and only later became the band’s guitarist. A short time later, singer Paul Baloff and bassist Jeff Andrews joined the band.

At first, the band played melodic hard rock. Since the band did not have a record deal, the further development of the band was delayed. Andrews left the band in late 1982. Hammett followed shortly afterwards and switched to Metallica. Both were replaced by Rob McKillop and Rick Hunolt respectively. Musically, Exodus worked on a new, more aggressive sound that was influenced by British bands such as Motörhead, Iron Maiden and Raven. At that time, Exodus was gaining a large fanatical fan base.

The first album was recorded at the beginning of 1984 and ready for publication. Nevertheless, the album was on hold for almost a year. In the spring of 1985, Bonded by Blood was finally released via Torrid Records and became a timeless classic of the genre. On the following tour with Slayer and Venom, Exodus earned the reputation of a great live band.

The band was not happy with the contract with Torrid and switched to Combat Records. A short time later, Baloff dropped out due to personal and musical differences. His enormous alcohol consumption did the rest. In September 1986 Exodus introduced Steve “Zetro” Souza, their new singer, who had previously sung in the band Legacy, which a short time later renamed itself to Testament. Souza was initially not accepted by many fans and was often pelted with beer bottles at concerts.

The recordings for the second album were delayed. The producer Mark Whitaker was fired and some songs had to be re-recorded. Pleasures of the Flesh was finally released at the end of 1987. In early 1988, Exodus toured with Anthrax and M.O.D. In April of the same year, the major label Capitol Records took over the contract. For legal reasons, the third studio album Fabulous Disaster from 1989 had to be released on Combat. The album contains one of the band’s most famous songs, including “The Toxic Waltz“.

In the same year ex-singer Paul Baloff founded the band Piranha (named after a song from the debut album Bonded by Blood). The demo was produced by Metallica singer James Hetfield. Hetfield also wanted to produce Piranha’s first album, which never happened due to the many line-up changes. Piranha eventually dissolved.

After the tour for the album Fabulous Disaster, the drummer Tom Hunting left the band because of a heart defect. He was succeeded by John Tempesta. Together the band recorded the fourth album Impact Is Imminent, which was released in early 1990. A year later McKillop left the band and was replaced by Mike Butler. In the same year, the best-of album A Lesson in Violence and the live album Good Friendly Violent Fun were released. A European tour planned for 1992 was canceled.

The fifth album Force of Habit was released in November 1992. Musically, the band took their foot off the gas pedal and focused more on groovy songs. A short time later, John Tempesta left to join to Testament but later ended up with White Zombie. Exodus then broke up. Holt founded the band Wardance together with Jack Gibson, Tom Hunting and the singer John Miller, which broke up after only one demo.

In 1996 there was a brief reunion with alto singer Paul Baloff. Except for bassist Jack Gibson, the band now consisted of the original line-up of the Bonded By Blood album. Exodus toured North America and Europe, including an appearance at Dynamo Open Air. The following year, Another Lesson in Violence, another live album was released via Century Media. Because the album was poorly advertised and a video-recorded concert was not released, the band ended their collaboration with Century Media. Since the band members were struggling with massive drug problems, the musicians decided to let the band rest.

Another hiatus followed until September 2001, when Exodus took part in the “Thrash of the Titans” benefit festival for the benefit of will singer Chuck Billy, who was suffering from cancer. After the festival, the band began to write new songs and played individual concerts in and around San Francisco.

Efforts were abruptly interrupted when Paul Baloff died of a stroke on February 2, 2002 in an Oakland hospital. His mother had succumbed to the same doom at the same age. Baloff was artificially kept alive for a while. Since Baloff had no relatives at the time, the band had to decide whether or not the life support machines should be turned off.

Instead of giving up, Exodus brought Souza back into the band and played “Tribute to Baloff” concerts and played at Wacken Open Air for the first time. Rumors about a new album quickly surfaced. Together with British producer Andy Sneap, Exodus recorded the comeback album Tempo of the Damned, which was released on February 2, 2004 on Nuclear Blast. The album on which a cover of the AC / DC classic “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” appeared hit like a bomb and catapulted the band back to the forefront of the thrash metal movement. Exodus headlined Europe while opening North America for a much younger bands like Sum 41.

In 2005 there was another upheaval. Shortly before leaving for concerts in Mexico, Souza abandoned his colleagues. At short notice, the Exhumed singer Matt Harvey jumped in for the remaining concerts, who had previously played with Hunting and Holt at Wardance. Tom Hunting left the band for health reasons, Rick Hunolt for family reasons and drug problems. Lee Altus (Heathen, ex-Die Krupps) and Paul Bostaph (formerly with Slayer, Testament and Forbidden) were signed as replacements. The new singer was the previously unknown Rob Dukes, who until then worked as a guitar technician for the band.

Together they recorded the album Shovel Headed Kill Machine, which was released in autumn 2005. In mid-2007 Hunting returned to the band. Paul Bostaph joined the band Testament. Many new songs were created during the studio time, so the band decided to release two new albums within a few months. The eighth album The Atrocity Exhibition – Exhibit A was released on October 26, 2007, but the second part, Exhibit B: The Human Condition, was not released until May 2010. In the summer of 2008, Exodus performed at the Summer Breeze in Dinkelsbühl.

In addition, a new recording of the debut album Bonded by Blood was released in October 2008 with Let There Be Blood. From February 2011 on, Gary Holt also helped out with the band Slayer after their guitarist Jeff Hanneman was unable to play guitar due to a spider bite. Rick Hunolt, who dropped out in 2005, helped out for the Exodus concerts in summer 2012.

In June 2014, the band announced the separation from singer Rob Dukes. Steve “Zetro” Souza returned to Exodus to replace him. Gary Holt justified the change of singer in an interview with differences of opinion about the sound of the tenth studio album Blood In, Blood Out, which was released in October 2014. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett contributed a guitar solo to the song Salt the Wound.

I took pictures of Exodus on November 23, 2004 at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall where they opened for Megadeth: