^ I shamelessly took this off Tumblr, but it's such an accurate picture of Megadave that I couldn't resist. Credit to whoever made it, you're a genius,
Look guys, we all know that deep down inside, I’m a spotty 15 year old kid who thinks that Rust In Peace by Megadeth is probably the absolute zenith of music. It’s got so much going on – densely technical riffs, absolutely monstrous drumming, guitar solos so shredded they’ll tear your face right off and vocals that sound like an alley-cat giving with a hernia. It’s so metal.
For many years of my teenage life, Megadeth were *the* band. A band that basically spent a large part of its career dedicated to complaining about things to the backdrop of needlessly complicated riffs is always going to have some emotional resonance for me. However, the last few years have seen some of that undying love waver a bit for a variety of reasons.
At first it was the slightly lacklustre live performances where frontman, Dave “The Strawberry Blonde Mop” Mustaine, couldn’t quite get his feline screeching right anymore. Then it was the never-ending interviews with Mopstaine where he just kept turning everything in to a conversation about how he doesn’t believe Obama is American or how he thinks evolution is a lie. As an Anthropology grad, I really struggled with that. But then I always thought to myself, “Look, they may be idiots, but you’ll always have that music; that music that made you feel like somebody got you when you were a nerdy teen, sitting alone in your room, cranking 'Addicted to Chaos' (you know, despite the fact they were generally singing about prolonged suicide through drug abuse and your plight was more about how you couldn’t beat Gill in Street Fighter III – same difference).” Then that Super Collider album happened in 2013 and it was genuinely atrocious.
And so it’s against this ever tattered backdrop that Megadeth have announced the campaign for their as yet untitled follow-up album. But being the progressive young things they are, they’ve decided to crowdfund their album.
Of course, my issue is in no way with crowdfunding and Pledge Music. On the contrary, I think Pledge Music is a wonderful platform and has given artists who would probably really struggle to put out the albums worthy of their creative vision to their baying fanboys and girls a chance to thrive – whether it’s your Devin “I’m going to write a metal opera about an alien" Townsends or your Ginger “I like pop choruses and extreme metal” Wildhearts, plenty of great records have only been possible thanks to crowdfunding. But these guys are relatively small meat in the world of global music, having had genuine ups and downs in their careers that have put them on the edge of obscurity at one point or the other.
Megadeth on the other hand are undoubtedly one of the most moneyed bands in the world of heavy metal. Second only to Metallica in the early ‘90s, the band still play huge, sell-out global tours. Even without label support, I’m sure they could afford to record an album out of their own deep, deep pockets. But no, they’re crowdfunding the album and, what’s worse, they’re bleeding their crowd completely dry.
Yes folks, you too can pay £22 for a CD from a band who’s discography since 2007 has been patchy at best. But what about the wider fan experiences? Well, for a measly £2042, you can have a guitar lesson with the one and only MegaDave himself (travel obviously not included). Learn how to play the riffs to ‘Holy Wars’ whilst Dave tries to convince you that 9/11 was an inside job!
I’m all for bands trying to creatively turn their art in to a business model. But when you’re one of the few bands out there privileged enough to have made an incredibly well-funded living off your music, you can’t just rob your loyal fans like this. Especially when your hey-day was nearly thirty years ago.
Megadeth sells, but who’s buying? For the first time ever, I really hope no one.