100 percent true story: In college back in Arkansas, I had a friend who was completely obsessed with Dave Mustaine and Megadeth, and this was even after Megadeth had basically been buried — along with the rest of death and glam metal — by the rise of Nirvana and grunge. This friend was so obsessed, in fact, that he exchanged letters with Mustaine on a semi-regular basis. At one point during this letter exchange, Mustaine told my friend that if he made straight A’s on his report card Mustaine would reward him. The semester passed, and sure enough, my friend aced his report card and sent it in to Mustaine.
Then, one quiet evening in his dorm, my friend’s phone rang. The conversation went something like this:
Mustaine: This is Dave Mustaine.
Friend: No! It can’t be.
Mustaine: Yes. It can.
Friend: Are you fucking kidding me?
Mustaine: No, it’s Dave Mustaine.
Friend: Goddamn, are you serious?
Mustaine: Yes, I’m serious, but please don’t use the Lord’s name in vain.
Indeed, the man behind the albums, Killing is My Business and Business is Good, Rust in Peace, and Peace Sells … But Who’s Buying, and the former guitarist for Metallica had admonished my friend for using the Lord’s name in vain. True to his word, however, Mustaine not only called, he sent my friend an assortment of memorabilia, and by all accounts, sounded like a good guy. The frontman of Megadeth had also recently become a born-again Christian.
I haven’t heard much from Mustaine in the intervening years, save for his appearance in the Metallica documentary, Some Kind of Monster, in which James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich basically went to him and asked for forgiveness for the way they handled dismissing him from the band (for the record, Mustaine was kind of whiny and petulant about the whole thing).
So why, all these years later, is the press suddenly interested in Dave Mustaine again? Check Google News, and there have been over 100 articles posted about Mustaine in the last two days, both revealing that Mustaine endorsed Rick Santorum and, a day later, correcting that story because Mustaine, according to Rolling Stone magazine, is not ready to “offer a full endorsement.”
The question remains, however: Full endorsement or not, why would anyone care? He’s a 50-year-old singer for a band in a genre that no longer has a significant fan base. Hell, Megadeth was never really all that popular to begin with, at least not in terms of record sells (they had plenty of name recognition thanks to the band name). If Mustaine had not endorsed Santorum, it’s likely that most of us wouldn’t have heard his name again until it showed up in an obituary.
Does a barely known heavy metal singer’s endorsement carry any value? Or is it because Santorum, who is now apparently leading in many local and national polls, has the endorsement of no one else of note, save for the Bob and Michelle Duggar and their womb spawn? If Debbie Gibson had come out in support of Newt Gingrich, would there be 109 stories about it, even though Debbie Gibson can still occasionally be found in the folds our our popular culture?
What is the fascination?
For the record, while Mustaine did stop short of endorsing Santorum, he also said that he’s not a fan of Obama or Romney, thinks Gingrich is “an angry little man,” and likes Santorum because he “took time off from his campaign to be with his sick daughter.”
I didn’t realize the threshold for respecting a presidential candidate now was common fucking decency.