The history of Megadeth, one of the really big metal bands during the eighties and nineties, is closely linked to that of Metallica since their former and singer Dave Mustaine was once part of Metallica but was fired from the band in April 1983 after having played with them for about a year. In 1983 he formed his new band Megadeth (the word meaning a million deaths and was first used by an American senator) together with bassist David Ellefson, guitarist Kerry King and drummer Lee Rash. The same year Kerry King left for his old band Slayer and was replaced by Chris Poland and Lee Rash was also replaced by Gar Samuelson. In November 1984 Megadeth signed a contract with Combat Records and in May 1985 they released their debut album called "Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!", a lyrically very aggressive album and musically extremely fast and therefore also very short (shorter than 30 minutes...). Since then they have released seven other album, the latest one being the more experementive "Risk". In May 2001 they released their new album called "The World Needs A Hero" on their new label Metal-Is Records with a sound more straight-forward and not as experimental as "Risk".
In 1986 Megadeth signed was signed to Capitol Records and the same year Chris Poland and Gar Samuelson was fired from the band after their tour. They were replaced in 1987 by drummer Chuck Behler and guitarist Jeff Young but those two were fired again in 1989. In 1989 Dave Mustaine was also arrested for impaired driving and was forced to clean up in a 12-step program. In July same year Nick Menza was hired as the band's drummer. In February 1990 Marty Friedman was hired as lead guitarist after his old band Cacophony officially had broken up. In 1993 Dave Mustaine was in trouble again after having overdosed trying to get high. The same year the band was also kicked off their tour with Aerosmith and in June their song "Angry Again" was featured on the Last Action Hero soundtrack. In 1998 the band took part in "Ozzfest '98" and in July same year drummer Nick Menza left the band and was replaced by Jimmy DeGrasso. Their ninth recording Risk was released on August 31, 1999, and reached gold sales a month later.
In early January 2000 Megadeth announced that guitarist Marty Friedman had been forced to leave the band due to personal and health problems. Dave Mustaine said fans will not take much notice in his departure since "Megadeth has always been me".
Marty Friedman was replaced by Al Pitrelli, formerly known from Savatage and Alice Cooper.
In the year 2000 Megadeth also chose to leave Capitol Records to sign with Sanctuary Records. Their last release on Capitol Records was the compilation disc Capitol Punishment.
The new single "Moto Psycho" was the #1 most-added track at active rock
radio in the United States in its first week of release in April 2001 - the band embarked
on a 12-city 'The World Needs A Hero' Record Release Party Tour
late April - the gigs included a preview of the new album and an
The history of Megadeth is as you might understand very complicated since there has been so many changes in the line-up due to different reasons. If the band had not gone through all these changes maybe they would have been as big as Metallica but that is of course impossible to tell. They are still among the top 10 metal bands of all time (at least according to me...) but their earlier albums don't show the same development and quality as that of Metallica although the music is great. Megadeth has always played very fast and aggressive metal, especially on their first releases, and has all the way been the brainchild of the highly talented Dave Mustaine who has also helped producing the albums as well as albums by other bands. Their newest release Risk has been critisized by many fans for being too soft and slow and rumour says their next one will be more in the old style. This is most certainly one of the best bands ever to play on this planet.
In April 2002 the band broke up since Dave Mustaine had hurt a nerve in his arm which prevented him from playing the guitar and he had to leave Megadeth. The band was resurrected the following year.