Dave Mustaine Invades Room F206
Dave Schalek Takes Dave Mustaine to Schoolposted on 5/2013 By:
Those of you that may have stopped by Metal Runs In My Veins over the years have probably figured out that my alter ego is that of a high school physics teacher, a profession to which I am passionately devoted. The high school that I teach at is located in semi-suburban Los Angeles, and lies in a picturesque location; hence, the school is periodically used for location shooting for various television and movie projects, some quite well known. For example, the original Brian De Palma film Carrie, the Michael Keaton comedy vehicle Multiplicity, and the Disney remake of Freaky Friday have been filmed on campus, just to name a few. We actually have to turn away a number of requests from production companies and studios as their work would intrude upon the students and the school day, in general. However, we do take on some projects, charging a fee as you might imagine. These funds are sorely needed to enhance our various academic and extracurricular programs.
At any rate, one of our front office people, Rocky, acts as our media liaison and knows that I’m a big-time metalhead (that information is common knowledge on campus). Lo and behold, he gets a call a few weeks ago from none other than the management of Megadeth, requesting that the school be used for location shooting for the music video to accompany the new single from Megadeth, “Super Collider.” Normally, we’d probably turn away such a request, as the management asked to shoot on a school day near the end of the semester. (Most of the requests that we okay take place on weekends and during school vacations.)
However, Rocky knows that I’d get involved in some manner, and approves the request, mostly as a personal favor to me. Naturally, the administration has to approve, and they were fine with it, as the shoot would be done on a very small scale. Dave Mustaine and Megadeth would be coming to our school.
Surprisingly enough, word of Megadeth’s appearance at school did not get out. I certainly kept my mouth shut, not wanting to jinx the opportunity. Megadeth was scheduled to be on campus on a Friday, arriving at noon and then filming various scenes until the evening hours. At about noon during a break in classes, Rocky calls me up in my classroom to give me some details. Dave Mustaine is going to be conducting an interview for Fuse TV during a break in the music video shooting, and Rocky and I volunteered my classroom to be used for that interview. Dave was informed that I was a fan, and said he’d be happy to meet me.
The school day ends about 2 p.m., and the production crew arrived in my classroom to start setting up for the interview around 2:45 p.m. At about 3:15 p.m., Mustaine walks in with a few people from his management team, comes over, says hello, and shakes my hand. He’s very friendly and gracious, and we chitchat about the school for a few minutes as the crew gets ready. I helped the crew prepare my classroom for the shoot a bit, and made sure to position a few physics items and texts on my desk, which will be in the background during the interview. Dave sits on one of the student desks and the interview begins. The first few questions posed by Fuse TV mostly have to do with the video and the reason for the name of the song, “Super Collider.” Dave talks about how he’s using high energy physics as a metaphor for forbidden love, as the song talks about a love affair between young kids, and not everyone approves. Given that Mustaine has a daughter in high school, it’s not hard to see where this is coming from.
After only about five minutes, however, the management team interrupts, telling Dave that he needs to get back to the set to do some more shooting. Not wasting what might be a very small window of opportunity, I ask Dave for a quick autograph and photo, to which he graciously accommodates me. Unfortunately, given that my Megadeth collection is now wholly digital, the only item that I had available for him to sign was a copy of Decibel Magazine from last year when he appeared on the cover. He chuckled when he saw the magazine cover, grinning sheepishly and saying to me, “Great photograph, huh?” I laughed and said, “I didn’t know that you had that many fingers.” He laughed at that, signed the magazine, posed for a photo, patted me on the back and shook my hand again, and walked out.
By this time, word had started to get out. Two students were hovering outside my door, trying to get a glimpse of Mustaine, one of whom is one of my top students in algebra-based Physics AB, a very bright student named Stevie. Stevie plays guitar and has a future of enormous potential ahead of him as he plans to attend the University of California at Santa Cruz in the fall. I motioned him and a friend of his, Kevin, inside, telling them that Mustaine would be back. Stevie is clutching a worn, tattered vinyl copy of Peace Sells… But, Who’s Buying, a second or third edition pressing with both Combat Records and Capitol Records logos on the back.
Mustaine comes back in the room about 20 minutes later, and conducts the rest of the interview, which mostly has to do with upcoming plans for Gigantour and his use of Twitter to connect to fans. Of note to many readers, he responds to some of the criticism that says that “Super Collider” is not heavy enough. He laughs, and basically says that fans expecting rehashes of “Black Friday” on every single song on every single album from here on out are not being realistic. He is comfortable with the music that he is writing, and he’s pleased with the results that he and his bandmates have obtained on the new album.
The interview is over, and Mustaine prepares to leave. Stevie and Kevin have been patiently sitting in my room with me watching the interview, and I nudge Stevie that this is now his chance. Stevie approaches Mustaine and politely tells him that he is a great admirer of his work in Megadeth and would he sign his album. Mustaine graciously shakes Stevie’s hand, and asks him how he is doing in school and is he working hard. Stevie says that he is, and I make a point to tell Mustaine that Stevie is one of the top students in my class. Mustaine is obviously pleased to hear this, signs Stevie’s album, says goodbye to me, and then walks out.
After a few minutes of discussing the experience with Stevie and Kevin, they depart to see if they can get the rest of the band to sign the album (they do, although they could not actually meet the other members). I had to go home, anyway, at this point, and did not attempt to track down anyone else from the band. Apparently, they were all in their production trailers at this point, anyway.
Here’s what I take away from the experience: Say what you will about Mustaine’s current religious views and his politics, views with which I definitely do NOT agree. However, what came across to me is that he is comfortable in his life as a family man, and he has wholly left his wild past behind. He seems to be writing music, in part, from the standpoint of a father, and it was obvious to me that he genuinely cared to hear whether or not Stevie was doing well in school. He enriched the experience of this young man in my classroom, and that’s all that mattered to me.
Post-script: I do have a couple of missed opportunities to report. First, it would have been kind of neat for Mustaine and I to talk physics, given the metaphor used in “Super Collider,” but there just wasn’t any time to do so. Second, I also meant to offer my condolences to him on the recent passing of Jeff Hanneman, but simply forgot in the excitement of the moment, and, third, I could have asked him about that whispered rumor that James Hetfield is one of the guitarists in Ghost…