Gigantour was really successful. Why did you shelve it after 2008?
Mustaine: I think you kind of got that backward. It’s not that we shelved it; it’s that we just couldn’t find the right people to play. When you have a lineup like Motörhead and Volbeat and Lacuna Coil, that sort of shows you why I didn’t do it. Because having three really top-notch bands like that, in perspective, that’s what Gigantour was all about. In the beginning, it was a huge festival with a whole bunch of bands, but some of the bands really didn’t carry their weight. With all that production stuff, there was so many chiefs and virtually zero Indians.
So what has changed this time around?
Mustaine: The whole reason that I did it in the beginning was because I wanted to have great guitar players. At this point right now, it’s about bands that I really like. I think we’ve kind of gone through all the bands with great guitar players. There’s a lot of real good shredders, but the problem is with all of that growling crap that I can’t stand. Like I said, there are great musicians in bands like that, but then the singer opens his mouth and ruins it.
From your comments on growling, I’ll take it you’re not a fan of death metal or metalcore?
Mustaine: For some reason, singers sometimes really don’t know what to do, and when a song starts off like that, you don’t need to do that screeching stuff. I mean, I’m not a great singer by any means, but I think I know what to do. I also listen to my coproducers a lot. I don’t have one song that starts off with a screeching high note like that and just holds it.
You had neck surgery for spinal stenosis last fall. How are you feeling?
Mustaine: My neck is completely recovered. The surgery was a breeze. The doctor I used … did Peyton Manning‘s surgery. Fortunately, my recovery time has been a lot faster than Peyton‘s. He was in before me and I’m out playing before him. I wish him well in his recovery.
Can you still headbang?
Mustaine: I can headbang, but I’ve found with the limitation of, “Do I want to headbang or do I want to be in a wheelchair?,” I kind of toned it down a little bit. There’s more body parts you can move around. I mean, I’m not dancing or anything like that but I’m making the best use of it I can.