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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Megadeth: VH1 Behind The Music
Megadeth: VH1 Behind The Music
Sanctuary Records // Unrated // October 9, 2001
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Gil Jawetz | posted December 11, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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Self pity is a wonderful thing. Without it we would never get to hear self-proclaimed tough metalheads beat themselves up for their past transgressions on VH1. Behind the Music is an institution devoted to funny stories about drug abuse and other sorts of bad behavior. Megadeth's Dave Mustaine is a perfect subject, even if VH1 would never have played one of his videos during his heyday.

When Dave Mustaine rattles off the list of drugs he was on during the years when he made 15 attempts to get clean it's easy to lose track. His story is pretty interesting, if only for the one factor that drove him to play faster and harder (according to Behind the Music, anyway): That he was kicked out of Metallica just as they were about to break out of the underground. His status in that band as the original lead guitarist helped mold the direction of their early recordings, even if he was gone by the time they were recorded. His razor sharp riffs and lightening solos and his push to keep the sound in the chainsaw-like midrange contributed to Metallica's reputation as the fastest and the hardest of the then brand new speed metal scene. When Mustaine landed after being pushed off the Metallica train, however, he carried a grudge that would last for decades. He formed Megadeth as a response to Metallica and chased them up the ladder of commercial success. That might be the most engaging part of Behind the Music: The frustration Mustaine feels at having always stayed one step behind his former bandmates even as his own success became undeniable.

One thing that may have contributed to Megadeth's tough road was the constant changing of their second guitarist and drummer. While Dave Ellefson has hung onto the bass position throughout (including a number of uncomfortable years where he was clean and Mustaine was still an addict), the other positions have looked like a revolving door. Still, the relationship between Mustaine and Ellefson provides an interesting character arc for the Megadeth story. Similarly, Mustaine's pseudo-reconciliation with Metallica (not too sappy, of course) and his kicking drugs add a sense of dramatic payoff to the end.

The DVD of Megadeth: VH1 Behind the Music runs about 75 minutes, which is about half an hour longer than the broadcast version. It's a comprehensive and entertaining look at the band. The VH1 style helps, too. You get the feeling that they could do GG Allin: VH1 Behind the Music and it would still play in Peoria.

VIDEO:
The video looks fine. It is full-frame and is comprised of a wide variety of sources. Obviously some club footage of the bands' early days is appropriately degraded, but everything else looks good.

AUDIO:
The audio (available both in 2.0 and a punchier 5.1) is fine. Megadeth's music is not always the center of attention (remember, this is behind the music) and no songs play all the way through.

EXTRAS:
Megadeth's "Moto Psycho" music video is included. It's not exactly their most earth-shaking song and the video is straight from the Motley Crue girls-in-skimpy-outfits school, but it's pretty good. Too bad more songs couldn't have been included (this is definitely a rights issue).

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Behind the Music is almost always entertaining, never moreso than when profiling someone who really bottomed out. While Mustaine never quite landed at the bottom, over a dozen stints in rehab certainly count. This edition is worth a rent for non-fans. Megafans, however, will want this one to keep.

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