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.
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
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
ladder of commercial success. That might be the most engaging part of
Behind the Music: The frustration Mustaine feels at having
stayed one step behind his former bandmates even as his own success
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.
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
is appropriately degraded, but everything else looks good.
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.
Megadeth's "Moto Psycho" music video is included. It's not exactly
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
couldn't have been included (this is definitely a rights issue).
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.