Dave Mustaine has spoken to Rolling Stone about his battle with throat cancer with which he was diagnosed back in May.
The 58-year-old MEGADETH guitarist/vocalist had kept uncharacteristically quiet since revealing his cancer diagnosis on June 17 on social media.
Last month, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson said that Dave had completed his cancer treatments and was looking forward to hitting the road with his bandmates in January as the support act for FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH in Europe.
Although most of MEGADETH's previously announced 2019 tour dates were canceled as Mustaine battled the disease, the MEGADETH-curated Megacruise — which took place October 13-19 — still departed as scheduled, with Dave absent from the ship.
"I'm on the other side of the majority of the treatment, and I feel really strong," Mustaine told Rolling Stone in his first interview since the cancer diagnosis. "After the radiation, the guy said all of my test results looked amazing. 'You look like you're in a stage 1 and you're supposed to be in stage 3 right now.' And then the oncologist said the same thing: 'You look really strong.' So we kept moving through the process."
Although Mustaine is not officially in remission, he recently finished the necessary treatment and has started rehabilitation. He went on to say that the incredible outpouring from his fans and peers "came as quite a surprise." He explained "A lot came from people that I knew but I didn't know cared. Most notably, I got a text message back from my old brother, James Hetfield, and I was so, so happy to hear from him. Contrary to what anybody says and contrary to any of the act that we put on, I love James and I know that James loves me and cares about me. You can see that when the moment of truth is here and I'm telling the world that I've got a life-threatening disease. Who comes to stand next to me? James.
"And I got a text message from Ozzy, and one from Paul Stanley," he revealed. "It was great to get one from Ozzy; I didn't expect it from Paul Stanley. That was super bitchin' because in the beginning, when KISS first came out, I was just a kid and I loved them.
"I'm really grateful for everybody. Even the people who have a hard time with my behavior and my big mouth, I'm just so grateful for them showing care for me. Like they say, at the end of the day, all we've got is each other here in this crazy metal community."
According to Mustaine, he also spoke with IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson, who was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on the back of his tongue five years ago. "[Bruce] said when he had his disease, after his treatment was done, he was told that he needed between three to six months of rest," Dave said. "He said to me that he didn't listen and had a little bit of trouble, so then he realized he needed to listen. So he did and his voice came back stronger than ever. I care so much about Bruce; he was another really supportive brother to me during this whole thing. He explained to me how he did it, and it really helped. I'm just looking forward to if there's ever a circumstance where this happens to another one of my peers, I can return the favor and help them. It's a tricky disease, but they've got doctors all over the place that are figuring this shit out."
Mustaine added that sounds his head is in a really good space right now. "I'm not letting the cancer get me down," he said. "I have to thank the fans and obviously my family and God but there was no way I was going to let this take me down. When [BLACK SABBATH guitarist] Tony Iommi got cancer, I thought, 'Oh, my God, he's gonna die.' And I actually cried. I wept, because they had said it was stage 4 cancer. And then, when I got it, I thought, 'Oh, my God. I'm gonna die.' Because I didn't know how bad it was. I thought of the fans and how sad everybody was gonna be. And I thought, 'I have to beat this.' No matter what, there's no way I'm gonna act like I can't do this. I can do anything if I set my mind to it."
MEGADETH's tour with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and BAD WOLVES will visit 14 European countries starting on January 20 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland and ending on February 20 at the Budapest Sportarena in Budapest, Hungary.