MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine was a featured soloist last night (Saturday, April 12) with the San Diego Symphony. The classical special concert, billed as “Symphony Interrupted”, took place at the 2,200-capacity Copley Symphony Hall in San Diego, California. The event saw Mustaine perform Richard Wagner‘s “Ride Of The Valkyries” with the orchestra, as well as solos of Vivaldi‘s concertos from “The Four Seasons”, plus Bach‘s classic “Air”.
The first fan-filmed video footage of the concert can be seen below.
In a Facebook posting earlier today, Mustaine wrote: “I sooo badly want to say thank you for being here at the first ‘Symphony Interrupted’.
“To all the fans that were not able to attend, don’t worry, there will be another ‘Symphony Interrupted’ and this being the first and all, we have already started to plan on how to make it even more enjoyable.
“Thanks to all the San Diego Symphony people, especially Ken-David Masur and Tommy Phillips, to the press and promotion, my endorsers; Dean Guitars for the StradiVMNT and Marshall Amplification for the JVM 410 and Dave Mustaine DMB 1960 2 x 12″ cabinet. I also want to thank my management, my staff, and Mrs. Anne Campbell and Dave Campbell for making this happen.
“I will be leaving soon for Latin America after we play Las Vegas and Tucson, but before I do, I have to let you know how deeply I am impressed by your continued love and support.
“Last night was an experiment; a challenge that I was up for, and continuing to improve myself for this show has already made me write ideas that are more twisting and turning, than the straight-ahead songs like ‘Skin O’ My Teeth’ or ‘A Tout Le Monde’.
“We did not record the show because we knew I was going to be still getting used to this whole thing, that I would have a little getting used to this new environment, as well as following Ken-David do to me, what appears to be playing air drums. I was ‘a fish out of water,’ but we learn so much from ‘doing’ the songs that it is just a short matter of time until we start ‘being’ the songs.
“I want everyone to hear this venture with everything just right.
“Having spent 34 years touring and playing ‘live’ makes it pretty easy to go out and do what you have always done.
“For the next ‘Symphony Interrupted’, as Frank Sinatra said, ‘The best is yet to come!'”
“There’s such a difference in the [classical music and metal] societies,” Mustaine told The Daily Aztec one week before the event. “That’s the thing that I’m looking forward to, seeing how these two worlds are going to collide.”
He continued: “In my mind, I’m getting ready to go walk out to the stage, come in with a little tuxedo on, I’m going to get down there and they’re going to go, ‘Fuck yeah, Dave!’ and all the classical guys are going to go, ‘Oh my God, he said the F-word!'”
Mustaine also talked about the influence classical music has had on MEGADETH since the band’s inception three decades ago.
“On the very first song on our very first record, I actually played piano,” he said. “Funny thing was, it was a very, very, hacked up version of Beethoven‘s ‘Fugue In D Minor’ and going back and listening to the actual performance of Beethoven, it’s kind of like, ‘Nice try, Dave,’ because it was close to it, but I mean, I was a gutter kid that grew up on the street and was playing from memory. I was surprised I could even play the piano.”
Asked if other prominent electric guitarists who have incorporated classical elements into a rock framework — like DEEP PURPLE co-founder Ritchie Blackmore in the late 1960s and Swedish shredder Yngwie Malmsteen in the 1980s — were inspirations for him, Mustaine told The San Diego Union-Tribune: “Well, I have total respect for those two players. For me, the whole classical thing came a lot earlier than either one of those gentlemen. It came from listening to the British Invasion, which had LED ZEPPELIN in it, and a lot of the medieval themes of the songs were very dramatic and they told a story. Or with THE BEATLES, and Sir George Martin doing all the string layering in the background (of their songs) and stuff like that.
“Because, you know, there’s a lot of magic that’s in the back of those records… the ‘air candy.’ So I knew you could do this. One of my favorite, actual classically trained (guitar) players that ever played in a rock band was (now deceased Ozzy Osbourne guitarist) Randy Rhoads. Because it was kind of classical… but (different from) somebody else’s interpretation of classical, like just (a lot of guitar notes) all over the place, like, say, for example, Ritchie Blackmore. Ritchie Blackmore is very, very talented and I grew up listening to him.
“But for me, my particular — the way we were drawn to the Vivaldi stuff was because it was kind of in a sad kind of modality. I don’t even know — I’m self-taught — so I don’t even know what I’m doing, I just do it. So, listening to (Rhoads‘) solos in there, they just had this color, this attitude to it, that really appeals to me. Like when I was listening to some of the stuff that Randy would do over Ozzy‘s songwriting.”
Tickets to the show were sold out in advance online, but a limited amount of tickets were made available on sale the day of the performance.
“These are the times I wish my mom was still alive to be able to see this stuff, because I remember when I first started playing guitar, she would say like, ‘Turn it down you’re going to kill somebody!,'” Mustaine told The Daily Aztec. “Guess what, mom? I’m playing with the symphony now.”
Speaking to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Mustaine admitted that he has developed a greater awareness of just how popular “The Four Seasons” , Vivaldi‘s best-known and most beloved work is, both in and beyond the world of classical music.
“I had no idea how famous these (movements) were until I learned them and I started hearing them everywhere, like in car commercials, Olympics commercials,” he said. “(It was like) ‘There’s that song! There’s that song. Aaaah!’ Then we decided we wanted to add a little bit more…
“Once I started actually approaching it from the lead violin part, it didn’t really have a part that to me was a feature kind of thing. So we picked the program and there’s some other music that sets the mood and then I’ll come out and play. And then we’ll take an intermission and then there will be another portion of the program. And we’re discussing playing again (together) during that part, but that’s kind of up in the air still. And we’re also talking about trying to incorporate some MEGADETH stuff into it.
“Right now, it’s been so free for me to be able to do this and everybody’s been working really well together, (so) who knows what’s going to happen?”