Dave Mustaine’s Remorse About Megadeth’s Gar Samuelson

Dave Mustaine is one of the edgiest figures the metal scene has ever seen. Everyone remembers his eventful breakup with Metallica, the story that includes a punch in his bandmate’s face! Things didn’t stop with this punch; he continued to make some pretty bold claims about Metallica for a long, long time, which reflected his stubbornness on personal and creative issues.

In Megadeth, which he founded right after his departure, the frontman was again mentioned for his quarrels with his bandmates. In addition, Megadeth’s lineup has changed several times, and it is known that the founder is challenging to deal with, especially regarding creative issues. Once, he actually described other bandmates as ‘lesser partners.’

Of course, not only creative issues but also personal clashes have often triggered disputes and departures. It’s understandable for someone trying to do an excellent job to be strict, especially on creative matters. Still, when personal disagreements come into play, Dave has also done things he would later regret. In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, he described one of the lowest moments of his career, and the story includes his lament about a former bandmate.

When Megadeth was first established, it had difficulty setting up a lineup to match its tone. After playing with different and temporary names, on October 24, 1984, drummer Gar Samuelson officially joined them, but he wouldn’t stay for long. Although he remained in the band for a short time, he was the first drummer of the lineup that the frontman would be satisfied with and describe as the ‘first real Megadeth lineup.’

As their journey in the music world continued, they embarked on their first headlining tour in 1987. On this tour, however, disagreements began to emerge among the bandmates. As with many bands, the problem was drugs, and Mustaine felt that when he was intoxicated, Samuelson would become unmanageable.

Samuelson even stopped playing on those tours; instead, Chuck Behler started joining them on drums. Eventually, Samuelson was kicked out of Megadeth. One of the primary reasons Gar was fired was because he sold the band’s equipment for heroin along with Chris Poland. It’s not hard to guess how the Megadeth frontman reacted to this, as he had already revealed that these discussions got pretty ugly, ugly enough that he would retrospectively feel regret.

In another interview he attended, he described the lowest point of his career as not saying goodbye to Gar. It seems like the frontman immensely regretted not having time to make up and say goodbye to his friend before he passed away. Also, in an interview with Keith Carman of Exclaim! magazine in 2007, Dave Mustaine admitted that he had regrets about Samuelson’s departure and did not have time to apologize to his bandmate.

“The low would have been when Gar Samuelson passed away, and I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye,” said the metal icon remorsefully. “We’d lost touch, and he was not much older than me. The thought didn’t register at the time, though, with all of the things going on in my life. My high would be that I’m ensuring something of that sort doesn’t happen again. I’m making peace with the people I’ve had a conflict with over the years, which is a really good feeling.”

After Gar left their band, they encountered once in Florida, but Gar looked really bad then. He passed away from liver failure in 1999, a few years later. Dave Mustaine didn’t speak to Gar when he saw him in Florida, either because he didn’t have time or because his anger still hadn’t cooled, and he obviously regretted it. Eleven days after he died, the band paid tribute to their deceased friend by dedicating their performance in Woodstock 1999 to Samuelson.