Ex-Metallica Bassist Disputes Dave Mustaine's 'Alpha Male' Claim

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

September 13, 2022

Photo: Getty Images North America

Cofounding Metallica bassist Ron McGovney is questioning Dave Mustaine's claim that he was an "alpha male" in their former band's early days.

Speaking with Classic Rock magazine in a new interview, Mustaine was asked about a passage in his 2010 autobiography where he described himself as "the leader" of Metallica before he left the band in 1983.

When interviewer Paul Elliott noted that Metallica cofounders James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich are both alpha personalities in their own right, Mustaine disagreed.

"Oh no. I am clearly the alpha male between the three of us," the Megadeth founder said. "Why did I have to do everything when I was in the band? Why did they always ask me to talk to the promoters and collect the cash? Why was I the one who had to do the fighting? Why did I have to talk in between songs?"

Mustaine, who added that he still communicates with Hetfield from time to time, then asserted that Hetfield "did not play guitar" before Metallica.

"He just picked it up and started playing when I was in the band," he said. "But let's be honest, James is one of the best metal guitar players in the world."

After seeing the Mustaine interview circulate on Twitter, McGovney issued his own recollection, casting doubt on Mustaine's angle.

"Dave talked to the promoters? Collected the cash? James didn't play guitar before Metallica?" McGovney wrote. "That's not how I remember those days. Just the opposite actually."

McGovney, who can be heard playing bass on Metallica's early demo tapes, left the band in 1982, in part, due to issues between himself and Mustaine. McGovney was replaced by Cliff Burton and Mustaine was let go from the band the following year.

McGovney went on to pursue a career as a mechanic, though he remains close with Metallica. He's even claimed to have reconciled with Mustaine, though as with many of Mustaine's relationships in music, there still appears to be tension there.

In late-August, McGovney replied to a headline from Mustaine's interview with Joe Rogan, in which the Megadeth frontman said he was "bothered" by Metallica using some of his music after ousting him.

"There are so many things that I could say about all of this, but I won't," McGovney wrote.

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