Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine Delayed Emergency Surgery Right Before ‘Big 4′ Show – ‘You’re Probably Not Going to Walk Again’
As a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Dave Mustaine recalled a critical moment in his career where Megadeth nearly had to back out of the 'Big 4' show at Yankee Stadium in 2011. Experiencing some serious neck problems, he was advised to undergo emergency surgery and it was suggested that he may never walk again after the procedure. Instead, he put it off and played the set!
Obviously, things turned out much better than that loose prognosis and Megadeth were able to play the gig, but it was still quite the harrowing moment.
The three-hour podcast found Mustaine touching on all sorts of things, from the two hexes he put on people in his youth, faith and spirituality, addiction and, of course, a bit about the new Megadeth album, The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead!," which will be released on Sept. 3.
Almost two-and-a-half hours deep into the conversation, Rogan inquires about Mustaine's history of neck injuries and related problems, to which the musician replies (transcribed by Loudwire), "I'd been headbanging for so long I got degenerative disc disease in my neck. There's two forms of stenosis – there's one where the bone closes in on the nerve and there's the other one where the nerve swells up inside of the hole. I had both of those and they were going to do a frenectomy where they bore a hole around the nerve."
He continues, "I was in the emergency room right near my birthday and we were supposed to play Yankee Stadium with the Big 4. I couldn't move my arm — it had frozen and I went in and the guy said, 'You need emergency surgery right now. You're probably not going to walk again.' I said okay and I told my manager Mark Adelman (we were managed by Irving Azoff's group up in Hollywood) and he called up and told Metallica's management that I needed emergency surgery on my spine or I wouldn't be able to probably play or walk again. And the guy called me a pussy and I thought, 'Oh boy.'"
Evidently that was enough to cause Mustaine to postpone the surgery because he pursued an alternative measure which allowed him to get up onstage for the 10-song set.
"They gave me a shot, they fixed me up, I flew out there, I drove to the stage in a golf cart with a neck brace on," he explains, "All over the stage there was paper that said 'Don't headbang' because my neck was barely holding on. Then I went home and I went to Marina del Ray and had my neck fused together."
"It took a long time," Mustaine says, presumably referencing the recovery period. He adds, "I still have that neck brace [and] I need it from time to time because my neck kind of leans forward a little bit. All the headbanging and stuff has made these muscles in here [points to neck] really disproportionate. They had to go through the front in order to get to the bone here [points to left clavicle] and this muscle in the front is much like a corset so they pulled it aside and this side [points to left of his neck beneath the jaw] had to come across farther because they had to go in here [points near left clavicle again] so when all these muscles grew back, they kind of grew in sideways and then they had to grow over."
Listen to the full podcast episode below.