On June 12, 1985, the album "Killing Is My Business ... and Business Is Good!", "Megadeth's" debut album, was released.
It is one of the most important and influential albums in the thrash metal genre and it was a very important step on the way to the development of this great style, despite its sound and production problems.
The name of the album speaks for itself, "Killer" album, "Destroyer" album, "Slayer" album"!!
Eight songs and 31 minutes of metal explosion to the face!, you know what? Just 30 minutes if you take out the amazing classic opening "Last Rites" based on Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Mino". "Last Rites" is a kind of the last prayer for a person before he dies in Christianity, and this classic opening just transports us like a hallway, from the world of life straight to the hell of Dave Mustaine and his friends, and this underworld is bubbling & boiling metallic!
But as we will see immediately below, this album hardly happened.
In 1983, Dave Mustaine's friendship with "Metallica" ended, even before the band's first album "Kill 'Em All" was released. The drug, alcohol, and violence problems he inflicted on the band members did not allow him to continue his membership in "Metallica" and he was fired in disgrace, at one of the less beautiful events in music. Read more about The Day Dave Mustaine Fired From Metallica.
After being fired from "Metallica", Mustaine set up a band called the "Fallen Angels", but even that did not last long.
He then met Dave Ellefson and Greg Handevidt by chance. They lived in the apartment below him and played the song "Runnin' 'with the Devil" from Van Helen's debut album. After a night of drinking and talking about music, they decided to form a band together and that was the beginning of "Megadeth".
Mustaine and his friends managed to sign a contract with the "Kombat" record company. They gave them $8,000 to produce and release their first album. However, instead of making good use of the money, Mustaine and his friends managed to spend most of the amount given to them on drugs and alcohol, so they had no money to pay the producer.
Despite their dismal condition, Mustaine and his friends managed to produce the album themselves, but of course, this affected the quality of the album.
It should be noted that Mustaine did not initially intend to be the lead singer of the band, but after a feverish search that lasted six months in which no suitable candidate was found, he decided to take the vocals roles as well.
And now you're probably asking how did it happen that an album with such a careless production became so influential in the development of the thrash metal genre?
So, the dismissal of Dave Mustaine from "Metallica" also had a positive side that contributed to the development of thrash metal. Mustaine recalls that he was just angry at his friends from "Metallica". He wanted "blood" !, "revenge"! He had to show them that he's much better than them, that he's faster than them, which is also why this album sounds the way it does. Like a spring of a 9mm Baretta pistol. Hard, compact, heavy, and powerful.
The proof of what was going on in Mustaine's mind at the time, can be found in the song "Mechanix" which closes the album. This is actually the original song of "The Four Horsemen" that appears on "Metallica's" debut album, but with the original lyrics, and at a much faster BPM pace than "Metallica's". As if Mustaine told his friends, you fired me because you thought I was too drunk to play? Now we'll see if you can play faster than me. In Mustaine's original version, the four horse riders were replaced by a sweaty, dirty mechanic in grease who performs a sexual act at a gas station.
Mustaine wrote all the songs on the album, except for "These Boots", which is a tough and rude "Parental Advisory" version of the song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin", which was released & performed by Nancy Sinatra. Songwriter Lee Hazlewood has filed a lawsuit against "Megadeth" to remove the song from the album, claiming it is offensive and shameful. Indeed, as of 1995, the reissues of the album did not include the song. In 2002 a remastered version of the album was released which already included a slightly different version with more "gentle" and "censored" lyrics.
The opening song, with the musical breaks and syncopations, "Loved to Death" was written by Mustaine as a metallic love song. It was his way of telling his girlfriend back then, how much he loved her. The album's theme song tells the story of a hired killer (why not?) And was influenced by the comic book series "The Punisher". This song managed to create problems for the band from the beginning, when a listener of a radio station asked to listen to the song and stated that it was "good music to freak out with and kill some people ...". The man was later arrested for questioning, because the police feared he would carry out a mass shooting incident.
"The Skull Beneath the Skin" evolved from a demo called "Self Destruct" and it talks about torture performed on a person's body. The song also refers to black magic in which Mustaine believed in his youth. This is the first song that Mustaine writes inspired by his belief in magic, when he will return to the subject later, especially on the second album "Peace Sells... but Who's Buying". It should be noted that Mustaine does not play these songs anymore due to a change in his spiritual faith, as he claims. More importantly, Mustaine argues that the creation of the character "Vic Rattlehead" is explained through this song.
"Looking Down the Cross" was written by Mustaine in 1983, under the name "Speak No Evil". The lyrics address the temptation of Jesus and make use of religious metaphors.
Mustaine says the song "Chosen Ones" was influenced by the cult film "Monty Peyton and the Holy Grail."
And now for the cover story.
The original cover was supposed to show us "Vic Rattlehead" based on a sketch created by Dave Mustaine. Who the hell is Vic? So if "Maiden" has "Eddie" and "Dio" has "Murray", "Megadeth" has "Vic Rattlehead", who appears on the album covers of the band and sometimes shows up as a guest on stage.
Mustaine handed Vic to "Combat Records" so they can create the album cover based on it, but the record company lost the sketches and instead bought a shabby, cheap plastic skull, apparently in an attempt to save costs. When Mustaine and his friends saw the cover they were just shocked but it was too late. It should be noted that the matter was eventually corrected in the 2002 remastered version of the album, but we still love the original and authentic cover.