Dave Mustaine has spent a significant portion of 2019 battling cancer, and in a new interview with Rolling Stone, he details his diagnosis, as well as hearing from former bandmate James Hetfield.
“It came as quite a surprise. A lot came from people that I knew but I didn’t know cared,” said Mustaine of the outpouring of support from his contemporaries. “Most notably, I got a text message back from my old brother, James Hetfield, and I was so, so happy to hear from him. Contrary to what anybody says and contrary to any of the act that we put on, I love James and I know that James loves me and cares about me. You can see that when the moment of truth is here and I’m telling the world that I’ve got a life-threatening disease. Who comes to stand next to me? James.”
Mustaine added, “And I got a text message from Ozzy [Osbourne], and one from Paul Stanley. It was great to get one from Ozzy; I didn’t expect it from Paul Stanley. That was super bitchin’ because in the beginning, when KISS first came out, I was just a kid and I loved them. I’m really grateful for everybody. Even the people who have a hard time with my behavior and my big mouth, I’m just so grateful for them showing care for me. Like they say, at the end of the day, all we’ve got is each other here in this crazy metal community.”
As for his cancer diagnosis itself, Mustaine said, “They don’t know what the actual cause is. They know what kind of cancer it is. It’s a squamous cell carcinoma on the base of my tongue. It’s a tumor that you get in your mouth, and it had gone from one side of my mouth, and it had also gone to two lymph nodes. So it was pretty serious.”
While doctors haven’t cleared him to tour yet, Mustaine says, “…They’re freaking out over how well I’ve healed. I’ve got people around the globe praying for me. I take good care of myself, and I don’t know how anybody can expect any other outcome than this, knowing me. I never settle for anything but complete success or, in this case, victory.”