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Story Behind The Song - Megadeth's Countdown To Extinction
18 September 2002
Story Behind The Song - Megadeth's Countdown To Extinction

SKIN O MY TEETH This was a fun video to make. We played live at this raging little club in Chicago called the Metro. The video crew were a bunch of maniacs running around the stage like little rodents. It was hard not to laugh as these crazy guys kept getting in our way.

SYMPHONY OF DESTRUCTION This was as close to a 'hit' as we got. The original version of this song was much longer but we edited a lot of it in pre-production for Countdown. I really like this as a Megadeth song because it is simple and the beat doesn't really change much. A solid track.

ARCHITECTURE OF AGGRESSION Maybe my fave tune on the record? This also experienced the editing knife in pre-production and was shortened considerably. One of my fave vocals by Dave and also a real solid jammin' track.

FORECLOSURE OF A DREAM This was an unbelievably difficult album to make. Max Norman, Dave Mustaine and myself are all uncompromising perfectionists and when you get the three of us together in the studio doing guitars, it turns into a 'let's make it even more perfect' competition. At the end of the day, the record was damn near perfect, but making it was tedious and painstaking. On "Foreclosure..." I was doing the clean acoustic guitar verses. Typically it takes a few minutes to play a part like that, but we were having problems getting a tone we liked and problems with string noise as well as tuning issues. It was an intense hard day. That said, I was alone in the studio with Max dealing with total guitar hell for the entire day. It was rough. We were in intense concentration so there was a sign on the studio door that said, 'KEEP OUT!! THIS MEANS YOU!!!'. Despite this sign, a very well known, famous producer who will remain unnamed here, just opens the door and with a jolly tone in his voice says, "Hey guys, how's it going?" People who know me know that my demeanor is usually extremely calm, cool and easygoing. But this day, despite the fact that this famous producer is one of my all-time favorite producers, when he walked in and said that, I shouted sharply at him, "What the fuck, dude? You know how to read or what?" Aghast, he turned around and left the studio. The intensity level was boiling.

SWEATING BULLETS I got food poisoning from a Domino's pizza at the video shoot for this. Weird song.

THIS WAS MY LIFE This was the first song to be mixed on the album. I remember all of us gathering at Mustaine's house for a band meeting and listening to the mix, and being excited about it.

COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION The girl who did the spoken part in the middle is a friend of mine named Jun. She worked at a sushi bar near the studio so we asked her to come and record with us. She is a cool chick and I still keep in touch with her. This song won us the Genesis award, given out by an animal activist group. At the star-studded Hollywood awards ceremony. Ellefson and I tried hard to contain our laughter as these TV and movie stars got up on stage and anthropomorphosised in their acceptance speeches. "I'd like to thank so-and-so, so-and-so, so-and-so, but most importantly of all, Fluffy and Fido, for their constant inspiration, blah, blah, blah...

HIGH SPEED DIRT This song is about skydiving. I promised to go skydiving if this album went platinum. The damn thing went double platinum!! Thanks a lot! That said, skydiving was pretty fun...

PSYCHOTRON There is a killer remix of this floating around Germany somewhere, I don't know if it got released or not.

CAPTIVE HONOUR This song has a lot of our friends doing spoken 'cameos' so it's fun to hear their voices. That said, I was never the biggest fan of all the spoken parts in our songs, especially in the later albums.

ASHES IN YOUR MOUTH We played this live a lot and it was way fun. The ending harmony section was bumming me out in the studio because I thought the guitar tone of it wasn't up to the standard of the rest of the record. In mixing though, Max pulled out his magic and threw an interesting delay on the whole part which saved it, in my opinion.