Dave Mustaine Tells Story On How Metallica’s Four Horseman is Tribute To Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama
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Dave Mustaine, who was one of the original members of METALLICA, was fired from the band by drummer Lars Ulrich in 1983. He was replaced by Kirk Hammett and went on to form MEGADETH and achieve worldwide success on his own.
When asked what he remembers about writing music with METALLICA while he was in the group, Mustaine said, “I had always called us, as a group, the ‘Four Horsemen.’ Before I was in METALLICA, I really loved this band called MONTROSE, and their guitarist was Ronnie Montrose. He went on to form a band called GAMMA. One of their records [1980’s ‘Gamma 2’] had a shark fin cutting through the grass, which I thought was so awesome. Anyway, he had a song on there called ‘Four Horsemen’ that I did with my band PANIC, which I was with before METALLICA. So when I joined METALLICA, I had the song ‘Mechanix’, which I wrote, and ‘Four Horsemen’ was a suggestion of mine to do ’cause we were doing cover songs. So that had planted the seed with James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman]. And one day when we were coming to rehearsal, Lars had just said something about slowing down my song, ‘Mechanix’. I had just gotten to the studio with Cliff [Burton, METALLICA bassist], and we had been listening to LYNYRD SKYNYRD, and I was being a jerk, so I played ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ instead of ‘Mechanix’, and thats basically the middle part of what would become METALLICAs ‘The Four Horsemen’.”