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Dave Mustaine talks to Jay Mohr on “Mohr Stories”

I wasn’t surprised to hear MEGADETH’s Dave Mustaine was this week’s guest on Mohr Stories. In fact, Mohr has managed to get more ’80s metal notables (and Lita Ford) onto his show than any other podcaster, by my count, not that any were seeking that mantel.

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It’s actually getting kind of weird. And maybe I missed something. Maybe Mohr clearly explained at some point why his show was starting to cater to the likes of Duff McCagin, Sebastian Bach, Jerry Cantrell and Matt Sorum, and I scrolled past that episode. Or maybe this is some kind of selection bias on my part, if that’s the right terminology. It could be that I’m only listening to Mohr’s shows when I see a name I recognize. Which I should know by now is no way to cruise podcasts. Some of the best shows I’ve ever  heard had guest whose names I didn’t recognize.

My only beef with this trend would have to be that Mohr, a known audiophile and music trivia buff, was so close to falling into another superior genre (in my opinion), with Sex Pistol Steve Jones and Stewart Copeland from the Police. But I’m guessing word got out about Mohr’s willingness to promote these metal guys’ latest projects respectfully. Because, let’s be honest, it’s hard to promote Sebastian Bach’s newish album, “Give ‘Em Hell” without taking a jab here and there (see photo).

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Anyway I took the bait again this week when I saw Dave Mustaine was on. And I was glad I did. Because this is a weird dude. And he was promoting an album of course, but he has a lot of other things going on. A lot of things atypical to your average metal god, small ‘g’.

Mohr delicately danced around the fact that Mustaine is prone to stirring the pot. He takes his beefs to the airwaves and the internet, and again they are weird beefs. Mohr called him a lightening rod more than once in this interview. Not sure if I’d use that expression to describe him, but he does not back away from confrontation. I recall an article about his distaste for The Men’s Warehouse on Huffington Post and their “I guarantee it” tagline. Which is, after all, just a tagline. But apparently Mustaine took them to task on it. I hesitate to call him touchy, as he is a “Goodwill Ambassador of the World for the World Taekwondo Federation” (official title).

There was some very cool stuff  about his performance with the San Diego Symphony and his childhood as a Jehovah’s Witness. And there was some stuff about his intense belief in the validity and existence of black magic.

Mustaine talked about how he put hexes on a couple schoolmates back in the day, and those hexes came to fruition. Yep, that’s what he said. And he delivered that little tidbit in a cogent tone. The listener is left with the impression that Mustaine believes completely in the existence of dark supernatural forces.

Mohr does a good job navigating the sometimes dicey waters of spirituality, and this episode was no exception. But be warned, Mustaine, though a pleasant  and intelligent guy, is a far cry from the atheists and religious wishy-washies you hear in podcastia. There’s some real conviction behind his beliefs, and it can be hard to digest, particularly for a religous wishy-washy like myself. But a good listen nonetheless.

Jay Mohr Talks to Perry Farrell on Episode 180

Let me preface this review with a little bit about my history with Jay Mohr’s latest guest. I was obsessed with Jane’s Addiction when I was kid. My mom dropped me off at a show they did with 24-7 Spyz at Center Stage in Atlanta in 1989, and  I never looked back. For two solid years I was transfixed by these dudes. Their music spoke directly to the angst-ridden, sometimes repetitive, bass line that is adolescent taste.

In my eyes, Perry Farrell could do no wrong. A day didn’t go by that I didn’t listen to Nothing’s Shocking. I remember debates about his name, its pronunciation, its origins. Only recently, did I discover Peretz Bernstein’s pseudonym was a simple play on the word peripheral. Mind … blown. Suffice it to say, I was a fan.

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Then the hippies discovered them. All it took was one impromptu rendition  of “Jane Says” at a keg party involving an acoustic guitar and a drum circle for me to give up on Farrell and company. (There may have also been a Hacky Sack present.)

That’s not to say I don’t have a special place in my heart for those three seminal albums. (I’m including the live one.) I still love them. And I’m still intrigued by the front man responsible for that mystique and incomparable sound. In many ways it defined my teens. Not so intrigued by Dave Navarro, however. Thankfully, he was nowhere to be found on this episiode.

Jay Mohr Interviews Perry Farrell

I’ve heard Mohr talk about his love for Jane’s. He mentioned seeing Farrell running shoeless in Santa Monica or Malibu on one episode. But I never expected to hear the guy on the show. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Farrell’s ever been a guest on any of the big ones. I can’t see too many podcasters giving him the attention he deserves. Jay Mohr, on the other hand, was rapt.

They start the show off with a look back at Farrell’s first concert (an abbreviated Led Zeppelin set in Tampa) and almost immediately get into what makes this rock start tick. He denounces the playboy lifestyle, sings the praises of fatherhood and true love, and breaks down the recipe for a happy marriage. It got very corny, very quickly. And I loved it.

As I get older, I’m equally disenchanted and comforted when I get a glimpse at the humanity behind a former idol. This guy who once defined cool for me sounded very much like a content, retired surfer. That’s not to say he sounds like a 54 year old — far from it. His voice has aged about as much as he has physically, little to none. He’s congenial and relaxed, but discerning in his choice of words; except when he’s talking about former Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery, who he refers to as Sisyphus for reasons you’ll have to figure out on your own.

The Verdict

Mohr is an adept interviewer; his guests never come off as uncomfortable or overly guarded. He keeps things chill by not ambushing them or calling them out. But being the fan  I am, I wanted to hear more about Farrell’s past and his darker endeavors. But that wasn’t what this episode was about. It was breezy, and it was brief.

They talked Lollapalooza; they talked kids; they talked bands. Then they wrapped it up. Good pod, just not as in depth as I was hoping it would be.

Listen here.