Megadeth drummer made Peace Sells
Drug bust: Mustaine, Poland, Ellefson and Samuelson
Former Megadeth guitarist credits drummer and close friend Gar Samuelson for turning Peace Sells into the classic track it became.
The 1986 single, taken from the band’s second album Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? is a heavy metal staple, listed by VH1 as the eleventh-best metal song of all time.
But mainman Dave Mustaine originally conceived it as an eight-minute piece – and Poland says Samuelson, who died in 1999, was the only man who could have talked him out of it.
The guitarist tells Xtreme Metal Radio: “I think originally it was eight minutes long, and Gar said, ‘You know what? This is too good a song to drag it out like this. Let’s shorten the arrangement, cut it down to size and make it a single.’
“Dave said, ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’ I honestly think Dave respected Gar’s opinion on stuff – he was the only guy in the band Dave wouldn’t mess with.
“He totally respected Gar, and thank God he did, If Gar hadn’t talked Dave into shortening the song…”
Mustaine dedicated the remastered version of Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying to Samuelson, who passed away aged 41 from liver failure.
The drummer appeared on Megadeth’s first two albums before being sacked for his drug-taking. Previously he’d spent many years playing jazz-fusion with Poland, who himself departed the thrash band in 1987 and spent many years embroiled in a bitter feud with Mustaine.
Now Poland says: “Me and Dave, with David Ellefson and Gar, we were like brothers – and we fought like brothers. When you get four guys in a room who all had pretty big egos about what they wanted to do, there is always that clash.
“I think that’s what fuelled the fire for that band: competing with the other guy. That added a little extra something that a lot of bands don’t get.
“You really have to give Dave credit. He was fuelled by hate for Metallica, so that added that extra angst to what we were doing. It was perfect timing – the chemistry was right.
“It was just the drugs that got in the way, that’s all.”