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What inspired Megadeth’s “Holy Wars” according to Dave Mustaine



What inspired Megadeth’s “Holy Wars” according to Dave Mustaine

Released on the classic 1990 Megadeth album “Rust In Peace”, the track “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” became one of the band’s signature songs and since it was released was constantly present on their live concerts.


But what inspired the band’s vocalist, guitarist and leader Dave Mustaine to write that track? He explained in an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2017.

What inspired the classic Megadeth song “Holy Wars” according to Dave Mustaine

“I think religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell, and spirituality is for people like me who’ve been there. I don’t really write about religion, but I came close with ‘Holy Wars,’ being inspired by the Cause (meaning Irish Republicanism).”

“One time when I was in Ireland, I saw people selling T-shirts in front of a venue and asked what it was about, and he said the Cause. And when the guy told me what it meant, he just said, ‘Oh, it’s just prejudiced religion. One religion thinks it’s better than another religion’.”

“‘The Protestants think they’re better than the Catholics.’ I went, ‘Well, shit, I don’t know if I’m either one of them. But I’m certainly not any one of those two because I don’t judge other religions.'”

Dave Mustaine continued, saying:

“So at the concert, I introduced a song by saying, ‘This one’s for the Cause” from the stage and (whistles) wrong thing to say. I learned my lesson quick so I don’t talk about religion anymore (laughs).”

“I was really mad about what happened over there. So I was really beating my guitar to make that riff come out. That’s why it was really fast,” Dave Mustaine

In the same interview the Megadeth leader also revealed that the second part of the song “The Punishment Due”, was inspired by Marvel’s character Fran Castle, which is known as The Punisher.

He also noted that there was a lot of Beatles influence in that track, because of the melodic parts, which according to him would be “Beatles-esque”. He also said that the chorus was like a pattern used by the Fab Four.

At the time, the track peaked at number 24 on the United Kingdom singles chart. Besides Mustaine, the band was formed by David Ellefson (Bass), Marty Friedman (Guitar) and Nick Menza (Drums).

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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