Megadeth: Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?


Megadeth’s 1985 debut full-length, Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good, was well-received by both fans and critics, but singer, guitarist and bandleader Dave Mustaine was barely staying afloat following its release. Thrash metal was his business, and business was not good at all. Money was scarce, and every day Mustaine found himself “scratching and clawing to find a place to sleep and food to eat,” he told Classic Rock in 2017. Rather than be demoralized or defeated, Megadeth’s main man was fueled by his hunger — literal as it was — to make what many would consider to be his definitive work, 1986’s Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? It was a watershed record born of desperate times.

“It was very hard,” Mustaine’s partner in crime Megadeth bassist David Ellefson recalled. “Any money we should have saved for food or paying rent immediately went up our noses, or on cigarettes or burgers. Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? was the heroin, cigarettes and hamburgers album.”

It was also an album that, like Megadeth‘s debut, saw Mustaine and Ellefson joined by a pair of seemingly unlikely bandmates, guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson, two New York City transplants who had cut their teeth together playing jazz fusion and developed serious heroin habits along the way. With this lineup, Megadeth made a new album that was technical and virtuosic, but also loose, pissed and punky. Its lyrics were politically charged and incisive, defying the popular stereotype of metalheads as mindless miscreants. And yet, Megadeth were, in many ways, miscreants. Their time in the studio was full of hard drug use and band-member brawls; somehow, miraculously, all the chaos resulted in one of the thrash metal’s greatest albums.

Peace Sells was Megadeth’s breakthrough moment. With new major-label backing and some of the best songs of their career, the band had officially arrived and were poised to finally present a viable challenge to Mustaine’s former group, Metallica, as thrash’s reigning trailblazers. The album’s title track, in particular, became inescapable, with its iconic opening bassline in constant replay as the introduction to MTV News — though Mustaine would gripe that he never saw any royalties from that usage.

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Additional information

Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 32 × 1 × 32 cm