While the band has never endorsed any kind of violence towards anybody in its history, Megadeth is now drawing attention for all the wrong reasons after a Calgary stabbing earlier this week left five people dead.
Matt de Grood, the suspect in the stabbings, posted the following message in his Facebook page hours before the killings: "Dread and the fugitive mind -- the world needs a hero," the Calgary Herald reports. The words are the title of the Megadeth song "Dread and the Fugitive Mind" which was found on the band's 2001 album "The World Needs A Hero" and, prior to that, a compilation.
Although some may foolishly draw a direct line between a band's lyric and a horrific event such as the Calgary stabbings, Martin Popoff, a noted author and heavy metal expert, told the Herald it could provide some idea as to the alleged murderer's mindset.
"It seems a little more direct than looking into somebody's (Facebook) profile and saying, 'Oh, they happen to be a Marilyn Manson fan," Popoff says, referencing the 1999 Columbine shootings. "But in this case it is fairly odd and mysterious that this guy would post this....And it seems like it's pointing to people to go read this lyric."
Popoff — who said Megadeth lead singer Dave Mustaine is a "very responsible guy, lyrically" — also told the publication that Mustaine's born-again Christianity and the singer's thoughts on "gambling" is the general gist of "Dread and the Fugitive Mind." "This lyric seems to be about positing whether there's a heaven or a hell and if you do bad deeds are you going to be punished or is there indeed any judgment whatsoever?" He also said it would be a "misreading" to infer Mustaine was saying to "exact on society any form of violence" in this song or any Megadeth track.
Nevertheless, Megadeth is being mentioned in coverage of the murders in the Washington Post, Metro, National Post, Montreal Gazette, Regina Leader-Post, Toronto Star, Windsor Star, etc.
Unfortunately for Mustaine and Megadeth, there's a precedent for linking their songs with incidents of violence in Canada. The Dawson College shootings in 2006 left one student dead and 19 wounded. However, prior to the incident shooter Kimveer Gill posted a message online with a mention of "A Tout Le Monde," another Megadeth tune found on their "Youthanasia" album. That incident prompted Mustaine to defend himself and his lyrics against claims the band's music was somehow responsible or served as a catalyst for the shootings.
"I was so angry that this guy would use my song, and that he would try to turn that beautiful song into something ugly and nasty," Mustaine said according to a CBC report. "[The song] is for those who lost their lives and it's a gift to those who are in the process of grieving."
Neither Mustaine nor the band have responded on their official site or social media pages to de Grood using their song in a post before the stabbings. The band is slated to play in Las Vegas tomorrow night and will be flying in Sarah Churman, the 29-year-old women who was born deaf, got an cochlear implant and went viral with a video of her hearing sound for the first time. Accompanied by her husband, this will be Churman's first rock concert.
Some people took to Twitter to express their dismay at news stories linking the band to the killings: