Mastermind

Album: Cryptic Writings (1997)
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Songfacts®:

  • Many people got on the internet for the first time in 1997 when Megadeth released the song "Mastermind" on their Cryptic Writings album. Group leader Dave Mustaine knew it was going to be a big deal and spotted the trend of users dissociating from real life as they became engrossed with their screens. He was no luddite: Mustaine learned web design and made sure Megadeth had a powerful presence on the web. But he really wanted fans to engage by going to concerts and listening to albums, not by surfing their site. In "Mastermind," he shows what could happen if we fall victim to the computer age.

    "It's very anti-computer and I'm very computer literate," he told radio host Sheila Rene soon after the album came out. "A lot of it has to do with the deprogramming of people who get in front of their computers and they turn in to imbeciles."

    He also predicted Napster: "The Internet is a medium of communication and it's also expediting piracy for bands. I found out that a lot of this new record is downloadable. People have sites where they're downloading songs. It's going to kill the music industry and that's sad. One thing you can't download on the Internet is a live, touchable, feel-able concert, so we may lose money when it comes down to selling records and stuff. How many people want to sit in front of a 17-inch screen and watch Dave headbang? There's something lost in the translation here. There's just something about being in a sweaty environment and some guy peeing on the back of your leg that makes a festival really vibe."
  • Cryptic Writings was Megadeth's seventh album. It was produced by Dann Huff, who usually works with pop and country acts like Shania Twain, Kelly Clarkson, and Michael Bolton. On "Mastermind," he layered lots of vocal parts, pitch shifting Mustaine's voice so it had a robotic sound in parts that suits the song's concept.

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