Vic Rattlehead next to Dave Mustaine on stage
|First appearance||Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!|
|Created by||Dave Mustaine|
Vic Rattlehead is the illustrated mascot of the American thrash metal band Megadeth.Vic is a skeletal figure wearing a suit who embodies the phrase "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" as well as a symbol of censorship. His eyes are covered by a riveted-on visor, his mouth is clamped shut, and his ears are closed with metal caps.
The mythic creation of Vic Rattlehead is addressed in the song "Skull Beneath the Skin" from the album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!
Prepare the patient's scalp
To peel away
Metal caps his ears
He'll hear not what we say
Solid steel visor
Riveted across his eyes
Iron staples close his jaws
So no one hears his cries
Dave Mustaine sketched the original drawing of Vic for the album's front cover. However, Combat Records lost the artwork and improvised a completely different concept. The original artwork was recovered and placed on the reissue of Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!. The name of Vic stands for "victim" and Rattlehead comes from what Mustaine's mother used to say to him when he was headbanging: "Don't do that or you'll rattle something up in there!" This then led to the expression "to rattle one's head" meaning head-bang. According to Mustaine, the mascot represents his feelings about religious repression and freedom of expression.
Vic was on the cover art of the band's first four albums (1985–1990): Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! , Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? , So Far, So Good... So What! , and Rust in Peace .
Vic did not appear on the front cover of any albums or compilations from 1991 to 2000. However, when Megadeth tried to bring back a more "classic" vibe to their material, he returned for the 2001 album The World Needs a Hero , the 2004 album The System Has Failed , as well as the 2007 studio album United Abominations in a human form. He is identified by his visor, metal caps on his ears, and clamps on his mouth. Only Vic's face is shown in the mushroom cloud on the 2005 compilation Greatest Hits: Back to the Start . Vic was once again absent from the cover of Endgame , instead found in the album's booklet much like the inside cover of Youthanasia and Countdown To Extinction . His portrait image can also be found by joining the spine labels of the 7 albums Mustaine re-released in 2004. Vic was mentioned in the band's 2010 video "The Right to Go Insane" and featured on the cover art for the "Sudden Death" single. On the cover of Th1rt3en he is shown with his back turned. Vic can be seen very faintly on the Super Collider album artwork as a reflection in the center of the particle collider; it is revealed inside the cover and on the back that Vic is the Super Collider. On Dystopia , a robot version of Vic Rattlehead is seen.
In 1993, Megadeth appeared as "Vic and the Rattleheads" at Rock City club Nottingham.
Vic has made small appearances in the music videos for "Anarchy in the U.K.", "Wake Up Dead", "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due", and "Hangar 18".
On January 29, 2006, an official contest was announced on DeviantArt to redesign the Megadeth icon.The contest stated:
After two decades of rocking, the heavy metal band Megadeth’s mascot Vic Rattlehead needs a facelift and the band has commissioned DeviantArt to redesign him!! Not only do you get the chance to redesign a mascot whose image has appeared on several Megadeth albums as well as a myriad of band merchandise, you can also win the biggest prizes we've ever offered for a DeviantArt contest!
The prizes were three different ESP electric guitars. The contest ended on February 14, 2006, and was judged by Mustaine, with the results posted on DeviantArt on March 15, 2006.
The cover art for Megadeth's eleventh album, United Abominations , has revealed a redesigned Vic, using artwork from John Lorenzi, one of the DeviantArt contest entries, albeit not a winning entry. Vic now appears as an elderly man rather than a skeletal figure. He is, however, depicted with traits of the Four Horsemen mentioned in the album and shown inside the CD case—he is accompanied by an angel wearing white with blood-stained wings (aka the "Angel of Deth", and an allusion to the Pestilence Horseman), has long black hair and a black cloak resembling the black horse of Famine, is wielding various firearms like the sword used by the War Horseman, and has pale, veinous-looking skin like that of Death, and is, of course, shown dealing death on a large scale. A reflection of the classic Vic can also be found on the far-right building on the front cover.
The artists for the various incarnations of Vic include:
Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the "big four" of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, personal relationships and religion.
Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth, released on June 12, 1985 by Combat Records. At the beginning of 1985, the band was given $8,000 by Combat to record and produce its debut album. The band was forced to fire their original producer and produce the album by themselves, after spending half of the album's budget on drugs, alcohol, and food. Despite the poor production, the album was a well-received effort that obtained strong reviews in various music publications. Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! played an essential role in establishing thrash metal as an authentic subgenre of heavy metal music. It explores themes of death, occultism, and violence.
Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? is the second studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth, released on September 19, 1986 by Capitol Records. The project was originally handled by Combat Records, resulting in the original mix of the album being co-produced by Randy Burns. Capitol Records then bought the rights to the album and hired another producer named Paul Lani to mix it himself. The recording of the album was difficult for the band, because of the ongoing drug issues the members had at the time. Drummer Gar Samuelson and guitarist Chris Poland were fired shortly after the album's promotional tour for drug abuse making it the last Megadeth album for Samuelson before his death and the last for Poland until he reappeared as a session musician on The System Has Failed. The title track, noted for its politically conscious lyrics, was released as the album's lead single. The album's cover art, featuring the band's mascot Vic Rattlehead in front of a desolated United Nations Headquarters, was created by Ed Repka.
Rust in Peace is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth, released on September 24, 1990 by Capitol Records. Following the departure of band members Jeff Young and Chuck Behler in 1989, Rust in Peace was the first album to feature guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza.
Youthanasia is the sixth studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth, released on 1 November 1994 through Capitol Records. The album is not a large stylistic departure from the band's earlier recordings; however it marked the continuing evolution of Megadeth, following the footsteps of the previous album Countdown to Extinction (1992). The album's title is a play on words, implying that society is euthanizing its youth. The cover art features an elderly woman hanging babies by their feet on a seemingly endless clothesline; the artwork concept was directly inspired from a line of the title track.
Cryptic Writings is the seventh studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth. Released on June 17, 1997 through Capitol Records, it was the band's last studio album to feature drummer Nick Menza. His departure would mark the end of the band's longest lasting lineup to date, having recorded four studio albums. Megadeth decided to produce the record with Dann Huff in Nashville, Tennessee, because they were not satisfied with their previous producer Max Norman. The album features 12 tracks with accessible song structures, specifically aimed for radio airplay. The lyrics were also altered, in order to make the music more inclusive for wider audience. These changes were met with mixed opinions from music critics, who noted the band moving away from their thrash metal roots.
The World Needs a Hero is the ninth studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth, released in May 2001 by Sanctuary Records. After the critical and commercial failure of the previous album Risk (1999), The World Needs a Hero represented a change back to a heavier musical direction. Subsequently, the album charted at number 16 on the Billboard 200 upon release.
David Scott Mustaine is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, actor and author. He is best known as the co-founder, lead vocalist, guitarist and primary songwriter of the American heavy metal band Megadeth, as well as the original lead guitarist of the American band Metallica.
David Warren Ellefson is an American bassist, co-founder and second-longest serving member of the American heavy metal band Megadeth from 1983 to 2002 and again from 2010. He has also been referred to as "Junior" to differentiate him from his bandmate Dave Mustaine, but does not go by this name professionally. Ellefson currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. In addition to playing bass guitar in Megadeth, Ellefson also has various side projects which include Temple of Brutality, F5, Killing Machine and Metal Allegiance.
Gary Charles "Gar" Samuelson was an American musician best remembered for being the drummer for American thrash metal band Megadeth from 1984 to 1987, contributing to their first two albums, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! (1985) and Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? (1986). He is considered one of the most influential drummers of thrash metal, having pioneered the incorporation of jazz fusion into the sub-genre.
The System Has Failed is the tenth studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth, released on September 14, 2004. It was the band's second and final studio album to be distributed by Sanctuary Records. The System Has Failed was the first album to be released after Mustaine recovered from his arm injury sustained in 2002 which prevented him from playing guitar. It is also the first of three Megadeth records not to include original bassist and co-founder David Ellefson. Instead, the album features session players, including former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland on lead guitar. However, Poland only provided lead guitar parts and solos on a contractual basis and did not rejoin the band. To date, it is the only Megadeth album where the only certified member of the band was Mustaine. As a result, it is occasionally referred to as a Mustaine solo album.
"À Tout le Monde" is a song by American heavy metal band Megadeth, featured on their 1994 studio album Youthanasia. It was released as a single in February 1995 through Capitol Records. The song was later remade and reissued as "À Tout le Monde ", featuring Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, on Megadeth's 2007 studio album United Abominations. The song's chorus, "à tout le monde, à tous mes amis, je vous aime, je dois partir", translated into English is, "to everyone, to all my friends, I love you, I have to leave", which prompted controversy after accusations that it was pro-suicide.
American thrash metal band Megadeth has released fifteen studio albums, five live albums, six compilation albums, one EP, forty-nine singles, ten video albums, and forty-four music videos. After he was fired from Metallica in 1983, guitarist and vocalist Dave Mustaine formed Megadeth along with bassist Dave Ellefson, guitarist Greg Handevidt, and drummer Dijon Carruthers. The band toured and gained a following, signing with the independent label Combat Records in late 1984. Megadeth's debut album Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! (1985), sold very well for an independent release, and the group attracted the attention of major record labels. By the end of the year, the group signed with Capitol Records. Megadeth's first major-label album, Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?, was released in 1986.
United Abominations is the eleventh studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth. Released on May 15, 2007, United Abominations is the first Megadeth release distributed through Roadrunner Records and, with the exception of the band's frontman Dave Mustaine, was recorded with an all-new line-up. While touring to promote the album, guitarist Glen Drover left the band for personal reasons and was replaced by Chris Broderick, leaving this as the only Megadeth studio album to which he contributed.
"Hangar 18" is a song by American heavy metal band Megadeth from the 1990 album Rust in Peace. UFO conspiracy theories, or possibly Hangar 18, the 1980 film based on those theories, inspired drummer Nick Menza to write the lyrics. Shortly thereafter, frontman Dave Mustaine composed the bulk of the music. The intro is a rapidly strummed version of the D minor arpeggio that Mustaine wrote for the Metallica instrumental track "The Call of Ktulu", which was the final Metallica song for which he was given writing credit. Hangar 18 is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, and it is speculated that an alien aircraft was brought there from Roswell in 1947. The song reached number #25 on the Irish Singles Chart, also reached number #26 on the UK Singles Chart.
Endgame is the twelfth studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth. It was produced by Dave Mustaine and Andy Sneap and released through Roadrunner Records on September 15, 2009. Endgame was the first album to feature guitarist Chris Broderick, following Glen Drover's departure in 2008, and was the band's last studio album with bassist James LoMenzo; original bassist David Ellefson rejoined the band several months after the album's release.
"Sudden Death" is a song by the American heavy metal band Megadeth. It was written by Dave Mustaine for inclusion in the 2010 music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, which was released on September 28, 2010 in North America. The song itself was released as a single with cover art on iTunes on September 24, 2010, and on September 28, Roadrunner Records made the song available for streaming on its website.
Thirteen is the thirteenth studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth. It was released worldwide on November 1, 2011, by Roadrunner Records, although the album was released on October 26, 2011 for Japan. Thirteen is the first Megadeth studio album since The World Needs a Hero (2001) to feature bassist and founding member David Ellefson, who returned to the band in 2010. Th1rt3en debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 42,000 copies in its first week. The album broke into the top 20 in several other markets as well. It has sold about 120,000 copies in the United States as of December 2012. The album has received largely positive reviews from critics.
Super Collider is the fourteenth studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth. It was released on June 4, 2013, and is Megadeth's first album to be released on Tradecraft, a Universal label created for frontman Dave Mustaine. In the U.S., a special edition of the album was made available exclusively through Best Buy retailers. The album features a guest appearance from Disturbed and Device vocalist David Draiman. On April 23, 2013, the title track was released on iTunes as the album's lead single.
Dystopia is the fifteenth studio album by American heavy metal band Megadeth. It was released on frontman and guitarist Dave Mustaine's Tradecraft label via Universal on January 22, 2016. The album was produced by Mustaine and Chris Rakestraw and features cover artwork by Brent Elliot White.