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Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine is marking the 45th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix‘s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” with a heavy metal guitar version of his own that will appear in America, Dinesh D’Souza‘s follow-up to 2016: Obama’s America.
Hendrix debuted his version of the song, also known as the U.S. national anthem, in the summer of 1969 at the now-historical Woodstock music festival, where it was panned by some for its irreverence and heralded by others as an instant classic. Still others assumed it was an anti-Vietnam War statement, but Hendrix simply saw it as patriotic. “We’re all Americans. … It was like, ‘Go America!’ ” he said a few weeks after Woodstock.
Hendrix and Mustaine are both considered grand masters of the electric guitar. Mustaine, who also spent a few years with Metallica, was named No. 1 in the book 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Joel McIver, and Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner was named the greatest guitar performance of all time by Guitar World magazine.
“Jimi recorded his version at a different time in the history of our nation,” Mustaine said. “Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King had been assassinated, the nation was mired in war and chaos and that is reflected in his guitar.”
STORY: Lionsgate to Distribute Dinesh D’Souza’s ‘America’
The presumably right-leaning film America follows D’Souza’s hit film 2016: Obama’s America, which is the second-highest-grossing political documentary in history after Michael Moore‘s left-leaning Fahrenheit 9/11. Lionsgate is opening America wide on July 2, nearly 10 years to the day after the same company opened Fahrenheit 9/11.
In America, produced by Oscar winner Gerald Molen, D’Souza attempts to dismantle what he considers anti-American arguments oftentimes expressed by the political left. Slavery, wars, capitalism, Christopher Columbus, the treatment of Native Americans and other topics are addressed. Mustaine’s new version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was created specifically for the movie while several other existing songs were also licensed, including one from Imagine Dragons and “Home” by Phillip Phillips.
The filmmakers also thought they had access to a patriotic song from Rodney Atkins, a country music star who performed two years ago at the Republican National Convention, but one of the songwriters killed the deal for the song, called “It’s America,” because he objects politically to the premise of D’Souza’s movie.
No problem there for Mustaine, who, after battles with drugs and alcohol turned to Christianity a couple of decades ago and today is a conservative who backed former Sen. Rick Santorum for president in 2012.
“First off, no version of our national anthem is or will ever be better than the original,” Mustaine said. “My inspiration and take on the song for the film was our Founding Fathers and wondering what they would think of us today if they saw what we had become. My hope for America is that we’ll become a nation they’d be proud of again and I tried to capture that with my guitar.”
The video, which is embedded below along with the Hendrix version at Woodstock, consists of audio of Mustaine playing guitar to snippets of the movie, and it acts as a teaser trailer for America.
“Although I can’t say I’m a fan of heavy metal, I am a fan of greatness in every genre and I am delighted that a great musician like Dave Mustaine gave us such a beautiful rendition of a song that belongs to all of us,” Molen said. “He’s a patriot who loves his country as much as he loves music.”
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