Vic Rattlehead

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Vic Rattlehead
Megadeth character
Dave Mustaine and Vic Rattlehead.jpg
Vic Rattlehead next to Dave Mustaine on stage
First appearanceKilling Is My Business... and Business Is Good!
Created byDave Mustaine

Vic Rattlehead is the illustrated mascot of the American thrash metal band Megadeth.[1] Vic is a skeletal figure 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.

Concept and creation[edit]

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.[2]


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.

Redesign contest[edit]

On January 29, 2006, an official contest was announced on DeviantArt to redesign the Megadeth icon.[3] 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.

United Abominations[edit]

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.[4][5]


The artists for the various incarnations of Vic include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Megadeth: The Return Of Vic Rattlehead". August 19, 2010. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  2. ^ Mustaine, Dave (2011). Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir. New York, New York, USA: Harper Collins. pp. 135, 136. ISBN 0-06-171437-2.
  3. ^ "Megadeth Want To Redesign Mascot". January 18, 2006. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "Ex-Dementra Frontman Reveals Megadeth's Vic Rattlehead Contest Submission". March 5, 2006. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  5. ^ "Megadeth: 'United Abominations' Artwork Unveiled". August 2, 2006. Retrieved April 4, 2014.

External links[edit]