Dave Mustaine’s oncologist reveals he co-wrote Megadeth song ‘Dogs Of Chernobyl’

The oncologist also treated the Megadeth frontman's cancer in 2019

The radiation oncologist who treated Dave Mustaine’s throat cancer has revealed he co-wrote the lyrics to the Megadeth song ‘Dogs Of Chernobyl’.

Dr. Anthony J. Cmelak — who works at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Centre and helped the frontman beat his illness in 2019 — spoke of his credits on the track in an interview with The Tennessean.

Cmelak said Mustaine enlisted his knowledge of radiation for ‘Dogs Of Chernobyl’, which features descriptions of the titular nuclear disaster and was lifted from Megadeth’s most recent album ‘The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!’.


“I think [Mustaine] wanted descriptive terminology on how your bodily functions would change after exposure to massive doses of radiation,” Cmelak said. “He also wanted a flair of someone being left behind… I geared toward that and it came around very quickly.”

While references to Chernobyl are heard throughout the song, Cmelak’s medical descriptions are most evident in the fourth verse, during which Mustaine sings that “nausea overwhelms my brain” and makes references to “stomach spasms, leaking gut” and “saliva gurgling”.

Elsewhere, Cmelak elaborated on Mustaine’s emotional state upon his 2019 diagnosis, revealing that while he “felt horrible for him”, Mustaine “seemed to take it in strides.” Mustaine was declared cancer-free in February of this year – following 51 radiation treatments and nine chemotherapy sessions – clearing the way for the release of ‘The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!’ on September 3.

The album was previewed by two singles: ‘We’ll Be Back’ in June and ‘Soldier On!’ in August. It marks Megadeth’s 16th studio album, and their first since 2016’s ‘Dystopia’. Speaking of the release delays for ‘The Sick’ – which included last year’s firing of bassist David Ellefson amid allegations of online grooming – Mustaine said in June that “everything that we needed on this record is right in its place”.