Former MEGADETH bassist Dave Ellefson recently spoke to Guitar.com about his past accomplishments, his instruments of choice, and his decision to take a full-time day-gig in Artist Relations with Peavey.
The following are some of the highlights from that interview:
On MEGADETH's current status:
"Well, Dave [Mustaine] essentially left the group last year (2002), so the group was disbanded at that point. Once that happened — it's interesting: I said, 'I'm in a rock band, it could end at any time.' (laughing) But at the same time, MEGADETH had gone on for so many years it had become such an institution, if you will, so after a while I just kind of imagined it would just go on and on and on, even if it was on a part-time basis for all of us. So for it to come to an absolute end was shocking and it was disappointing."
On post-MEGADETH activities:
"For a guy like me, I just can't jump out of that and go, 'Okay, well now I get to do my solo album.' To be honest with you, that's probably why Dave and I hung so long together, because I never had these aspirations like 'I just can't wait to finish my solo album.' A lot of guys are like that, which is why they don't work well in bands. Now at the same time, you always want to take some of the music that doesn't work well in your band and do something with it. That's probably the closest to the point where I'm at now."
"You know, I'm always trying to do something creative and that's why I authored a book [Editor's note: Ellefson penned the informative 'Making Music Your Business - A Guide for Young Musicians', published by Miller Freeman Books.] That's why I always wrote columns for magazines, because creatively it was a way to my ya-yas out without interfering with any of the MEGADETH stuff. So this last year was kind of just leaping out of the nest. Doing production work, doing some management stuff, which was a cool thing to do. I've been writing with a handful of people and now to be honest, this year I've been clearing my slate a little, to free up my time so I can do a little more of what I really want to do, because this past year was about sticking a whole bunch of irons in the fire and seeing what was going to pan out. To see what I really wanted to do."
"I think there's going to be some touring opportunities coming up this year. I'm continuing to put some other projects together. I mean, coming out of a group like MEGADETH, it's a pretty high perch to jump from. So I want to take my time but I realize that on one level that time is of the essence — you know, out of sight, out of mind. At the same time, I see guys pull the trigger too quick and go lunging into things way too quick. At this point, I'm more about, 'I don't have to be fully committed for the rest of my life to anything.' That was my mentally at 18 with MEGADETH: 'This is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life: MEGADETH. This is it. I'm going to conquer the world.' Now, 20 years later, I think it would be fun to play a lot of different types of music with a lot of different people and have fun. And if one of them pans out to be something that looks like it could go for a distance, then so be it."
On working in the Artist Relations Department at Peavey:
"Well, when MEGADETH ended, I called everyone I knew. It was like, 'Hey, what's up?' It was definitely a shock that MEGADETH had ended. I always thought that if MEGADETH ended, I've got my children I'm raising. I got a life going on now so it's more than, 'Dude I need to be in a band so I can get free beer and screw chicks all day.' (laughing). Musically, I'm going to be doing that forever. It's in my blood, you know. So I'm always going to do that. So I find myself one day I'm in a band and then one day I'm not. The finality of it struck me. To be honest, the last year was more of a state of mourning. You kind of go through all the emotions that you do when you're grieving the loss of something. Some days you're happy, some days you're bummed out. Other days you're just kinda numb and other days still you're kinda living in the moment and it's really cool."
"I always thought that as a musician – we all love gear. So I'd see some of these people that I'd deal with at some of big corporations on the endorsement thing and I thought, 'That would be kind of a cool thing. I could do that.' Then out of nowhere a door opened at Peavey, which is interesting because I've been a Peavey artist, I've been endorsing their bass amps for quite a few years. So they said that the previous guy left and I'd known the rest of crew that runs artist relations because I'm working with them. It's strange. People go to college for years and work hard to get these big corporate gigs like this and all of sudden this door is opened in front of me. The first thing I did after MEGADETH, oddly enough, was put together a resume. I had never done one. I'd done all these different things. I thought I should really put one together just so see what my life experience look likes and it kind of blew me away. Even I was impressed — and I lived it (chuckling)."
Read the whole interview here.