MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson says one of the keys to supergroup METAL ALLEGIANCE is writing "really compelling music," which allows him and his bandmates to be more selective when it comes time to determine which guest vocalists will be singing on their songs. Comprised of Ellefson, ex-DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy, TESTAMENT lead guitarist Alex Skolnick and bassist Mark Menghi, METAL ALLEGIANCE has issued two studio albums and one EP thus far and recently celebrated its fifth anniversary with a string of shows on the West Coast.
In an interview with Global AZ Media (audio below), Ellefson was asked why METAL ALLEGIANCE doesn't follow the traditional band format and prefers to use guest vocalists instead. He responded: "To just go out and play some cover songs, which we had been doing with METAL MASTERS for a couple of years and the first METAL ALLEGIANCE show, technically that was on the Motörboat cruise, but we're all original artists and we're songwriters and we all have record deals and that's what we've grown up knowing as professionals. I think when Mike Portnoy, we go to his house in Pennsylvania and write an album, we were all down for it, meaning the 'core four.' That's what really defines you as an artist, is to write and create together. The fact we come from these different genres — I'm a thrash/rock guy; Skolnick is a jazz/thrash guy; Portnoy is a prog musician and Mark Menghi, we didn't really know what he was because he was our friend, but he brought in this kind of mid-tempo PANTERA, BLACK SABBATH swagger that really none of the other three of us weren't doing. It was such a collaboration between us and the fact we wrote really compelling music — first we write songs, then we think about who we want to have singing it. I think we're doing it the right way, because it's always about the music and the friendship, then it's about adding the other people to contribute. This isn't something where we sit around and go, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could get all of these famous guys? Oh yeah, then we need to write some songs.' I think we do it the right way and the two albums we put out, the two albums and the EP, have really been based on really writing great music and then, from there, getting the right voice. I'll look at inviting John Bush [ARMORED SAINT] to sing on the song 'Bound By Silence'. You get Max Cavalera [SOULFLY] to collaborate with us on 'Voodoo Of The Godsend'. It's really about having the right pieces of the fabric, not just having someone who is famous."
METAL ALLEGIANCE's most recent album, "Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty", was released last year via Nuclear Blast.