Behind The Mask recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Behind The Mask: I've read a bit about what you're doing with the MegaLife Ministry and I wanted to say that it's really inspiring and also respectable that someone is using their position in the entertainment industry for something as selfless and giving as this cause. It also helps turn away the notion that heavy music cannot be positive. What exactly inspired you to start the MegaLife Ministry?
David: My pastor asked me to help him with it, so I became the music leader. To me, music is the inspiration that gets people excited about a lot of things, including the faith community. It's definitely not something I thought I'd ever do but actually found it quite invigorating. It is now in its seventh year and we've acquired a new building so it can be its own service. The community has really embraced it.
Behind The Mask: Continuing the theme of positivity thriving in the rock music world, I wanted to get your opinion on the negativity that often gets attached to the genre by certain groups of people. For example, coming from a personal experience, growing up I never had a very good relationship with my father, but like any boy wanting to impress his dad I would find any chance I could to relate to him. That came in the form of your music. He was a massive fan of MEGADETH and bands like METALLICA and PANTERA and it was through the scene that our relationship grew. Would you say you hear far more testimonies like this one that might counter any claims that it can't have a good impact?
David: Well, thank you for sharing that, and I wish there were more stories like yours. I, too, would try to find common ground with my father (and he with me), but it wasn't through music because our generations were quite far apart. I think your story is a fantastic testimony to the power that music holds to bring people together. Even more so when it is multi-generational. That is something that is very cool with our genre now, bringing new generations of people together through the music.
Behind The Mask: Continuing on to the industry side of things, I understand that you have written a book dedicated to the business and i wanted to know if you could shed some light on the reality of the career musician. That at the end of the day it is a business. I'm sure you're aware, but your "Big Four" alumni, SLAYER, have been in headlines concerning Dave Lombardo not performing with the band for the time being. I understand MEGADETH is no stranger to lineup changes over the years, so is it usually less personal and malicious (as the media tends to twist it) and can situations like in MEGADETH's past, or SLAYER's current, or the whole Bill Ward thing just be strictly about business without it really being personal within the relationships? I only bring this up because many people online like to paint somebody as a bad guy, when perhaps people just aren't thinking about all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that's necessary to keep the machine running and that perhaps some people get an unfair rap in the process.
David: I wrote the book "Making Music Your Business….A Guide For Young Musician" during the "Youthansia" album and tour cycle from 1994-95. It was published in 1997 and the basis of it was to tell the reader about the many aspects of the music business. It covers everything most professional musicians will deal with such as recording and publishing contracts, royalties, producers, managers and so forth. I continued the concept with my YouTube series David Ellefson's Rock Shop because fans and musicians kept asking me for a volume two of the book. Online was a simpler and quicker way to respond to many of the questions I was continually asked about the more current state of the industry. As for rumors about these things, I'll say this; people leave their jobs and companies evolve all the time, but when it happens in a celebrity rock band, many people have an opinion because you are out in the public's eye in a much different way. Plus, fans come to know the members of a band as part of a culture, so changes ultimately affect the fabric of that culture. I think that is the things people buzz about on the Internet more than anything.
Read the entire interview from Behind The Mask.