MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson says that he and the band's mainman, Dave Mustaine, "are working diligently" to find suitable replacements for recently departed drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick, explaining that "it's time to knock this out."
Asked if it was just time for Drover and Broderick to move on to other things, like a fork-in-the-road moment, or if personality clashes contributed to their decision to leave MEGADETH, Ellefson told The Metal Review: "I think it was [time for them to go off on their own]. I mean, Shawn had been there ten years. Next to me and, obviously, Dave [Mustaine], Shawn had been there the longest of anybody. He was a good soldier for MEGADETH. In a lot of ways, he helped bring me back into the fold."
He continued: "Shawn should always be remembered by the MEGADETH fans as one of the true supporters who really got it. As a fan, a musician within the band, he got it. One of the songs he co-wrote ['Head Crusher'] ended up as a Grammy nomination, [so] his record speaks for itself."
Ellefson added: "Chris is just a phenomenal musician and a super-great guy. The fact that the two of them are going off together and doing something together, I think, is cool. Whatever we hear from them next will be something that will truly be them, and it won't have to be done in the confines of a MEGADETH setting.
"MEGADETH is very much a focused-type narrow window of what works and what the fans expect to hear, and rightfully so. There are some things that bandmembers write that are great for MEGADETH and some things that should be best used for solo material or to be shopped for someone else to cover them.
"You can get to a certain point in your career and you realize you have things outside of what your band is, and it may be a good piece of music, but it shouldn't be used inside of MEGADETH."
Regarding whether he will miss the musical chemistry he had with Drover, Ellefson said: "Absolutely. In fact, the truth of it is the first day I came back to MEGADETH, I was conscious of that."
He continued: "I knew Shawn [before I rejoined MEGADETH], I liked Shawn, [and] he's the kind of guy I want to be in band with, but how does he play?
"As a bass player, rhythm section, how we play together is going to determine how much I'm going to like the gig on a lot of levels.
"Every drummer is so different and they really change the sound of the band.
"I got over there, played with Shawn, and I gotta tell you, it was just so easy; it was great. It made the whole 'Rust In Peace' [anniversary] tour so enjoyable.
"I will miss his performance, for sure."
Asked about the Internet speculation about MEGADETH reuniting with former members Nick Menza (drums) and Marty Friedman (guitar) and whether he and Mustaine have any possible replacements in mind for Drover and Broderick, Ellefson told The Metal Review: "The departure of [Shawn and Chris] was pretty sudden, [and] it changed the course of the plan, for sure."
He added: "Dave and I — let's just say this — we are investigating all of the opportunities that are out there. We're going to working diligently to get that sewn up, because we want to get this new record done and we have some tour work on the books for later in the year. It's time to knock this out."
Despite the recent lineup changes, MEGADETH is still planning on releasing a new studio album later this year. "We've been working on it," Ellefson said. "It's definitely one of the things on the 'to-do' list for 2015.
Only hours after Drover announced his exit from MEGADETH on November 25, 2014 to "to pursue [his] own musical interests," Broderick revealed he also quit the legendary metal band, saying that he was leaving the group "due to artistic and musical differences."
Friedman, who originally left MEGADETH in 1999 in order to make the kind of music that he was passionate about — Japanese pop music, or J-Pop — recently left the door open to a possible return to the band. He told Myglobalmind: "I don't really have an answer for you [as to whether I would consider going back to MEGADETH]. I know that people would want to know. Honestly, I don't have an answer. I have never said 'never' to anything in my life, so who knows? I really don't know."
Menza, who joined MEGADETH for the 1989 recording "Rust In Peace" and for the next nine years became associated with the band's "classic" and most profitable era, said in an online posting last month that he didn't rule out rejoining his former bandmates, explaining that his return to the group is down to Mustaine. Menza said: "Like I have said in the past, I don't rule out rejoining MEGADETH and the opportunity would be totally cool. I'm open to whatever could possibly happen. That's up to Dave."