Blasting-Zone.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. Several excerpts follow:
Blasting-Zone.com: At what point did you realize your time with MEGADETH had come to an end?
David Ellefson: "Probably the day Dave [Mustaine] called me and said that he had quit the band (laughs). To me, it was over at that point. There were times in the past that, for various reasons... I was the second in command, the heir apparent that had to come in and take over during some really tough times. But at the same time, I always knew Dave needed to be at the helm for things to happen, ya know?! To me, when someone says they quit, it's over. At that moment, I thought 'Hey, I can either sit here and rot away or I can be proactive with my life and move forward.' That's where I'm at right now. I refuse to sit back on my laurels, on the sideline of my life."
Blasting-Zone.com: Prior to Dave calling you to inform you that things were over, were there any warning signs that there was trouble on the horizon?
David Ellefson: "There were a lot of bittersweet moments in MEGADETH. Although there was a lot of fun and obviously a lot of success, there was also a lot of chaos. My favorite times were when we were just four guys in a band with no hierarchy, ya know?! Unfortunately, MEGADETH was band where those types of times didn’t happen all that often. I look back at a lot of those times with a lot of fondness, especially the times when Dave was able to be like that. There were a lot of times where Dave felt like he needed to be the boss and the leader and everything had to rest on his shoulders. For some reason, he kinda imposed big burden on himself that might no have been totally real, ya know?! I think he might have imagined that the burdens were bigger than they really were. I felt bad for him a lot of the time because he didn't have to look after everybody (laughs). Then there were times where we had guys in the band that dropped the ball. But then again, that's all part of being in a band — you have to be interdependent of each other. Anytime that anyone starts to rely on the other members, that just ruins the process."
Blasting-Zone.com: You weren’t surprised when everything came to an end?
David Ellefson: "I was surprised that he quit the group, because the way he had set everything up, it had always came down to it being his group. But at the same time, I was sensitive to what he was going through and that was happening at the time. Unfortunately, there was some bitterness between all of us that I don't think has been totally sorted out. My hope is that one day we can get all of that sorted out and behind us. There's still a little bit of muddy water there and I don't want that, ya know?! I spent half of my life working with Dave Mustaine, and in some way, I'll always be affiliated with him because of our catalog, our songs, our records. It's almost like our kids, our family, ya know? Even though Dave is off doing MEGADETH activities, I still feel like I'm a big part of it. In no way have I ever or will I ever turn my back on the fans or on the whole movement of MEGADETH. Even though I invested my whole life in that group, when it was over, I was okay with it. But when it came back and I wasn't a part of it... I think Dave and I need some peacekeeping between the two of us."
Blasting-Zone.com: When Dave regrouped MEGADETH, I didn’t understand the motivations behind not working with anyone from the past.
David Ellefson: "I am the bass player for MEGADETH. We did sit down and have discussions about it and I was pretty amazed at how things were starting up again. It wasn't like I was just some hired guy who played bass on a tour. I was the guy who was in the band for all of those years. I wanted to fulfill any commitments or contracts that I had, but to me what was more important than any of that bullshit was that being in MEGADETH is what I did, ya know?! Fortunately, I had already moved on to some new things with F5, I already had my hands in a lot of new things that I found creatively very exciting. At the same time, there has never been anything so creatively dominating that I wouldn't be able to be part of MEGADETH, ya know? I think the fans were all left kinda scratching their heads (laughs). ...I put twenty years into that group so I'm not gonna sit here with sour grapes and bitch and complain... I've seen that happen and I watched Dave do that over METALLICA for a lot of years. I never quite understood that. I used to tell him, 'Most people don't get a first chance to do what you've done. not only did you get a second chance, but in your second chance, you've got nine lives...' But then again, it was easy for me to say because I wasn't the guy that was in METALLICA. More than anything, I'm just proud to have been one of the guys that helped to start everything and keep it together for all of those years. My creativity and my personality are all over those records and were certainly all over the live shows. It's all well documented and my resume is what it is."
Read the entire interview at Blasting-Zone.com.