MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson recently spoke with Meltdown of the Detroit radio station 101 WRIF. The full conversation can be streamed at this location. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his new solo album, "Sleeping Giants":
David: "'Sleeping Giants' is really a compilation of some brand new tracks that I've recently written, as well as some things that I pulled out of the vault — a group, F5, that I had in the 2000s, and even some stuff that I wrote back in the 1990s... It's kind of a culmination of about 25 years of my life — the new, the old and stuff that has not seen the light of day or been heard until now."
On his ongoing "Basstory" tour:
David: "'Basstory' started out as this solo platform for me. It could be anything from a clinic to a Q&A/storyteller. Now, with the 'Sleeping Giants' album out, we have a full band — a full five-piece band — and both me and my [EMP Label Group] partner Thom Hazaert handle the vocals."
On the years between his stints in MEGADETH:
David: "When the group disbanded in 2002, I was young. I was 38 years old. We'd done well in MEGADETH, but I wasn't ready to retire. I had a lot of ambition, and I had a young family to raise, so I still had to be dad and show up and go to work and pay the bills. I kind of felt like, 'Is my bass-playing career over — my music career?' The reality hit of, 'I might have to change direction in life for a while,' and I was willing to do that. I was like, 'All right, God — lead me where you need me.' It was interesting, because I ended up doing an artist relations position for Peavey, and I was already using their products. That was a fun journey, because I got connected with the music industry and a lot of artists on the other side of the corporate desk, if you will, serving them. This business of rock n' roll, when you're an artist, everybody sort of comes out to serve you, so it was interesting to be on the other side of that. I went to college and got my business degree, so when I came back to MEGADETH in 2010, I came back a much different person. I think that's put me in a position to have this platform to write books and put out solo albums and enjoy this next season of my life now."
On whether he was ever tempted by drugs and alcohol during those years:
David: "I have a recovery program that I am part of. I'll just say, 'One day at a time,' and people can probably figure that out. That is first and foremost in my life above all else. Remaining sober and keeping that course of action for recovery has always allowed everything else to follow suit — to have a beautiful family and be able to continue to make a vocation of my passion, which is music. I realize that especially in this day and age, music has never been an easy path if you wanted to do it for a living. [It's] probably harder now than it's ever been, yet for some reason, the opportunities seem to come my way, or the people come into my life, and we are able to create the opportunities."
On Dave Mustaine's health, following the recent announcement that was battling throat cancer:
David: "Dave's doing well. He's going through his treatments, and we certainly appreciate everybody's thoughts and prayers on that matter. Like he said in his press announcement, he's going to keep us updated, so I'll defer to that for any actual updates. I think having the MEGADETH record in the works and in process, it's kept us all hooked together. It's kept a good unity in our camp, and I think it's kind of a good vision of hope to keep working forward on a creative endeavor together."
The 57-year-old MEGADETH leader announced his cancer diagnosis on June 17 on social media. He said that he has already begun treatment as part of a plan that his doctors feel has a "90% success rate."
Although most of MEGADETH's previously announced 2019 tour dates have been canceled as Mustaine undergoes treatment, the MEGADETH-curated Megacruise — which is set to take place October 13-19 — will still depart as scheduled, and the band will be a part of it in some form.
MEGADETH's upcoming sixteenth studio album will be the group's first since it won the 2017 Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance" for 2016's "Dystopia".