Former MEGADETH Bassist DAVID ELLEFSON: 'Life's Too Short To Play Music You Don't Like'

Denmark's Antenna webzine recently conducted an interview with former MEGADETH and current F5/TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY bassist David Ellefson. A couple of excerpts from the Q&A session follow:

Antenna: Music-wise F5 lies far away from what you did in MEGADETH. Was it important to kind of distance yourself from MEGADETH?

David Ellefson: "It was completely unintentional, really. We did write a few progressive and more traditional metal songs early on, but I think the band sounds best on the ones we ended up putting on the record. It's refreshing to do a debut album with a new band because there are really no restrictions to what you can do."

Antenna: When I first heard [F5's debut album] "A Drug for all Seasons" I was disappointed because it was so mellow and modern, but it's one of those albums that slowly grow on you and today I find it to be quite good. What made you go for that modern kind of metal?

David Ellefson: "I'm really proud of the ambience and power of the music on this record even though it's not a blistering speed metal album which many listeners may have expected from me. I agree with your position on this that we have listeners who dig the album on first listen and then there are those who expected something different from F5, especially with me in the band. Fortunately, they've grown to like it as they hear the depth of the album and the melodies hook them in.

"Just so everyone knows, we didn't approach F5 to be a modern rock band even though some may think it fits into that category. Some of the first things we wrote were almost traditional metal but Dave Small's drumming was a catalyst in updating some of those early riffs, not because he's a modern-rock guy, but because his funk influence added the up-beats that give F5 that modern, pulsating riff sound. Also, Dale's voice is very strong and melodic so that naturally takes our riffs and music in its own unique direction. A few of the first songs we wrote actually made it to the final album such as 'Bleeding' and 'Faded'.

"All of this has forced me to push the envelope on my song writing instead of just staying in a comfort zone of what I had done before."

Antenna: You have also TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY, KILLING MACHINE and AVIAN going and a couple of SOULFLY gigs coming up. What is the status on those bands and can you possibly get anymore busy?

David Ellefson: "You know, what can I say?! My phone rings and I answer it! [laughs]. Actually, I'm honoured that so many people want to do records with me and I like playing any chance I can. The reason I'm involved in so many different bands and records at this point is because they're songs I like with people I like. Life's too short to play music you don't like with people you can't stand. I think that's why they call it playing music and not working music…it's supposed to be fun!

"So, the AVIAN album was a production gig that came to me back in 2003 and since there was no bassist in the band at that time I simply played it myself. I suggested vocalist Lance King sing on the record as I really liked his BALANCE OF POWER work and he and I were looking to do something together at some point anyway. This was a door that opened and I think he's a good fit for the AVIAN sound. I also hired in F5's Dave Small to play drums on the album and Lance brought in a killer lead guitarist and keyboardist, too. Lance is releasing it on his Nightmare Records label in the next couple months.

"Coincidentally, Lance is also releasing the WARMACHINE album that I did some production work on, and some guest bass tracks, too. They're a really good Canadian band I took an interest in back in 2001 so it's purely coincidental that both that disc and the AVIAN album are all coming out this year on Nightmare.

"As for TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY and KILLING MACHINE, both of those are new records I did this year with guitarist Peter Scheithauer. Since he's German and French he has a very cool European metal writing style that I like. The TEMPLE record will release this fall while the KILLING MACHINE album will probably be a 2006 release.

"As for SOULFLY, I'll work with them anytime I can. I think Max is a very genuine artist and I love that he's brought in the whole world music thing to his style of metal. The gigs we did last week were great and I would definitely do more shows with them because there is a real chemistry that we have together in the studio and onstage."

Read the entire interview at


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