Russia's Darkside e-zine recently conducted an interview with former MEGADETH and current F5 bassist David Ellefson. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Darkside: There were rumors back in 2002 that you had been approached by James Hatfield and Lars Ulrich with the proposal to fill in the vacant spot in METALLICA. How much truth is in these rumors?
David Ellefson: "I never got a call to go audition for METALLICA. Many thought that I would, but it's not a call that ever came my way."
Darkside: But would you have considered it?
David Ellefson: "Of course, I would have considered it, because at that time, my former situation was done, it was over, it ended. At that point, I was almost a free agent. (laughs) If I wanted to continue working in music, I would have considered anything that came my way. I did get a lot of calls from some other artists to tour with them and do things with them, and I didn't move on them, because I was busy working in artist development and music production. As you can now see, some of that music production led to the formation of F5. I didn't go for immediate gratification and even the money I could have made by just going out and being a hired bass player, which would have been fun, on the one hand, but I instead chose to take the artist's road to pull up my sleeves and make the next thing that I do be one of my own artistic endeavors. I'm really happy about it, I'm glad that it's the road that I chose to go down."
Darkside: You told us that you rejected most of the offers for session jobs after you left your previous band, but one offer you did accept was from SOULFLY. Why did you choose this particular offer? Was it because of your friendship with Max [Cavalera]?
David Ellefson: "Yeah, Max and I come from a similar genre of music initially, even though SEPULTURA was maybe half of a generation behind my former band. He lives here in town, they were recording the 'Prophecy' album right here in town, in Phoenix, so when they asked me if I would contribute some bass to it, I considered in an honor and said, 'Absolutely!' Of course it's something very different than what I've ever done or do, which I like. I like to be able to push myself to come up with some new ideas and new playing, so it was really cool. Then Max invited me to be in the video with them, and they asked me to go to the tour with them, but honestly I was so busy with all these other things that I was working on that I just couldn't get away long enough to try to make that happen. So I continued working on F5 and all the things we've just discussed. And then Gloria [Max's wife/manager] called be back, it was in July, and asked me i f I could play a couple of shows with them in August, which I did. Again, they had a Dana memorial concert (Dana was Max's stepson who was killed in a car accident a few years ago – Ed.) that they did here in Phoenix, and then we had another show in Long Beach. I went over and did those, it was cool. They invited me to come out and do more shows with them, which I'll probably do if I can, because the band is really good with me and Max, Joe (Nunez, drums) and Marc (Rizzo, guitar). However, they're a great band with Bobby Burns playing bass, but if they want me to come in and play, I'd be happy to do it."
Darkside: Of the bands we have talked so far — F5, TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY, KILLING MACHINE and SOULFLY — which one is more demanding for you as a bass player?
David Ellefson: "I would probably say the SOULFLY stuff is some of the most demanding, because there's some of the old-school thrash metal stuff in it. However, some of the TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY stuff is pretty off-the-hook as well. It's fast, it's powerful and it's physically very demanding. The F5 stuff isn't as physically demanding, because I play more into the song, and as to the KILLING MACHINE stuff it's more of a traditional pretty simple, but very powerful bass playing, which I like. F5 and KILLING MACHINE give me the ability to really provide this big sonic wall of bass, which is a fun way of playing. But then, like I said, the other two are more physically demanding."
Darkside: Did you have to rehearse a lot to play the SEPULTURA tracks that SOULFLY have in their setlist?
David Ellefson: "Yeah, and it's funny, because I've obviously heard SEPULTURA songs over the years, and I like the guys and their band, but I never had studied their music in order to play it. And you know, there's some cool stuff in there (laughs), I really enjoyed playing a lot of the SEPULTURA songs, because it's reminiscent of my former background."
Read the entire interview at www.darkside.ru.