In a new interview with HardRockCore, David Ellefson reflected on MEGADETH's early years and the evolution of the band's creative process over the last three and a half decades.
"I knew when I met Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH guitarist/vocalist] that we had something," the bassist said (hear audio below). "I could just tell by our conversations. Obviously, Dave is a very driven, very focused guy. I've always said Dave is kind of a guy who's a little beyond earthly. [Laughs] There's an aura and a presence with Dave and an intuitive insight about him that transcends the things of this earth, and I credit that to the vision that he always had with MEGADETH.
"I remember when we were first sitting down in our apartments on Sycamore Avenue there in Hollywood, and we were sitting there just sort of vision casting what MEGADETH was gonna be — what kind of guitars we were gonna play, what kind of shoes we were gonna wear, what's the stage gonna look like, the songs… The band was conceptualized before there were even all the members of the band and all the songs were written," he continued. "It was really kind of a cool way to do it.
"Of course, things change over the years — you change as an artist; the things around you in the world change. Sometimes you accomplish some of the goals — to be fast, loud and rude, to be the heaviest, [most] ultra-furious band ever; those were some of our mottos we had in the beginning… After a while, once you've accomplished that, then you kind of set some new goals."
Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band's inception in 1983 to 2002, when the group briefly broke up because Mustaine suffered severe nerve damage that left him unable to play. After Mustaine reformed MEGADETH with an all-new lineup in 2004, Ellefson sued his former bandmate for $18.5 million, alleging that Mustaine still owed him substantial merchandise and publishing royalties. In January 2005, the case was dismissed in court, and five years later, Ellefson rejoined MEGADETH.
In a January 2016 interview with the Cape Girardeau, Missouri radio station Real Rock 99.3, Mustaine implied that Ellefson was not a founding member of the band because, he said, "MEGADETH was already in its formative phase long before I even knew David Ellefson." The bassist later said that he was "technically" a founding member of MEGADETH because he was "in the room" the day MEGADETH decided to change its name from the previous working moniker of FALLEN ANGEL at the suggestion of the band's then-guitarist Greg Handevidt.
In addition to Mustaine and Ellefson, MEGADETH's current lineup includes former SOILWORK drummer Dirk Verbeuren and Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who was previously best known for his work with ANGRA.
MEGADETH's latest album, "Dystopia", was released in January 2016.