MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson, who began doing MEGA Life Ministries worship services a decade ago at his church in Scottsdale, Arizona and eventually began studies to become a Lutheran pastor, spoke to Metalheads Forever Magazine about how combining his musical abilities and his faith led him to a deeper exploration of Christianity.
"Music is a gift from our creator and that's why it connects to people everywhere, despite our humanness, like language, politics, race, creed and so forth," he said. "Those things are what define us as humans, but music is what defines us as creative creatures.
"Biblically speaking, the word tells us that god 'created man in his own likeness,'" he coninued. "So, based on that, we are creators because our creator created us! It's all part of the plan here. Even the black metal artists who burned churches were just stuck in sin, trying to make sense of the human condition, the same way I was stuck in sin as a drug addict years ago. But the good lord can deliver us from evil and get us back to doing what he wanted us to do… create!! That was my story when I was getting cleaned up back in 1989 and then went into the studio and recorded 'Rust In Peace' in 1990. We were creating in darkness, but recorded in sober clarity. That's a huge part of the success of that record.
"We don't have to go around and make everyone else get sober, but revealing our own journey from darkness into light through that process can provide the necessary inspiration for others to be inspired to try it too," he added. "Heavy metal never caused the problems of the world… it just a reflected the problems already in the world."
David has studied at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis and is the founder of MEGA Life Ministries, a satellite of Shepherd Of The Desert Church (LCMS) in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In a 2012 interview with Great Falls Tribute, Ellefson talked about how he and MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine renewed their interest in Christianity. "It's pretty funny, isn't it? When you fight [God], you have struggles and it's an uphill battle. When you surrender to it and you embrace it, that becomes like a jet engine that rockets you forward with not just great success but ease," he said. "All of a sudden, you're not operating from a place of always being so competitive and fear-based. You start to go downstream instead of always paddling upstream."
Ellefson also shot down speculation that MEGADETH would somehow incorporate their Christianity into their songwriting. He said: "That's the misconception that if you're a metal guy, you only sing about the devil and if you're a church guy you only sing about the Lord. What a lame stereotype that is.
"The only reason we talk about [our faith] is because people ask us about it. The MEGADETH tour isn't some crusade. We're not on some mission."