Returning MEGADETH Bassist Says He And MUSTAINE 'Have A Greater Appreciation For Each Other'

Returning MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson, along with the band's drummer Shawn Drover, were interviewed for a special edition of "The Metal File" podcast from Montreal's CHOM-FM. You can now stream the chat using the audio player below. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On what happened to former MEGADETH bassist James Lomenzo and whether there is a WHITE LION reunion in the works that Lomenzo left MEGADETH for:

Drover: "No, there's no WHITE LION reunion. Nothing went down other than... It got to the point where I could see a [bassist] change needed to be done — not from my perspective so much but as a band perspective. And my whole thing of it was, if we're gonna make a change at this juncture of the band's career, with this 'Rust In Peace' [20th-anniversary] tour coming up and all these amazing things happening this year, in my mind the only choice was Dave Ellefson. To get somebody else, I think the fans maybe would have screamed foul. In my mind, it's something that I really hoped would happen. So I sent Dave [Ellefson] a text [message] and started communicating and stuff. I told him, 'If there was ever a time for you to make contact with Dave [Mustaine] to reconnect with all this, now is the time, and I mean right now.' In a nutshell, that's kind of how it went down, and within a matter of day or two, we joined up together and rehearsed and I thought it sounded amazing. Musically speaking, it sounded amazing, and from a personal perspective, Dave [Ellefson] seemed like a great guy and Dave [Ellefson] and Dave Mustaine reconnected and it was really great to watch that happen, and it was a great weekend; I don't know what else to say."

On what was it like walking into the room for the first time to play with MEGADETH again:

Ellefson: "It's interesting, because... Dave [Mustaine] has reached out to me several times over the years, to his credit. And for various reasons, we had discussed things and we had talked, and there was a period of two years when we didn't talk again. So I'd seen Dave — we hung out, we had dinner before, we talked about these things in recent years. So coming back in with guitars in hand is the only thing we hadn't done in the last eight years since we played together. When Shawn and Dave and I were on the phone, I was like, 'Holy smokes, man, I've gotta get home and listen to the 'Rust In Peace' record again.' Because a lot of the songs, once we recorded them, we never played them again. Half the album, over the course of the years, we would play some of the songs, but a lot of them we've never played since we walked out of the studio in 1990. So I think the first thing I wanted to do is get home and learn some tunes so I'd show up having my parts together. . . One of the first things I do is I feel where the drummer is at — in any gig that I do, I just go, 'OK, where's the drummer at?' And Shawn's got a really unique way that he plays these songs where he really plays tempos where they are on the record, which, quite honestly, makes this music a lot more fun to play, because when it gets too fast and hasty, it can get musically messy. So I think that's one of the things I enjoyed [about] playing [these songs again]. I was going, 'Wow, this is actually really fun.' Especially the 'Rust In Peace' record, man, has some musically intense... If it didn't have distorted guitars, they'd probably call it jazz, 'cause it's pretty intense stuff. And Chris Broderick [guitar] is amazing. Dave always told me, 'Dude, this guy's got Marty [Friedman] pegged to a tee,' and what I didn't expect is when we played 'Hook In Mouth', the parts in that, he nailed the Jeff Young stuff. I was like, 'Holy smokes, man.' It was just dead on. And me and Dave... It's interesting, because... I'd always thought, for the last few years, I'd really had kind of an empty spot in my heart about this whole thing, especially with Dave, 'cause I'd played on a lot of records and musically done a lot of stuff here in the last few years. And I always thought, 'I wonder what it's gonna be like one day — if one day Dave and I ever get in a room together. And I was standing there in the room that day going, 'Wow, here it is. This is it.' And me and Dave sound great together. And I think one of the best things about it is that Dave now has had a lot of other musicians he's worked with, I've gone out and worked with a lot of other musicians, and Dave and I have grown musically, we've also grown as people, and I think now we come back to this with a much different perspective and probably a greater appreciation for each other. And musically, we can get in here in the woodshed and really have a good time with this now."

On whether he has listened to MEGADETH's latest album, "Endgame", since he rejoined the band:

Ellefson: "You know, I'll be honest with you, I'm listening to the album in its entirety for the first time today. I listened through to it quickly online, I don't know, a couple of months ago, just kind of briefly... I just popped through a bunch of tunes and listened to some stuff. Obviously, I had heard 'Head Crusher' before, which I think is a great song, really good song, and I told Shawn I was happy for him that he got nominated for a Grammy on that as one of the writers on that, so that's a huge, huge milestone. Shawn has put in his time, he's got his sweat and his blood all over the MEGADETH stage now from his time [with the band], so this was a great, great deserving perk for him. But listening to the record today for the first time, there is some great stuff on there. I definitely see why the fans and the media has really embraced it — it's ferocious; musically, it's got a lot of depth to it. I mean, the playing is insane on it. In fact, there's one song that I'm kind of dreading if we ever have to play it, 'cause it's pretty ripping. [Laughs] But there's definitely a lot of good old-school MEGADETH stuff on there. It's a really strong record."

On whether Ellefson is just back for the "Rust In Peace" tour or if he is back indefinitely or if that is yet to be decided:

Ellefson: "You know, the way approached it is every time we've come into this with big expectations and, 'Oh my gosh, if we can do this, if we can do that...' And the truth of it is it could be a tour, it could be the next 20 years of our lives. And obviously we know what the touring is that's on the books for MEGADETH. There's a lot of big stuff — obviously the 'Big Four' and then re-visiting the SLAYER 'Carnage' stuff — so there's just a lot of great stuff out there, which is really exciting to look at. But I think, internally, inside the band, the way we're looking at it, because it's a lot to look at, it's a lot to go, 'Holy smokes...' And I've gotta be honest with you, it's even a little overwhelming to look at that, because, again, I think that for all of us — both myself and even the MEGADETH organization — this was a pretty hard left turn that came out of nowhere. And fortunately, because we're not making it about the money and we're not making it about all the... Obviously, this isn't something like, 'Let's drum up a big reunion so we all make a bunch of money.' If anything, all the fans should definitely know that this really a musically compatibility union of me coming back into the group... certainly more than trying to make some big-cash-cow, money-reunion thing. And with that said, our real thrill right now is just kind of that giddiness we had the other day in the room running through the songs for the first time and just going, 'Man, this sounds good!' And I think if we just capture that spirit every day, then there's really no telling how long this could possibly go on. And that is the right attitude to take with it."

David Ellefson and Shawn Drover interviewed on CHOM-FM's "The Metal File" (click on player below to launch audio):


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