In a brand new interview with Sofa King Cool, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson offered an update on the health status of his bandmate, MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine, who was diagnosed with throat cancer this past spring. Ellefson responded (see video below): "He's doing okay. He's in his recovery now, so we'll kind of let that take its course. And when he's indicating he's ready to start working and maybe doing some recording and getting back into it and stuff. And, of course, we have the MEGADETH, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and BAD WOLVES [European] tour announced for January. So we're just kind of letting him dictate that as his recovery [continues]."
Asked if there is a chance that Mustaine's singing voice will be different after undergoing treatment for his cancer, Ellefson said: "Who knows? Again, it's all subject to how he recovers. We talk on the phone, and he sounds like he always has. [Laughs] So hopefully it will be fine."
Pressed about whether MEGADETH would consider finding a temporary replacement for Mustaine if Dave is unable to do the FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH tour due to his health, Ellefson said: "I don't think so. I mean, it's pretty hard to replace Dave. [Laughs] I think at this point, we're MEGADETH and we're a four-piece band. The main thing is we're hopeful of a recovery. So we'll let that take its course, and we kind of just make the decisions as we go. Right now, we're optimistic 2020 will be a good year."
MEGADETH's tour with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and BAD WOLVES will visit 14 European countries starting on January 20 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland and ending on February 20 at the Budapest Sportarena in Budapest, Hungary.
The 58-year-old MEGADETH leader revealed his cancer diagnosis on June 17 on social media. He later issued an update, saying that his doctors "are feeling very positive" regarding the progress of his treatment.
Although most of MEGADETH's previously announced 2019 tour dates have been canceled as Mustaine battles the disease, the MEGADETH-curated Megacruise — which took place October 13-19 — still departed as scheduled, with Dave absent from the ship.
MEGADETH's follow-up to 2016's "Dystopia" album will mark the band's first release with drummer Dirk Verbeuren, who joined the group more than three years ago.