Megadeth Bassist Dave Ellefson Jr. Explains His Return To Megadeth
Band Photo: Megadeth (?)
Who would ever thought that David Ellefson would return to Megadeth after the sour note in 2003? The music industry, and in particular the band member relationships, are very complex. The music industry can be forgiving, indifferent, and downright cruel at times. Fortunately, when it comes to Megadeth there is always the opportunity to rebuild the once burned bridges when it comes to band member relationships.
Daniel Becker: How did this reunion transpire? You said over the weekend you got a phone call. So Mustaine was like 'Dave, you in?" How did it exactly happen? Was there any initial apprehension at first?
David Ellefson: Shawn Drover contacted me via text that a member change was going to happen and that Dave and I should talk IMMEDIATELY. He is first and foremost a fan of MEGADETH music and can see the "forest from the trees", meaning that if a change was going to happen it would be ideal to bring me back into the fold, especially for the "Rust In Peace" tour. From there Dave and I spoke on the phone and our years of estrangement disappeared very quickly. I drove over to CA to rehearse and it all clicked, it sounded great!
Becker: Some fans say that stepping back into Megadeth is a questionable move after years of lawsuits and ill-feelings between yourself and Mustaine. Do you think that Mustaine has changed back from how he was before?
Ellefson: Musically, we are clicking really good and at this point we are taking things a day at a time so we can rebuild our friendship, too. I think that is as important now as just playing the notes.
Becker: In a recent post you made on Megadeth.com about your return to Megadeth and playing again with Mustaine you said "We have a special style we've created over the years and it just fell back into place instantly." Granted, many fans have no doubt that the good feelings will definitely return, but are you concerned about the negatives that might result from this?
Ellefson: Sure, we have many years of personal history, but musically we are feeling good about this first trek out for the "Rust In Peace" record. Again, we're taking it as it comes and not getting too far ahead of ourselves.
Becker: As an author on the subject of music business, does the irony of this reunion reinforce your views that metal and the music industry are a complex business?
Ellefson:Yes, it is a bizarre business, for sure! At the end of the day, there is music, there is business and most importantly there are people who make ALL of that happen. They all have to work together in order for it to really happen, and that is the trick of it all.
Becker:Do you know the events that led up to Mustaine dismissing James Lomenzo? Many fans speculate that because of the Rust in Peace retro tour, it was justified to bring back the backbone of that album. Do you think that this was the natural progression? That is, to serve the purpose of the album for the better?
Ellefson:I really don't know what that led up to the change, I'm just tending to my side of it which is moving forward.
Becker: What are going to happen to Hail, F5, and the newest album from Angels of Babylon now that you are a full time member?
Ellefson: The thing that makes my return to MEGADETH is that I've had several years of doing some new music, as well as things that have helped me grow as a player and as a person. While I may have limited time to work on those bands now I still like the idea of having other musical outlets away from MEGADETH from time to time to continue to grow an expand what I can then bring back to the benefit of everyone. I think it's healthy as a musician to do that.
Becker: Many fans are confused that this reunion is only for the Rust in Peace retro tour, can you please lay that rumor to rest and acknowledge you are a full time member?
Ellefson: We agreed that we would start with this tour and assuming all goes well we roll forward with everything else. While we all make big plans and have high hopes, we also agree staying in the moment has brought us great results this past week and that should be the plan on how we move forward, too. I think it alleviates the pressure and helps us to really enjoy the process, not just the end result.
Becker: Are you as fluent now on the Rust in Peace album, or will you need to start practicing more? Also, have you been learning the new songs, and are you going to add some improvisation to some of the songs?
Ellefson: I've played these songs a bit over the years, just to stay fresh on them. They are part of my legacy and I always want to be able to play things if someone asks for them. With that said, the RIP album is one of the most difficult metal albums ever written!
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