DAVID ELLEFSON Doesn't Keep In Touch With Anybody From MEGADETH Camp
November 14, 2023
During an appearance on the latest episode of "Drinks With Johnny", the Internet TV show hosted by AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ, David Ellefson reflected on his most recent exit from MEGADETH, which happened two and a half years ago. The 59-year-old bassist said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Being in a band is… We go through seasons of getting along, not getting along, being burned out on the road together.
"You build a family together and your offspring are your songs and your records," he continued. "And that's what you will always share forever. And let's face it — our songs will outlive us. They will live past us. So to some degree, that's what you leave behind as you sail on to the next universe after you die. We've created something that's bigger than us. And I guess that's probably the challenge, is the best you can while you're here on planet earth, try to be a good steward of it, take care of it, as you have your differences, try to resolve them.
"It's funny. When I saw my friend K.K. Downing leave JUDAS PRIEST, and I became friends with him. I was friends with him and then rekindled a good friendship with him here in more recent years," Ellefson added. "And we did a show together over at his [KK's] Steel Mill [venue] over in Wolverhampton and it was great to get him back on stage, and he was excited to be playing. Then he put KK'S PRIEST together. He's got records out again. He's back as a recording artist and touring again. I just said to him, I said, 'You're not done, dude. Get your fucking guitar. Let's go.' … There's no way Johnny Christ, David Ellefson and fucking K.K. Downing are sitting around the house not playing music anymore. That day's never gonna happen. Till the day we die, this is what we fucking do — whether full time, part time, once in a while, or... whatever."
Asked if he still keeps in touch with anybody from the MEGADETH camp, Ellefson said: "I don't. Kiko's [Loureiro, MEGADETH guitarist] been a good friend. He and I have chatted a couple of times. He reached out to me. And Kiko's not afraid of anything. He's a grown-up. Look, he's run ANGRA. I shouldn't say 'run.' But he was the rock-star guitar player of that band. So he's owned bands.
"Once you've been doing this a while, it's not like you're just a musician, you're like a business owner," David explained. "Pretty much every band I've been in, I've been a founding member. I started them, I put the corporations together, I've done the press packages, I call the agents and the managers, I invest my own money in them. So to me, it's just constantly recycling the funds back into the next endeavor. And that's how I roll, man. That's what we do. I buy real estate. I do various things. Another band? Yeah. Why not? And I learned that from my dad. Farming was very entrepreneurial, especially to run a big agricultural business. And the bands are the same way. Feast or famine, right? We have hit records, we have not-so-hit records. Suddenly the world loves heavy metal, and then sometimes they don't."
In February 2024, Ellefson will embark on his inaugural "Bass Warrior Tour". Accompanying him on the European trek is Italian guitarist and musical director Andy Martongelli, a longtime friend and collaborator who has been by Ellefson's side during his solo ventures, "Basstory", ELLEFSON-SOTO and ALTITUDES & ATTITUDE tours across Europe. On drums will be Roberto Pirami (Michael Angelo Batio, Rowan Robertson, Gus G.),on vocals Titta Tani (EHFAR, ex-drummer of Claudio Simonetti's GOBLIN),and on rhythm guitar Walter Cianciusi (Geoff Tate band).
Ellefson was fired from MEGADETH days after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving the bassist were posted on Twitter.
Shortly before Ellefson was dismissed from MEGADETH, he released a statement on Instagram denying all social media chatter that he "groomed" an underage fan. He also filed a report with the police department in Scottsdale, Arizona alleging unlawful distribution of sexually explicit images of him by unknown offenders.
Dave Mustaine — who formed MEGADETH with Ellefson in 1983 — released a statement on May 24, 2021 announcing the bassist's departure from the band. In the statement, Dave said: "We do not take this decision lightly. While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward."
This past June, Ellefson told Andrew McKaysmith of the "Scars And Guitars" podcast that he was prepared for his latest exit from MEGADETH.
"When my departure from MEGADETH happened, a lot of people were hitting me [up and saying], 'Oh my God. It's so terrible. It's so terrible,'" he recalled. "[And I said], 'Yeah, believe me, it's not.' [Laughs] It really isn't. I was ready for it. I didn't think it was gonna go down that way; I didn't see that coming. But the fact that it happened, I was not sad about it. I was okay with it. Because I knew there's another journey ahead, and that journey wasn't gonna start until I was out of the old one.
"When you're in a group, you're in a setting, you've gotta play company man and you kind of go along with the narrative that's been set forth.
"There was a lot of things, a lot of the narrative in that band that I never agreed with," Ellefson admitted. "A lot of that band was started on a grudge and a hardship of the firing [of Mustaine] from METALLICA. That was never my story. I was always a METALLICA fan and I became friends with those guys. I have nothing but gratitude for that group and those gentlemen for what they've done for all of us, and I think they deserve the biggest applause. So it was hard to be in a band that always had this saltiness around that whole narrative, because it was never my narrative. So I went along to get along, but now I don't have to do that. And now I can be on my own path. These are my words; it's my story now. And maybe the events that happened a couple of years ago, I needed to have my own story to tell. 'Cause when you quit a band, everyone's pissed at you; they hate you: 'Oh, fuck you. You quit. You quit my favorite band.' But when you get tossed out… And I'm not looking for the sympathy card. You don't have to feel sorry for me; you don't have to do any of that. But it's interesting that, I guess the way it happened… it went down in a way that it was certainly visible enough and on a level that… It was sort of, like, okay, well, what's gonna happen next? And I just tried to be faithful to just following my heart, following the path."
In 2004, Ellefson filed an $18.5-million lawsuit against Mustaine, alleging the frontman shortchanged him on profits and backed out of a deal to turn Megadeth Inc. over to him when the band broke up in 2002. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed and Ellefson rejoined MEGADETH in 2010.
Photo credit: Maciej Pieloch (courtesy of Napalm Records)
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