DAVID ELLEFSON: How ALICE IN CHAINS Ended Up Opening For MEGADETH, SLAYER And ANTHRAX
July 22, 2020
In a new interview with "The Network317 Podcast", David Ellefson was asked to name a band that opened for MEGADETH that really "blew his socks off." He responded (see video below): "I already knew of PANTERA — I was buddies with them; I had already jammed on stage with them — so when they came out with us, I already knew who they were and that they were really coming up the ranks. Same as STONE TEMPLE PILOTS; they were a new band. KORN, I remember getting the CD. Our management had sent out CDs and said, 'Hey, here's three or four bands that are in consideration. Why don't you guys listen to 'em and see which ones you like?' And I remember KORN was so wack. I mean, that first album, you're, like, 'This is bizarre.' And we took a chance on it. We thought, 'This is cool.' So we took a chance on them. And fortunately, the ones [that we took out] — STP and KORN and PANTERA and stuff, a lot of these bands went on to become bigger than MEGADETH at the time; they shot to superstardom."
He continued: "I think the one that was the unexpected was ALICE IN CHAINS. They were put on some dates as we were finishing up the 'Rust In Peace' tour in Europe — this would have been spring of 1991 — and then we were gonna come home for about a month, and then we were gonna go out on the 'Clash Of The Titans' tour of the USA. And I'll never forget the day. It was at the Volkshaus in Zurich, Switzerland. And we walked in, and we saw the day sheet that had the schedule on it. We usually arrived around 4 o'clock, do soundcheck. And the dressing rooms were downstairs in that venue. And I remember me and Marty [Friedman, then-MEGADETH guitarist], we saw their name: ALICE IN CHAINS. We were, like, 'What the hell kind of band name is that? Is that a joke? What is that?' We didn't know. Because sometimes it would just say, 'Local support.' So their name was on there, and we were, like, 'Who are these guys?' And then when when they started playing — [around] 7 p.m. or whatever — we were downstairs and we heard them playing. We were, like, 'That sounds pretty good. Let's go and check 'em out.' And we went up and we watched them… And we were, like, 'Holy hell! This is amazing!' We were blown away. In fact, we immediately called our management back in the United States, and we had not picked an opening band yet for the 'Clash Of The Titans' tour. It was SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX, but there was gonna be an opener. So we called home and we went, 'We found the band: ALICE IN CHAINS. Call SLAYER's management, ANTHRAX's management. Work it out.' And Scott Ian [ANTHRAX guitarist] loved them; he knew of them. Scott's always pretty on the pulse with stuff, so he knew of 'em. So that's how they ended up on the 'Clash Of The Titans'. That was probably the big unexpected one."
According to Ellefson, ALICE IN CHAINS wasn't received particularly well on the "Clash Of The Titans" tour. "They got pelted with trash on that, 'cause the thrash metal fans were, like, 'What the hell is this?'' David explained. "It was the new sound. So God bless the ALICE IN CHAINS guys, man. They sucked it up and they took their punches from our fans. And they went off to tour with VAN HALEN, and the rest is history. So they did very well."
MEGADETH is working on its new album for a tentative early 2021 release.
The early sessions for the LP took place last year with co-producer Chris Rakestraw, who previously worked on 2016's "Dystopia".
MEGADETH's new effort will be the first to feature drummer Dirk Verbeuren (ex-SOILWORK),who joined the band four years ago.
Guitarist Kiko Loureiro made his recording debut with MEGADETH on "Dystopia", whose title track was honored in the "Best Metal Performance" category at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
As previously reported, MEGADETH's North American tour with LAMB OF GOD, TRIVIUM and IN FLAMES has been rescheduled for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.