DAVID ELLEFSON Praises OVERKILL: 'They Don't Have A 'Risk' Or A 'St. Anger' Anywhere In Their Catalog'

April 13, 2024

In a new interview with The Metal Podcast, David Ellefson spoke about the recent announcement that New Jersey thrash metal veterans OVERKILL have recruited him to play bass for the band on their "Scorching Latin America 2024" tour. The former MEGADETH member is filling in for original OVERKILL bassist D.D. Verni, who is unable to make the shows as he is recovering from shoulder surgery.

Expressing the excitement about being asked to fill in for Verni, Ellefson said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "They're dear friends of mine. I haven't played with Derek [Tailer], the other guitar player, but it's funny, me and Dave Linsk [OVERKILL guitarist] actually wrote some songs together after a NAMM show 15 years ago maybe; it was a while ago. And he and Joe Comeau, who was the singer in ANNIHILATOR for a while, me, Dave Linsk, Joe Comeau and Jimmy DeGrasso [ex-MEGADETH drummer], they all came out here to Phoenix and we wrote a bunch of songs under a band name called ATOMIC 66. And they're great songs. Dave's been reluctant to put 'em out. I've gotta beat on him a little bit here this next month when we're together to put these songs out, if we just put them up digitally. They're fricking cool, man — super good. And then, of course, me and Blitz [OVERKILL singer Bobby Ellsworth], we've jammed METAL ALLEGIANCE all the time and me and [Jason] Bittner [OVERKILL drummer] have done clinics and stuff and jammed together. So, I'm excited about it."

Elaborating on his long personal friendship with the members of OVERKILL, Ellefson said: "It's funny, [MEGADETH] had OVERKILL on the 'Peace Sells' tour — OVERKILL was out with us in 1987 — so, yeah, we're all brothers from the same neighborhood. And I always said, look, if there's the 'Big Four', if you added EXODUS on the West Coast and OVERKILL on the East Coast, there's your 'Big Six' right there."

As for the challenge of learning the OVERKILL material over the course of several weeks, Ellefson said: "Look, I've gotta say, digging into these songs — they've got, what, 20 records out — consistently they have probably made the best, most consistently great albums out of all of us. And I mean, all of us. There's not a dud in the bunch, you know what I mean? They don't have a 'Risk' or a 'St. Anger' anywhere in their catalog. And EXODUS has got good stuff too, but I think OVERKILL, now that I'm really digging into it and really understanding it, it's just that. And D.D.'s amazing, man. Look, I may be David Ellefson, but I ain't no D.D. Verni, man. I mean, that guy, he's a masterful songwriter. His arrangements are killer and his parts are very clever and cool. And so, yeah, it's got my thrash chops up and it's an honor to just step in and help them out… Again, we're all buddies, we're brothers, and, look, I'm in a position and schedule allows for me to go do it. So, that's what it is."

Ellefson made his live debut with New Jersey thrashers OVERKILL on Thursday, April 11 at C3 Stage in Guadalajara, Mexico.

OVERKILL's setlist was as follows:

01. Scorched
02. Bring Me The Night
03. Electric Rattlesnake
04. Hello From The Gutter
05. Wicked Place
06. Coma
07. Horrorscope
08. Long Time Dyin'
09. The Surgeon
10. Mean, Green, Killing Machine
11. Ironbound
12. Elimination


13. Hammerhead
14. Rotten To The Core
15. Fuck You (THE SUBHUMANS cover)

Fan-filmed video of the concert can be seen below.

In a separate interview with Metal & Rock Zone, Ellefson stated about how he ended up being asked to fill in for Verni: "I got approached before the end of the year. It was just brought to my attention that D.D. was going to go through this surgery. They didn't know if he was gonna be better or not. So I was kind of put on alert that, 'Hey, we may need some help.' And we grew up together, OVERKILL and MEGADETH. I remember the 'Peace Sells' tour, OVERKILL was our direct support. So we've been good friends, all of us. And I always said, look, if there were gonna be two more added to the 'Big Four' [of 1980s thrash metal], it would be EXODUS in California and OVERKILL on the East Coast. So, to me, these are brothers in arms. So, when they hit me a few weeks ago about it, I said, 'Sure. Count me in if you need me to do it.'"

OVERKILL's 10-date "Scorching Latin America 2024" tour will include additional stops in Costa Rica, Chile and Peru before closing on April 28 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

When Ellefson's addition to OVERKILL's touring lineup was first announced, OVERKILL singer Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth said in a statement: "South, Central America and Mexico, with D.D. on the mend from surgery and the opportunity in front of us, where to go but back to the roots of THRASH! Please welcome Mr. David Ellefson to the OVERKILL, touring ranks this April 2024! 'David, can you help?' The answer: 'Yes, let's go!' We can't wait to see you guys! Horns up!"

Verni commented: "Bummed to not be able to thrash it up with our Latin America fans, but gotta get this wing workin!!....but who better than one of the great original thrash bass players, and old friend, David Ellefson to fill in."

Ellefson said: "It's an honor to fill in for my friend, the mighty D.D. Verni, as he takes time to heal up right now. OVERKILL always brings the fury and I'm looking forward to scorching Latin America with them!"

Ellefson was fired from MEGADETH nearly three years ago. MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine ended up hiring TESTAMENT's Steve DiGiorgio to re-record Ellefson's bass parts on MEGADETH's latest album, "The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!"

In May 2022, MEGADETH announced bass player James LoMenzo as a permanent member of the band. LoMenzo was MEGADETH's bass player in the mid-2000s and initially stepped back in as a touring member for "The Metal Tour Of The Year".

Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band's inception in 1983 to 2002, and again from 2010 until his latest exit.

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