MEGADETH's DAVID ELLEFSON Isn't Bothered By 'JUNIOR' Nickname Anymore
July 26, 2020
In the 1980s and 1990s, MEGADETH frontman Dave Mustaine used to call the band's bassist David Ellefson "Junior." Since some people have interpreted the moniker as condescending, Ellefson was asked in a new interview with "The Mark And HooGie Show" if he still objects to the nickname. He responded (see video below): "Honestly, I don't give a damn, really, that much anymore. It started out [in 1983]. We were in a grocery store down on Kings Road and Santa Monica Boulevard. This was right when I'd probably known Dave maybe a month, maybe two months. And there was another guy named Peyton Tuthill. And he was an artist. He was a bass player from Minnesota. And me and Dave somehow ended up crashing at their house… So Peyton Tuthill was a great artist, and he actually handdrew, handpainted — I think with some ink paints or ink pens or something — the very first MEGADETH logo, which essentially was what the 'Killing Is My Business' album cover now looks like — not the original 'Killing Is My Business', but the reissues [where] we'd redone the artwork. So essentially it was that. And one day we were at the grocery store, and they were busting my chops, making fun of me for being a small-town kid just moving to Hollywood. And he said it. He goes, 'You're like the wet-behind-the-ears kid who fell off the turnip truck from the farm, like Junior.' And Dave just started howling. He was, like, 'Oh my God. That is so funny.' 'Cause we had this thing — how are we gonna have two Daves in the band? So I think he [said], 'Okay, that's how we're gonna do it. You're Junior.' So for a lot of years, I didn't like it, 'cause it was, like, 'You know what? Fuck you guys.' Now I'm fine. Dave, he doesn't even call me Junior. He calls me other funny names. We're buddies, and it's a term of endearment. It doesn't bother me now."
Back in 2010, shortly after Ellefson rejoined MEGADETH, Mustaine told Noisecreep that he was no longer calling David "Junior" like he used to two or three decades earlier. "Dave was my ambassador back then," Mustaine said. "I was a pretty loose and unpredictable cannon, and he brought a very calming effect, so he was very much like a mediator, and that's how everyone looked at us. We were the two Daves. And that's part of the reason I wanted to call him 'Junior.' I think that, given the circumstances right now, meeting him again on a totally different level, it's not like he's a kid anymore. So I'm getting to know him all over again, and I really like what I see and I really love the way he plays."
In a February 2016 tweet, Mustaine said that the Junior nickname was given to Ellefson by Lawrence "Lor Kane" Renna, who was briefly the vocalist of the pre-MEGADETH band FALLEN ANGELS.
Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band's inception in 1983 to 2002, when the group briefly broke up because Mustaine suffered severe nerve damage that left him unable to play. After Mustaine reformed MEGADETH with an all-new lineup in 2004, Ellefson sued his former bandmate for $18.5 million, alleging that Mustaine still owed him substantial merchandise and publishing royalties. In January 2005, the case was dismissed in court, and five years later, Ellefson rejoined MEGADETH.