MEGADETH's DAVID ELLEFSON Says Early 1990s 'Was A Very Trying Time' For Heavy Metal Genre

February 7, 2019

David Ellefson spoke to "Trunk Nation" about his various non-MEGADETH-related business ventures, which include his record label, touring agency, coffee company and upcoming second memoir. Asked why he is involved in so many different projects, the bassist said: "It's great to be in big bands — it's awesome what we do — but there's this part of you that you realize that it could end at anytime, and things can change anytime. I mean, in the early '90s, we were making as good of records as we could possibly make and suddenly [the] Seattle [grunge scene] shows up. Who knew that some external source like that would change the course of our history? And probably for the 'Big Four' [of 1980s thrash metal] — all of us — it was a very trying time. TESTAMENT, OVERKILL — a lot of the bands that are part of our genre — they struggled for a lot of years. It all went back underground. The big mainstream appeal was gone. And it took really until the mid-2000s with bands like LAMB OF GOD, who started naming us as their influence that really brought it all back around. By the time 2010 came around, we locked arms and we did the 'Big Four' and sort of sailed it back up to the top again."

He added: "I grew up on a farm. And it's feast or famine. When you've got a bumper crop, you'd better save some for a rainy day. And it's just like that in the music business, man. It's the same deal."

Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band's inception in 1983 to 2002, when the group briefly broke up because MEGADETH leader Dave 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.

Ellefson, who has a business degree and one year of theology study at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with with his wife, Julie Ellefson, and their children, 22-year-old Roman Ellefson, and 19-year-old Athena Ellefson.

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