MEGADETH's DAVID ELLEFSON: 'Since I Got Clean, It's Been A Wonderful And Blessed Life'

July 17, 2020

MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson, who runs several other businesses outside the band, including heading up a record label, creating a line of coffee blends, producing a horror film and writing books, was asked in a new interview with The Front Row Report how he manages to shuffle through his crazy and always-changing schedule. He responded (hear audio below): "Every day, honestly, if you wanna know the truth, I just wake up, I get on my knees, I say a little prayer and [say], 'God, lead me where you need me,' and then the calendar just fills up. [Laughs] It's that simple. I just check in with the boss and follow the marching orders. And honestly, that just kind of keeps it real simple. When the phone rings and e-mails show up, I figure I know who sent them my way. And it's cool.

"I always go back to my childhood. I grew up on a farm in Minnesota. I came from a good family. We worked hard six days a week and went to church on Sunday and just kind of followed the 'good orderly direction,'" referring to an acronym that is used in 12-step programs for the word "God."

"I was in a drug and alcohol rehab back in the late '80s. Right before we recorded 'Rust In Peace' in 1990, I got sobered up. They told me, they said, 'Keep God real simple. Good orderly direction. Just do the next right thing, and a good life will follow.' And I say there. I remember just kind of going, 'God, my fingers hurt, my body hurts, coming off of all the drugs. And I don't even know if I still wanna play the bass anymore.' And this moment just followed right after where I thought, 'Wait a minute. You started playing music for fun when you were just a kid at 11 years old. Sex and drugs just got in the way of the rock and roll. Get that out of the way, and you'll be good.' And that's what happened. And quite honestly, since 1990, since I got clean back then, it's been a wonderful and blessed life — a happy life. The powers that be just seem to kind of put stuff in my path. And I'd like to think my life is just a mirror of following that good orderly direction."

Ellefson, who grew up attending Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Jackson, Minnesota, re-embraced his faith at the age of 25, after going through a 12-step recovery program. When Ellefson later settled down in Arizona, he started a contemporary worship service at a church in Scottsdale. He called it MEGA Life, partially a play on MEGADETH. In 2012, Ellefson began studying for the ministry through an extension program of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

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

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