MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson recently spoke to Yahoo! Music about how music helped him reconnect with religion. Check out the clip below.
"The church started calling to me, 'Hey, we need a bass player this week. Can you come and play?'" Ellefson said. "It's kind of like God knows if he can get me to come with my bass, I'll probably show up. So that's how I started to get involved in any kind of church work. It wasn't from some spiritual platitudes or anything like that at all. I'm just this guy playing bass in MEGADETH and one day I'm playing in church. I really liked it. And I realized these guys that I'm playing with are like these weekend warrior guys who qll probably were in bands when they were young, then eventually had to grow up, cut their hair and get real jobs. But now they have money because they have real jobs and they can afford good gear, and they like to play. It made me really appreciate people outside of the professional music realm, too, because there's a lot of people who play really good out there, and for whatever reason, their number didn't come up and they didn't get to have the career that I had. But it doesn't mean they're not very talented players and artists and singers. So these are the kind of people I started meeting in church.
"So music through the church is what really inspired me to get involved with it. I felt great. I walked off the stage and [I was like], 'Man, I'm floating right now. This is, like, the highest I've ever been. I've been high on a lot of stuff, and I'm pretty high right now. This feels great.' It's just that moment where your spirit is moved and it was just so cool. I just wanted more.
"It feels good to know that I used a gift God gave me to give something back to God. And it wasn't just sex, drugs and rock and roll, me, me, me, me, me, how can I get more for me? Because when I lived my life along those lines, I crashed and burned. But when I started to use music as a way to be of service, to help people, to lift them up and inspire, and use it for what I call G.O.D. — good orderly direction — when I started using it for that, blessings came on to my life that I could never have imagined. So, to me, good orderly direction is the right direction."
In addition to studying to become a Lutheran pastor, Ellefson presides over MEGA Life! Ministries, a foundation that reaches hundreds of churchgoers every week.
Ellefson in 2011 became one of 100 students in the distance education program at the Concordia Seminary in Clayton, Missouri. Classes include "Lutheran Distinctions," "Preaching I & II," "Introduction to Worship" and "Scripture and Faith."
Speaking to Christian Post, Ellefson stated about his decision to try to become an ordained Lutheran pastor, "I've done higher education in recent years and I do a lot of work inside the church when I'm off the road, too. I do it merely out of my passion for it. So when the SMP program was offered to me from my pastor I thought it would be a great opportunity to play music and still grow in my faith and future opportunities for service to God."
He added, "The LCMS offering the SMP education for adults to be raised up in training from within the congregation is really a cool way to do this education and help the church develop pastors and leaders from within their own congregations. It's the only way for someone like me who travels for a living to get any type of higher learning education and this is a matter that is close to my heart and passions anyway."
When asked if he saw any conflict between being the bassist for a secular metal band and a Christian, Ellefson told Christian Post, "Some people in the church may see an issue with me playing mainstream music but this is the life I was given and my musical talents are also a gift from God. In hindsight, the formation and success of MEGADETH is blessed by God.
"For me to have a hunch at 16 to drive to California after my high school graduation, meet Dave Mustaine there at age 18, and then form this group was no random accident. To me, the whole thing has had the Lord's Hands on it from day one. After all, Christian plumbers, mechanics, lawyers, and doctors don't only work in the church, so why should a professional musician?"