Brian Aberback of New Jersey's Steppin' Out magazine recently interviewed MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Steppin' Out: Your new book, "My Life With Deth", is subtitled "Discovering Meaning In A Life Of Rock & Roll". Can you tell us about your journey through life as told in the book?
Ellefson: I grew up playing rock and roll on a farm in Minnesota. From the age of 11, when I heard rock and roll on the school bus radio, it spoke to me. My real education in life was growing up in and around that environment, especially when I moved to L.A. at age 18 and met Dave Mustaine and we started MEGADETH.
Steppin' Out: You have a strong commitment to your Christian faith and even have a worship group, MEGALife Ministries. What kind of religious upbringing did you have?
Ellefson: We went to a Lutheran church every Sunday. My mom sang in the church choir and my dad was on various church committees. At one point, I sold my soul to rock and roll and all that came with it and threw the faith of my childhood out the window only to have it come back again when I got sobered up at age 25.
Steppin' Out: Was it hard reconciling your newfound faith with playing in a thrash band that in the past had sung about the occult?
Ellefson: It wasn't leaving the rock and roll life to go get this new life. It was the new life developing within my life in the band. That's why I was able to stay in rock and roll and play in MEGADETH. I think the faith journey and getting sober was about getting connected into the mainstream of life again. Drug addiction is meant to pull you away from people and faith so it can ultimately kill you.
Steppin' Out: Can you tell us about MEGADETH's new CD/DVD, "Countdown to Extinction: Live", which documents your 2012 tour in which you played the album in its entirety?
Ellefson: The roots for this album actually started in 2010 when we did a one-month 20th-anniversary tour for "Rust In Peace" and played the album in full. It ended up turning into a year-long world tour. That showed us that we're one of these bands where our past legacy has come of age. It's as important to who we are as our new music. It's a blessing to have that.
Steppin' Out: Your latest studio album, "Super Collider", seems to combine MEGADETH's thrash and more melodic periods. Do you see the album that way?
Ellefson: I would agree. There are some fans who will always want to hear just the hardest, most ripping thrash songs. But when you look at our 30-year career, there are a lot of fans that have come in at various points along the way. A lot of fans came in during "Countdown To Extinction" or "Cryptic Writings" and during the 2000s. "Super Collider" is this all-encompassing record that contains all the musical styles and variety that is MEGADETH today.