MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson was interviewed for a recent episode of the “Thunder Underground” podcast. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On playing with various great drummers during his time in MEGADETH:
Ellefson: “Quite honestly, when I walk into any session at all, my saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the gig usually depends on the drummer. [Laughs] I’ve played in some bands where you just wanna love it, and, man, if the drummer is just not grooving, or you’re not grooving well with the drummer, it’s a tough go — especially in metal. And yeah, in MEGADETH, we’ve had some incredible drummers. Chris Adler [LAMB OF GOD], he was a lot of fun to play with when he did the initial tours on the ‘Dystopia’ [cycle], and then, obviously, we knew he was gonna get busy with LAMB OF GOD. So we knew the search for a permanent drummer was gonna happen. And he had actually recommended Dirk [Verbeuren, ex-SOILWORK]. And when Dirk came in, the first day… He was initially just gonna fill in on a run of dates that Chris couldn’t do and kind of heading towards, you know, this was probably gonna be a permanent-position kind of audition that we did with Dirk. And when he came in, Dirk was just… Man, great energy. And when he hits his snare, his snare is so loud, we have turn his snare down so much, even on a big stage like with MEGADETH, and that says a lot. There’s a few guys that you can tell who they are by the sound of their snare drum — Kenny Aronoff is one, Alex Van Halen is another. So Dirk is one of those guys that, man, when he hits, he hits with conviction. And he’s a real schooled, skilled drummer — he can pretty much play anything you throw at him — and it’s a real treat to be able to work with Dirk.”
On whether any music has already been written for the next MEGADETH album:
Ellefson: “A bunch of stuff has. MEGADETH records go through this process where everybody writes riffs and ideas and we start to scribble down thoughts and lyrics and concepts of songs. And then there comes this point where we start to throw it all into the pile, and Dave [Mustaine, guitar/vocals] will ultimately give it a listen and see if it works with something that he’s conceiving or conceptualizing. And once in a while, you’ll walk into something that’ll just turn a whole different corner, which is fun, and other times you’re just collaborating into an idea that Dave might have. This lineup is… ’cause we spend so much time together on the road and really becoming a team and becoming a band together has given a whole energy and a whole new breath and new life into MEGADETH, which is really cool. It feels like we’ve arrived at being a band — not just kind of getting from this record to the next record or from this tour to the next tour. I feel like we’re really locked together as a team right now.”
On whether Dave Mustaine will again produce the next MEGADETH album:
Ellefson: “Yeah. Look, what we did with ‘Dystopia’ worked well. And it’s funny, because there were several different producers that had come in on that record. It’s tough to be a producer to come into a band like MEGADETH, especially this many years into our career, because we’re very decisive, we’re very decided on what we want and what works and what doesn’t. I mean, Dave, as the principal songwriter, of course, is gonna be pretty set in what he knows he wants to hear. On ‘Dystopia’, there was this mindset of, ‘Let’s just really step on the gas and go to the wall with this one — really hold nothing back.’ And it turns out that’s exactly what the fans wanted to hear. So it’s nice to know that baseline of MEGADETH has been reset, and now we know what it is. So I think that makes the journey into the next record… there’s kind of a confidence about it that’s nice to have now.”
MEGADETH is tentatively planning to enter the studio in mid-2018 to begin recording its new album for a 2019 release.
MEGADETH‘s upcoming effort will mark the group’s first release to feature Verbeuren, who officially joined the group less than two years ago.
“Dystopia” was MEGADETH‘s first album with Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro, best known for his work with ANGRA.