During an interview with Metal Injection conducted at last month’s NAMM show in Anaheim, California, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson was asked to say something nice about his bandmate, Dave Mustaine, to counter all the negative stuff about the MEGADETH leader floating around online. Ellefson said (see video below): “Well, look, Dave is a very bold person. When he thinks something, he says it — for better or for worse. And that does come back to bite him once in a while. But for the most part, he’s a very honest and a he’s a very genuine guy, and that’s always one of the things I appreciated about him. The first day I met him, it was, like, ‘Okay, this guy is a real rock star. There’s guys outside walking down the street that look like Vince Neil and there’s the David Lee Roth wannabes hanging around Hollywood. Dave is the real guy.’ He’s a real artist, and there’s a real simplicity to him.
“As complex as Dave sometimes seems, he’s a pretty simple guy,” he continued. “When he’ll pick up a guitar and just start playing something, he’ll come up with a riff and you’re, like, ‘That wasn’t that hard. I could have come up with that.’ But I didn’t — he did. And that’s kind of the beauty. As his friend, and as a bandmate with him, that’s been one of the kind of smile-inside moments that I get when we’re standing there working on things together. And that he’s really in the moment. Dave is not a guy who’s kind of over there or over there — he’s really in the moment. And his music is very authentic, it’s very true. And one thing I really learned from him is that this whole deal is about charisma, and Dave‘s not afraid to just put himself out there for who he really is, and that takes a lot of balls. And so I think that’s kind of been nice with our partnership — I’m kind of like the ‘Minnesota nice guy,’ as they call it in Minnesota, and that, I think, has benefited Dave, and who Dave is has certainly benefited me.
“When I moved here in ’83, Dave showed me the ropes of L.A.” he added. “I was the only guy with a set of wheels in my band, so we would drive around and that’s how I learned how to drive these gnarly streets of L.A. and the freeways. And Dave, having had experience on the streets, he taught me how to grow up in L.A. He’s been a big brother to me as much as anything.
“So those are things about Dave that are just… That’s kind of what makes our friendship and our bond so… You know, we’re lifetime buddies; that’s just how it is between me and Dave.”
Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band’s inception in 1983 to 2002, when the group briefly broke up because 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.
In a January 2016 interview with the Cape Girardeau, Missouri radio station Real Rock 99.3, Mustaine implied that Ellefson was not a founding member of the band because, he said, “MEGADETH was already in its formative phase long before I even knew David Ellefson.” The bassist later said that he was “technically” a founding member of MEGADETH because he was “in the room” the day MEGADETH decided to change its name from the previous working moniker of FALLEN ANGEL at the suggestion of the band’s then-guitarist Greg Handevidt.
In addition to Mustaine and Ellefson, MEGADETH‘s current lineup includes former SOILWORK drummer Dirk Verbeuren and Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who was previously best known for his work with ANGRA.
MEGADETH‘s latest album, “Dystopia”, was released in January 2016.