In a brand new interview with All That Shreds, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson spoke about his working relationship with the band’s leader, Dave Mustaine. “Dave is very focused and knows exactly what he wants,” Ellefson said. “That is indeed an admirable thing about Dave. You’ll be in the room with him, because a thought or an idea will come to him, and I’ll give you a couple of examples. One day we’re driving down the street, going to rehearsal and Dave just out of nowhere says, ‘What do you think about ‘Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?’ [for a song title]? And just out of the blue, I’m driving my van and Dave‘s riding shotgun, we’re heading over to pick up Gar [Samuelson, former MEGADETH drummer] and go down to rehearsal, and that’s how the title came about. Within an evening, we’d create that song at rehearsal. Dave just kept coming up with riffs, and we sat there, me, Gar, Chris [Poland, guitar] and Dave, and we wrote that song.
“Another interesting dynamic was we’re coming off ‘The World Needs A Hero’ tour and we knew we were going to be coming into making a live album,” he continued. “I’m sitting on a bus, we’re kicking around ideas, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Dave says, ‘‘Rude Awakening’. That’ll be the title of the album.’
“Those are the things that I’ve seen with Dave from the first day I met him; it’s that right there — those two instances are a snapshot of why Dave and I work well together. I understand him; I get him. I’ve been in the room when life-changing moments of genius will come out of him, and I’m honored to be there. It’s just such a cool thing to be around someone [like that].
“Now, with that said, when an idea comes out of somebody like that, they want to see to fruition, and as an artist, we all do, we want to see it to fruition,” Ellefson added. “Then when people don’t get it, they don’t understand it. They try to talk you out of it. They tell you that’ll never work. When they get in the way, those are the people that ended up having ended up bloodied by the side of the road. If you examine any of the great titans of business — J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs — they’re all like that, and I’m fortunate that I get to work with one of them, and his name is Dave Mustaine.”
Asked if he has a favorite MEGADETH album, Ellefson said: “I go back in time to moments of things that were great. It’s incredible how the human mind, we tend to remember the good days more than the bad days, at least. At least I do. I assume people are like that. At least that’s how I’m wired. The moments that weren’t so pleasant fade away in favor of the good and the fun moments. ‘Countdown To Extinction’ was not an easy album to write because we were hard on ourselves and we pushed each other just really to bring our best. At the same time, it’s one of my favorite albums because of the group collaboration and everybody being in sync, and I mean the four bandmembers, our management, Capitol Records. We were a juggernaut of a team. Same could probably be said with the recent ‘Dystopia’ album. Being in sync and [being] a synergized and focused team.”
In 2018, MEGADETH is celebrating its 35th anniversary all year long, with special releases, exclusive merchandise items, and one-of-a-kind events and opportunities for fans worldwide.
Tentatively due next year, MEGADETH‘s upcoming follow-up to 2016’s “Dystopia” album will mark the group’s first release to feature drummer Dirk Verbeuren, who officially joined the band just under two years ago.
“Dystopia” was MEGADETH‘s first album with Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who was previously best known for his work with ANGRA.