David Ellefson’s return to his natural place was a special, long-awaited and relieving welcome by all the Megadeth and thrash fans all over the world! You see, Megadeth gains undoubtedly a far heavier and important status when the two…“Daves” –Mustaine and Junior- are standing side by side on stage. David Ellefson talks exclusively to Rockpages, only a few months after the historical Big 4 shows…
Interview: Sakis Nikas
Rockpages.gr: David, the first question is quite obvious…how do you feel about the Big 4 thing, now that a few months have passed by and history has been written?
David Ellefson: I think it was the dream come true for all of us, bands and fans alike. There was no competition, just brotherhood in metal all around.
Rockpages.gr: Did you ever expect that you will return to Megadeth and by doing so, you would also find yourself in this big “reunion” of friends and bands from the 80s?
David Ellefson: I had always hoped we would get to this point but for it to have happened on such a large scale, and with so many monumental events surrounding was a bit unexpected, quite honestly. I'm certainly glad it went down the way it did.
Rockpages.gr: I know that, before the Big 4 shows, all the members of those bands met in a restaurant –without managers and outside people- and talked about a variety of subjects. How was the whole atmosphere? Did you talk about the past?
David Ellefson: It was great! It was very relaxed and it was good to get re-acquainted with everyone before the events started, rather than trying to do it on the fly. There was one funny moment during the dinner where everyone was busting up because all four of us bassists were collected at one table together talking about practically anything but basses! Funny, we bassists might be unique in that we tend to be very friendly toward each other, regardless of status or even musical genre.
Rockpages.gr: Lars Ulrich said in an interview that this could be the beginning of other similar shows that will possibly include such bands as Exodus, Forbidden, Testament etc. What’s your opinion about this idea?
David Ellefson: This was the Big Four, but if you expand the circle of the genre, even just a little bit, there are many, many other bands such as those who had a large impact to the fans over the years. On the east coast I think Overkill would fit the bill, too.
Rockpages.gr: Were you nervous about this whole Big 4 thing and especially were you nervous or even curious of how Dave Mustaine would handle this situation?
David Ellefson: I was certainly curious about it but I had a feeling it was all going to be fine. It was really a perfect outcome because we all shared the same stage to the same audience and Metallica were very much holding themselves like just one of the bands on the bill, not the headliner in charge. I really commend them on how they were very gracious hosts.
Rockpages.gr: Have you read Dave’s biography and if yes, what do you think about it?
David Ellefson: I've read a lot of it. Dave has always been a good story teller but to tell the story of your own life isn't quite so easy. I thought he did a good job.
Rockpages.gr: Let’s say that you were about to write your autobiography, of which Megadeth chapter would you be most proud of?
Dave Ellefson: I'd say this year would be at the top of the list for sure.
Rockpages.gr: You celebrated the 20th anniversary of “Rust In Peace” by playing the whole album in selected shows and by releasing a live DVD/CD. At that time, when you were recording the album, did you feel that you had something special in your hands?
David Ellefson: It was hard for me to tell because we went through a very rough period for the two years leading up to the recording. Things like band member changes, being strung out on drugs and the following sobriety, change of management and basically an entire housecleaning of our operation. Dave and I were the only two left standing and I guess the angst, frustration and release through the music is what you really hear when you listen to that record.
Rockpages.gr: “Endgame” was a welcome return to a thrashier sound for Megadeth that gained rave reviews from all over the world. Do you think that this is the style that suits better Megadeth?
David Ellefson: I do think it was a good direction for the band. I think Andy Sneap's production style was a good choice and really contributed to the overall heaviness of the record as well.
Rockpages.gr: Have you started writing for a new album? Will this whole nostalgic feeling of the recent Big 4 shows influence or shape the direction of the record?
David Ellefson: Yes, we're well on our way of compiling new material for the next record. I can't help but think playing "Rust In Peace" all year, and the patriotic familiarity of the Big Four will have an influence on this next record.
Rockpages.gr: What’s the status of Hail? I know that you are working on your first DVD. Will we see more shows or (why not) brand new material by this band?
David Ellefson: There are about two years of video clips from all the shows around the world that are being compiled into a collection for a DVD. The fans really like the mindset of that band so that should be something fun to watch. That band was always set up to be something fun when any of us weren't busy with other full time recording and/or touring so there will likely not be any original material for quite some time, if ever. There will probably always be shows popping up, even if I'm not able to participate with my Megadeth schedule being fairly demanding of my time right now.
Rockpages.gr: When you are not on tour, what’s a typical day for David Ellefson like?
David Ellefson: I get up around 6am and take my kids to school by 8am. From there, I usually go to the gym for a workout, and work on some new music throughout the day. I see a lot of friends in my time at home and of course sift through emails and phone calls as well. I try to get my work done while my kids are in school so that once they are out I'm available with my wife to be father and husband. I'm a pretty straight laced guy off tour!