Former JUDAS PRIEST guitarist K.K. Downing has offered more words of support for David Ellefson who was fired from MEGADETH in May after sexually explicit photos and video of the bassist leaked online along with allegations that he had been grooming a fan, which he vehemently denied.
Ellefson performed a full-length set of PRIEST classics with Downing, former PRIEST singer Tim “Ripper” Owens and ex-JUDAS PRIEST drummer Les Binks in November 2019 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. A couple of months later, Downing, Owens and Binks announced the formation of a new band called KK’S PRIEST, along with bassist Tony Newton, a founding member of the long-running British hard rock act VOODOO SIX. At the time, it was assumed that Ellefson‘s non-involvement with KK’S PRIEST was down to the fact that his main priority was MEGADETH, which was working on a new studio album.
Asked in a new interview with Vikram Chandrasekar of Tales From The Road if Ellefson will participate in any KK’S PRIEST activities now that David is no longer a member of MEGADETH, Downing replied (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Dave, when we played together [two years ago], people called it the MEGAPRIEST performance, which we did. And I loved that, but it was MEGADETH and JUDAS PRIEST — it was like a hybrid — so that didn’t really work for me. And plus Dave was still in MEGADETH, and I didn’t wanna interfere with that. And they were going out on the road with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, then they were gonna do their own tour, with LAMB OF GOD supporting. So, obviously, I recruited another great bass player, Tony Newton, and I’m really happy with Tony. But if I was looking for a bass player now, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask Dave [to join]. Whatever shit happens with him, it’s behind closed doors. Everybody else does it. And if you turn the clock back 10 or 20 years, it would just be called rock and roll. So, that doesn’t bother me at all. But we’ve been, obviously, together now for over a year and a half, and Tony‘s great — he’s great in the studio, and he’s got lots of attributes. And he’s a bass giant. So we’re good to go.”
Downing added: “But I hope things really do work out well for Dave, because he’s loved all over the planet. He’s a gentleman and a great bass player. And I wish him well.”
A short time after after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving him were posted on Twitter, Ellefson filed a report with the police department in Scottsdale, Arizona alleging unlawful distribution of sexually explicit images of him by unknown offenders. In the report, Ellefson admitted that he had been exchanging sexual text messages with a Dutch teenager, who captured a video of several of their virtual “masturbating encounters” without his consent and shared them with friends. (According to Ellefson, the woman was 19 at the time of their first virtual sexual encounter.) Ellefson, who lives in Scottsdale, first became aware of the video on May 9, when the claim “David Ellefson of MEGADETH is a pedophile” appeared on Instagram. Ellefson told police he was notified on May 14 by MEGADETH that the band would be parting ways with him. Three days later, he was fired.
Ellefson laid down his bass tracks on MEGADETH‘s sixteenth LP in May 2020 at a studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
In July, MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine announced during an episode of his Gimme Radio program “The Dave Mustaine Show” that Ellefson‘s bass tracks would not be used on the new MEGADETH LP.
On May 24, Mustaine — who formed MEGADETH with Ellefson in 1983 — announced the bassist’s departure from the band.
Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band’s inception in 1983 to 2002, and again from 2010 until his latest exit.