In a new interview with the “TODDCast Podcast”, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson was asked if Dave Mustaine has changed much in the way he approaches music in the four decades since they first met. Ellefson replied (hear audio below): “Not at all. Not one bit. He’s pretty much the same. And I admire his tenacity and stability in that area.
“When Dave and I met, we would sit around and talk about… The idea [for MEGADETH] was conceptualized before we even played a note together,” he continued. “Dave was writing a song called ‘Megadeath’, which was then retitled ‘Set The World Afire’, and it didn’t even come out until our third album, ‘So Far, So Good… So What!’. That was the very first song that Dave had written post-METALLICA. And I met Dave literally six weeks after he was out of METALLICA, so it was a pretty fresh wound.
“Dave was really very introspective on his life and looking at things, what had happened, and I think he was considering his options,” Ellefson said. “He kept saying, ‘If this thing doesn’t work out, I’m just gonna into computers.’ I was the only guy that had a car, so I’d drive everybody around. And then Dave would always turn the radio on. In L.A., it was KLOS and KMET. And back in that day, radio was so cool, FM radio, because they played everything from YES and DEEP PURPLE to Ronnie Dio and IRON MAIDEN ‘Powerslave’. And then they had these metal shows that would have the newest stuff that was going on. I remember when ‘Queen Of The Reich’ from QUEENSRŸCHE was on the midnight metal show, ’cause they were one of the new bands, and then, eventually, MEGADETH, they put one of our demos on there and stuff.”
Ellefson added: “[I was] such a creative, just an awesome time to land in L.A. in 1983. The Good Lord had me and Dave meet for whatever His purpose is.”
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.