MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson was recently interviewed by the “Music Mania” podcast.
On his return to MEGADETH in 2010:
Ellefson: “Well, [it was] really important, not just for me but I think just for the, if I could dare call it, the franchise of MEGADETH. Rock bands are kind of a unique little beast in that the songs are as attached to the personalities who wrote ’em and record ’em, and being able to have that experience of going to see… You’re not just going to hear a song played at a concert, you’re going to watch those people play it. When I was at NAMM, I was in the lobby of the hotel, and Tom Petersson from CHEAP TRICK was there. He does some stuff with Gretsch Guitars, which is part of Fender, and I do stuff with Jackson Guitars, which is part of Fender, so we just had this really cool moment… And I’ve actually done shows… When I played bass with Ronnie Montrose, we did a couple of shows with CHEAP TRICK, and I’ve kind of known them a little bit over the years. But it’s just kind of interesting how… Tom, I used to learn his songs growing up, and there’s a season when he wasn’t in CHEAP TRICK, and, quite honestly, my interest waned in CHEAP TRICK. Now that he’s back in the band, he is a… Rick Nielsen, I think, is the main songwriter of CHEAP TRICK, but Tom‘s playing his part and him being there, it’s part of the blueprint of the band. And I think that’s what happens when you get to see, I guess in our case, MEGADETH, me and Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH leader], from the very beginning, you get to see us there… We’ve reached this point in our career where us being together on that stage and in the studio and working together, it’s a visual, it’s audio, it’s all part of the thing that you really… that is the nucleus of it. I just think it’s cool for just the whole experience for everybody all around.”
On his relationship with Dave Mustaine, both onstage and offstage:
Ellefson: “I’ll tell you, onstage, there’s no one I’d rather be onstage with than Dave, because that guy totally has control of the venue and he’s got control of the audience, he’s got control… He can shut down a fifty-thousand-capacity audience in one… All he’s gotta do is stop playing and people know he’s pissed. All of a sudden, it’s, like, ‘Oh, shit. We pissed Dave off. Oh-ho.’ [Laughs] You know what I mean? And it’s been like that from the very first shows we did up in San Francisco back in 1984. I very much felt like, man, Dave is fearless on stage and he’s at home on stage; that’s really where you see the essence of him and you just feel his presence, and he’s a commanding leader. And, quite honestly, the audience loves that — the audience wants to be led, they want to know someone’s in command, and he’s in command in the live show. So that’s a beautiful thing. And then creatively and in the studio, [MEGADETH‘s latest album] ‘Dystopia’ really, quite honestly, wasn’t much different than making ‘Peace Sells’ or maybe some of the earlier records. Dave very much has a very… he’s got his hand on the creative process, and he knows… When he hears something in his head, he knows what it’s gonna sound like later on, and that’s a gift that I don’t see a lot of people have. I know sometimes musicians sit around, they play a lot, they practice a lot, they’ll continually hone and work on things. And Dave‘s a guy, he plays what he hears, he doesn’t hear what he plays. And that’s a different… He’s a begin-with-the-end-in-mind kind of guy, and as a result, MEGADETH has had a… I guess part of the reason the band’s been able to stay together, quite honestly, is because there was this vision cast from the very beginning, and every day we’re together as MEGADETH, we are executing what that vision was back in 1983.”