Dave Ellefson has to be one of the hardest working men in metal. In addition to celebrating 35 years of Megadeth this year with various online specials and upcoming festival appearances, there is a new album coming out with Metal Allegiance and an album with Altitudes and Attitudes (his project band with Frank Bello of Anthrax). On top of all this, Dave is busy partnering his Ellefson Coffee with craft beer, wine and hard cider.
Metal Wani’s Chuck Marshall got a chance recently to chat with Dave and we first wanted to find out how he partnered with Hydra Beer Company to create the Urban Legend coffee stout as well the new Combat Blood and Bullets Cabernet and Combat Hard Cider with Desert Rock Winery.
While Dave doesn’t drink alcohol, he does love coffee. When he was back in his hometown of Jackson, MN to promote his Urban Legend coffee, the folks at Hydra Beer in Sioux Falls, SD asked about using the coffee in a coffee stout. Given the local nature of the story behind Urban Legend, working with Hydra Beer sounded like a great fit. Dave mentioned that Ellefson coffee is also being infused in vegan cheesecake by Sarah’s Organic Gourmet in Los Angeles. In a way, just as Dave Ellefson adds the foundation to the music he makes with his bass, his coffee is becoming a key ingredient in a variety of food and beverages.
Given that Megadeth is celebrating 35 years of outstanding metal music this year, we asked if fans could expect new music to celebrate the anniversary. Unfortunately, fans will need to wait. Dave indicated that the band is working on new music, but they don’t see a need to rush. They learned from the making of ‘Dystopia’ that taking their time and creating a solid album is much better than hurrying to put out something that is not going to make the fans happy.
Given that very positive response to ‘Dystopia’, we wanted to know if Megadeth planned to build off that foundation on the new album. Dave felt that ‘Dystopia’ was a critical album. The diversity of the band is a blessing and a curse in that there are so many musical ideas from each of the members. Given the expectations around Megadeth, it can be a careful journey to create new music. Thankfully, Megadeth fans have been open to receiving the unexpected from the band over the years.
The “Dirk Blast” is the secret weapon of Megadeth drummer Dirk Verbeuren. We were curious if the “Dirk Blast” would find its way into new songs. Dave is excited to work with Dirk on the new record given his skills as a musician. He is very impressed with both Dirk and Kiko (Loureiro) talents. Dave’s feeling is that Dirk should bring everything to the table on the next album and not hold anything back.
We switched gears a bit to chat about upcoming music from Metal Allegiance. Dave feels the new album is a nice step forward. The first record was fun and enthusiastic. Second records tend to go a little deeper and explore new ideas. Dave enjoys the comradery and collaboration of Metal Allegiance. He feels that each of the core member offers their own unique perspective which goes beyond their key roles in their respective bands (or in the case of Mike Portnoy the 20 bands).
As if Dave Ellefson didn’t have enough going on, his project with Frank Bello (Anthrax) and Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle/Puscifer) called Altitudes and Attitudes will have a full length album out this year. The new album dovetails into their 2014 EP which shows another side to the musicians in that the music is much more mainstream rock as opposed to thrash. Dave enjoys the opportunity to work outside of thrash metal and journey into music that is beyond what is typically expected of him.
Slayer’s retirement has reverberated through the metal community. Dave hasn’t had a chance to chat with Kerry or Tom about the announcement as of yet. He has talked with Gary Holt, but Gary doesn’t feel it is his place to comment. Dave didn’t want to guess as to the reasoning but it did reaffirm for him his goals to keep healthy and enjoy his life.
We asked if there was any hope for another Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax) show. Dave would be delighted if that worked out. However, if there were no other Big 4 shows, he felt blessed to have the memories from the last show (in 2011).