Megadeth bassist David Ellefson talked about his relationship with Metallica, taking into consideration all the stuff that’s happened between the band and Dave Mustaine over the years. You can check out the conversation with Mxdwn below.
In Dave’s memoir, he describes forming Megadeth as a way to one-up Metallica after leaving the band. Do you feel like he accomplished that?
“You know, I always saw it as something different, but that’s me because I have no history to Metallica. I have only a friendship with them, quite honestly.
“For me, we were always a very different-sounding band than them. Even from the beginning, even the songs I heard Dave composing as we first started playing together.
“‘Looking Down the Cross,’ the song that became ‘Devil’s Island’ and the song that became ‘Set the World Afire,’ those were really the first three songs Dave was working on. To me, they were very different from Metallica.
“Those first six months to a year, the initial compositions of Megadeth that came together – which largely made up the [1985’s] ‘Killing’ and [1986’s] ‘Peace Sells’ albums – were written almost in their entirety around the same time period, and I felt like Dave’s guitar playing was going to another level.
“He and I were forming a new sound and style together. As I heard the things Cliff [Burton] was doing in Metallica, I didn’t feel like my bass playing followed that path at all.
“He studied classical, I had studied jazz, so I kinda had a different approach to the bass, but I think our fans loved both of us. [Laughs] It was this era where bass playing in heavy metal was very aggressive and out-front. That was a big part of our early compositions, and that has stayed true for the entire course of our catalog.”