Dave Mustaine Opens Up on Why He Actually Hired David Ellefson Again Before Firing Him Over That ’Weird’ Stuff

Recently, Megadeth frontman and mastermind Dave Mustaine was interviewed by Heavy magazine. The outlet wanted to focus on Megadeth’s return to Australia, their first one since 2015. When asked about what changed for the band during this time, he responded (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“Well, a lot. A lot, I would have to say. We’ve had some lineup changes, and every time we did that, the person that came in was better. When we parted ways with the drummer before Dirk [Verbeuren, current Megadeth drummer] — it was the person before Chris Adler [Lamb of God], which was Shawn Drover — we tried to get the ‘Rust in Peace’ lineup back together.”

“It didn’t work with Nick [Menza, former Megadeth drummer]; Nick went off one way and we went the other. [We] contacted Adler and asked him if he would play on the record, and then maybe contact Nick again and have him tour with us since he couldn’t really do the record.”

Megadeth - We’ll Be Back: Chapter I

“That didn’t work out either, so we had Chris do the record [‘Dystopia’] and stay, and while we were doing that, Chris and his band parted ways. We didn’t know if Chris was gonna stay with us [or] stay with them. Of course, we wanted him to stay with Lamb of God. I’m sad that he left and that there’s any kind of distance between the family. I do think that Art [Cruz, current Lamb of God drummer] is an amazing drummer.”

“And then after that, Chris Adler recommended Dirk. And Dirk is, in my mind, the best drummer we’ve had since Gar Samuelson. He’s a big fan of Gar, and that is the power that drives Megadeth — that jazz metal; not, like, rock metal.”

“Nick was a super-talented and powerful drummer, and he, fortunately, was able to do a lot of those jazz hooks too. So we almost had that magic that we did when Gar was there, but we definitely had something that Gar did not, which was the power that Nick Menza possessed.”

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Going more into it, Mustaine also reflected on the changes for the bass player position. As you may already know, the band’s original bassist David Ellefson was fired back in 2021. This happened over Ellefson’s leaked intimate chat with a female fan which also included explicit sexual videos from the bassist’s side.

Looking back on how he ended up re-hiring Ellefson in 2010, Mustaine revealed how that actually came to be, offering:

“Same thing if you go down the line with the bass playing. [David] Ellefson [former Megadeth bassist] was in the band. He was out. James [LoMenzo, current Megadeth bassist] came in. He was out.”

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“Ellefson came back because the Drover brothers [drummer Shawn and guitarist Glen] kept pressuring me to do this, get Ellefson back. He came in, and we had that weird shit that happened.”

Dave continued:

“I had Steve DiGiorgio come in and record the record [‘The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!’], and James is back. And I love that he’s back. The singing is fabulous on stage. He actually can sing really well, so he helps encourage me to sing. And then Kiko [Loureiro, guitar], as you know…”

As Dave further explains, he saw Kiko Loureiro in a video online and immediately thought about how he should try and get in touch. He added:

“After I parted ways with Chris Broderick [former Megadeth guitarist]… I mean, where do you go from having [former Megadeth guitarists] Marty Friedman and Chris Poland, and it’s time to make a guitar player change again?”

Vital Signs Practicing at Home

“So, Kiko… I saw a video online of Kiko actually being put head-to-head against Chris Broderick; someone made a video of that, right? And I watched it, and I went, ‘Fuck! I’ve gotta get in touch with this guy.'”

But it turns out that Mustaine’s then-bandmate David Ellefson was keeping in touch with Kiko before that (hopefully not in the same way as with that female fan). Dave added:

“The funny thing was that when I contacted him, he said that he had been talking to Ellefson. So when I talked to Ellefson the next time, I said, ‘What the fuck’s wrong with you, man? Why didn’t you tell me you know this guy?'”

This Is A Difficult Solo For Me

“So that was a great addition to the band. Kiko and James play really well together, and Kiko and Dirk have an amazing ability to play those crazy riffs together. Of course, we can always be better, so we all go into the jam room every day and try and work on little bits and pieces of a song. And our record producer is out with us on the road as our music director helping us keep our chops up.”

Recently, Megadeth fans were thrilled to find out that the rumors of band’s former guitar player Marty Friedman joining Megadeth for one live show in Japan were true. The performance took place on February 27 in the Budokan Arena in Tokyo with Marty joining them for three songs.

In a recent interview, Marty Friedman spoke up on the matter, explaining what it was like to be back on the stage with Dave Mustaine again. Asked about the most challenging aspect of this performance, he replied:

“It was less challenging and more like that innocent and pleasant anxious feeling you might get when getting ready to go out with a drop-dead stunner. If there was any challenge at all, I guess it would be playing the solos the way the fans remember them, which is something I wanted to do.“

“My playing has evolved so much since those songs came out, and there are so many nuances I would naturally do differently now. I had to resist the urge to play it like I would in 2023 and stick to the original way.”

Marty Friedman - Tornado Of Souls (Warchest DVDRIP).flv

“For example, in a couple of those songs, I entered the solo on the downbeat, with the first note being the root of the chord. I would definitely avoid both of those things now, but apparently, I was fine with it back then!“

Photo: Sven Mandel (Megadeth – 2017216231552 2017-08-04 Wacken – Sven – 1D X MK II – 1257 – B70I0729), Carter Sterling (David Ellefson (cropped2))

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.