Dave Mustaine Addresses ‘Touchy’ Period in Megadeth After David Ellefson’s Firing, Shares Honest Opinion on Sammy Hagar

This September, Megadeth will release their new album “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” which marks the band’s 16th full-length record. But this particular era of Megadeth will be remembered for another, and most likely final, dismissal of bassist David Ellefson.

In 2021, Ellefson’s intimate video exchange with a female fan was leaked. It didn’t take long for Dave Mustaine to officially fire the bassist, even going so far to remove his tracks from the album that was in the making. For a while, the band kept the identity of a new bassist a secret, ultimately revealing that it was Testament’s Steve DiGiorgio. However, Steve served only as a session player, with Megadeth officially hiring touring member James LoMenzo.

While recently talking to Loudwire, Mustaine was asked about two new bass players and what they are to work with, explaining:

“Both of them are really fun people to be around. Although I didn’t know Steve DiGiorgio, as much as I know James, LoMenzo, I found him to be just as enjoyable to be around as James is.”

Megadeth - We’ll Be Back: Chapter I

“That period that the band and everybody associated with us went through was a little touchy. We wanted to do the right thing. Trying to find the replacement for anybody wasn’t the right thing to do at the time because nobody really knew all the facts and we certainly didn’t want to poach anybody. Testament are my friends.”

“As great as Steve is, I remember what it felt like when we [Metallica] went up and poached Cliff [Burton] from Trauma. Granted the band Trauma wasn’t that good, there were still guys in the band and their lives were changed when that happened. You’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Did he jump or was he pushed?’ I wanted make sure if I was going to hire somebody that I wasn’t stealing him from anybody.”

The new Megadeth album also features some interesting guest spots. On one of the tracks, the band got together with rapper Ice-T. Asked about Ice-T and ex-Van Halen and Montrose singer Sammy Hagar, who borrowed his talents on the cover of his song “This Planet’s on Fire (Burn in Hell),” Mustaine said:

“We did a cover song of one of Sammy’s songs. A lot of people didn’t know Sammy before he did his time in Van Halen. I know him from back when he played in Montrose and, after that, in his solo career. I never really was convinced with the Van Halen tracks because I’d heard Sammy sing on Montrose and that man can sing — oh my God. He was one of my favorite singers forever and ever.”

“‘I Got the Fire’ is one of my favorite Montrose songs. It’s such a heavy song — even Iron Maiden covered it. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to do ‘This Planet’s on Fire’ by Sammy?’ I contacted him and asked him, ‘Would you mind singing on it and maybe putting down some guitars?’ So he came back and said, ‘Sure, I’ll sing on it. I ain’t playing guitar because I heard you two shredders and you just leave the stuff like it is.’ I was really flattered because I think Sammy’s a great guitar player.”

“The thing with Ice-T is based on our friendship. We’ve worked on each other’s stuff back and forth and the last thing we did together was [the Body Count song] “Civil War.” I don’t know if it was my turn to get a favor or his, but we’ve been getting closer as friends over the years and this is a great opportunity to use what I think he’s great at. Besides the fact that he had experience in the military, the way that he just commands attention was perfect for the part.”

Megadeth - Night Stalkers: Chapter II ft. Ice-T

“Unfortunately, that guy [heard in the sample at the end of the song] from Full Metal Jacket is not with us anymore. Those kind of personalities are a bit predictive too. It’s kind of like the guy from the Twisted Sister video, but I thought the thing with Ice-T was just absolutely fitting for the part.”

Photo: Sven Mandel (Megadeth – 2017216231609 2017-08-04 Wacken – Sven – 1D X MK II – 1246 – AK8I0462), Carter Sterling (David Ellefson), Simon Davison (Sammy Hagar)

  • 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.

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