Dave Mustaine Opens Up on Firing David Ellefson from Megadeth, Explains How He Made the Decision

We all know that Megadeth is one of those metal bands that went through numerous lineup changes. However, no one could have expected that Dave Mustaine will fire original member David Ellefson in 2021, bringing yet another lineup change to the group. Of course, Mustaine calls all the shots in Megadeth and the decision came after a leaked private and intimate interaction between Ellefson and a much younger fan. And yes, it also included a video exchange.

As Mustaine explained back then, the decision was a difficult one to make. And recently, Megadeth officially welcome James LoMenzo as an official member (again).

As expected, metal-oriented publications couldn’t wait to ask Mustaine about this as Megadeth is starting another press cycle. During a recent chat with Metal Hammer, Mustaine admitted that “it’s so hard to tap-dance around this” and finally gave more insight into the matter, saying:

“I have made mistakes myself and so I know what it feels like to have people gunning for you. But what we had to remember is that Megadeth has a lot of moving parts to it. There are four band members, you’ve got their families, their management companies, the agencies, all of their technicians, and on and on and on.”

“I can tell you, I’ve made decisions in the past that were detrimental to the security of the band, and I know what harm that caused. But I don’t want to be saying anything about anyone who is unable to defend themselves.”

Megadeth - Live at Graspop Metal Meeting 2022 (Pro-Shot) [60fps]

“God, it’s so hard to tap-dance around this…

“All I wanted to do was make a clean break, and not hurt anyone, not hurt the fans and not hurt him. I just wanted to move on, and I hope the gentleman concerned is doing okay. I imagine there was some adjustment that had to take place when it happened.

“It was hard for me when I lost my job. But I‘ve forgiven him before when he sued me [Ellefson filed a lawsuit against Mustaine in 2004, claiming that he was owed millions in outstanding royalties. The case was dismissed] and I’ll forgive him a thousand times. I just won’t play music with him anymore.

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.

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