David Ellefson Reacts to Dave Mustaine Still Complaining About Metallica: ’It’s Pathetic’

Although the unpleasant events between Dave Mustaine and Metallica took place about 40 years ago or so, you’ll still hear a lot about it whenever Megadeth is promoting something. Recently, in his appearance on the Heavy Talk podcast, Megadeth’s former bassist David Ellefson addressed Mustaine’s complaints about getting fired from his old band back in the early 1980s.

Ellefson, who was fired back in 2021 over leaked intimate videos exchanged with one of the fans, was asked whether there was any solution on the table before he was ousted. He replied (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“I got one call: ‘You’re fired.’ [Laughs] And I said, ‘What the fuck, man?’ I said, ‘Some shitty fucking people just dropped a bomb on my house. And that’s it? It’s not even true. It’s fucking bullshit. And this is how you treat me?'”

“It was non-negotiable. I mean, I asked. I said, ‘I’m gonna take care of it. Let me just deal with it. And it will fucking be done. We’ll be ready to go on the road in two months, and everything will be fine.’ And it was. Because it was just false allegations and bullshit.”

“But [Dave] didn’t wanna know about it. I think he was getting pressure from some other people around him. And it’s too bad it went that way. Because it was really nothing. I took care of it.”

“And then once the word came out that I was fired, then it turned into this big fucking thing, which, quite honestly, was very damaging and very hurtful and not fair. I’m glad I don’t have that fucking amends on my shoulder, because that was fucked up.”

David Ellefson on ‘Personal Grudges’ That Led to His Firing From Megadeth

As Ellefson further adds, he’s all about forgiveness and there’s absolutely no reason to keep this grudge forever. Reflecting on moving on, he said:

“Look, I have no choice but to have to forgive it so I can move on. I really don’t. So I don’t know what more to say about it other than that. Look, at some point… The damage was done. So you move on. We’re all human, and it is what it is. You can’t lament it.”

However, Ellefson then drew a parallel between this and Mustaine’s woes with Metallica which last even today, 40 years after his firing from the band. Ellefson continued:

“I’ve watched how he’s treated his dismissal from Metallica, still bitching about it 40 years later, and I think it looks fucking pathetic. And it’s, like, ‘You know what? Fix your shit and move on.'”

“And that’s how I’ve chosen to deal with it: fix your shit and move on.”

Reflecting on his current works, Ellefson said:

“And that’s why I put out four records in the time the last fucking Megadeth record came out, and I think every one of ’em are as good or better than the latest Megadeth record.”

“I think the quality… And part of it is I’m working with great people. Whether they’re famous or not doesn’t matter. I’m working with good people. They’re safe, they’re reliable, they’re truly men of integrity, and I think that really makes a big difference. I feel safe around them.”

“And the creative process is fun. It’s not restrictive. It’s unlimited. And so this creative explosion has happened. And again, listen, I’m not trying to be in 85 bands — believe me, I’m not.”

“But it’s interesting that there was this sort of post-Megadeth season here where all these records came out. And rather than try to limit them and restrict them, I’m, like, ‘Fuck it. Put ’em out. Let’s go.’ In a lot of ways, it’s turned out okay. It’s been fine. And I’m okay. People ask, and I’m, like, ‘I’m okay.’ It was kind of a weird ending.”

Going back to Dave Mustaine, Ellefson admitted that he knew, from day one, that Megadeth had great potential and that it’s only a matter of time when things will end badly. He said:

 “I mean, look, I knew three things when I met Dave: one, our band was gonna be successful; two, it was gonna be a lot of work; and three, one day this is gonna end really badly. I just could tell. [Laughs]

Megadeth - Live In Berkeley 1984 [Full Concert] /mG

“Even at 18 years old, a kid from the farm, naïve as I was, I went, ‘Yeah, all three of those things.’ And I was right: check, check, check. I certainly didn’t see it ending like that. And part of me, I always kind of go, ‘Is it really the end of the story?’

Of course, this wasn’t the first time that Ellefson parted ways with Mustaine. Reflecting on how things went sour between them back in the 2000s, David said:

“I mean, look at how it ended in 2002. In 2004 and [200]5, we were in litigation over business matters and stuff, and I ended up going back to the band. So I’d rather not disrespect it and be pissed about it.”

Megadeth - Live in Essen 1988/05/20 [50fps]

“These are things that you work out privately, not publicly. And the press liked to have a field day with it because it was good clickbait there for a season. But the truth of it is Dave and I aren’t talking about it anymore, and that’s why *I’m* not talking about it anymore. At some point, you move on. You let the music do the talking now.”

Photo: Carter Sterling (David Ellefson), S. Bollmann (Megadeth Summer Breeze Open Air 2017 18)

  • 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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