Natalia Britt of California Rock News conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson before METAL ALLEGIANCE’s January 9 concert at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California. You can now watch the chat below.
Speaking about how his involvement in METAL ALLEGIANCE benefits MEGADETH, Ellefson explained: “As you’re building a group, it’s important to be fully united together and not have people off doing random things. I think that takes away from the force of the punch. But at one point, you know, MEGADETH disbanded in 2002 — it was officially disbanded — and at that point, I mean, everybody kind of goes their own way, to do their own thing. And that opened up… That was after us being together for eighteen, almost nineteen years together. That opened up a whole other season of my life, where people called and said, ‘Hey, you wanna write some songs?’ ‘Hey, you wanna play a tour?’ ‘Do you wanna play on a record?’ And I had to learn to start saying ‘yes’ to things. And I’ve gotta be honest with you, it was a scary little season of my life, because I was so used to just all of us being… You kind of get comfortable being in a band together. It’s a thing you like about it, which is everybody’s got each other’s back, you’re together. And suddenly that went away, and I realized, ‘Man, it’s every man for himself, and I’m kind of a man without a country, to some degree,’ ‘cause I didn’t have my band anymore. And it was a big growing curve, and it forced me to really step up my musical game, step up my ear, step up to the things I listened to. And at the same time, it was really a fun period — from, probably, 2002 up until when I came to MEGADETH for the ‘Rust In Peace’ [anniversary] tour in 2010. But at the same time, at that point, there’s kind of a whole other synergy of things that were in place.”
He continued: “I find going out and playing with other people… And it’s understood — look, I’m in MEGADETH; make no mistake, MEGADETH is my band. But when I do go off and play some shows or cut a record or something with some other people, in today’s world, and even in today’s record business, that’s much more understood, accepted and just kind of part of the culture we live in now, in this day and age. A lot of people are doing a lot more other things outside of just their band, and, to some degree, fans really… they like it. They don’t look at it as, ‘Oh, there’s problems at home. Why is he out playing on something else?’ It’s kind of, like, hey, you know… MEGADETH is a very iconic band now and…”
Ellefson added: “I’m very selective about what I do. Trust me, I get asked to do a lot of things, and I say no to most of them — partly out of time, partly out of schedule, and partly because, for me, it’s important that they’re things that my fans would be engaged in. And I think METAL ALLEGIANCE is definitely one of these that runs really concurrent with the MEGADETH fan base and the audience. And, again, it’s understood that I’m very much in MEGADETH… Me and [ANTHRAX bassist] Frank Bello do something on the side as well — ALTITUDES & ATTITUDE — and, you know… Again, musically, [it’s] very different from what either MEGADETH or ANTHRAX is, and our fans understand. Look, we’re in our bands — we haven’t left our bands to go pursue a solo career or anything like that.”
The bassist went on to say: “I never grew up wanting to be a solo artist; I always grew up wanting to be part of a band. So, to me, to be in MEGADETH is very much… That’s where my heart feels where I should be. And I think that makes METAL ALLEGIANCE and all these other things work really well. And I get to come back to MEGADETH with some new musical experiences, which, I’d like to think, my experiences that actually helps my, sort of, musical pedigree within MEGADETH.”
METAL ALLEGIANCE is an all-star metal band consisting of a rotating cast of musicians, including members of MEGADETH, TESTAMENT and DEATH ANGEL.
METAL ALLEGIANCE’s self-titled debut album was released on September 18, 2015 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment.
MEGADETH’s new album, “Dystopia”, will be released on January 22 via Universal Music Enterprises / Tradecraft / T-Boy Records. The follow-up to 2013’s “Super Collider” was recorded last year in Nashville, Tennessee and was produced by MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. The CD was mixed by Josh Wilbur, who has previously worked with LAMB OF GOD, ALL THAT REMAINS and GOJIRA.