Greg Prato of Songfacts recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Songfacts: What would you say are the most underrated MEGADETH tunes?
David: I didn’t listen to “Youthanasia” very much until three or four years ago when I started listening to it again. And it just made me realize what a great record that is. I understand on one hand why it was kind of a departure from certainly full-throttle thrash metal, but the quality of the songs I think were probably some of the best we’ve ever recorded. And also, how tight the band was, because those were all live takes, so it showed how great the band really played together with that lineup. So, “Family Tree” and “Addicted To Chaos” are a couple that I think really stand out. Also, “Dread And The Fugitive Mind” [from “The World Needs A Hero”] is another one that even though it was the single, is a song that really just has a lot of impact to it.
Songfacts: What are your thoughts now on the bass line to “Peace Sells”, and would you say that is probably one of the most recognizable bass lines ever in rock?
David: It’s definitely one of the most recognizable. That is for sure. The reason the song stands out is the melody, for sure. But also, because it’s the tone, it’s the sound. Like, you hear [Jimi] Hendrix play, it’s not just him, but it’s the sound that they captured of him back in those days that is part of the character. When I hear a [BLACK] SABBATH tune, you instantly know it’s SABBATH, because you are so familiar with the recording. And I think “Peace Sells” is that thing. It’s the bassline, but also, our ear is trained now to hear that recording that we captured in 1986, when we put that down to tape. I think it really speaks to that line being used on MTV for all those years [as part of the theme for MTV News]. It was something that was almost subliminally piped into everybody’s house for 10 years, and it’s amazing what an effect it has on people. And also, it’s just a really cool song. And it’s a really tricky bass line. When people tell me that they just learned how to play the bass and this is the first line they’re trying to learn, I’m like, “You might want to learn something a little bit easier.” That’s a very tricky song to play.
Read the entire interview at Songfacts.