MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson joined SIN CITY SINNERS on stage on November 27 at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas, Nevada to perform classic songs from JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, AC/DC, MOTÖRHEAD and DEF LEPPARD. Fan-filmed video footage of his appearance can be seen below.
Asked who the greatest bass player in heavy metal is, Ellefson recently told Poland’s Top Guitar: “Steve Harris [IRON MAIDEN], to me, really changed the presence of bass in metal music. At my age, when I was very impressionable, this group IRON MAIDEN came out, and next thing you know, the songwriter and the guy upfront with his foot on the monitors, who was almost like the lead singer of the band, was the bass player. [And I thought], ‘Wow! This is awesome.’ And I’d been listening to RUSH, and Geddy [Lee], of course, had a huge impact on me. Of course, Gene Simmons [KISS] before that. And Gene’s a great bass player, man. He writes cool stuff, his bass lines are awesome and he breathes fire and spits blood while he does it. [Laughs] And, of course, Geezer Butler [BLACK SABBATH] and Bob Daisley, who played on those Ozzy [Osbourne] records and wrote a lot of that stuff. I like songwriter bass players; it’s kind of a trend I’ve noticed. You know, Phil Lynott, Sting, Paul McCartney… on the more mainstream side of it. You know, there’s something about guys that write that are… There’s something different about how they weave themselves into the songs.”
Regarding what the most important thing is when you want to play heavy metal on bass, Ellefson said: “Well, there’s two sides of it. Probably the most difficult part is to get a sound in a band, because guitars are really big, they’re really loud; drums now have gotten very big and powerful, starting probably with some of the early IRON MAIDEN records and then certainly once we got into Vinnie Paul and a lot of that PANTERA production. Man, the drums just got huge, you know. And so getting a sound that works is a big part of it; it’s as much a part of it as it is the notes you play, because metal, you’re really creating a big sound. It isn’t just, ‘Here’s the notes,’ or, ‘Here’s the melody,’ it’s really a unique thing.”
He continued: “I ended up using a pick for most of my career, just because it helps me get that sound, and it’s really a part of it. People come by and go, ‘Man, dude, no one does that.’ And I realized that that’s kind of what I’ve grown up doing and I’ve developed my own thing. That’s why I always like it when I see Kyle Sanders, for instance, from HELLYEAH playing with great finger playing and great tone. And he knows all the old KISS songs that we all know, yet he does his thing, which is very new, and he’s got a fresh outlook on it. And the guys in MESHUGGAH, all these guys really get these really big, cool bass sounds. They have a real presence in the band. To me, I think that’s a part of it — to really have a presence in the mix.”
MEGADETH’s 15th studio album, “Dystopia”, will be released on January 22, 2016 via Universal Music Enterprises / Tradecraft / T-Boy Records.