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In a new interview with Loudwire, MEGADETH‘s Dave Mustaine said that the plan is still for the band’s sixteenth studio album, “The Sick, The Dying And The Dead”, to be released this summer. “I sure hope so,” he said: “I think it’s July 8th. I think that was the latest we heard for a release date. I think it could possibly be scooted forward a little bit, but I think that would actually be worse than if it stayed where it was at. You need every little bit of time to let people get everything all set up with all this COVID shit. It’s been really difficult to ship anything, let alone records.”

Regarding the musical direction of the new MEGADETH material and how the recent return of bassist James LoMenzo has affected the band’s sound, Mustaine said: “I like to push things as far as I can right because of the — not only the ability but the excitement level that Dirk [Verbeuren, drums] and Kiko [Loureiro, guitar] have with their playing ability right now. Our guest bassist that we had [on the new album]” — rumored to be Steve DiGiorgio (TESTAMENTDEATHSADUS) — “he was a fantastic player. And having James be part of the band again… I remember there were so many, many wonderful nights playing with him. So when the situation kind of revealed itself that we needed to make a change, James was pretty much the obvious choice.”

Two months ago, Mustaine confirmed that LoMenzo will play bass for MEGADETH when the band returns to the road in April for the second U.S. leg of “The Metal Tour Of The Year”. Joining them will be co-headliners LAMB OF GOD along with special guests TRIVIUM and IN FLAMES.

LoMenzo joined MEGADETH in 2006 and appeared on two of the group’s studio albums, 2007’s “United Abominations” and 2009’s “Endgame”. He was fired from the band in 2010 and replaced with returning original MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson.

In addition to MEGADETHLoMenzo has played with Ozzy OsbourneZakk Wylde and WHITE LION. For the past nine years, LoMenzo has been performing with iconic rocker John Fogerty.

LoMenzo played his first show with MEGADETH in nearly 12 years last August in Austin, Texas. The concert took place three months following Ellefson‘s dismissal from MEGADETH after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving him were posted on Twitter.

Asked in an interview with Melodic.net what it has been like for him to play with MEGADETH on “The Metal Tour Of The Year” last summer after such a long absence from the band, James said: “Well, I’m really having the best time. Dave‘s [Mustaine] been really welcoming and supportive, and the band as a whole is just fantastic. It’s a real powerhouse. Dirk is a dream drummer for this type of music, and Kiko‘s just so musically deep. Dave‘s playing as good or better than ever and now that he’s on those Gibson guitars, his sound is so much more gut punching then I remember it.”

Regarding how he ended up returning to MEGADETHJames said: “Dave‘s management reached out at first to see if I’d even be available, which I really wasn’t, but after a call with Dave, I realized how important for MEGADETH and even for myself this would be. Time was ticking, so I knew it would be a crunch, but having been here once before the re-learning curve was a tad less steep. I made some arrangements with the Fogerty camp, and they were gracious enough to allow me a leave to do this.”

Mustaine has yet to reveal who played bass on MEGADETH‘s new album after Ellefson‘s tracks were removed from the LP following his exit from the group.

Ellefson laid down his bass tracks on MEGADETH‘s sixteenth LP in May 2020 at a studio in Nashville, Tennessee.

In July 2021, Mustaine announced during an episode of his Gimme Radio program “The Dave Mustaine Show” that Ellefson‘s bass tracks would not be used on the new MEGADETH album.

In early May 2021, Ellefson released a statement on Instagram denying all social media chatter that he “groomed” an underage fan.

On May 24, 2021, Mustaine — who formed MEGADETH with Ellefson in 1983 — announced the bassist’s departure from the band.

Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the group’s inception in 1983 to 2002, and again from 2010 until his latest exit.

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