DAVID ELLEFSON emphasises his importance in MEGADETH's success
He needed a real right-hand man who was gonna frickin' be there, and that was me.
During an appearance on “Vox&Hops”, the podcast hosted by Matt McGachy, frontman of extreme metal band CRYPTOPSY, former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson reflected on the band’s early years, particularly how he survived the days of rock and roll debauchery and Sunset Strip excess of the late 1980s and early 1990s. He said in part: “Until I moved to California, I don’t think I really ever drank or anything before I went on stage; I always played a sober, clear-headed show. And I moved to L.A. And, of course, I moved to L.A. and cocaine’s on the cover of Time magazine that year, and it’s the Sunset Strip — I mean, it’s everything. And it’s, like, look, there it is. And it’s kind of, like, man, this is everything that you saw in a movie or a magazine. You become a product of your environment; it’s there and it’s around. And not everybody was going down those roads. But we kind of seemed to hang in those circles.’
He continued: “Look, I don’t regret it at all. I wouldn’t have changed any of it, man. I got to Hollywood at the fucking perfect time, man. The week we got there was just the best. I meet Dave (Mustaine, MEGADETH leader), we start MEGADETH, and on it goes. And I kind of consider that… That was divine for both of us. He needed a real right-hand man who was gonna frickin’ be there, and that was me. And I needed someone to frickin’ pilot the jungle. He knew his shit and he grew up around the area. And I’m thankful for him every day. Despite all of it between me and Dave, I’m always thankful for him that he was the big brother that helped me get through that.”
Ellefson was fired from MEGADETH in May 2021, just days after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving the bassist were posted on Twitter.
Shortly before Ellefson was dismissed from MEGADETH, he released a statement on Instagram denying all social media chatter that he “groomed” an underage fan.
Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band’s inception in 1983 to 2002, when the group briefly broke up because Mustaine suffered severe nerve damage that left him unable to play. After Mustaine reformed MEGADETH with an all-new lineup in 2004, Ellefson sued his former bandmate for $18.5 million, alleging that Mustaine still owed him substantial merchandise and publishing royalties. In January 2005, the case was dismissed in court, and five years later, Ellefson rejoined MEGADETH.
David Ellefson has successfully completed the narration for the long-awaited Nick Menza documentary film “This Was My Life: The Story of Nick Menza”. A 30-second clip of Ellefson in the studio is now released.
Watch the 30 second clip below.
Executive producer, director and editor Holly Mollohan from the West Virginia-based Screaming Butterfly Entertainment is currently in the studio editing the film’s official trailer.
“This Was My Life: The Story of Nick Menza” will be released later this year.
Menza‘s longtime personal manager Robert Bolger stated: “Going through all of Nick‘s personal and private VHS tape collection, photos and audio files was by far the best part of making this documentary. There’s so much material I went through, listening to all the unreleased drum tracks, gathering all the footage from the live shows, backstage, on the tour bus, in the studio, fans and the interviews was an absolute amazing task piecing everything together. What amazing life Nick lived and a legacy he left behind.”
Ellefson previously stated about his involvement with the film: “The making of the Nick Menza documentary has been such a joy for all of us, like a sort of MEGA family reunion where we shared stories, laughs and even a few tears around Nick and what he meant to so many of us. I think this film and soundtrack will touch the hearts of the fans and viewers in the same way, as we remember his larger-than-life character behind the drum kit, but also his lovable charm and warmth that made him the beloved one of a treasured musical legacy.”
The Menza family previously stated: “We are excited for the fans to see the life Nick lived before, during, and after MEGADETH, it was quite the journey. Stay tuned for an epic documentary. As Nick would say, ‘It’s gonna be RAD.”
“This Was My Life” will be the first-ever film to memorialize Menza‘s legacy and celebrate his life exactly how it was. It is described in a press release as “an unflinching exploration into the life of one of the most successful thrash-metal drummers of all time, authorized by the Menza family. From his childhood all the way through to the end of his life including a true blow-by-blow account of the repeated failed attempts of the classic ‘Rust In Peace’ lineup.”
“This Was My Life” will feature rare and never-before-seen photos and video footage from Nick’s archived VHS tape collection, personally filmed by Menza himself from 1988 through 1991. Included will be exclusive content showcasing Nick working at the studio, personal home movies, casual time and party time with his fellow bandmembers, as well as other well-known artists of the era that Nick toured with.
“This Was My Life” will include interviews with the Menza family and close friends, and former MEGADETH members Chris Poland, Jeff Young, former LAMB OF GOD/MEGADETH drummer Chris Adler, former MEGADETH tour manager Skip Rickert, Nick‘s drum tech Rob Corsie, legendary rock and roll photographer Gene Kirkland, film director, late metal historian, journalist and filmmaker Bob Nalbandian, James Rota and Emily Burton of FIREBALL MINISTRY, Terri Evans, Peter Flyn, John “Gumby” Goodwin, Bert Wolf, David Randi, Rob Schaefer, Juan “Nico” Alvarez, Robertino “Pag” Pagliari, Iki Levy of Soultone cymbals, and David Corral of L.A. CALLING.
Late in the evening on May 21, 2016, Nick collapsed behind his drum kit after suffering a heart attack during a concert with Chris Poland and Robertino “Pag” Pagliari in their band OHM: at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said Menza died of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
Menza rightfully earned his place as heavy metal’s fiercest drummer during MEGADETH‘s 10-year peak at the top. The highlight of his career, Nick said, was playing Rock In Rio before more than 100,000 people. The lowest point was being fired by MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine while he was still in a hospital bed after surgery to remove what doctors feared was a cancerous growth.