DAVID ELLEFSON: now 'I know how Jesus felt'
In a new interview with the That Metal Interview podcast, David Ellefson once again opened up about his dismissal from MEGADETH six months ago, just days after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving the bassist were posted on Twitter.
At the time, Ellefson released a statement on Instagram denying all social media chatter that he “groomed” an underage fan. He also filed a report with the police department in Scottsdale, Arizona alleging unlawful distribution of sexually explicit images of him by unknown offenders. In the report, Ellefson admitted that he had been exchanging sexual text messages with a Dutch teenager, who captured a video of several of their virtual “masturbating encounters” without his consent and shared them with friends. (According to Ellefson, the woman was 19 at the time of their first virtual sexual encounter.) Ellefson, who lives in Scottsdale, first became aware of the video on May 9, when the claim “David Ellefson of MEGADETH is a pedophile” appeared on Instagram. Ellefson told police he was notified on May 14 by MEGADETH that the band would be parting ways with him. Three days later, he was fired.
Speaking about how he is doing half a year after news of his dismissal from MEGADETH announced, Ellefson said: “I’m okay. I just went dark. I took the time to just sort of process it all, heal up from it. I’ve obviously never had anything quite like that happen to me before. And the fact that it was happening like that was just… I couldn’t believe the level of just shittiness of humankind; I just couldn’t even believe it, man. I was, like, ‘Yeah. All right. Now I…’ Not to use a religious reference, but I guess I know how Jesus felt. Carry your cross and then kill him. Shit, we got the wrong guy. Not to make it a religious thing, but it’s just one of those things, I couldn’t even believe it. I’m not gonna lie — I deserve better than that. Which is why I got off social media and I got away from all that stuff. And I was just, like, you know what? I have poured my whole life into my craft and my work and my art and being a performer and entertainer, and no one deserves to be treated like that. That’s just absolutely uncalled for on any level.”
Asked how he felt when he found out that MEGADETH was going to remove his bass tracks from the band’s upcoming studio album following his departure from the group, Ellefson said: “I know what I recorded for the album. It’s fucking amazing. (Laughs)] And I don’t say that because it’s just me because no record is just one person; it’s a team of people that do it. That was a collective work of a few years, putting that stuff together. And especially to record with Dirk (Verbeuren, MEGADETH drummer). But you know what? At the end of the day, I am not the boss of that record, I’m not the producer of that record, I’m not in control of that record, so if they wanna take my parts off and have someone else play it, they have every right to do so. I don’t feel it was necessary, but again, I’m not in control of that record, so they made the decision that they wanted to do that. So let it be what it is.
“Obviously, I have more music in me,” he continued. “So if they don’t wanna use my parts, trust me, other people will. I’ve already got other people that I’m making music with.
“Quite honestly, at this point — and I’ve said this before; I said this even a few years ago — at this point, it’s about making music I like with people I like, and people where there’s a synergy and a commonality and we can all head in the right direction.
“Look, situations change, life changes,” Ellefson philosophized. “Sometimes our ages, our experiences and our relational abilities, they also change the music. And if that’s the end for me with MEGADETH, I’d like to think with ‘Dystopia’ and winning a Grammy and everything else, I definitely say I went out on top with MEGADETH.”
David, a Christian who launched the Mega Life Ministries worship group in 2007, studied for a year at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis nearly a decade ago.
Last month, Ellefson told SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” that there is a perception that people of faith must set a higher standard of how they live with and treat others. “It’s almost like you’re this entity that’s floating up toward the heavens: ‘Oh, he’s such a wonderful man. He’s a man of faith. He’s got his family. And then this happens.’ It’s, like, ‘What the hell is this?'” he said.
“I mean, look, admittedly I’ve sort of trained the public to think that I’m one of the more well-behaved rock stars out there, and for the most part I have been,” he continued. “But at the same time, and this isn’t to claim anything other than just, oops, shit happens. That is what it is.”
Ellefson laid down his bass tracks on MEGADETH‘s sixteenth LP in May 2020 at a studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
In July, 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 LP.
Two days after Mustaine announced Ellefson‘s latest departure from MEGADETH, the bassist released a follow-up statement in which he vowed to file a “defamation lawsuit” against the person who “illegally posted a very private video” of the bassist and made “false allegations” against him. He also said he was working with the police in Scottsdale “in their investigation into charges regarding revenge pornography to be filed against the person who posted the video. This person will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Ellefson wrote. He went on to say that he was “taking this time to be with my family” and wished his “bandmates” the best with their tour.
Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band’s inception in 1983 to 2002, and again from 2010 until his latest exit.
In July, Mustaine addressed the possibility of Ellefson returning to MEGADETH while filming a video message on Cameo, which lets users hire celebrities to record brief, personalized video messages about virtually any topic. Asked by Rock Feed if Ellefson could once again play with MEGADETH at some point down the line, Mustaine said: “Any chance on Ellefson coming back later on? The answer to that is no.”