DAVID ELLEFSON: “I've watched the quality of MEGADETH diminish over the last five years”
Feels Mustaine is intimidated by the music Ellefson is making with other projects
In a new interview with Andrew Daly of Metal Edge magazine, former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson spoke about the way he was fired by Dave Mustaine in May 2021, just days after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving the bassist were posted on Twitter. He said: “I think it was unnecessary. And it was undoubtedly done with spite and bitterness, which I did not deserve. Considering all that I’ve done for MEGADETH and all that I’ve tolerated over the years, I’d say the whole thing was uncalled for. And it certainly was not what we discussed regarding how the transition would happen. What went down came blindly out of nowhere. So, I basically had the option to take it or retaliate, which I was given free license to do. My team said, ‘Hey, if you want to go at this guy, go for it. We’ve never seen something so unethical on every level. Do what you need to do.’ But I said, ‘No. I’ll just sit back, let it sort itself out, and let the music do the talking.'”
Asked if he feels Mustaine is intimidated by the music Ellefson is making with other projects, such as DIETH and KINGS OF THRASH, David said: “I do. I also think he hates the idea of me succeeding outside that arena. Because now, I get to be the one who helps create the music, make the decisions, and basically, be in charge. It wasn’t that way in MEGADETH, which I think many people know by now. But people love that band because of the music we created together. Those songs will stand forever despite all the stuff that happened behind the scene. So, when all that went down, I just said, ‘We have a great legacy, but it’s over now. Do you want to have a shootout or let the music speak for itself?’ I chose to let the music I make speak for itself. And I think it speaks volumes. I’m pretty convinced that the stuff I’ve put out since leaving MEGADETH is as good or better than anything they’ve done.”
Ellefson added “the intimidation factor” is why Dave has continued to take shots at him and fellow KINGS OF THRASH member Jeff Young through the media. “It’s 100% why that’s been happening,” Ellefson said. “I’ve watched the quality of MEGADETH diminish over the last five years, which was very frustrating. I’d bring ideas to the table and try to help the situation, but those ideas would be either shut down or removed after the fact. It was very aggressive and frustrating to be intentionally diminished or removed from the process. So, I said, ‘Okay, I see what’s going on here.’ An old saying goes, ‘Kids that don’t share their toys don’t have friends.’ So, I just said, ‘I’ll take my toys and play with someone else.’ This is simple shit you learn in kindergarten, but not so much in that band.”
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.