DAVID ELLEFSON: “When I came back to MEGADETH in 2010, I saved their fucking ass”
In a new interview with Sense Music Media, David Ellefson once again opened up about his dismissal from MEGADETH more than two years ago, just days after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving the bassist were posted on Twitter. Asked which other musicians were particularly supportive of him the months immediately following his firing from MEGADETH, Ellefson said: “Well, first of all, pretty much everybody. Because it was a bullshit situation. Twiggy from MARILYN MANSON… (Laughs) A whole bunch of people who I’d been friends with. Nergal (of BEHEMOTH) has become a friend. And I know he publicly spoke out in my defense and was very supportive to me. And I didn’t even know him. I was a fan of his band. I just met him recently here when we were in Poland with my new band DIETH, and now I’ve become definitely friends with him. He’s a real mensch; he’s a standup guy; he’s not afraid to speak up and step up. And I think that says a lot about someone’s character.”
David continued: “I read something really great. Jason Flom, who is from Lava Records. He signed a bunch of great stuff — TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. Just a great guy. He put up something the other day. He said, ‘I’d rather be excluded for who I included than to be included because of who I excluded.’ And I thought, ‘Man, that says it all.’
“What I found out is the people who distanced themselves from me are the ones who were guilty of shit way worse than anything I fucking did. Let me tell you that right now. And that’s where some friends came alongside me and said, ‘Man, I had something similar happen. And when my band or my boss or my people distanced from me, it’s, like, the mirror popped up’ of, like, ‘Oh, shit’ — they saw themselves in the mirror. Which is why I set out immediately to settle the score — meaning, to say, ‘Fuck you. How dare you do this to me, or anybody?’ Of course, everybody immediately, ’cause everybody’s trying to protect their reputation and their public image and all that… I mean, I understand — I understand on one level the embarrassment or whatever of, like, ‘Oh my gosh. What is this?’ But it’s, like, man, I think sometimes in situations that we’ve been in the longest, we find out we really aren’t that close after all, at the end of the day.
“I knew that when I came back to MEGADETH in 2010, I saved their fucking ass, because there was no one else who was gonna be playing ‘Rust In Peace’ in its entirety on that tour, and it was a perfect setup for that,” Ellefson added. “And, you know, look, after 11, almost 12 years there, if that journey’s over, well, move on. And I didn’t sit around and lick my wounds and cry. I’m not making a career now of throwing rocks at them. It’s, like, why? Just fucking move on, man. So I had a lot of really wonderful supporters — like I said, pretty much everybody. And look, I think the other reality of it is a lot of people kind of went, ‘Oh, shit. That could happen to any of us,’ some related thing like that, the sort of celebrity shaming and all this kind of shit. Look, you live, you learn, you move on.
“Look, I’m only famous ’cause I’m a musician. (Laughs) And I always say, ‘Be famous for what you do. Don’t just do things to go be famous.’ I’m not a social media influencer and all this kind of bullshit. I play songs — songs that, fortunately, a lot of people like. So that’s why I ever got any notoriety in the first place, and, honestly, that’s what I’d rather be known for, is doing that. So that’s the thing that I’ve kept doing.”
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.