Clint Switzer of the “Music Mania” podcast recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the inaugural MegaCruise, which will set sail this October:
David: “I think it’s all about community. That’s what rock and roll has always been about. I think successful bands, that’s what they are — they’re about community and they bring people together and the cruise is just that. It’s ‘thrashing the high seas.’ There’s a lot of other great cruises out there — I’ve been on them myself, but this one is tailored just for thrash metal.”
On the progress of MEGADETH‘s next studio album, which is tentatively due either in late 2019 or early 2020 and whether it will be heavier than 2016’s “Dystopia”:
David: “‘Dystopia’ was really correcting and redirecting the course of the mighty MEGADETH. Career bands like us, and I look at JUDAS PRIEST who put out a similar record, ‘Firepower’, one of the best records they’ve put out in a long time, and that’s just me as a fan speaking about that. When bands — we always call it a ‘return to form,’ and I don’t know if that’s what it is. You’ll never go back. We’ll never make another ‘Peace Sells… [But Who’s Buying?]’ or another ‘Rust In Peace’. You can’t go back in time. We were a certain age. There were certain events in the world we were writing about. There were certain events internally we were writing about. You always move forward and you try to when you’re moving forward, really try to capture not only the authenticity of what you’re writing about, but then when you put the album together, you want it to be something you can stand back and go, ‘We feel good about this. This is something our fans are going to be excited about.’ I’ve always used the benchmark of when we like it, the fans usually like it because we ourselves are fans.”
On being the main support act during Ozzy Osbourne‘s “No More Tours 2” North American trek and his thoughts on Osbourne‘s health:
David: “We’re looking forward to the tour, but more than that, I mean, let’s all pray and root and pull for Ozzy. He’s a hero of ours. He’s changed all of our lives. Those first couple of albums in particular, and even ‘Speak Of The Devil’ for me, those three albums were game-changers for me as a teenager growing up. Look, whether he can tour or not, let’s pull for his health and everything that he is. He’s Ozzy, man. If he can’t tour, hey, he gave us a lot. But, with that said, yeah, let’s hope it happens. We can’t wait to get out and celebrate the tunes. MEGADETH, Ozzy, we’ve done tours with him before. We’ve toured South America with him before. We did Ozzfest ’98. Again, more than anything, let’s just hope and pray for Ozzy‘s full recovery.”
On MEGADETH‘s current lineup, which, in addition to founding member Dave Mustaine, also includes former ANGRA guitarist Kiko Loureiro and ex-SOILWORK drummer Dirk Verbeuren:
David: “Kiko, I had an opportunity to play with Kiko in South America, like, literally, maybe two or three months before we called him to join MEGADETH. It was an all-star jam. It was me, Vinny Appice [BLACK SABBATH, DIO], Geoff Tate [QUEENSRŸCHE], Kiko and we were onstage just playing, I think we were playing ‘Neon Knights’ [BLACK SABBATH] and I think we played ‘Jet City Woman’ [QUEENSRŸCHE], cover songs. As soon as Kiko hit the stage, he was an animal. I couldn’t keep track of him; it was like ‘Where is he now?’ He’s just a maniac of a performer. A super-smooth guitar player and I just said, ‘Man, I’ve got to get this guy’s number.’ We met before. I said, ‘This is a guy I want to be friends with.’ He’s a cool guy. Lo and behold, literally two months later, I’m calling and saying, ‘Hey, do you want to join MEGADETH?’ That’s kind of the story of how musicians are, famous or not. Local musicians who are listening to this, that’s how the deal works. We had Chris Adler touring with us a bit when ‘Dystopia’ first came out. We knew he was going to be busy with LAMB OF GOD. He said, ‘If I ever needed a replacement, I’d call Dirk Verbeuren. He’s the best of the best.’ We tapped Dirk and said, ‘Hey, would you be up for the task?’ He made a lot of sacrifices to cut loose from SOILWORK and come over and be a part of MEGADETH. The thing I like about Dirk is he really understands the Gar Samuelson, early days of MEGADETH. Gar was a very peculiar drummer because he was into everything from jazz to fusion to Keith Moon of THE WHO. He really gave MEGADETH such a unique sound with his playing. He and Chris Poland [guitar], both. Especially Gar as it relates to Dirk. Dirk is able to tap into that. Nick Menza, of course, very much the celebrated drummer and, of course, we all love that era when Nick was in the band. There’s kind of these early season of MEGADETH with Gar that I just love that Dirk, he’s fascinated with it. He really studies it. That kind of is helping bring the sound of MEGADETH, it’s bringing in that period of the band that is very hard for drummers to understand and replicate that and Dirk really got a read on that.”
As previously reported, MEGADETH will release a greatest-hits album, “Warheads On Foreheads”, on March 22. The disc will feature 35 remastered tracks selected by Mustaine.
Prior to the arrival of “Warheads On Foreheads”, MEGADETH reissued two of its iconic records, 2001’s “The World Needs A Hero” and 2004’s “The System Has Failed”, through BMG on February 15.