Bassist David Ellefson (MEGADETH, METAL ALLEGIANCE) recently spoke with PureGrainAudio about “Get It Out”, the debut album by ALTITUDES & ATTITUDE, his side project with ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the “rock” direction of the music of ALTITUDES & ATTITUDE:
David: “I call it ‘modern classic,’ because you can definitely hear our influences in there, [but] it definitely sounds modern. It’s definitely not a thrash metal band, and there’s even these throwbacks to Joe Jackson, THE CLASH, the RAMONES — other things that Frank and I had inside of us, and that’s why we called [the new album] ‘Get It Out’.”
On the idea for ALTITUDES & ATTITUDE stemming from bass clinics the two did together:
David: “We had done probably a half a dozen, if that. I remember specifically where we were – we were in London, before we played at Knebworth, and I leaned over to Frank and I said, ‘Dude, we should really write some songs.’ We [had] some backing tracks that we could play to in a clinic fashion rather than just only having to go to the MEGADETH and ANTHRAX catalog. When you do a clinic, you play to your strengths. Everybody knows us from MEGADETH and ANTHRAX. Clearly, they want to hear us digging into that material, for sure. At the same time, Frank and I are both astute writers, [and] we’re very capable players. There [were] two jazz musicians who are friends of mine — Steve Bailey and Victor Wooten. Back in the late ’80s/early ’90s, they began doing something very similar called BASS EXTREMES. I saw the same concept with me and Frank — I was like, ‘How cool would it be for the two of us in our spare time — what little of that there is — to develop this into something more than just a bass clinic?’… What was cool about it was that we are both artists on this one, and we’re both musicians for each other, and we’re also both collaborators, so there’s kind of this triangle that we get to have of roles between the two of us.”
On the process of recording “Get It Out”:
David: “Frank was coming through Phoenix on the ‘Among The Living’ anniversary tour. That’s when I went down, picked him up, he came over to my house, we sat around and tightened up ‘Tell The World’, ‘Booze & Cigarettes’ and ‘Here Again’. We took those in the studio, recorded them and we realized, ‘Wow, this is just effortless. So much fun — there’s such wide variety of material, yet it all sounds cohesive.’ It came together really seamlessly and pretty effortlessly. That inspired us to continue to get together. I think the remaining tracks for the LP were compiled over the course of about four more sessions. I would always bring in at least three songs. Four of those were probably at [producer] Jay Ruston‘s studio out in L.A., and we also did one other session at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They brought us into do a songwriting session, and we actually composed — there’s a version of [THE CLASH‘s] ‘London Calling’ that we did, that we still have tucked aside as a B-side/bonus track somewhere.”
On the project’s future:
David: “We have this little window. Obviously, Frank‘s busy with ANTHRAX, [and] MEGADETH is working on a new album, and then we’ve got a big summer ahead of us as well. We just really were selective in finding this little season here that we could put this record out [and] go out and support it live, both in the U.S. as well as over in Europe. Our goal here is to fire it off and shoot it up into the sky as high as we can put it up there, and now that it’s going to be out there, then from there, as time may permit, we can find other little windows where we can go out and do things with it.”
On whether he learned anything new about Bello while making the album:
David: “I didn’t really know his life story. I’d always see Frank over the years — he was the happy-go-lucky, smiling, big hugs. I just knew him as happy Frank. I realized in doing this record that there’s a lot of heartbreak, sorrow and sad times in Frank‘s life, and I think that’s what really came out on this record through his lyrics, through his storytelling, through his songs. By our age, no one’s had a perfect life. There’s good times, bad times and everything in between, and I think this album really encompasses that for both of us through the lyrics — especially a lot of Frank‘s personal stories that he shared with us.”
“Get It Out” was released on January 18 via Megaforce. The follow-up to ALTITUDES & ATTITUDE‘s 2014 self-titled EP was once again produced by Jay Ruston (ANTHRAX, STEEL PANTHER, STONE SOUR), with Jeff Friedl (A PERFECT CIRCLE, ASHES DIVIDE) returning behind the kit.
Boasting a deep bench of guest stars, including Ace Frehley (KISS), Gus G. (OZZY OSBOURNE, FIREWIND), Nita Strauss (ALICE COOPER), Christian Martucci (STONE SOUR) and Satchel (STEEL PANTHER), the record also represents the fulfillment of a lifelong but little-known ambition for two uniquely gifted artists.
Photo credit: Jason Shaltz