"When you bare it all, you’ve got nothing to hide." David Ellefson on the sex scandal that got him fired from Megadeth

David Ellefson and Dave Mustaine together in 2017
(Image credit: Harmony Gerber via Getty Images)

Former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson has opened up on the sex scandal that cost him his job with the thrash metal legends in 2021. Speaking exclusively to Metal Hammer, the veteran musician takes a somewhat philosophical view of the ordeal, stating that while it has caused he and his family great personal pain, he has been able to find some positives to take with him moving forward.

“There’s two sides to it," he explains. "One: when you bare it all, you’ve got nothing to hide. Fuck it, now you can truly be yourself! We all come into the world with our birthday suit on, so what are we ashamed of? What I feel the worst about is the embarrassment that it caused some people, like my family, who didn’t deserve it. Out of respect for them, I’m going to keep the family dynamic off the table [during interviews]. That’s at their request.”

Ellefson goes on to claim that Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine was unwilling to let the scandal play out and potentially leave an opportunity for Ellefson to return to the band down the road.

"Dave, his manager and his lawyer [called me after the scandal]," he tells Hammer. "There was a sentiment from one of them saying, ‘Let’s step back, let Ellefson deal with it. It leaves the door open for him to come back.’ Dave didn’t want that. He made his decision and it is what it is."

Ellefson's career has continued post-Megadeth, with a number of new projects emerging since including hard rock supergroup The Lucid and death metal collective Dieth.

“I knew my playing days weren’t over," Ellefson continues. "Six months post-Megadeth, in January 2022, I got an email from Guilherme [Miranda, ex-Entombed AD guitarist] about this Dieth thing. I said, ‘Send me a song.’ I played bass on it. In Megadeth, because Dave and I played together so long, we could finish each other’s sentences. With this, it was so random! It was dark and bizarre and caught my attention!”

You can read more from David Ellefson's exclusive interview with Metal Hammer in their upcoming new issue, out this Thursday, January 4.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.