David Ellefson reveals why Megadeth's Killing Is My Business... is so fast - and it involves Metallica

Megadeth in the 80s
(Image credit: Chris Walter/WireImage)

Former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson has made an interesting claim about why the thrash legends' debut album, 1985's Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good!, ended up being the frenetic, fast-paced thrash classic we all know and love today. Funnily enough (although, perhaps to the surprise of no one given frontman Dave Mustaine's attitude towards his former band at the time), the story involves Metallica.

"It’s widely known that the KIMB album is one of the fastest thrash albums ever to descend upon mankind," Ellefson writes on his website. "However, rapid fire tempos in the band was not always the case. When we formed the group and first batch of songs were being composed in mid to late 1983, the tempos were much, much slower. In fact, almost at a Black Sabbath tempo. I recall The Skull Beneath The Skin being almost half the tempo as it was finally recorded, which gave it this monstrous groove and weight. The same was true with Chosen Ones which allowed me to play the bass lines with my fingers in a more Geezer-esque manner."

"However," he continues, "one day a fan letter showed up to our mailbox addressed to Dave which pleaded, 'I hope your new band is faster than Metallica' and BOOM that was it…game over! That night at rehearsal, all the tempos were increased dramatically (20-40 beats per minute minimum!) and thus the KIMB LP represents a true turning point in the trajectory of speed being the primary calling card of cool factor with the founding fathers of the thrash genre. EXODUS was already fast as hell and once Kerry King had seen them live, SLAYER would follow suit."

Ellefson, who was fired from Megadeth last year following a sex scandal involving a fan, recently revealed that his thrash supergroup Kings Of Thrash, featuring fellow ex-Megadeth members Jeff Young and Chris Poland, will be hitting the road to play Megadeth classics Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good! and 1988's So Far, So Good... So What! in full.

Kings Of Thrash Mega Years tour dates

Oct 12: San Diego Brick by Brick, CA
Oct 13: Phoenix Crescent Ballroom, AZ
Oct 14: Las Vegas The Space, NV
Oct 15: West Hollywood Whisky a Go Go, CA

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.