Megadeth’s David Ellefson opens up on Dave Mustaine’s cancer diagnosis


Yesterday, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine revealed he had been diagnosed with throat cancer.

Musicians and fans flooded social media with messages of support for the vocalist and guitarist, including his bandmate David Ellefson who said on Twitter: “Praying for my friend Dave Mustaine for a full and speedy recovery!”

The bassist has now given an interview to The Classic Metal Show, where he speaks about Mustaine's condition.

He says: “We were bracing for the bomb today, knowing that we had to get an announcement out. Thoughts and prayers are always welcome. Dave has started his treatment. We've been in Nashville for the last month and a half working on the album, so we were watching this all unfold before us. 

“Dave has begun treatment, so things are moving forward. It just became a reality where it was, like, 'Look, in order to do this treatment properly, follow the doctor’s orders, Dave can't be undergoing treatment for cancer and be out playing big rock concerts.'

“So we had to say, ‘We've got to just stop. We've got to clear the decks and put this as the number one priority,’ which is what the announcement was – just addressing it and giving everybody a heads up that some shows are going to have to go away until this all gets worked out.”

Ellefson adds: “Dave and I have been through our share of the shitshow: Ups and downs, drug addictions, breakups and makeups and everything else in between. This is another one.

We're optimistic about the treatments and the success rate is usually pretty good on this one

David Ellefson

“We're optimistic about the treatments and the success rate is usually pretty good on this one, so I think there's a lot of optimism at the end of this whole thing.”

In light of the cancer diagnosis, Megadeth have scrapped most of their 2019 touring plans with the exception of their Megacruise which is still going ahead.

Ellefson explains: “Other cases have shown that throat cancer is treatable. It’s at a place where it’s certainly, I don't think, beyond a point of repair.

"That's why I think shutting down right now – at least the touring side of it – is good, because I think if we tried to continue to go out and force Dave to sing and perform, that may not have such a good outcome.”

He adds: “Dave’s a warrior, he's a fighter, and he’s got pretty good sensibilities about when to hit the gas and when to hit the brake. So it's what it needs to be right at this exact time.”

Mustaine's daughter Electra has also reacted to the news on Twitter, paying tribute to her father, saying: "I would do and give anything for this man. Dad, I love you so so much. 

"You‘ve taught me what love should look like, taught me reliability, perseverance, commitment and mostly, strength. On days when you can’t, I will give you mine."

In his announcement yesterday, Mustaine said he would continue to work with his Megadeth bandmates on their new studio album during his treatment and added: “I’m so thankful for my whole team – family, doctors, band members, trainers, and more. I’ll keep everyone posted. See you soon.”

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.