“The fans, the performances, the shows”: David Ellefson reveals what he misses about being in Megadeth

David Ellefson sat down holding a bass guitar
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

David Ellefson has revealed what he misses about playing bass in Megadeth.

The 59-year-old co-founded the band with singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine in 1984, touring and recording with them until their split in 2002. Ellefson then rejoined a reunited Megadeth in 2010, before being dismissed 11 years later amid a sex scandal.

In a new interview with The Metal Voice, Ellefson has explained that he misses “the fans, the performances [and] the shows” from his two tenures in the thrash metal veterans.

“I'm a road warrior, man,” he said (as transcribed by Blabbermouth).

“I'm a wanderlust guy. My fortune in life is out there, not just sitting at home. I've tried that, and I get bored after about a month. I'm a shitty golfer and I can't surf worth a damn, so I may as well stay on the road and play.”

Ellefson added that he enjoyed experiencing the growth of Megadeth, from an underground band in California to global arena players.

“Look, of course, there's things about that and the big gig and everything, but Megadeth was not always a big gig. We started where everybody else starts; it was small gigs. So I've known it from the bottom to the top and everything in between.”

Ellefson also stated that he’s “super happy and very content with everything [he’s] doing now”.

Since his Megadeth exit, the bassist has performed with death metal band Dieth, hard rockers The Lucid and thrash metal supergroup Kings Of Thrash, among others.

“I always say I'm making music I like with people I like,” he explained. “To me, now, at my age, at this point, I've already got the Grammy [Award For Best Metal Performance, won in 2017 for Dystopia], I'm good. Those are the things that are more important to me now at this point in my life, is enjoying what I do and who I do it with.”

Ellefson was let go from Megadeth in May 2021, days after footage of him on an intimate call with a fan was leaked online.

After the leak but before his firing, Ellefson denied that the fan in question was “groomed”. The fan also publicly denied social media rumours that they were underage, and admitted to recording Ellefson without his knowledge.

Ellefson told Arizona Republic in a statement: “The actions in the video were between two consenting adults and were recorded without my knowledge. I am working with Scottsdale Police Department in their investigation into charges regarding revenge pornography to be filed against the person who posted this video.”

The bassist reflected on the scandal and his Megadeth dismissal in an interview with Metal Hammer last month.

“There’s two sides to it,” he said. “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.”

Of his firing, Ellefson added: “Dave [Mustaine], his manager and his lawyer [called me after the scandal]. 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 will tour Europe with Dieth in summer 2024. Dates and tickets are available on the band’s website.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.