MEGADETH's ELLEFSON Discusses Ill-Fated Baltimore Show, Explains 'Holy Wars Reprise'

10:26 AM / Posted by metallic sucker and moslem militan /

Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of Metal Assault conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson on March 31 2010 at The Palladium in Hollywood, California. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metal Assault: How would you sum up your eight years away from the band?

David: For me it was scary. At least initially it was, because I had grown up for almost 20 years in MEGADETH. It became my identity, it became how I played, how I wrote songs, how I viewed the world, how I lived, how I paid my bills. I mean, it was everything, you know. (laughs) One day that was over. First thing I did was I moved forward creatively. I did a lot of writing and some co-writing. I actually did some writing with a Roadrunner act called DRY KILL LOGIC. That really kind of got me going and opened my eyes to how guys were writing songs, different tunings and guys who grew up influenced by MEGADETH, how they went out writing their songs with some different stuff like a lot of drop tunings and all that. That led to me forming F5 and playing in TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY and all these other groups that I did, which were great and I'm glad I did those because they were really the experiences I needed to have, just as a person, musician and songwriter. It was cool to have those. By nature I ended up being the leader of the bands because I usually had the most experience. So all those experiences made me a much better musician to come back into MEGADETH. So that's the good thing that happened from that.

Metal Assault: You had sound problems in Baltimore but made up for it the night after. I really can't think of any other band that would have done this. Once you knew that the venue was available, how hard or easy was it to convince everyone to be on board and come through with it?

David: Yeah, that! (laughs) The only person that travelled on was the lighting guy who travelled up with TESTAMENT up to Scranton. So we just used an alternate guy. But all our other crew were there. They were sick; they were tired. They were really looking forward to a day off. But it was just something we felt we had to do. We went out and almost did the show. Then we had to stop because we had to change over all the sound equipment. Then we went out and did the first three songs of the set. Then we had to basically cancel the show because it was just not working. So we figured, people got to see TESTAMENT and EXODUS so they kind of got their money's worth with that but they didn't get their money's worth seeing the "Rust In Peace" set. So, at least from our side of it, that was the thing that people coming for the MEGADETH show had paid to see. We felt we owed that to them. Even though the sound problems were not of our doing quite honestly (laughs), but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter whose fault it is. The responsibility does lie with us as the band. Miraculously the venue was available, we had a day off and it was cool. It was kind of a good bonding session for me, Dave [Mustaine], Chris [Broderick] and Shawn [Drover]. To have that kind of an issue happen, it brought us together as a band. It brought us together as a whole touring entourage, me being pretty new in the fold. That was cool. So sometimes things happen for reasons you don't always know. It's almost like the good lord was shutting the PA off (laughs). That's what happens when you are in a band and you're on the road together. You have brotherhood bonding experiences and you usually grow through the difficult times. It's not when you are triumphant and victorious. Those are usually the outcomes of having to go through a bunch of hardships.

Metal Assault: On this tour, you've been ending the shows with a reprise version of "Holy Wars", while you still play it in the set before that. What is the reason for that?

David: It's kind of an old showbiz trick. We've done it with "Peace Sells" over the years too. Sometimes we start with a song, play the first part and then transition into a couple of other songs and then end with the back part. So the "Holy Wars" reprise is just cool. It sort of ties the end of the show with the main reason people are here, which is to see the "Rust In Peace" set. Dave does his band member introduction over the bass and drum thing that we do. We've changed some of the set a lot. We've changed some of the early songs and some of the last tunes. Then we kind of tweak our encore a little bit. We want to give the people a show. It's more than just us standing there and playing songs. We want people to be entertained and want them to have fun. So the meat and potatoes was the "Rust In Peace" set but the other part too in which we definitely played some of the old classics as well.

Metal Assault: You interviewed the original METALLICA bassist Ron McGovney last week. How did that go and what did you guys essentially talk about?

David: First of all, Ron and me are bass players. So by nature, we get along. Bass players are like that. Guitar players are like gunslingers. They fire at each other every once in a while, but bass players get along well (laughs). I've known him for many years, throughout our travels and everything. So it was cool to sit down and talk to him. I know of course a lot of the METALLICA history. He and Dave were in the band for such a short period of time but there really is a great connection. It was during the formative years of that band. So it was cool to talk to him and find out that he had a long friendship with James Hetfield before METALLICA, which I wasn't aware of. There is some great stuff and I learnt a lot talking to him, it is very cool. Stay tuned to Megadeth Radio for that!

Read the entire interview from Metal Assault.

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