DAVID ELLEFSON – Being a professionist means you are ready all the time….not just part time!

by Loris Clerico

Italian version

A career full of successes with Megadeth wasn’t enough, and so David Ellefson, bassist and co-founder of Megadeth, started a new project and baptized it with two different tours: “Basstory Tour” and “More Life With Deth” (2019), with a concert at Legend Club in Milan. During this unusual year Mr. Ellefson published a new album, entitled “No Cover”, and you can find our review about it at this link. We had the privilege to interview David. Are you ready to have a trip in Ellefson’s tir?

Hi, David! Welcolme on Metalpit! How are you? How’s going in U.S.A. about Coronavirus?

Hello! Things are pretty wacky everywhere with this pandemic, but I’m staying active with new music as a way to stay positive and focused on the good in life.

Let’s talk about this new “No Cover“, how was it recorded? Were you all separated due to the pandemic?

Yes, this record was recorded remotely. With Covid among us we had no choice but to do it this way, but honestly, it really worked out well! Everyone had access to some sort of remote recording studio and they are all top level professionals so it was really quite seamless. Imagine 20 years ago, this would not have been possible. We’ve come a long way and it’s ironic that in this year of 2020 we were actually quite prepared to digitally make a record like this despite the challenges of Covid.

I saw that you chose to have so many guests, why this decision?

We first began by choosing the songs, because the Ellefson band is made up of me, Thom Hazaert, Andy Martongelli, Bumblefoot and Paolo Caridi. Then, as the songs started to take shape, we considered calling in our friends to join us, as they were also off tour and itching for some musical interaction as well. From there, we began to really have a lot of fun with our friends all joining in to be part of this monumental recording.
In a way, I feel like we all joined together to create something really powerful and exciting for our fans, during a time which was otherwise quite scary and with a lot of uncertainty all around the world with Covid. I’m proud of the work we all did together and even more proud of us a community to pull together for the betterment of us all. I feel like now at the end of the year, we have something of a victory lap for rock n roll with this record….it’s become of Christmas present to the world!

Will you do a tour with some of the guests featured on the record?

I think now we have the platform to invite guests onstage whenever they may be available. Clearly, there won’t be much touring until later in 2021, and if our guests are available to join us I’d love to make more music with them all.

Let’s talk about the tour in support of “Sleeping Giants”, did you have done many dates around the world? Were you satisfied with the final result?

Yes, the SG LP was really meant as a sort of companion album to my latest memoir “More Life With Deth”, which I wrote with my singer/business partner Thom Hazaert. It was originally intended to drop right at the end of the Ozzy/Megadeth USA tour last summer in 2019. But with that tour being cancelled, and then Dave’s throat cancer treatments following that, the SG album turned out to be a fortuitous moment for me to strike up a solo endeavour in the off time. We took that around the USA all summer, then onto the Mega Cruise in October, 2019, and then in November over to the UK (with a show at KK’s Steel Mill) and a full tour of Italy and part of Switzerland. After that, I did a solo Basstory tour of Latin America, too. So, yes it turned out to be a full world solo tour!

What are the positive and negative changes that the music market has brought in the last 20 years in your opinion?

The biggest of course is the music distribution via the Internet. While many of my age group fought it, the younger generations were totally on board because it was new and tech savvy. With Megadeth, we embraced the transition immediately back in the early 1990s. In fact, Capitol Records built for us the very first band website ever to launch the “Youthanasia” record back in 1994. That site was called “Megadeth Arizona”. From there, we secured the name www.megadeth.com and constructed our own site which is still active to this day.
And for me personally, I’ve also embraced social media and is a major driver for all the Ellefson enterprises of the record label, coffee company, Ellefson Films and now The Ellefson Book Company. It remains a faithful connection to the fans for my own music career, too.

Which young band would you recommend for heavy metal lovers to discover?

I love this group Frozen Crown out of Italy. They have a great guitar team, female vocalist and a clean sound. I like that genre of power metal.

How do you see the future of music? I’m talking about a genre like thrash metal

It’s always there and being driven by the younger musicians and fans of the genre. I’d say as one of the Big 4, we created it and now it’s fun to see the younger artists develop it further as it appeals to their tastes and influences.

Besides music, what are your hobbies and passions?

Well, I’m always busy with the Ellefson Coffee Co., writing new fictional novels and building out The Ellefson Book Company. But outside of music, I love to read, bake, bike ride, golf & go to the beach with my kids and I always tend to physical fitness. It all makes for a well-rounded life.

How do you deal with difficult moments in your life, both personally and professionally?

Professionally, I like to be prepared for things. I practice when I know I’m going to be recording. I spend time with my craft on a regular basis so I’m never really out of practice. Same for touring: I stay in good physical shape and reman prepared anytime I might be asked to participate in something. To me, it’s about being prepared, and that makes the performance much less stressful and more enjoyable. Being a professionist means you are ready all the time….not just part time!
Personally, I was fortunate to have gotten cleaned up off drugs and booze over 30 years ago and the recovery process from that has given me some incredible tools which I lean on for the good times and the struggles, too. Life is not perfect, so to me it’s more about my reactions to the cards life hands me. Again, using the tools all the time keeps me prepared for all of life, which is much more helpful than never using the tools and then struggling to find them when things go off the rails. Life seems to stay on the rails much better when I’m engaged with the spiritual/physical/mental well-being every day.

This is the last part of the interview, write what you would to our Italian readers, and thank you for your time.

Thank you for your faithful support to me over all the years and now my new Ellefson endeavours, too. I’m proud that several of my band members and production team are from Italy, one of my absolute favorite countries in the world! Grazie!

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