David Ellefson: ‘I Had to Give Up Some Ownership’ in Megadeth
Legendary Megadeth bassist David Ellefson will release his second memoir this year, More Life With Deth. In the book, Ellefson reveals he didn’t return to Megadeth in 2004 because he would no longer be an equal, owning partner in the band. Fifteen years later, Ellefson writes he’s still technically a hired gun.
Ellefson’s playing has always been one of the definitive attributes of Megadeth’s catalogue. The bassist is also a founding member of Megadeth, and thus, was an equal owner in the band until Megadeth’s 2002 disbandment and 2004 revival. Now, he's the highest-paid salaried band member.
"From the beginning, I was always an equal owner. When Dave broke the group up in 2002, we left our business matters intact. When we reformed in 2004; our disagreements were very much about participation in ownership of the group,” Ellefson told Metal-Rules.com. “Relationships are not static. People have these views of bands; I know I do as well, that when I get into a band, we will be a family, a team and a gang. That is definitely true as a group of musicians in a community. But you find that every band is its own business with personalities and hierarchies in collaborations and contributions. It is different inside each one of them.”
He continued, “I’m not going to lie; going from being a co-founding owner to just a sideman musician was initially why I didn’t come back in 2004. I was not happy with the participations that were presented to me. In recent times, coming back, I found great joy in doing music with a lot of other people in other settings that helped me fall back in love with playing music. Now I can come back into or go into musical situations and be able to be there for a purpose and level of pay. Being a sideman absolves you from being involved in all the other stuff. At this point in my life I would rather leave that stuff on the sidelines. Like American Express says, ‘Membership Has Its Privileges,’ being a sideman has its benefits. In my case, it helps retain a friendship too. In order to have a friendship, I had to give up some ownership.”
Ellefson also shared Megadeth are “deep into pre-production” for their follow-up to 2016’s Dystopia.
More Life With Deth will be released July 16 via Jawbone Press. Megadeth will play a handful of North American shows in 2019, with a short tour of Brazil also booked.
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