David Ellefson Gives His First Interview Since Being Fired From Megadeth
David Ellefson recently appeared on Aftershocks TV along with the other members of his new band, The Lucid.
Asked if The Lucid provided him with a newfound sense of creative freedom, Ellefson responded:
“Well, look, [Megadeth is] always gonna be my legacy, just because I helped start that… So that’s a different kind of entry point. But honestly, I’ve always been free and I’ve always been exploring. I think probably the first 20 years, up until 2002, when that band officially disbanded, everything was always for that one singular cause. And then one day, unexpectedly, that ended. And I think my exploration of what does life hold next started in 2002. I didn’t wanna put another band together after that. I actually swore off bands. [Laughs] I was, like, ‘That’s it. I’m done.’ I did one. We went to the top. I know what it takes to get there. It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of just dumb luck, a lot of landing in the right place at the right time and just a lot of really unexplainable elements that make any of that happen. And I just thought, ‘That was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’ll never happen again. If I get asked to join something, I’ll consider that. But otherwise, I think now I’m just gonna make music for music’s sake and just do it because I enjoy it, because I like it.’ And that was when the F5 thing came together, about a year later. Then those guys kind of invited me over to jam with them, to be honest with you, and we hit on something and made some great music together. I told those guys, ‘Don’t ever plan on making any money in this. Let’s just do this for free and for fun and just ’cause we love making music.’ And I neeed that, to be honest with you. I needed to just kind of get the joy back into music and playing and just kind of connect with why I fell in love with rock and roll and playing bass and getting in a room with dudes and making music again. And then, the last years or so, back at the big dance and doing that.”
“But, honestly, the 2000s, having that time away to just kind of reinvent and just, again, fall in love with making music again, to me, that has always been there. And I’ve been active — I’ve been active making records and doing stuff these last bunch of years anyway. And I wouldn’t say out of necessity, because, honestly, I’ve been okay to not have to just go make music for money, but to make music for fun, which has been nice… To work with various people around the world, making music, honestly, I just really do it for the enjoyment of it. That’s been a blessing, to be able to do that.
“I think when you’re young and your back’s against the wall and you don’t have any other options, that’s a great motivator to really lock in and kick ass. And I think we all needed that when we were younger. I think now to be able to do it because we like doing it and to maybe be a little bit more selective of the things that we do is kind of the freedom that you’re allowed because you spent those earlier years nose to the grindstone.
“For me, look, I’ll always make music. And to be honest with you, I don’t force it. I leave a bass and some guitars and a piano and stuff out here in the house. Some days I’ll walk by and go, ‘Eh, I’m not in the mood for that tonight,’ and just go on. And I’ll feel no regret. And other days I’ll walk in and I’ve got this bass plugged into a little Marshall stack and I’ll just pick it up and I’ll just freakin’ thrash and rock out and I’ll just write stuff and I’ll record it on my phone. And I’ll just catalog ideas or sit around and write lyrics and just kind of keep ideas flowing. ‘Cause whenever I go into a session or any kind of a writing environment, I like to walk in with some stuff, to have some things.
“It’s fun to create for creation’s sake and not because it has to be motivated from anything else. So I guess I’m kind of glad to just be right where I’m at. To be honest, I’m perfectly content and happy where I am right now. I’m not gonna lie — it’s perfectly fine. So I’m all good.”
Several weeks before Megadeth sacked him, an Instagram user, identified only as ‘woahworst,’ started sharing accusations that Ellefson had groomed an underage girl. As proof, they offered extremely explicit video of Ellefson masturbating during a video chat, as well as screen caps of text exchanges between Ellefson and the young woman in question. The woman provided a statement indicating that while the relationship did take place, she was not underage at the time and it was consensual.
In a statement announcing Ellefson’s dismissal, Megadeth said that “While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward.”
Ellefson subsequently released his own statement, in which he indicated that he would be seeking legal action against the person who leaked the videos:
“Recently, a very private video was illegally posted on the internet and false allegations were made against me. 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. Also, my lawyers are preparing a defamation lawsuit to be filed against this person. This person will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I am taking this time to be with my family. I wish my bandmates the best with their upcoming tour.”
Megadeth replaced Ellefson for their recent tour with James LoMenzo (White Lion, Black Label Society, Firstborne, etc.), who was previously in the band from 2006 until 2010.
Additionally, Ellefson’s parts for the new Megadeth album, The Sick, The Dying, and The Dead, have been re-recorded, although whether that was by LoMenzo or someone else is unclear.
The Lucid’s self-titled debut is out now on SpoilerHead Records. In addition to Ellefson, the band includes vocalist Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge), guitarist Drew Fortier (Zen From Mars), and drummer Mike Heller (Fear Factory).