David Ellefson Claims Megadeth’s Music Was Meant to be Played in Small Venues, Like the Ones Kings of Thrash Are Playing


It’s hard to cope with a natural decrease in popularity, especially when you get booted from Megadeth for jerking off and end up covering Megadeth in a band called Kings of Thrash, which you play in with Jeff Young, another former member of Megadeth, but such is life for David Ellefson. The former Megadeth bassist spoke with radio station WRIF (via Blabbermouth) about playing with Kings of Thrash, who kick off their next run on February 16, and was asked whether or not he misses playing larger venues like he did with Megadeth.

“I saw a review of the Phoenix show that I think the guy really hit it on the head and said to see me and Jeff and to hear these songs performed in, say, a five-hundred-seat club, he put the connection together that these songs were written back in that day when that’s the size of how big Megadeth was; these songs were written to be played in those-size venues. And as the group got more popular and we started playing bigger venues, the thrash stuff didn’t translate as well, and that’s why we started to slow some of the tempos in the ’90s, like with ‘Countdown To Extinction’ and ‘Youthanasia’ and ‘Cryptic Writings’, the songs started to change a little bit to accommodate the venues we were playing and, of course, radio…”

There are countless musicians who are grateful to be playing their music to anyone so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that Ellefson genuinely believes what he’s saying but Megadeth has been playing larger rooms for so long that it comes across as an attempt to cope with the real state of affairs.

Later in the interview, Ellefson also commented on Megadeth’s decision to focus on building an American audience versus a foreign one around the time the band released Cryptic Writings.

“So ‘Cryptic’ was a record that really helped us stay tuned in to an American audience,” David added. “And it did well around the world; Japan loved it, and South America. So it was definitely the right move. ‘Cause, as you know, the ’90s were a bit of a challenge, once Seattle showed up and Nirvana. ‘The anti-rock star killed the rock star’ kind of thing, that was a challenge. We were one of the bands that survived it and made it through to the other side.”

2/16 — Joliet, IL — The Forge
2/17 — Minneapolis, MN — Varsity Theater
2/19 — Madison, WI — Majestic Theatre
2/20 — Indianapolis, IN — The Vogue
2/21 — Columbia, MO — Blue Note
2/22 — Columbus, OH — King Of Clubs
2/24 — Flint, MI — The Machine Shop
2/25 — Cincinnati, OH — Legends Bar And Venue
2/27 — Cleveland, OH — Beachland Ballroom And Tavern
2/28 — Warrendale, PA — Jergels
3/1 — Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom
3/3 — Poughkeepsie, NY — The Chance
3/4 — Sayreville, NJ — Starland Ballroom
3/5 — Harrisburg, PA — Midtown Arts Center
3/7 — Ardmore, PA — Ardmore Music Hall
3/8 — New York, NY — Gramercy Theatre
3/10 — Charlottesville, VA — Jefferson Theatre
3/11 — Greensboro, NC — Hangar 1819
3/12 — Asheville, NC — The Orange Peel
3/14 — Charleston, SC — Music Farm
3/15 — Atlanta, GA — The Masquerade (Hell)

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