Last week, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine threw out an accusation that ex-band member David Ellefson “poached” one of his songs – well, Ellefson has not only recently commented on that accusation, but has opened up A LOT about working with Mustaine.
Per a new interview with the 2020’d podcast, David Ellefson spoke to how challenging it was to work with Mustaine, and how he feels that that relationship was “abusive.” He starts off by speaking to that “poaching” accusation of Dave’s. He says that Dave was aware he would be playing around with some stuff. This is what David had to say about how things started (all the following quotes have been transcribed by Blabbermouth):
“The record was done, or at least my bass parts were. And Dave, at the end of the session, at the end of the day, he said to me, he said, ‘Hey, man. If you wanna go through the record, if there’s anything you wanna add or tweak or change, blah blah blah blah,’ giving me free license to do so, ’cause he had signed off on everything. So [I said], ‘All right. No problem.’
Ellefson then goes on to say that when he saw Mustaine the next day, Dave was not in as cheery of a mood (compared to when Mustaine said Ellefson could tweak stuff). Ellefson then brings up another incident where he and Mustaine were working on stuff (or at least trying to). This story took place many years ago (2011), and while the band is jamming together, Ellefson at one point makes a comment about trying something out; this prompts Mustaine to take off his guitar and walk into a nearby office. Ellefson went to talk to him shortly after, and this is what went down (per Ellefson:
“So [I spoke to Dave] in the office, and Dave, he was furious, but yet we didn’t want our newfound friendship to deteriorate, so I said, ‘What’s the deal?’ And he said, ‘Don’t try to put your ideas into my songs.’ I said, ‘No problem.’ I said, ‘All good. Today is day one. No worries.’ And that was the last we ever jammed together. Everything after that, on every other Megadeth record after that, it was just Dave writing the songs, doing his thing.”
“I kind of saw the events of last year as just the perfect opportunity to choose box office over brotherhood. I look back at it now and I feel like I got kicked out of hell. So, whatever.”
Ellefson then speaks to how he feels Mustaine treated him in the end:
“It was abusive, for sure. It was just abusive. It was unnecessary. … Dave even said he had a resentment toward me that he couldn’t let go, and I didn’t know what it was.”
David Ellefson then commented on the constant comments that Mustaine has made about him throughout different interviews; Ellefson has compared these comments to those Mustaine has made about his former bandmates in Metallica.
“He’s fighting with himself. He’s in a game of tug of war with himself. I’m not fighting with him. I’ve just moved on. I remember we talked about that after he jammed with Metallica and the ‘Big Four’. I said, ‘How was that last night playing ‘Am I Evil?’?’ And he said, he goes, ‘You know, those guys kicked me out of the band and they just moved on. I held on to the resentment for all these years.’ It’s like the same thing for me. It’s, like, why is he resenting me? He got rid of me. Supposedly the problem should have gone away if he got rid of me. But the problem still seems to be there.”
“Look, I think part of it, too, is he’s obviously not gotten over this thing about being fired from Metallica, so he wanted to do to somebody else what he felt they did to him, which is kick him out and then someone else play his guitar parts. ‘So let’s kick Junior out and then have someone else play his bass parts.’ And to me, I’m, like, I don’t care. I already fucking helped put the record together. I played on the record. I got paid to be on the record. So, hey, if you wanna get someone else to play, whatever.”