‘If you don’t have my back, then f*ck it’: David Ellefson Reflects On His Time In Megadeth

Ellefson-Soto "Vacation in The Underworld" (Official Video): RatPakRecords, The Orchard Music, BMI, Video produced by Jamie Brown at Smokin' Gun, YouTube
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Much has been said regarding the conflict between Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine and ex-band bassist David Ellefson. As of recently, Mustaine made comments about how the climate surrounding David’s sex scandal controversy was “horrifying,” and Ellefson has spoken to how “abusive” he found his relationship with Mustaine to be.

But speaking of that relationship, in a new interview with Artists On Record Starring ADIKA Live!, Ellefson spoke to the tension he felt within Megadeth. He ultimately shares that, if a group is not going to have his back, he is fine walking away and saying “fuck it.” Here is what David said about his time in the band (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):

“In 2002, Dave [Mustaine] broke the band up, and I said at that moment, ‘I will never put all my eggs back in one basket ever again.’ That was at the most expensive point in my life. I had a family. My kids were young. I was the only breadwinner. So I learned my lesson; I said, ‘Never again.’ So even when I went back to Megadeth, I continued doing other things and I continued playing with other people and we had Metal Allegiance; we did all these things. And quite honestly, it’s big-boy time. Everybody, get over it. Look what happened a few years back when it all ended and nobody was left with anything. And I was an owner of the group at that time.

“Honestly, by the time we got to where things were last year, I think it showed the character of everybody — quite honestly. And honestly, I was kind of, like, ‘Hey, man, if you don’t have my back, then fuck it — I don’t wanna be here anyway.’ I’d rather get moving on… We already had this record done; me and Jeff had this record done. I loved it. We were excited about it. It was already in motion.”

David then went on to talk about how, from a musical and financial standpoint, he makes sure he always has something in the “pipeline.” He goes on to talk about how the company he keeps is very important to him, and for while he appreciates his time in Megadeth, he has no problem moving on if said company is not working out.

“For me, I always have stuff in the pipeline — I always have other music, other people that I play with. And again, it’s back to that ‘never put all your eggs in one basket ever again.’ And I think the other thing, too, is setting my life up in a way that I don’t just have to go out and do the music hustle to pay the bills. And that’s a very fortunate place to be, and for that I’m always grateful for the work we did in Megadeth because a lot of that is the royalty money and things like that keep things moving forward.

“[…] And quite honestly, if I don’t enjoy the music and/or if I don’t enjoy the company, I don’t wanna be there. Like I said, at my age, however many years I’ve got left on the planet, man, I wanna enjoy ’em. And if that means one day I just decide to stop playing music so I can just do stuff that I enjoy, I’ll do that. I’ve done my part; I’ve made my mark. I’ve left a legacy. I’ve been happy with the things that I’ve created. And if that joy ends and if hustling over to Italy gets old and tiresome [laughs], as it can at our age, then I won’t do that anymore either. So, to me, I’m kind of just at peace with all of it. It’s, like, one day it was this; the next day it was that. And it’s, like, ‘All right. Life moves on.’ I didn’t feel like I had to fight my way out the door; I didn’t have to hate on everyone. I was, like, ‘Hey, you know what, guys? I wish you the best. Have fun. I’m gonna be hanging out over here now.’ And that’s the reality of it.”

Do you think that Dave Mustaine was fair/right in how he handled David Ellefson’s situation? Do you think Mustaine was wrong in kicking out David? You can check out the full interview featuring David Ellefson below.