David Ellefson: Megadeth Was Started Because of Dave Mustaine’s ‘Grudge’ Against Metallica

Lars Ulrich Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for P+ and MTV / David Ellefson Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa (Photo by Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images) / Dave Mustaine Photo by Medios y Media/Getty Images
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When it came to being fired from Megadeth back in 2021, David Ellefson says he “was ready for it.” During a new interview with the Scars And Guitars podcast, Ellefson talks about how he was “not sad” about the firing, and that while others may have seen the firing as “terrible,” he didn’t.

It’s also while reflecting on this time though that Ellefson brings up how Megadeth was started because of Dave Mustaine‘s “grudge” against Metallica (Mustaine was kicked out of the band in 1983).

Reflecting on how he felt when it came to getting kicked out of Megadeth, Ellefson says (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):

“When my departure from Megadeth happened, a lot of people were hitting me [up and saying], ‘Oh my God. It’s so terrible. It’s so terrible.’ [And I said], ‘Yeah, believe me, it’s not.’ [Laughs] It really isn’t. I was ready for it. I didn’t think it was gonna go down that way; I didn’t see that coming. But the fact that it happened, I was not sad about it. I was okay with it. Because I knew there’s another journey ahead, and that journey wasn’t gonna start until I was out of the old one.

“When you’re in a group, you’re in a setting, you’ve gotta play company man and you kind of go along with the narrative that’s been set forth.”

Ellefson then goes on to talk about the “narrative” of Megadeth, specifically, how the band “was started on a grudge” Mustaine had for Metallica. The bassist says that that narrative was never part of his story and that he’s always been a Metallica fan. Per Ellefson:

“There was a lot of things, a lot of the narrative in that band that I never agreed with. A lot of that band was started on a grudge and a hardship of the firing [of Megadeth leader Dave Mustaine] from Metallica. That was never my story. I was always a Metallica fan and I became friends with those guys. I have nothing but gratitude for that group and those gentlemen for what they’ve done for all of us, and I think they deserve the biggest applause. So it was hard to be in a band that always had this saltiness around that whole narrative, because it was never my narrative. So I went along to get along, but now I don’t have to do that. And now I can be on my own path.

“These are my words; it’s my story now. And maybe the events that happened a couple of years ago, I needed to have my own story to tell. ‘Cause when you quit a band, everyone’s pissed at you; they hate you: ‘Oh, fuck you. You quit. You quit my favorite band.’ But when you get tossed out… And I’m not looking for the sympathy card. You don’t have to feel sorry for me; you don’t have to do any of that. But it’s interesting that, I guess the way it happened… it went down in a way that it was certainly visible enough and on a level that… It was sort of, like, okay, well, what’s gonna happen next? And I just tried to be faithful to just following my heart, following the path.”

David Ellefson interview