David Ellefson: ‘I Can Finally Wear My Metallica Shirts Again’ Now That ‘I’m Not In Megadeth’

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Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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David Ellefson recently shared that since he’s no longer in the Los Angeles, California thrash metal band Megadeth, he can “finally wear [his] Metallica shirts again.”

Ellefson has been vocal about his admiration for Metallica in the past. In an interview from earlier this year, while reflecting on the past feud between Metallica and Megadeth, Ellefson said, “The Megadeth-Metallica feud…Look, it was not my feud, because I was a huge Metallica fan.” He went on to add, “I’m in the band with Dave, so I’ve gotta toe the company line. It’s one of these, ‘Hey, man, if you’re my friend, you have to love my friends and you’ve gotta hate my enemies with me.’ You know how that is.”

The former Megadeth bassist expressed this recent sentiment about his Metallica shirts during a new conversation with the Mike Nelson Show. At one point during their chat, Nelson asks Ellefson about a social media post he made about going to see Metallica at one of their recent M72 concerts.

Nelson asks Ellefson what he thought of the show, and while talking about how much of a Metallica fan he is, the former Megadeth bassist brings up how he can “finally wear [his] Metallica shirts again.”

Speaking about his Metallica fandom, Ellefson says (as transcribed by Blabbermouth): “I almost wore my Metallica shirt today. It’s cycled up to the bottom of my — you know the black t-shirt pile we all have? Just cycle down, and you go through the shirts. ‘Oh, there’s a Metallica shirt. Maybe I should wear this one today.’ I’m not in Megadeth. I can finally wear my Metallica shirts again.

“Hey, man, I’m a Metallica fan. I mean, talk about gold standards. They’re the one for metal. They have gone on to do the impossible. I mean, really, when you think about it in the touring business, there’s Taylor Swift, there’s Metallica, maybe Beyonce, Guns N’ Roses. And thank God, man, they’re at the top. We need them to be at the top, because if they’re at the top, that means all boats rise to that level. So we want Metallica to be fucking Apple computer; we need ’em to be for our genre.”

Following this, Nelson says “it must be crazy” because the bassist possibly didn’t believe 30 years ago that he’d have the chance to see Metallica live, given the drama surrounding Dave Mustaine‘s departure from the band. However, Ellefson says to Nelson, “No, I’ve always gone to see Metallica,” and talks about his fandom of Metallica during his earlier days in Megadeth. Per Ellefson:

“I remember going with Dave [Mustaine] to see them when they played with — the ‘Kill ‘Em All For One’ [tour] with Raven. And they came through and they played the Country Club in L.A. where we lived at the time and seeing them play. I’m going, ‘Fuck. Okay. So this is it.’ ‘Cause my first introduction was [the] ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’ [demo]. And then I remember when the ‘Kill ‘Em All’ album showed up, and me and [early Megadeth member] Greg Handevidt and Dave sat in the apartment in sheer silence while the record played and Dave listened to it — studied it and just listened to it. It’s, like, ‘Yeah, I’m just gonna shut up and sit here and listen.’ And I liked it.”

The former Megadeth bassist adds:

“So, look, [Metallica] broke down the barriers, they led the way. I remember when we were recording ‘Countdown To Extinction’, I went down to go see Metallica, I think it was, like, five nights at the Forum in L.A. And I went down to go see ’em. And I remember coming back [to the studio] the next day and [producer] Max Norman was, like, [adopts British accent] ‘So how was it, mate?’ And I said, ‘You know what? I’m not gonna lie. It was fucking awesome.’ What I couldn’t figure out is I looked around this arena… Megadeth could fill this arena, and then we would then, on ‘Countdown’, we’d put that many people in a venue. And I’m going, ‘How is it that Metallica have five times as many of these people as we do? What’s the connection?’ ‘Cause it’s the same [audience] — it’s you and me, right? With our black t-shirts; we’re rockers and we’re metalheads, right? ‘So where are all these fucking fans that go see Metallica? How come they don’t come and see us?’

“And I remember I was kind of shy about letting Dave know that I went down to go see Metallica. And I remember Max was, like, ‘You should tell him the truth, mate. You should tell them they’re fucking amazing. Like, let’s fucking go. Let’s be as great as Metallica,’ you know? And I was, like, ‘Well, you don’t have to be in a band every day. You’re just making a record with us.'”

David Ellefson interview with the Mike Nelson Show