Ellefson's Role Changed With Megadeth Reunion

K. Wiggins | 09-20-2019

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Megadeth cofounder David Ellefson looked back on a failed attempt to return to the band and also what changed when he did reunite with the group in 2010.

Ellefson appeared on the Talk Toomey podcast last month and explained why he decided not to return to the band in the early 2000s after it was on hold due to Dave Mustaine's nerve damage.

He said, "Once Dave put the thing back together with 'The System Has Failed', he told me on the phone, he goes, 'We're gonna put it back together and it's gonna be like it was when I was in charge. He made that very clear. And then right at that moment was when we had our disagreements and we did not come back together. And most of that was about, quite honestly, financially.

"I knew I could continue to fight or, There's two ways to win in a tug of war: you yank the guy over the line, or you let go of the rope and someone falls on their ass - both of you or whatever.

"And in that case, you're able to walk away, 'cause you have to let go. And I realized that in 2005, 2006, whatever that was, I had to just let go. It's, like, 'Let Dave have his thing. Let him do what he wants to do.'"

In 2010, Ellefson finally did return to the band that he helped found, and he explained how things changed, "People all day today have been, 'How have you survived in Megadeth all these years?'. And I think the truth of it is I know my place. I was there in the room when we cast the vision.

None of the other guys along the journey were - none of 'em, except for my friend Greg Handevidt, and, of course, he was only in Megadeth for about two months. But unless you were in that room at that moment when we cast the vision and we sort of dreamt the whole thing up, you're kind of just coming into a part of a story that's already been told.

"[Current guitarist] Kiko is very aware of that - especially from a composing point of view. He really understands Dave as a composer. Kiko himself is a composer. As he said, he goes, 'Me and Dave both play the same instrument, so it's easier for me to communicate with him, because I'm a guitar player too, so we can speak a common language there.'

"When I came back, particularly I was referring to the 'Thirteen' album that we were writing, and I realized it was not gonna be a collaborative process. Which was very different for me, because everything that I did away from Megadeth for those seven, eight years was collaborative."

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