Interview Done By Mike Wilkersn
MW: Please introduce yourself?
DE? Bassist David Ellefson
MW: How you been since our last interview in 2012? (This is 3rd. Interview)
DE: Quite busy, or as I like to view it: productive and having fun!
MW: Tell me about your new Supergroup Metal Allegiance?
DE: It’s not so much a super group as it is a group of really terrific musicians and artists who are mostly all quite well known. The writers are primarily me, Mike Portnoy, Alex Skolnick and Mark Menghi, with a lyric contribution from Phillip Anselmo on the debut album.
MW: The first Metal Allegiance release Just came out a few months ago. How is it doing?
DE: It’s done very well, especially for a group of famous guys under a new name. Branding is so important when it comes to marketing an album and MA is a new entity so we had realistic expectations as far as sales goes. For us, it was really about getting these original songs out to our fans and then continuing to perform as a live group.
MW: Is Metal Allegiance doing any shows in 2016?
DE: We did a four-date run of shows in Ramona, Las Vegas, Hollywood and San Francisco in early January. The Hollywood show ended up being the tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, who’s funeral and memorial was held that day in Los Angeles. Really an honor to be contacted to do so for such a legendary metal hero who inspired us all in such huge ways.
MW: Tell me about working with Doll Skin?
DE: They are really such a pride and joy for me. They are young, energetic, colorful and so full of great music. Their energy is just flat out contagious. I took them into the studio back in June 2015 to record some songs and see what we had to work with. Quickly, it was apparent to me that we had a really strong collection of five originals that could be easily released as an EP. We included the Dead Sara song “Weatherman”, which they cover so naturally, and that led to the six song EP “In Your Face” that we released through Megaforce Records via my imprint EMP.
MW: You signed them to your label EMP/Megaforce. What made you sign them?
DE: The imprint was not something I was initially planning to create, but became a natural development under my production umbrella. Me and Frank Bello released our “Altitudes & Attitude” record through Megaforce so I knew the lay of the land with the record deal. It was a really good way to get Doll Skin in the game and create a terrific awareness campaign for them.
MW: Will Doll Skin Be playing with Metal Allegiance or Megadeth in 2016?
DE: Doll Skin was a support act for MA on the January shows. They did terrific and are one of those bands who can play on so many different bills and in front of so many varied audiences. They really just present themselves their live show charisma is very natural and likeable by all.
MW: Let’s talk Megadeth. How have things been the last year?
DE: It was a rocky start, mostly because the RIP lineup was presented as an option from an interim management firm. We looked into it but it was clear that we should let that legacy live in the memories of our fans and not make it a reality again.
Then, by February 2015, Chris Adler and Kiko Loureiro were secured to start pre-production and recording of the new album “Dystopia”. New management was secured and things just fell into place very quickly. The journey has been really moving along well since then.
MW: The new Megadeth release “Dystopia” is now out. How has it done?
DE: It has been received incredibly well by the fans and critics alike. The chart positions have reflected that and now we are preparing for the world tour to follow.
MW: Were you able to write any on “Dystopia”?
DE: I brought in some ideas on the initial writing and demo phases in 2014 but a natural progression started to appear with Dave doing most of the writing, with contributions by Kiko.
MW: I have listened to it several times and give it 8 1/2 out of 10. I got to buy it on vinyl very soon. What do you think of it now that it is done?
DE: Thank you! I think it’s a really fun album to listen to. I’m glad I can listen to it and enjoy it as a fan, as well as a performer on the album.
MW: How do you feel the two members of Megadeth Chris Adler & Kiko Loureiro have fit in?
DE: They really fit in so naturally and both up the game the big time. They are seasoned artists as well as being terrific musicians. I think that their experience as band leaders in their own right brings a strong equilibrium to the four corners of the band.
MW: Are Chris and Kiko considered members of Megadeth now?
DE: Yes, they are. Obviously, Chris is in his primary band Lamb of God, but we are happy to have him playing with us as much as he can. There may be some schedule conflicts later in the year, which is almost to be expected, and we will have to cross those bridges when we get to them. In the mean time, Chris’ performance on the album is terrific and fans will see him onstage with us for the next few legs of the tour.
MW: The Dystopia Tour starts on 2/20 who will be going out with Megadeth?
DE: Suicidal Tendencies, Children of Bodom and Havak. It is definitely a Thrash lineup and spans about three decades of iconic music.
MW: What are you looking most foreword to playing on the Dystopia tour?
DE: I’m really looking forward to adding several of the new songs into the set list. I think the fans are looking foward to it as well, and the songs are really great live show material. It should be a really strong new show.
MW: Of your solo bands which one are you most proud of?
DE: I like all of them for the reasons they exist, or existed at that time. F5 was a much needed new energy for me, same with Temple of Brutality. Likewise with Metal Allegiance because I get to be at the creative helm with friends who all make great music together.
MW: How do you find time to do anything?
DE: My life since I was 11 years old has been all about music, bands, performing, recording, writing and traveling. I’m just doing what I’ve always done since I put a bass in my hands as a kid. I’m thrilled to be able to have this life…it really is a dream come true to play music with, and for, so many cool people. The fans worldwide are really terrific and it reminds me how we belong to such an engaged global community of metal lovers.
MW: Are your children interested in music at all?
DE: My son is a music historian and my daughter has perfect pitch, takes professional piano and vocal training and plays music for enjoyment. We’ve had the talk about pursuing this way of life as a living and vocation and she has parlayed some real wisdom to know that she loves music, but making a living from it is a whole other animal that she is not really interested in pursuing at this point.
MW: What advice would you give a young person wanting to be the next Megadeth?
DE: I would say “there already is a Megadeth so go and create something new, be yourself.”
MW: What would you like to say in closing?
DE: A HUGE thank you to all the fans who support me, Megadeth and all the other musical ventures I’ve been proud to be a part of. I wouldn’t be here without you, so thank you!
It is always a pleasure to interview you. I hope someday we can finally meet up at some show.
Here are the other 2 interviews I did with David Ellefson Prior: