MTTV Episode Seventeen: David Ellefson on EVH, K.K., No Cover and “Heavy as Hell” new Megadeth album

8 October 2020

David Ellefson is a true Legend in Heavy Metal. Having co-founded Megadeth, he later worked with the Metal super group Metal Allegiance, founded the Ellefson Youth Music Foundation and helped KK Downing on his big comeback gig. And he sells coffee.

In Episode Seventeen of MTTV, we spoke with the busiest man in Heavy Metal, David Ellefson, about some of his projects, including the ‘No Cover’ album, which is set for release 20 November 2020.

Recorded the day after Eddie Van Halen’s passing, David shared his thoughts on the guitar legend.

“With Metal Allegiance, about three or four years ago…we were theming a show around the first Van Halen album, in its entirety. We did it at NAMM at the House Of Blues and from there we did the Ship Rock Cruise. On the Ship Rock Cruise, Mark Tremonti was there and Woflgang Van Halen was playing bass for him.. there is a crowning moment where me, Wolfie and Frank Bello are up in the Chapel of the ship going over the lyrics for ‘Running With The Devil’, which was Rock ‘N Roll ironic…is was great to meet him and he is a sweet lovely guy and his post yesterday, was just heartbreaking…. its nice with your heroes, later in life, when you can sense a humanity with them….an admirable thing and I think we all sensed that with Eddie.”

David talks about how, even though at that time he was in his Kiss phase, “when that needle dropped [On Van Halen I] top to bottom, that Van Halen Album is flawless. ‘Take No Prisoners’ on the Rust In Peace album… maybe I would not have done that [double tapping on the bass] if there had been no Eddie Van Halen.”

For the ‘No Cover’ album, Ellefson told us that he was “buying some time before the new Ellefson album, but the idea starts and runs and we ran to 18 songs, double vinyl.

“This was one of the most fun records I’ve every made in my life, because…the songs were already written, which was beautiful… laughs… but to go in and understand how, in my case, the bass players played the parts, some of the note choices they had. And the quality of the records, such as the early Sweet stuff..it sounded great at the time, but its pretty archaic now.

“There came a defining moment when we started mixing…finding the nuances of the original songs..it was complex.. a lot of detail to do the whole project justice… listening to the every details, kick drums…all done within Covid.”

David talks emotionally about how everyone wanted to play on ‘No Cover’. The feelings of the Covid experience and how it is different to 9/11, brought everyone together. He says “to bring it together with top level main people, that helps….it was pretty easy… but thats a shout out to everyone who performed on the record… my thanks, publicly, to everyone who pitched in to help put this record out.”

Photo of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson
David Ellefson with K.K. Downing. Photo: Steve Ritchie / MetalTalk

We cover the famous K.K. Downing gig at The Steel Mill, where David played two sets and how David encouraged K.K. in the build up to the event.

Also, the COVID-19 enforced break has meant the new Megadeth album is pushed back to 2021. He says “It’s carved a nice window to focus on the album, rather than in between tour legs. The album is in process, with no release date… and subject to touring, etc. Thats all I can tell…. but it is Heavy as Hell and freaking rocking.”

The new single, ‘Auf Wiedersehen’, featuring Al Jourgensen, Brandon Yeagley and Charlie Benante, will be out any day now.

Ellefson Youth Music Foundation

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