To say that it’s been a challenging couple of years for Megadeth and their iconic frontman Dave Mustaine would be an understatement.
First, Mustaine endured a battle with throat cancer that threatened to end his long career in the Heavy Metal world. His illness meant that the band had to pull out of performing on their first branded “Megadeth Megacruise,” although the event was a hit anyway thanks to the enormous supporting cast of other bands. No sooner had he beaten cancer and got the all-clear to start singing again, the pandemic arrived. That put the band’s plans for a new tour, new album, and possibly even another cruise on the shelf for a while.
In the meantime, the band found other ways to keep the money rolling in. They released “anniversary editions” of old albums, new merchandise, and even an online slots game that became a surprise hit at Roseslots.ie and websites like it. They might have got that idea from fellow Metal legends Alice Cooper and Guns n’ Roses, both of whom have seen significant success with their own branded online slots. In fact, Alice Cooper has done so well out of his that he has a second game entitled “Alice Cooper: Tome of Madness” coming to online slots websites in about a month’s time. Paying the bills and making money isn’t the be-all and end-all for bands, though, and Megadeth have been itching to get back to the road and reunite with their fans.
Now, with the world opening up, Mustaine and Megadeth are preparing to venture out into the world once more. There’s a new album coming and a tour scheduled to begin later this year, but an important matter needs to be dealt with before the band appears in front of an audience. The band currently lacks a bass player. Fans needn’t fear that the lack of such an important piece of the Megadeth machine will hold their tour up, though. Apparently, Mustaine has already filled the vacancy – but he won’t tell anybody who the new Megadeth member is. Instead, he wants to keep it a secret for now and announce it as a surprise just before the beginning of the tour.
Whoever the new bass player is, they’ve already been working and recording with the band for some time. In a video that Mustaine recorded for a fan on Cameo last week, Mustaine walks around a recording studio and shows the fan what’s happening in there, including producer Chris Rakestraw working on the mix and a mystery man lying on the floor. Only the legs of the mystery man are seen, and Mustaine observes that he’s “hiding behind a chair” so as not to give his identity away. He even congratulates the Cameo fan on being the first person outside the band’s inner circle to see the new bass player in the flesh – even though no identifying marks are visible.
The biggest surprise of all would be for Megadeth to reveal that the “new” bass player is founder member David Ellefson returning to the band, but there appears to be zero prospect of that happening. Ellefson was fired in May this year after he was embroiled in a scandal about sexual contact with a fan. Ellefson has been cleared of wrongdoing and has since sued the person responsible for leaking compromising footage of him, but that isn’t enough to get him back into the band he’d been with since his teenage years. Mustaine says that the scandal exacerbated existing “strained relations” between Ellefson and the rest of the band, and it would be impossible for them to work together in the future. Mustaine and Ellefson had been friends since their youth, but that friendship is also seemingly at an end.
Even with all of the above said, we can’t rule out the idea of Ellefson and Mustaine working things out again. Ellefson has left the band before, but he returned in 2010 after Mustaine became a born-again Christian and forgave Ellefson for a lawsuit that had been filed years previously. At the time, Mustaine described Ellefson as his “best friend.” All signs point to this fallout being more serious than the last one. Not only has Ellefson been removed from Megadeth’s lineup, but all his recordings for the forthcoming new album have been scrapped. The new mystery man will record all the bass lines again, thus ensuring that Ellefson won’t receive royalties from the recordings he provided before his dismissal.
As the new bass player is recording with the band, we can probably assume that it’s a permanent appointment rather than the kind of “stunt casting” that sometimes occurs when bands need a new member to fill in for them on a tour for the short term. The secrecy around the subject and Mustaine’s desire to generate hype probably points to be it being a “known name” within the Metal world and someone that fans are likely to get excited about. At the very latest, we’ll know by August 20th. That’s the date that Megadeth perform the first concert of their tour with Lamb of God, In Flames, and Trivium in Austin, Texas, as the Germania Insurance Amphitheater. The tour then continues throughout the United States of America during September before arriving in Canada in October, finishing at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City on October 2nd.
The identity of the bass player isn’t the only thing that the band is likely to announce in the next few weeks. Even with the re-recorded bass parts, the new album is understood to be close to completion. It will be the first new Megadeth release since 2016 and has been described by Mustaine as being among the top five albums the band has ever recorded. He’s compared it favourably to “Countdown to Extinction” and “Peace Sells” and believes it’s better than “Dystopia.” Any band or band member with a new album to sell is always likely to talk up the quality of that new album, but Mustaine wouldn’t make comparisons to such legendary albums likely. It’s to be hoped that the product lives up to the description.
When we know the name of the bassist, the name of the album, and the date of the album’s release, you’ll get all of that information here at this website!