Megadeth co-founder David Ellefson opens up about getting fired from band over explicit videos
Megadeth co-founder David Ellefson has opened up about his unceremonious dismissal from the legendary thrash metal band, which took place this past spring following the leak of sexually explicit videos featuring Ellefson.
At the time, Megadeth stated, "We do not take this decision lightly. While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward."
Appearing on the SiriusXM program "Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk" this week, Ellefson says that he "was disappointed in probably the way it went down," but he's "not bitter about it."
"The night [the videos were leaked], a couple of people said, 'Hey, don't say anything'," Ellefson explained. "In particular, the Megadeth camp didn't want me to say anything. But my legal [team] said, 'Hey, I think you should say something. I think some people have done some really shitty things here and made some false allegations about you, and you have every right to defend yourself.' And I did. Ultimately, that led to my dismissal from Megadeth. But I have every right, as anyone does, to defend yourself, especially when somebody is making false allegations about you like that. So I dealt with it that night, and quite honestly, that was it... it was over, and it was really kind of done. But then, as the Megadeth camp in particular jumped in and had addressed it, and not that they shouldn't, but they did. That pretty quickly led to them making the decision to part ways with me and to move away from it."
"We [Megadeth and Ellefson] had originally talked about doing a joint statement of sorts, and, of course, that was not what happened. So I was disappointed in probably the way it went down."
"Ironically, things are fine between [us]. We parted ways, and they took their road. And there's not ill will between us, believe it or not," said Ellefson. "And I think any fights and those things, that was 20 years go... lawsuits and all that crap. I wished them well in my [original] statement to them, and I mean it. It's a group I helped form almost 40 years coming up here for the band. And the songs that are on the radio that I see come up are songs that I had a participation in, and we built a big legacy."
"I still consider them family, and my DNA is all over that," he added. "I don't think you build something of that size together and then suddenly you're just out and that's it."
Asked about the "strained relationship" mentioned in Megadeth's statement, Ellefson said he wasn't aware of any growing tension between himself and Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine.
"I think one of the things, and this probably started 20 years ago, when Megadeth was disbanded in 2002 and then put back together in 2004, it was very clear in 2004 that it was gonna be reframed around Dave unilaterally, one hundred percent being the boss and running the show. Gone were the days of the partnership, the '90s, where it was me, Nick [Menza], Marty [Friedman], Dave — kind of 'the four horsemen ride again' kind of mentality. That day was done, it was not gonna be that anymore," Ellefson said. "And that's where we fell apart in 2004 and I wasn't with the group through those years. Coming back to it in 2010, now we're a few years older, a little more maturity in the situation, realizing that we're better together, that even though it's not, on paper, a partnership, there's a kind of visual partnership. The optics of it are kind of, like, 'Yeah, this looks better as Megadeth with me and Dave together. We're one of those bands that, although Dave is the quarterback and the quarterback still plays, the overall feeling and likability and I think everything about it just feels better when it's Dave and Dave together, because we've been together from the beginning for so many years. And I think that worked really well for the last decade. Dave and I are grown men, and we have opinions. It's not the thing where it's just Dave and three side guys when it's me and the band. And apparently, they didn't want that anymore... they wanted it to not be that. And I can't speak for them, because I don't know. I'm not trying to put words in anybody's mouth about that. But it just seemed like 'there's just too much history here, and let's just part ways now and let Megadeth move forward on a new day with kind of a new marching order'. It's, like, 'Hey, we don't want you here. There's the door. Don't come to work on Monday.' So... 'Okay. Fine.' And that's just how I viewed it, and that's how I view it today. I don't have any sour grapes over it, and I'm not bitter about it."
Ellefson launched his new band The Lucid last month.