Jim Ryan of Chicago Now recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. When asked about working with Chicago-based producer Johnny K (DISTURBED, STAIND, MACHINE HEAD) on MEGADETH‘s latest album, “TH1RT3EN”, Ellefson said, “The producer in MEGADETH… they come in with all of their acumen and all of their professional abilities but at the same time they have to be able to work with Dave [Mustaine] who is ultimately bringing the vision of MEGADETHto that producer. And if that relationship works, we make great records. If and when it doesn’t, we don’t. And it’s really that simple because a band with a bunch of ideas who can’t get them on tape… that ain’t a record. So to me, that’s the dynamic that has to happen and I think it totally came together on this album.”
Ellefson continued, “The creative part of bands can be trying. It can be difficult. You’re just laying everything out on the table. Your emotions. In order to make great music and great art you have to make yourself vulnerable. And that’s something that a bunch of dudes in a metal band… that challenges that whole dynamic! Yet you have to do it if you really want to make passionate music that translates out of the speakers into people’s hearts, ya know? And that’s what we’re here to do. To get into your head, your heart and your soul. So I think we did it right and it’s been great.”
Regarding what it’s like to see the crowd’s passionate reaction to MEGADETH‘s more politically charged music, Ellefson said, “Dave and I wrote a song together on ‘Countdown To Extinction’ called ‘Foreclosure Of A Dream’ which we’ve now put in the set. We’ve been playing it. And Dave last night even introduced it and he said ‘This song is just as appropriate twenty years later as it was when we wrote it in 1992.’ And boy is that ever the truth. And I think that’s the element about MEGADETH is that our songs lyrically and musically have a timeless feature to them. Maybe not all of them but by and large the catalog has that feature. And I really noticed that even when we went out with the ‘Big Four’ and did those shows. Our music didn’t sound like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a throwback to 1986.’ Or ‘Remember when that was all popular back in 1991?’ MEGADETH doesn’t sound like a period piece. It’s definitely something that transcends time and because of those lyric topics and the way the lyrics are written they seem to just be something that’s kind of like an onging, reoccurring narrative.”
On the topic of MEGADETH‘s enduring popularity, Ellefson said, “I don’t necessarily consider MEGADETH to be a legacy act. We’ve always been a very active touring band. All metal bands are I think. IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, MOTÖRHEAD, MEGADETH, SLAYER… We’re constant touring machines. So it’s not like we ever went out of fad and out of vogue and had to rebuild like some of the other maybe bands from the seventies who sort of were broke up and then reformed when the offers for enough money came back on the table. This is just what we do! Before we put records out, we were doing this! So I think for us, it’s because of those fans over there that we’re here. And it’s less about the record business than it is just the passion of our fans and for that we are very fortunate.”
Read the entire interview from Chicago Now.