MEGADETH Bassist: ‘At This Point I’m Kinda Of The De Facto Rock And Roll Chaplain’

Lauren Wise of the Phoenix New Times recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Phoenix New Times: Congrats on your MEGALife Ministry organization in Scottsdale. It seems like a unique way to introduce the concept of faith and religion to your fan base. I was wondering if you see any musical collaborations or charity festivals (like Christmas Pudding) in your future with Alice Cooper, since you’re both in the Valley and have the same directions with these Valley organizations?

Ellefson: It’s funny, you know, my pastor really urged me…it’s usually the people on the outside of your realm that actually see an opportunity or a spark of a gift there. He’s been a great mentor to me to help me develop that. I’ve been pretty active with various faith walks during the last couple of decades especially, helping people who are down on their luck and getting off drugs. Usually when you’ve been through those things yourself you have a real testimony and you can share your experience with people. And I think that goes a lot farther than just reading out of a textbook. You can take your darkest days and parlay those into good for other people. As far as a collaboration, MEGALife is just one of many seeds that will be planted. I think in this modern day, especially in rock ‘n’ roll circles, people of my generation and my genre [have] got a way of mistrusting of the church. I think modern-day music in church is cool. There’s a whole different presentation of it and it’s much more cultural relevant today than it ever has been. It doesn’t have to be from the Reformation and it doesn’t have to be something ancient. We can present it as 2012 faith. And that gets me excited.

Phoenix New Times: So what do you hope to accomplish after completing your ministry studies at Concordia? Are you focusing on worship music or to start any ministry programs?

Ellefson: At this point I’m kinda of the de facto rock and roll chaplain. Every industry seems to have the chaplain, like the military. I think it’s cool that I can have this opportunity to go right to the top rack and ask these questions. In fact, I encourage fans to send any questions they have to me, because I can take them to my superiors and ask them for us. I kinda feel like to some degree I’ve been blessed to be a representative for our entire genre, and people in my generation. You know, once we grew up and left the house at 18, you know, most of us never went to church again. We were very mistrusting of it, and the people, it was culturally irrelevant and did not speak our language. So we all got into rock ‘n’ roll, so we followed that. But if you look starting in the ’80s, there’s a whole movement from BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, to what we did in thrash metal, and a lot of the themes were us questioning this stuff. So I think that pissed the church off. All the sudden they are like, “How dare these people question God, how blasphemous!” But guess what? We did question it. We don’t question God, we question how man can take something like this and twist it and manipulate it and use it for such tyrannical control over people. Those were the questions we had. And that’s why we didn’t want anything to do with it. But now here we are in the middle of our lives and thinking, “Not all of this can be bad.” You know, the inspired word of God in the Bible, there’s a reason that book is the most read book on the face of the planet. So what is it about that? I think it’s a really cool opportunity that I have right now to study that stuff to go look at it, see what it is….You know, Lutheran studies originated from Martin Luther, who was like the Steve Jobs of his day. The guy that taught everyone to think different. [Laughs]

Read the entire interview from Phoenix New Times.