Jason McNamara of JapanSmash.com recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
JapanSmash.com: It’s been well documented that many bands really had the door of success opened to them by visiting Japan back in the ’70s and ’80s. MEGADETH has been a mainstayer in the music industry for almost 30 years now. What role if any did Japan play in MEGADETH‘s rise to the top, especially in those early years?
David Ellefson: Fortunately, MEGADETH got in during a fantastic period of Japan’s international music interest. More than that, the Japanese fans and music industry have taken such an amazing interest not in our music but our lives as musicians. We enjoyed many years there with our fans, who were instrumental in our success both internationally and throughout the Pacific Rim, too. From Japan’s enthusiasm we have been able to branch out to many of the neighboring Asian countries over the years.
JapanSmash.com: Have you ever had time to actually see anything here aside from airports, hotel rooms and the shows?
David Ellefson: Yes, I have. In particular, I went to Japan for a special pre-tour promotion back in 1992 and got to experience some of the nightlife that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to participate in if I was just passing through on a normal tour schedule. Then, we spent almost a month touring Japan back in 1995 on the “Youthanasia” record. That tour saw us go from cities like Sendai all the way down to the Southwestern regions, with stops in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and the beautiful city of Kobe along the way.
JapanSmash.com: These days any person who has metal on their iPod would most likely have pop, jazz, a few movie soundtracks, hip hop etc. What do you listen to when it’s not metal?
David Ellefson: Well, I’m the same way because I listen to all styles of music in my down time, too. I’ve always gone out of genre as a musician and songwriter to investigate other genres for inspiration. As a lifelong musician, it’s sometimes difficult to just sit back and listen to music without analyzing it. I think its just part of how I’m wired. With that said, my kids listen to pop in the car on the way to school (Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Pink, etc.) while I still trend toward metal and music I grew up on from the 1970s… everything from KISS, MONTROSE and AEROSMITH to more mainstream pop stuff like THE EAGLES.
JapanSmash.com: Have you ever been approached to do music outside of the metal world and if so, why did or didn’t you get involved?
David Ellefson: Yes, all the time. I’ve participated playing and writing on records that covered everything from singer/songwriter coffeehouse-type music all the way to Christian and inspirational music. I guess that is one cool thing about being a bassist is that I can be an artist and create songs or I can simply show up and just play bass lines to other people’s music. It’s nice to have the options.
Read the entire interview from JapanSmash.com.