Megadeth’s David Ellefson Reveals His Daily Survival Guide for Gigantour
One week from today, Megadeth, Motörhead, Volbeat and Lacuna Coil, will set sail on the heavy metal traveling wrecking ball known as Gigantour. Launched in 2005, it quickly became one of the most successful hard rock package tours in the industry.
After several years of hibernation, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson thinks it’s the right time to bring Gigantour back: “This is my first time actually being on Gigantour, so I’m really excited. Megadeth have obviously done a few when I wasn’t a member of the band [Ellefson and vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine had some business disagreements and the bassist was out the group from 2002 to 2010], but the last time Gigantour even happened was back in 2008. I think it’s a great time to do the tour again. There really isn’t a lot for metal fans to see in North America right now, at least in terms of the big package stuff,” Ellefson tells Noisecreep about the tour, which kicks off on Jan. 26 in Camden, N.J.
The 30-date trek will crisscross across North America into early March. Noisecreep asks Ellefson how he handles the daily grind of being out on tour. “Because we close the show, we’re on late. We’re talking 9:40PM or so. Generally, my entire day is me gearing up for those 75-80 minutes that Megadeth is on stage.
“Everything I do throughout a day on tour – what I eat, drink, exercise – is preparation for my energy level to be peaking while I’m on stage. So that usually means going straight to the venue and getting catering there. Sometimes I’ll workout in the venue and then hit sound check at around 2:30. Our press and meet and greets usually start around 4:30. That can go until about dinner time. There’s actually a hard rule: don’t eat two hours before the show. So what’s nice is that you can have a light dinner and still have enough time to warm up on your instrument and singing voice. The biggest thing I have to be careful of is not talking too much during the day. That’s tough for me because I like to talk a lot and I’ll ramble on in our interviews,” laughs the veteran bassist.
That all sounds exhausting, but Ellefson has been doing the road warrior thing since the mid-’80s, and he’s got a winning routine for the post-show comedown. “It’s just like an athlete who goes out to play at his peak adrenaline level and then has to go home or the hotel. In a band, it’s hard to wind down and then get back onto the bus and try and sit in one place.
“Sometimes I’ll take a warm shower after we play [laughs]. It actually works to calm me down, make me lucid, and a bit tired. The hardest part is not eating after the show, because that just forces your body to stay awake with the digestion and all of that stuff happening. But I’m usually good about that.”
Once he’s on the bus, Ellefson is perfectly OK becoming a couch potato. “Satellite television is an amazing invention [laughs]. It’s great to have it in the bus, because you could be rolling down the road and be watching ‘Family Guy’ or ‘South Park,’ or ESPN. I actually watch a lot of sports on the tour bus. Plus, with DVRs, you can tape things and catch up during the longer drives. Let me tell you, touring has gotten much more comfortable from when I first started [laughs].”
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Gigantour 2012 tour dates:
Thu 1/26 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
Fri 1/27 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Sat 1/28 New York, NY Theater at Madison Square Garden
Sun 1/29 Lowell, MA Tsongas Arena
Wed 2/1 Glens Falls, NY Glens Falls Civic Center
Thu 2/2 Quebec City, QC Colisee Pepsi Arena
Fri 2/3 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
Sun 2/5 Kingston, ON K-Rock Centre
Tue 2/7 Oshawa, ON General Motors Centre
Wed 2/8 Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum
Thu 2/9 Auburn Hills, MI Palace of Auburn Hills
Fri 2/10 Chicago, IL Aragon Ballroom
Sun 2/12 Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom
Tue 2/14 St. Paul, MN Myth
Thu 2/16 Saskatoon, SK Prairieland
Fri 2/17 Edmonton, AB Shaw Conference Centre
Sat 2/18 Calgary, AB Big 4 Building
Mon 2/20 Abbotsford, BC Abbotsford Ent & Sports Centre
Tue 2/21 Kent, WA Showare Center
Thu 2/23 San Jose, CA Events Center
Fri 2/24 Universal City, CA Gibson Amphitheatre
Sat 2/25 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
Sun 2/26 Albuquerque, NM Tingley Coliseum
Tue 2/28 Denver, CO The Fillmore Auditorium
Mar 01 Dallas, TX The Palladium
Mar 02 Houston, TX Verizon Wireless Theater
Mar 03 Austin, TX ACL Live at The Moody Theater