David Ellefson Says Megadeth Pushed Him Out Over ‘Personal Grudges + Resentments’
Former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson has further commented on his ousting from the band, saying in a new interview with The Metal Circus TV that he was discharged from Megadeth because of "personal grudges and resentments" toward him.
In 2021, Ellefson was let go from Megadeth amid a sex scandal involving a leaked video that appeared to put the 58-year-old bass player in a compromising position. James LoMenzo replaced him after Testament's Steve Di Giorgio stepped in to record bass on The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!, Megadeth's 2022 album.
Subsequently, Ellefson returned in The Lucid with Sponge's Vinnie Dombroski and Fear Factory's Mike Heller; they released singles such as "Damned" and "Maggot Wind." Last year, Ellefson added another new act to his resume, the band Dieth.
Why Was Ellefson Fired From Megadeth?
"I'm always gonna be known for my work in Megadeth," Ellefson tells The Metal Circus, per Blabbermouth. "But me not being in Megadeth is not of my choice. [Laughs] I think people are appreciative that I'm continuing to make music, at least from what I've seen."
He continues, "It's not like I left the band and said, 'Fuck you. I'm out.' 'Cause if I did that, and then if I was trying to start new bands, people would be like, Fuck you, Ellefson. You left our favorite band. Fuck you. We don't care. People know that that was not my decision. It's not the way I would have handled that at all."
Asked if he felt he was a "victim of unnecessary criminalization," Ellefson continues, "A hundred percent. Fucking a hundred percent I was. Everything about that was just not OK. [Laughs] But you can spend your life trying to get justice, trying to go down that road, and it's kind of like it always just follows you."
He adds, "The night that a video was put out of me that I knew nothing about, and there it was. And all of a sudden, it's like — hey, own your shit. All right, whatever. That happened. Move on. And don't sit there and try to go back and do some spin control or call the publicists. 'Cause that's what some people wanted to do. And I was like, 'Fuck that.' It is what it is. Just fucking own it and move on. And I'd like to think there's more integrity in just own your shit and move on."
Referring to the fallout of Megadeth's two-year breakup from 2002 and Ellefson's $18.5 million lawsuit in 2004, Ellefson says, "The first [exit] was over the change of financial splits, and then the second time was clearly of something much bigger — personal grudges and resentments toward me. But that notwithstanding, I knew what I was walking back into. And we had a lot of good times. There was a lot of fun in the 11 years that I came back. Not so much in the recent years. The last couple of years were pretty shitty."
Ellefson Sex Scandal Video
In a May 2021 statement, Ellefson wrote, "Recently, a very private video was illegally posted on the internet and false allegations were made against me. The actions in the video were between two consenting adults and were recorded without my knowledge. I am working with [the police] in their investigation into charges regarding revenge pornography to be filed against the person who posted this video."
As summarized by The Arizona Republic, Megadeth then notified the musician that they would be dismissing him. They did so later that month, but didn't publicize it until releasing a message credited to Megadeth bandleader Dave Mustaine.
"We are informing our fans that David Ellefson is no longer playing with Megadeth and that we are officially parting ways with him," Megadeth's statement read. "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."
In yet another of his new bands, Ellefson joins a fellow ex-Megadeth member, Jeff Young, as Kings of Thrash, who perform early Megadeth albums in full. Chris Poland, another former Megadeth musician, has appeared with them as a guest.