Dave Ellefson: What Makes MEGADETH Different From Other Founders of Thrash Metal

MEGADETH Bassist David Ellefson was asked by Cleveland.com on “what separates MEGADETH from other progenitors of thrash metal,” to which he replied:

Innovation. And the key to being an innovator is not following the pack. When I first met Dave [Mustaine], it was clear that he had his own ideas, his own identity and he was not afraid to beat to his own drum. In the end, that charisma is what makes a band stand apart from the rest. I could tell we were creating something unique and timeless from our very first songs back in 1983. They didn’t sound like anyone else and they required a totally new approach to playing them.

As a result, we instantly attracted a new fan base – soon to be called thrash – which united both metalheads and punk/skinheads. It was the first time in history that these two polarized camps united under one genre.

During the rest of the chat, Ellefson was asked to single out what he sees as the most memorable show from the band’s entire career, to which he replied:

I remember the first time we played Cleveland on the ‘Killing Is My Business‘ tour in 1985. We were on our way into town from the East Coast and our van broke down in the middle of Pennsylvania during the night. We rented a Chevy Caprice sedan nearby and our drummer Gar [Samuelson] was driving when a few hours later, he reached behind him into the backseat to move his kick drum pedal that was under my feet. He swerved off the road at 80 mph (130 kph) and we landed in the ditch after averting a near-death accident… and this was only the second show of the tour! As we crept into Cleveland early the next morning – with a flat tire, weeds sticking out of the fenders, sore necks and still in shock that we didn’t die – we regrouped at the promoter’s house and set out to annihilate the theater later that night. As they say, ‘the show must go on.’ That was our debut tour!