During an interview with Heavy magazine, Dave Mustaine, the frontman of MEGADETH, discussed the upcoming Knotfest Australia performance and was asked what has changed with his band since the last time MEGADETH played in the country back in 2015.
“Well, a lot. A lot, I would have to say,” Mustaine responded. “We’ve had some lineup changes, and every time we did that, the person that came in was better. When we parted ways with the drummer before Dirk [Verbeuren, current MEGADETH drummer] — it was the person before Chris Adler [LAMB OF GOD], which was Shawn Drover — we tried to get the Rust In Peace lineup back together. It didn’t work with Nick [Menza, former MEGADETH drummer]; Nick went off one way and we went the other. [We] contacted Adler and asked him if he would play on the record, and then maybe contact Nick again and have him tour with us since he couldn’t really do the record. That didn’t work out either, so we had Chris do the record [Dystopia] and stay, and while we were doing that, Chris and his band parted ways. We didn’t know if Chris was gonna stay with us [or] stay with them.
“Of course, we wanted him to stay with LAMB OF GOD. I’m sad that he left and that there’s any kind of distance between the family. I do think that Art [Cruz, current LAMB OF GOD drummer] is an amazing drummer. And then after that, Chris Adler recommended Dirk. And Dirk is, in my mind, the best drummer we’ve had since Gar Samuelson. He’s a big fan of Gar, and that is the power that drives MEGADETH — that jazz metal; not, like, rock metal. Nick was a super-talented and powerful drummer, and he, fortunately, was able to do a lot of those jazz hooks too. So we almost had that magic that we did when Gar was there, but we definitely had something that Gar did not, which was the power that Nick Menza possessed.”
Dave continued: “Same thing if you go down the line with the bass playing. [David] Ellefson [former MEGADETH bassist] was in the band. He was out. James [LoMenzo, current MEGADETH bassist] came in. He was out. Ellefson came back because the Drover brothers [drummer Shawn and guitarist Glen] kept pressuring me to do this, get Ellefson back. He came in, and we had that weird sh*t that happened. I had Steve DiGiorgio come in and record the record [The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!], and James is back. And I love that he’s back. The singing is fabulous on stage. He actually can sing really well, so he helps encourage me to sing. And then Kiko [Loureiro, guitar], as you know… After I parted ways with Chris Broderick [former MEGADETH guitarist]… I mean, where do you go from having Marty Friedman and Chris Poland, and it’s time to make a guitar player change again? So, Kiko… I saw a video online of Kiko actually being put head to head against Chris Broderick; someone made a video of that, right? And I watched it, and I went, ‘F*ck! I’ve gotta get in touch with this guy.’
“The funny thing was that when I contacted him, he said that he had been talking to Ellefson. So when I talked to Ellefson the next time, I said, ‘What the f*ck’s wrong with you, man? Why didn’t you tell me you know this guy?’ So that was a great addition to the band. Kiko and James play really well together, and Kiko and Dirk have an amazing ability to play those crazy riffs together. Of course, we can always be better, so we all go into the jam room every day and try and work on little bits and pieces of a song. And our record producer is out with us on the road as our music director helping us keep our chops up.”
Ellefson was fired from MEGADETH in 2021 after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving the 57-year-old musician leaked.