DAVID ELLEFSON: ‘I Can Finally Wear My METALLICA Shirts Again’

David Ellefson
Photo credit: Mike Savoia

During a recent interview the Mike Nelson Show, ex-MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson was asked about his latest social media update. The post revealed that he had attended a concert by METALLICA as part of their “M72” tour.

“I almost wore my METALLICA shirt today,” he responded. “It’s cycled up to the bottom of my — you know the black t-shirt pile we all have? Just cycle down, and you go through the shirts. ‘Oh, there’s a METALLICA shirt. Maybe I should wear this one today.’ I’m not in MEGADETH. I can finally wear my METALLICA shirts again.

“Hey, man, I’m a METALLICA fan. I mean, talk about gold standards. They’re the one for metal. They have gone on to do the impossible. I mean, really, when you think about it in the touring business, there’s Taylor Swift, there’s METALLICA, maybe BeyonceGUNS N’ ROSES. And thank God, man, they’re at the top. We need them to be at the top, because if they’re at the top, that means all boats rise to that level. So we want METALLICA to be f**king Apple computer; we need ’em to be for our genre.

“Look, I thought their show… I think the tour now, the show now, this is the best they’ve been since the Black Album. I think they sound great, they play great, the song selection is great. So, I’m proud of our boys. I’m happy for ’em, and I think it’s great that they’re out doing it on the level that they’re doing. It’s one thing to get to that level, it’s a whole other thing to maintain that level, which they’ve been able to do, which is just f**king awesome.”

In response to Mike Nelson‘s remark during the interview, suggesting the improbability of Ellefson attending a METALLICA concert 30 years ago due to the bitter parting of Dave Mustaine from METALLICA, Ellefson responded: “No, I’ve always gone to see METALLICA. I remember going with Dave [Mustaine] to see them when they played with — the ‘Kill ‘Em All For One’ [tour] with RAVEN. And they came through and they played the Country Club in L.A. where we lived at the time and seeing them play. I’m going, ‘F**k. Okay. So this is it.’ ‘Cause my first introduction was [the] No Life ‘Til Leather [demo]. And then I remember when the Kill ‘Em All album showed up, and me and [early MEGADETH member] Greg Handevidt and Dave sat in the apartment in sheer silence while the record played and Dave listened to it — studied it and just listened to it. It’s, like, ‘Yeah, I’m just gonna shut up and sit here and listen.’ And I liked it.

“It was interesting how they slowed things down. In fact, I remember when Doc McGhee managed us for a short period at the in 1988. In one of our early meetings with Doc, he said he had an observation, he said, ‘You know, METALLICA aren’t really that fast. They just give the illusion that they’re fast.’ I thought, ‘That’s a good way to put it.’ They slowed the tempos down so that it would work in the big arenas, which we eventually did in the ’90s as we got up in the big arenas and played that — our tempos slowed down our songwriting style adjusted a bit as well. And the other thing he said, he goes, ‘The name METALLICA is actually bigger than the band.’ It’s kind of like the name transcends. And we see it now — we see actresses wearing RAMONES t shirts and even MEGADETH t-shirts. They probably don’t even have a f**king clue who we are, but they wear a t-shirt anyway, because the t-shirt and the logo is iconic.