Dave Mustaine: How I Forgave + Got Back With David Ellefson

Today, there’s no bad blood between Megadeth vets Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson. In 2004 though, that wasn’t the case as Ellefson attempted to sue his then ex-bandmate for the sum of $18.5 million. Ultimately, the two put it all behind them and in a new interview Mustaine explained how he forgave the bassist and welcomed him back into the band.

“I think forgiveness is a super-cool thing,” Mustaine told Fox Sports 910’s ‘Freak Nation’ (transcription via Blabbermouth) when discussing his new book, Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece, which is out now.

“When David Ellefson sued me for $18.5 [million], and the judge dismissed it [in January of 2005] and then made him pay a bunch of money on top of that, he got his ass handed to him in public,” described Mustaine, who admitted, “And I was really, really, really hurt by the things that he said about me. And I thought, ‘You know what? If I never see him again, I guess I’ll be okay.’ And I was sad, but I figured he was gone.”

Fate had different plans, however, as Mustaine recalled, “One day, I was flying home from Dallas, and the flight stopped in [Ellefson’s hometown of] Phoenix, and for some stupid reason, I called him up and I said, ‘Hey, you wanna have dinner?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ So we went out.”

From there, the intentions were pretty clear.

“The first thing he said was, ‘I wanna tell you, it was the stupidest thing I ever did suing you, and I wanna apologize.’ And I looked at him and I waited a beat, and I said, ‘Dave, I forgive you. I completely forgive you. I love you.’ And it was over like that,” the Megadeth frontman confessed.

It’s a life lesson Mustaine has carried with him and he urged others to consider it in their lives. “I think that that’s really something great that people should take with them today, anybody listening to this. There may be somebody you need to forgive or somebody you need to apologize to, but I’ll tell you what — it makes [you feel] a lot better at the end of the day,” the Megadeth leader affirmed.

Ellefson, who was a part of Megadeth from 1983 through 2002, officially rejoined the legendary thrash group in 2010. He even may sing on a ballad about all that past bad blood between him and Mustaine on Megadeth’s forthcoming record. Most recently, Mustaine compared the new material to the band’s first two albums.

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34 Years Ago: Megadeth Release ‘Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?’

As a founding member of Metallica and a major contributor to the band’s groundbreaking debut Kill ‘Em All, Dave Mustaine was clearly a gifted songwriter and a talented musician. However, his first effort to reach the top of the thrash metal hierarchy with his band Megadeth, 1985’s Killing Is My Business… And Business is Good, suffered from sub-par production and it lacked the stand-out hooks to catapult the band to stardom. Fifteen months later, on Sept. 19, 1986, Mustaine and his bandmates followed-up their debut with the exceptional, catchy and powerful riff-fest Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?

The band started working on two of Mustaine’s compositions, “Black Friday” and “Black Omen” as early as December 1985, but most of the heavy lifting for Peace Sells took place after Megadeth finished touring in support of Killing Is My Business. Again, Mustaine wrote all the songs and the caliber and quality of his new material was leaps and bounds above anything he had ever done.

“Megadeth was capable of extraordinary musicianship,” he wrote in his memoir Mustaine. “The twin guitar attacks on ‘The Conjuring,’ the great harmony line in ‘Peace Sells’ were achieved not only through careful composition, but through the camaraderie that comes when a band is really clicking.”

Megadeth, “The Conjuring”

That Megadeth clicked so well is amazing considering the physical condition all of its members were in. Guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson were addicted to heroin and sometimes pawned the band’s equipment for money to score dope. Bassist David Ellefson and Mustaine weren’t in the throes of addiction, but they were heavy users. To a large extent, Mustaine and Ellefson started abusing narcotics because they were living in barely tolerable conditions and were basically penniless.

“I was living in a building called the complex, which is where all the bands used to rehearse,” Mustaine told me in 1999. “The place was by the meat packing plants and it was a dive. David Ellefson had found some unsuspecting victim to live with. This was the singer from Détente, [Dawn Crosby]. Dave and I went over to her house one time and the sink in her bathroom looked like the sink in a gas station – and the same with the toilet. And Dave would tell me nightmares of him being over there, and her making him sleep on the floor while she had sex with another girl.”

Megadeth was still under contract with indie label Combat Records when it started recording Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? at The Music Grinder Studios in Los Angeles on Feb. 15, 1986. Mustaine co-produced the album with Randy Burns, and the group exited the studio March 20. While the budget was scant, the albums sounded much fuller and more professional than the band’s debut. Before the album was released, Combat sold Megadeth’s contract to Capitol Records, which hired engineer Paul Lani to fix the recording flaws and give the record a crisper bite.

Mark Weiss, Getty Images

Clearly, songs like the chant-along “Wake Up Dead” and the barreling, graphically brutal “Good Mourning/Black Friday” were next level stuff, but the obvious standout was the title track. From the opening jaunty bass line to the contagious main riff, “Peace Sells” remains one of the most memorable numbers from the thrash era. The vocals were snarky, but political, proving the Mustaine had more than tales of decadence and mayhem in his lyrical arsenal, and the rhythmic shifts in the song gave it lasting impact.

Even MTV picked up on the appeal of “Peace Sells,” using the bass intro for its MTV News reports for nearly 10 years. Though Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying wasn’t as musically intricate as Megadeth’s tech-metal masterpiece 1990’s Rust in Peace, it featured more challenging rhythm and tempo shifts, and more guitar fills and better leads than most early speed metal and thrash releases. And the album cover blew away Killing, establishing the band’s mascot Vic Rattlehead as an iconic metal figure right up there with Iron Maiden’s Eddie the Head.

Megadeth, “Peace Sells” Music Video

Art for the album was rendered by Ed Repka, who also rendered classic covers for Death as well as model designs for the “Hellraiser” films. “The jacket art arose from a lunchtime conversation at a rib joint in New York, across the street from the United Nations,” wrote Mustaine. “I was there with our agent, Andy Summers, and we started brainstorming. By the end of that conversation we had come up with the idea of Vic standing in front of the UN, shortly after a nuclear holocaust, trying to sell property. That became the quintessential Peace Sells image.”

Megadeth toured extensively for Peace Sells and the album reached No. 76 on the Billboard album chart. After the tour, however, Mustaine fired Poland and Samuelson because their drug problem was impeding the forward progress of the band. Peace Sells was certified gold in November 1988, and went platinum four years later.

Loudwire contributor Jon Wiederhorn is the author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends, co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal, as well as the co-author of Scott Ian’s autobiography, I’m the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax, and Al Jourgensen’s autobiography, Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen and the Agnostic Front book My Riot! Grit, Guts and Glory.

See Where ‘Peace Sells’ Ranks Among Our Top 50 Thrash Albums of All Time

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Megadeth’s David Ellefson: ‘We Owe Everything to Metallica’

Metallica are not just the biggest metal band on Earth, but one of the biggest bands in all of recorded human history. This notion is not lost on Megadeth‘s David Ellefson, who spoke glowingly of the band while expressing that his own group, along with every other metal band, “owe everything to Metallica.”

There’s quite the history between the two legendary thrash groups, as all fans know. Dave Mustaine began his career in Metallica’s ranks before being jettisoned in 1983 as the band was on the verge of recording their debut record. For decades, there was bad blood between the two sides, but it’s all in the past now as Mustaine and Metallica’s members have reconciled.

When asked by Detroit’s WRIF if Megadeth kept tabs on what Metallica were doing in the mid-to-late-’80s period of their respective careers, Ellefson didn’t hesitate when stating, “Oh, of course. I mean, look, we are all just a branch off the Metallica family tree. I mean, let’s face it. Especially Megadeth, with Dave being there, and then me being a branch off of Dave with Megadeth. So, I mean, look, we owe everything to Metallica.”

Ellefson also spoke of the holistic impact Metallica had on the rest of the metal scene, not just Megadeth, back then and through the present. “Those guys broke down the doors for every one of us — Anthrax, Slayer. Bands today — Lamb of GodPantera — none of this would have happened without Metallica being up there as the 800-pound gorilla just carving the path through the jungle that would have never let heavy metal in.”

When Metallica released their self-titled album (most commonly referred to as ‘The Black Album’) in 1991, it brought heavy music straight to the mainstream, building on the major label successes of Master of Puppets as well as …And Justice For All that had already expanded metal’s world market.

“The stuff that they’re able to do and the size and the scope of which they were able to break those doors down, it changed all of our lives — as musicians, as fans, as everything,” continued Ellefson. “That’s why I think when they did the ‘Big 4’ [shows] with us in 2010 and ’11, that was just such a great olive branch.”

For Ellefson, it’s all a binding sense of unity. “As [Anthrax guitarist] Scott Ian said, ‘It’s like we’re all brothers of the same family, it’s just that one of our brothers went off and became Microsoft’ [laughs], and that was Metallica. It’s, like, ‘How the hell did you do that? That’s amazing. You changed the world.'”

Still appreciative of those ‘Big 4’ shows featuring Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, the bassist gleamed, “But the fact that they came back and, again, offered that olive branch to us and just said, ‘Hey, we were all in this together. Let’s celebrate what we did together so many years ago.’ And I think that speaks volumes to just how cool Metallica is.”

Next year, Megadeth will embark on a co-headlining North American tour with Lamb of God alongside Trivium and In Flames. The trek was originally slated for 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. See those dates here.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Megadeth, who have long been at work on their follow-up album to 2016’s Dystopia. For now, fans can get their fix by diving into Mustaine’s new book, Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece, which details the band’s groundbreaking 1990 album. Watch Loudwire’s interview with Mustaine about the book here.

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Dave Mustaine Recalls Getting Caught Up in Irish Troubles

Dave Mustaine recalled the moment he became embroiled in the Irish Troubles after making a dangerous mistake during a Megadeth performance in 1988.

The incident took place in Antrim, Northern Ireland, at a time when the bitter dispute over whether Ireland should be part of the U.K. exploded into violence on a regular basis.

“I heard over the walkie-talkie that somebody was inside the venue selling bootleg Megadeth T-shirts,” Mustaine writes in his new oral history, Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece (via Rolling Stone). “I told security to find him, confiscate his shirts and escort him out. When they found him, he told them he was selling the shirts for the Cause. I had no idea what that meant, but it sounded cool.”

A little later he started a conversation with a local at the venue bar and asked what “the Cause” meant. “He told me that Ireland was split between the Catholics and the Protestants, and they don’t like each other,” Mustaine recalled. “He didn’t really go into detail. That was in the back of my mind when I went up onstage to play.”

He remembered the audience “going mad” as they performed, even though he had to stop the show for a moment because “there was one kid behind the barricades throwing coins at me.” As he waited to restart the performance, Mustaine said, “a song I had heard by Paul McCartney popped into my mind, and I thought, ‘If it’s good enough for Sir Paul, it’s good enough for me.’ I walked up to the microphone and said, ‘Give Ireland back to the Irish. This one is for the Cause.’”

Megadeth began playing the Sex Pistols classic “Anarchy in the U.K.,” with Mustaine unaware that having mentioned “the Cause” and singing about the United Kingdom – even though the lyrics were changed to refer to Antrim in Northern Ireland – would be interpreted as a political statement.

“It was like I had set off a bomb in the audience,” he said. “It divided the crowd right down the middle, Protestants and Catholics. We were escorted out of town that night in a bulletproof bus, although I still didn’t realize the enormity of my gaffe. The next morning, it started to dawn on me when [bassist] David Ellefson wouldn’t speak to me. … With everything fresh in my mind, I started writing the lyrics that would become ‘Holy Wars’: ‘Brother will kill brother spilling blood across the land, killing for religion, something I don’t understand.’”

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How Bruce Dickinson Helped Dave Mustaine Deal With Cancer

Dave Mustaine asked Bruce Dickinson for advice after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2019.

Iron Maiden frontman Dickinson faced a similar illness four years earlier. So when the Megadeth leader received his own health report, he decided to place a call.

“It’s not like I have a whole Rolodex of rock friends that sing heavy metal music that have throat cancer, so my choices were limited,” Mustaine laughed during a recent interview with Forbes. “I was pretty proud of Bruce after speaking with him. Although we’re not super close, I consider him to be someone I look up to. He basically told me … surround yourself with good, upbeat, positive people, places and things and try not to cause any unnecessary stress on yourself.”

He added: “When you’re a frontman in one of the biggest bands in the galaxy, you don’t really have to tolerate the frontman of the other bands very much, but he’s always been super kind to me and very, I don’t want to say ‘gentlemanly’ because I don’t want anyone to think that he’s not a bad motherfucker!”

Mustaine also discussed going back to work with Megadeth after receiving successful treatment. “Not to try and be glib about what was going on because it certainly was serious stuff, but I stayed focused,” he said. “I listened to the doctors, prayed a lot, took care of myself and had a great support group. As soon as it was time for us to rehearse, let alone record, I was pretty much scared to death because I didn’t know what it was going to be like … me going into rehearsals, no singing. We had tour just a couple days away; I hadn’t done any rehearsal, anything at all.”

He recalled feeling a “terrible confidence,” continuing: “A lot of people think it’s arrogance; I’m not sure, whatever, if that’s what you want to call it, but I had this confidence in myself and I knew — save your gas ’til the very end. Then when it’s time, get up on stage and sing, and before you know it you’ll be back in your dressing room. The first show will be over. That’s kinda how it happened. Once the tour was over, we were back home; we just picked up where we left off and started doing album 16.”

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Dave Mustaine: Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson Helped Cancer Battle

Megadeth legend Dave Mustaine got the “all-clear” on his battle with throat cancer less than a year ago, but before he emerged victorious from fighting the disease, Mustaine made a phone call to another metal icon who beat throat cancer — Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson.

Mustaine felt compelled to call Bruce shortly after the Megadeth frontman was informed of his diagnosis. “I was pretty proud of Bruce after speaking with him,” Mustaine tells Forbes. “Although we’re not super close, I consider him to be someone I look up to. He basically told me the same thing I just told you: surround yourself with good, upbeat, positive people, places and things and try not to cause any unnecessary stress on yourself.”

“When you’re a frontman in one of the biggest bands in the galaxy, you don’t really have to tolerate the frontman of the other bands very much, but he’s always been super kind to me and very, I don’t want to say ‘gentlemanly,’ because I don’t want anyone to think that he’s not a bad motherfucker!”

In January of this year, Mustaine announced to a packed crowd that he was “100 percent free of cancer,” which brought a huge reaction from relieved metalheads.

Mustaine just released a new memoir, Rust in Peace, which recounts the events surrounding the landmark thrash album. “I’d be bullshitting you if I said [cocaine] did not influence [Rust in Peace] because we were all under the influence of the drug at the time,” Mustaine told Loudwire. “I didn’t really like coke that much. I liked the way that it tasted, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. It never ended well, put it that way.”

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Dave Mustaine: Cocaine + Conflict Helped Create ‘Rust in Peace’

In Dave Mustaine’s new memoir, Rust in Peace, the thrash legend, his bandmates and crew tell the story of Megadeth’s iconic fourth album, along with the stories of drug addiction and inner conflict which surrounded it.

In this rare post-cancer video interview, Mustaine gets into the book’s gritty details. “I’d be bullshitting you if I said [cocaine] did not influence [Rust in Peace] because we were all under the influence of the drug at the time,” Mustaine told us. “I didn’t really like coke that much. I liked the way that it tasted, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. It never ended well, put it that way.”

Like many fans, Mustaine holds the chemistry Megadeth had with Marty Friedman and Nick Menza in high regard, which led to reunion attempts of the Rust in Peace lineup. “The chemistry of Nick and Marty… that was amazing,” Mustaine says. “My heart aches when I think about that. That’s why I wrote in the back of the book, ‘In loving memory,’ and not ‘In memory of.’”

“I wanted things to work out with Nick. I even said if it’s not going to work with him playing in the studio, let’s have somebody else go into the studio and have Nick play live. I was bending over backwards to get a place for Nick, and then he said he wanted an exorbitant amount of cash.”

As for the gigantic impact Rust in Peace continues to make on metalheads, Mustaine says, “I’m really happy that it made people happy — that’s the thing I like the most. When you set to do something, you do it for yourself and fuck, who cares what anyone else thinks, but if you’re doing something and it makes you feel good to make other people feel good, that’s awesome.

Watch our full interview with Dave Mustaine below and click here to grab a copy of Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece.

Dave Mustaine: ‘Rust in Peace’ + Megadeth’s Failed Reunion

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Dave Mustaine Announces Virtual ‘Rust in Peace’ Book Tour

Megadeth‘s Dave Mustaine has announced a three-date virtual book tour for his upcoming release, Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece, which comes out Sept. 8.

The Megadeth leader already looked back on his life and career with his 2010 book Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir and his forthcoming book will place emphasis on one crucial moment in the band’s career — the release of the groundbreaking Rust in Peace album in 1990.

The virtual book tour will be held on Sept. 9, 10 and 11. On the first date (at 6PM ET), Mustaine will hold a live signing for those who ordered an autographed copy of the book under an event billed as “Premiere LiveSigning.” Fans can also submit a question for the Megadeth mainman to answer during the virtual session.

The next event, on Sept. 10 (7PM ET), is dubbed “Bookends” and the Sept. 11 session (4PM ET) is titled “Politics and Prose.”

Tickets and more information can be found at this location.

Rust in Peace: The Inside Story of the Megadeth Masterpiece also features a foreword written by Guns N’ Roses legend Slash. Pre-order your copy here.

Meanwhile, Megadeth have continued to work on their highly anticipated follow-up to the Grammy winning Dystopia, which was released in 2016. Also on the horizon is the band’s co-headlining tour with Lamb of God alongside Trivium and In Flames, which was pushed to 2021 after being nixed this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

See Megadeth’s Rust in Peace in the Top 50 Thrash Albums of All Time

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Hear the Black Dahlia Murder Cover Megadeth’s ‘Bill & Ted’ Song

The Black Dahlia Murder have delivered a faithful cover of Megadeth‘s “Go to Hell,” the Dave Mustaine-led act’s contribution to 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.

The rendition arrived last week (Aug. 28), being announced by the Black Dahlia Murder the same day that Bill & Ted Face the Music emerged. That’s the long-awaited Bogus Journey sequel that finally saw the light of day nearly three decades after Bill and Ted last entertained viewers.

Listen to the Megadeth cover down toward the bottom of this post.

The new movie that finds Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter returning to their titular roles is now in theaters and available via video-on-demand. But the Black Dahlia Murder’s Megadeth tribute isn’t on the accompanying soundtrack — not that the death metal band didn’t attempt to nab such a slot.

“We covered the Megadeth track from Bogus Journey in hopes that we could land a spot on the soundtrack,” the Trevor Strnad-fronted outfit laid out in a Twitter update. “It didn’t pan out, but the track still rules.”

“Go to Hell” — composed by Mustaine when the 1991 film had the working title Bill & Ted Go to Hell — is discussed by the Megadeth bandleader in his autobiography A Heavy Metal Memoir. Of note is that the tune contains the same bedtime invocation that Metallica popularized around the same time.

“It’s not like I wrote the children’s prayer from which it was lifted (by both of us),” Mustaine writes in his 2011 book. “And maybe it was just pure coincidence. I have no way of proving otherwise. Both ‘Go to Hell’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ found their way into the public consciousness in the summer of 1991.”

The Black Dahlia Murder’s latest album, Verminous, was released earlier this year. Megadeth are currently chipping away at the follow-up to 2016’s Dystopia with recording engineer Chris Rakestraw.

The Black Dahlia Murder, “Go to Hell” (Megadeth Cover)

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