David Ellefson on My Life With Deth


My Life With Deth CoverDavid Ellefson answers Johnny (Fly) Affinito from ChiTownRocks.com

Some questions about David’s new book, Megadeth and more.

ChiTownRocks:  Your book is coming out October 29th, 2013 titled ‘MY LIFE WITH DETH’ written by yourself and Joel McIver.  What brought this about and why did you decide to publish it at this point in your life?

David Ellefson:  Joel actually urged me to write the book when I rejoined back to Megadeth in 2010. He saw it as simply a good time to tell my life’s story. So, we set out to capture the story and that is what “My Life With Deth” is.

CTR:  It says that you will be discussing in your book the unsuccessful attempts you have had with rehab and drug use.  How do you feel discussing this in such an open forum as a written biography?

DE: That was almost 25 years ago for me now so I don’t have any issues talking about those things. The better news is that I’ve had almost a quarter of a century on the right side of the fence away from those dark years and possibly that will set a good example for anyone struggling in that area.

CTR:  You’ve mentioned that embracing your Lutheran Church roots has helped you turn your life around to the point where it’s at right now.  Can you explain that a little bit more to your fans?

DE: Actually, it was moving away from the party-life years ago that was the real turnaround for me. Then, when I started a family in the late 1990s I began to see the importance of having a faith background as a benchmark to do that. I was raised a Lutheran kid and it came full circle when my kids were attending a Lutheran school for their elementary years. That led to attendance, membership and continued activity within the denomination, all while playing rock n roll. To me, that is an advantage in my story because many people leave one behind in order to do the other. I was lucky to have both run concurrently in my life.

CTR:  GIGANTOUR was such a huge success and then you hit the road with Iron Maiden.  Can you describe a little what it is like opening for such an enormous International band?  And how do the two bands get along with each other?


DE:  Iron Maiden is just plain great. They are a fantastic band, a top-notch organization and great people, too. Twenty-five years ago was our first outing with them when we were the young, up-and-coming, wild card heavy metal band. We were fully of energy but had to earn their respect.Now, all these years later, we’ve had our own successes and made our own mark in the heavy metal world. So all these years later it felt like we could be a good addition to a tour like that. I feel like we’ve stepped up in our own way and earned our keep, which could only come from experience.

CTR: Tell us a little about your relationship with Jackson guitars.  You have been with them pretty much your whole career; how did that come about and how have you managed to keep such a tight relationship with them?

DE:  Back in 1987 I picked up a Jackson Concert bass at the Guitar Center on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood and I fell in love with it immediately. It had the right sound & feel for Megadeth and I could tell it was a very high quality instrument specialized for heavy metal. So I made an appointment to drive out to Ontario, CA and meet with Grover Jackson to discuss him building me my own bass. We had just signed to Capitol Records for the “Peace Sells…” album so Grover was willing to take a meeting. He was a big honcho in the heavy metal guitar business back in those days, making axes for all the big acts coming out of Los Angeles.That started the relationship with Jackson, although the company has changed hands a few times over the years. Honestly, today’s instruments are better than ever which is why I’m playing them exclusively once again, with signature models as well.

CTR:  Last year at NAMM you were promoting a special APP that was ‘for’ and ‘about’ you, how is that going?

DE: Yes, the “David Ellefson ROCK SHOP App” by Pocketlabworks ( www.pocketlabworks.com ). The app has done well and we are looking at some further updates for it now, too. Mostly, I was looking to create an app that I could use on the road for my own practicing, with all the tools I need like pitching, speed control, importing songs from my iTunes music library and so forth.One of the special features on the app is that any songs off the “Peace Sells…” album that are purchased through iTunes will automatically be pitched to standard tuning so you don’t have to adjust your instrument’s tuning to play along with it. That is a special feature we created for my fans who may want to play to that record without all the tuning efforts.

CTR: Will you be attending this years NAMM shows in Anaheim and will you be representing Jackson basses and Hartke amps?

DE: I am looking to be there and yes, will be representing both Jackson & Hartke, as well as a few endorsements, too.

CTR: After you left Megadeth in 2002 and formed F5, Explain a little bit about that period in your life and what eventually brought you back to

DE: I speak more about this in my book so best to read it all there!

CTR:I know that you and Dave Mustaine have been the best of friends and probably the worst of enemies at times. You both have been thru so much together and also separate…Can you share with us how your relationship is today and how do you feel about your future? Because personally, it’s not Megadeth if the two of you aren’t together.

DE:  Well, thank you for your support to us. As I’ve said before, a band can take up so much time for everyone that friendships are often put to the back burner. Ultimately, a band will suffer when there is not connectivity on a friendship level. Today, Dave and I enjoy our friendship better than ever and from there the band sort of takes care of itself.

CTR: What is the future plan of both yourself and Megadeth in 2014?

DE: We are lining out our year as we speak. First up will be our first ever appearance at the legendary “Sound Wave” festival in Australia, headlining the Metal stage. From there, it looks like much more to come. All that info will be at www.megadeth.com as it develops.

CTR: Thanks for taking the time David to answer some quick questions for me.  From all of us here at www.chitownrocks.com and myself, we thank you David! \M/

DE: Thank you much and best of luck with the new magazine, too!


Questions and Live Photos Submitted by: John (Fly) Affinito/Fly Photography

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