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DAVID ELLEFSON On Failed Reunion Of MEGADETH’s ‘Rust In Peace’ Lineup: It’s Hard For Fans To Just Let That Go

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Thursday, 03 August 2017
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At this year’s Chicago Open Air festival, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson spoke to the 103.9 The Bear radio station about last year’s passing of Nick Menza, who was the band’s drummer during its most commercially successful period. “Nick was… That guy was a constant comedy act,” Ellefson recalled (see vieo below). “He was so fun. Just walking up on stage and stepping up on his drum riser and holding his sticks up in the cross: ‘The power of Christ compels you.’ [Laughs] He’d quote off, like, ‘The Exorcist’ and stuff, and you just look at him. Just his overall vibe and attitude was so cool, man. He brought such a great spirit to the band, such a fun era of heavy metal during the ’90s when he was with us. Naturally, we all miss him. I’m glad we got a chance to actually play with him before… You know, we kind of toyed with that ‘Rust In Peace’ lineup reunion, and it wasn’t meant to be, it didn’t work, but it was fun to be able to be in a room, just playing, being a musician with him again, and I’m glad we had that before he passed.”

Ellefson also talked about the failed 2015 attempt to reunite MEGADETH‘s classic “Rust In Peace” lineup, featuring Menza on drums and Marty Friedman on guitar, following the departures of Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick.

“I actually got to jam a little bit with Marty Friedman at NAMM this last year, and again, just as friends and with no intention of ever doing MEGADETH stuff together,” he said. “And sometimes the pressure is off now. We’re MEGADETH, he’s got his own career, and we can just see each other as friends in the hallway and appreciate what we did together, have some laughs. And I think when there’s always this looming, like, ‘Hey, you’re gonna do the reunion?’, it spoils sometimes just the natural friendship that was there. ‘Cause we’re all musicians, we’re all friends. We had this season together where we created some music, and for whatever reason, that came apart and we went in different directions. And as a fan, it’s hard sometimes to just let that go and just let that be what that was. [I feel that way about] CHEAP TRICK, KISS and AC/DC… There’s a lot of groups I grew up with. And as they say it in ‘Wayne’s World’: live in the now.”

Friedman told LA Weekly that a reunion with MEGADETH sixteen years after he initially left the group didn’t make sense. “I think anyone that has something as good as ‘Rust In Peace’ in their history doesn’t want to revisit it unless you are going to top it,” he explained. “I didn’t see any reason to mess with that. I didn’t see a reunion being what it could be and what the fans deserved. If I were to revisit that, there would have to be a reason for me to do that beyond, ‘Let’s go back and do it again.’ That’s not a good enough reason.”

MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine said in an interview that the “Rust In Peace” lineup reunion failed to materialize for a number of reasons, including a difference in vision for the group’s new music. He said: “Marty had sent some e-mails saying, ‘Oh, man, you know, the fans have this self-inflated importance of ‘Rust In Peace’ beyond what it really is. And I was, like, ‘Huh?’ So I didn’t know if that was a backhand to the face of the fans or not, but he had basically said that if we were gonna do anything, it had to be better than ‘Rust In Peace’. And he sent me over some links to some songs that he thought should be the direction that we were going in, and one of it was this J-Pop band with some Japanese girl singing, and I was, like, ‘Uh-uh. This ain’t gonna work.’ More power to [Marty for being into that stuff]. Do what you want, Marty. He’s a great guitar player. But I’m not gonna sing like a Japanese girl.”

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