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DAVID ELLEFSON: ‘MEGADETH Has Always Have Had A Strong Business Acumen On Top Of The Creative Side’

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Monday, 09 January 2017
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Robert Cavuoto of Myglobalmind recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Myglobalmind: How important is to stretch out beyond MEGADETH with coffee, producing bands, and having your record label [Ellefson Music Productions] for retirement should MEGADETH come to an end one day?

Ellefson: It’s very important. In the early days of MEGADETH, we had success in spite of ourselves. [Laughs] We were young, wild, and rocking hard, but there came a point in the ’90s when we realized we had to change our lifestyle and how we operated. That provided us with a new mindset around our organization. That has helped us thrive and survive until the current day. I think MEGADETH has always have had a strong business acumen on top of the creative side. The Ellefson family, through the generations, has always been business-minded, educated men. I’ve gone to college, worked in business, and think it requires a level of being able to step back to be an observer as well as a servant at the same time. Business is really about serving your customers where rock ‘n’ roll is about icon worship. [Laughs] I think there is this left-brain-right-brain mentality that I have always enjoyed in my life. To have that balance so when I step away from the stage to do other things, it allows me to enjoy the stage that much more; rather than the stage being the only thing I have in my life.

Myglobalmind: How was [MEGADETH] able to write, play, and perform under heavy influences [in the early days] while still managing to secure and maintain record contracts?

Ellefson: That’s a good question and there are two answers. In the beginning, it worked, but by the end, it didn’t. [Laughs] I think the end came for us in 1989 as it was a very dark year. The band had splintered, management had splintered, and Capitol Records sat idle waiting for us to get our act together. Ironically, we wrote one of our fan-favorite records, ‘Rust In Peace’, during that time. What’s interesting in another dark and tumultuous time we managed to write another one of fan favorites, ‘Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?’, just a few years earlier. What starts to trouble you as an artist is you realize that in your darkest days you wrote your best music. There always a looming call to go back to it so you can recapture it. Unfortunately, as a human being living in the world, you can’t operate under that premise. What made ‘Rust In Peace’ so successful was that we wrote the record in a very dark time, but got clean and sober and recorded it stone-cold sober. Then we went out and were able to tour to bring the band on to even greater success with sober judgment. Even with ‘Dystopia’, it was a record written in a dark time in the band’s career with lineup and management changes. All these sorts of things turning around in the camp and I think, in a weird way, it created this disturbance within that created this terrific music for without.”

Read the entire interview at Myglobalmind.

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