Dave admits fear when Megadeth’s Ellefson was in frame to replace Burton in 1986 – as David defends band’s faith

David Ellefson

Defender of the faith: Ellefson

Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine has revealed his relief that bassist David Ellefson wasn’t invited to join Metallica after the tragic death of Cliff Burton.

But it’s added to his determination that members of both bands should come together to record an album.

Burton died on tour in 1986 in a tour bus crash, three years after Mustaine had been kicked out of the band. He’d gone on to form Megadeth, and as his former colleagues looked for a new bassist their thoughts settled on Ellefson.

Mustaine tells CBS: “When Cliff died there was a moment where Dave’s name had come up and I was a little concerned.

“I didn’t want to lose my bassist and I certainly didn’t want to have another reason to be upset. God knows I had my reasons, even though they weren’t all real. A lot of them were caused by myself.

“I just don’t think I would have done well if I’d have known that had happened. Fortunately for me, I think those guys took that into account and just said, ‘Let’s find someone else’.”

Burton was replaced by Jason Newsted, who himself was replaced by current bassist Robert Trujillo.

Mustaine recently said he was hoping to record with ex-bandmates James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, along with Ellefson.

Now he underlines his ambition, saying: “I’m looking forward to the time when me and Lars and James and David make a record together.”

Meanwhile, Ellefson says fans who don’t like them talking about their Christianity are welcome to “change the dial” – but if they hadn’t made changes in their lives they wouldn’t still be together.

Ellefson rejoined the band in 2010 after spending eight years at loggerheads with mainman Dave Mustaine. Both musicians frequently refer to their spirituality when talking about their work.

Now the bassist has discussed the suggestion that some thrash followers would rather not hear about their beliefs.

He tells Artisan News: “My attitude is, with any lifestyle or faith, beliefs, or any of that, if you don’t like the music that’s on the dial, change the dial.

“Megadeth had a Behind the Music special that came out about ten years ago. Anybody’s who’s seen that and then sees Dave and I make life changes and adjustments and life transitions to come over to a more positive, more fruitful, productive way of life – quite honestly so we can continue to make music for our fans – if someone can’t appreciate that, then shame on them.”

The VH1 show has been remastered and will be released on November 11, ten days after Megadeth release new album TH1RT3EN comes out.

Ellefson underlines fans might never have heard any more material if there hadn’t been lifestyle changes: “They don’t have to agree with it, and they don’t even have to go along with it – but at least acknowledge that a change had to be made, and as two men on this planet, we made those changes.

“If you’re heading down a road and you bumping into a wall, you might want to try going down a different road. It’s really that simple for me.”

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