Megadeth Interviews


On the Phone with Dave :: Out to Lunch :: So Far, So Good for Megadeth :: Rust in Peace :: Dave the Human, Mustaine the Artist :: A Founding Forefather of Thrash :: The Outside Corner :: Music Is Our Business... And Business Is Good :: Deth Rally :: Trial by Fire :: Megadeth Conquers Globe :: Megadeth: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered :: Shooting from the Hip :: I Made It Home Alive! :: So Far, So Good... Now What? :: Megadeth: Online and Onstage :: Sodom and Gomorra :: Metal Is Still Their Business... But Who's Buying? :: Shooting from the Hip II :: Country and Western :: Metal Church :: Get in the Van :: Foreclosure of a Team :: Last Men Standing :: Without the MTV Support :: Set the World on Fire :: Dave Mustaine University :: Heavy Metal Marines :: The Real Line-up of Megadeth :: Risk Factor :: The World Will End in Megadeth :: Megadeth: Crush'em with Ferocity and Finesse :: An Ugly American :: Try to Sue Capital Records! :: Big Boys :: We're Pissed Off Again :: Dave Mustaine's Symphony of Reconstruction :: It Wasn't Fun Anymore :: Metallidethica :: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Been Asking :: Dave Ellefson: Life After Megadeth :: Die Another Day

Megadeth: Online and Onstage

taken from On Eleven Magazine, 1995
Jeff Boerio talks to David Ellefson


David Ellefson: Hey Jeff!

Jeff Boerio: How you doing?

DE: Pretty good, how you doing?

JB: I'm not complaining. How's the rain up in Spokane?

DE: It's not raining. It's just cloudy, but is was raining yesterday.

JB: I've got some questions for you, and hopefully we can get through them all in the timeframe. I'd like to talk about your Internet stuff and how you keep in touch with your fans, some about the media, and about your tour. Lately, MTV's dropped Headbanger's Ball and I'd like to know your feelings on that.

DE: Well, you know what, heavy metal is in a very precarious situation right now. A lot of people have been asking, "What's up with heavy metal?" For me, I don't know what direction heavy metal is headed. All I know is that all along is we just try to be Megadeth, and not categorize ourselves in such limiting terms as styles of music. I mean, heavy metal's always been the underdog. It's always been around. It's just gone through this phases where it's been more popular than at other times. MTV is a huge network and they make their own rules. We've been real fortunate because MTV has been really active with Megadeth over the last few years.

JB: That's true, they have.

DE: Yeah! They definitely have. I don't know if that's a reflection on heavy metal or if they just want to be involved with Megadeth.

JB: Well, let's hope it's a lot of both.

DE: Yeah! And I'm not dismissing heavy metal because I grew up listening to it, and I still listen to heavy metal and I love heavy metal and I hope it doesn't just fall by the wayside. But it's a pretty large task for just one or two bands to just carry the banner, you know?

JB: If MTV doesn't keep up with it, do you think bands will have to publish home videos in order for fans to see the concepts behind some of the music?

DE: Well, it's hard to say. Heavy metal was around long before the video generation was around. And it will be interesting to see if it stays around if it's not part of the video generation anymore. That was the one cool thing about specialty shows - whatever video network that they're on. At least there was a particular timeframe for heavy metal. I remember when Headbanger's Ball started out, it was only on from noon to 12:30. Wasn't that what it was?

JB: Yeah!

DE: Right at mid-day, five days a week. I remember that's when we did the "Peace Sells" video, and it started to get some decent airtime. And that was pretty shocking because there weren't many heavy metal bands doing videos in those days, back in '86 or '87.

JB: You guys are pretty involved with the Internet. How did you get hooked into that?

DE: Well, Capitol Records basically had someone design, a guy named Charles, had him design the website strictly as a promotional tool for the record. It was good, because we had been talking to Capitol the previous year before that about getting involved in some computer technologies. When they came up with the idea of the Internet, it was obviously for promotional reasons. It's something people can tap into all around the world. And then Dave [Mustaine] and I started to get really involved with it. We got e-mail addresses setup and we've gone into the Mega Diner, which is a chat line and we started talking with the fans. Now Marty writes a guitar column in there and I write a daily thing. Well, actually, it's a weekly road report thing called the Obituary. Dave put up some lyrics from some soundtracks that aren't available anywhere. We put a songlist request before we started our tour. It's gone from being a promotional tool to being a way for us to be very hands-on and very day-to-day active with our fans.

JB: That's a great thing. A couple of Internet oldies and maybe some music lovers are going to look at this as a way of "selling out". You don't see it that way, do you?

DE: I don't see it like that at all. You know, it's like, our motive for the band getting involved in it is - we're real active with our computers. We use them for songwriting, we use computer technology in the studio. You know, we're pretty Cyber Friendly. And since we already own computers, this for us is like, "Whoa! This is great! How can we utilize this to maximize our interactivity with our fans." We don't look at it like a sellout at all. We choose to look at it in a positive way. Oh my God, this is a great tool to be hands-on. Do you get into the Mega Diner?

JB: I started to a couple weeks ago, but between my work schedule, this magazine, and my own life, there's not much time. So, it kinda cuts into my life if I want to do it that way.

DE: Yeah, computers do cut into your life a lot.

JB: What prompted you to come up with the "Obituary" column?

DE: What it was, was that I had my computer with me, and at the end of November, we did David Letterman and then we flew over to Germany to be part of the first-ever European MTV Video Awards. And right after that we went down to South America for a two-week concert tour. I brought my computer with me because I get a little edgy when I don't have it with me. So I just started just kinda doin' a daily diary. It even had some personal stuff in there - just to kinda keep a diary of the things I do and sorta keep track of my life. And I ran the idea past Dave and he actually suggested that maybe I should put it on the Internet. So I rewrote it so it was strictly about band stuff and didn't have any personal stuff. So it took on a whole new life. I can't remember what I was talking to Dave about, but I wanted to use it for some reason or another. But anyway, after we talked about it, we discussed putting it on the Internet. Usually every night after the show, I sit down and I just kinda jot the days events down.

JB: That gives a lot of people a good idea of what a band really does. A lot of people probably have this notion that bands do nothing but party, play live, and record. But there's obviously a lot more to it.

DE: Yeah, there is a lot more to it. I think that, for me as a fan, that's the kind of stuff I'd like to know.

Here is a quote from Dave's weekly report, which shows exactly what he tells his fans. This is a busy day in the life of Megadeth:

2/2/95

"Today was one busy day for the Megamen. We flew out of Montreal at 1:00 p.m. To New York City where we went directly to the Ed Sullivan theatre to sound check for the David Letterman show. Sound check was from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. where we ran through 'A Tout Le Monde' several times with Paul Schaffer's band to get a handle on the sound and parts that his band were going to accompany us on. Taping started at 5:30 p.m. and after watching the Megadeth logo swirl around the television screen several times throughout the show we taped our segment around 6:20 p.m. The entire show is done in 1 hour but is taped and shown later that same evening in the various time zones across the country. Mr. Letterman actually took time after the show tonite to talk with us which was much appreciated. We departed N.Y.C by 7:00 p.m. To catch our flight to Fitchburg, Mass., where we had a show tonight. Upon our arrival we actually had our first police escort to the venue in order to make our show on time. With only a slight delay we hit the stage full force. Feeling a bit tired but satisfied we did our after show meet-and-greets and got an adjustment from a local chiropractor. Headbanging night after night does take it's toll on the ol' neck and spine. Then we climbed aboard the bus to eat some Chinese food and tune in the last few minutes of 'The Late Show' and see our performance from earlier today. I must say, we all went to sleep feeling good about the performance and feeling very, very grateful for all the opportunities we have being in this band!"

DE: The Internet has broken down the barriers of "Oh, they're rock stars and we're just fans." I think what the Internet has done is broken down those barriers. This is what we do every day. Fans do what they do, either go to school or have jobs or whatever. We also have a life as well, and this is what we do.

JB: I think it's fantastic, especially since you guys really do keep in touch with your fans. The way you guys write your music, and the way you approach songwriting - you look at the CDs and some songs are written by Dave, some by you and Dave, and some by the whole band. How do you guys go about it?

DE: On this record, it went through several different phases. First we got together and threw every riff that we had either done as a band or individually over the last couple of years - we got them all together and just sat and listened to them all. We looked through them to see what was a keeper, what wasn't, and that kinda got the juices flowing. And most of the stuff that's on the record [Youthanasia] is the result of us being in a rehearsal room together, just writing - coming up with a new idea and embellishing from there. Most of our songs start around a guitar riff, and we'll put several riffs together to get verses and choruses. Even if complete sets of lyrics have been written, with no music to them, then we see how they can fit into the song. Sometimes lyrics fit in after the song's been written. Sometimes we'll create an image, or a vibe, and then the lyric is written. So there's never really any format or set rule. But nine times out of ten, it starts out with a guitar riff.

JB: Some people have talked about a release coming called Hidden Treasures. Is that going to happen?

DE: At this point, it's only going to be released, definitely in the UK, and I believe parts of Europe. Basically it's all the songs we've released as soundtracks. In some territories of the world, those soundtracks may not be available, and it's basically a bargain buy for our fans, because now they can buy Hidden Treasures. It's basically a two-album set - it's Youthanasia plus this other record Hidden Treasures - it's a boxed set, and it's only a couple of bucks more than actually buying the Youthanasia record and they don't have to by like eight different soundtracks for one Megadeth song. Now all of them are on one compilation.

JB: When is that going to be released?

DE: Well, I know we're going to tour Europe in March, so it will be released for that. At this point, I don't think there's anything going to be released here in the US yet.

JB: Well, I'm sure the fans will find ways to get their hands on it.

DE: Yeah - import item, ya know?

JB: The last time I saw you guys was at Alpine Valley [Wisconsin] on Memorial Day a few years ago with Love/Hate, Pantera, and Skid Row.

DE: Yeah, I think that was right around the start of the Countdown... tour. We had done a warmup show at a club the night before in Chicago. We actually recorded that whole Alpine Valley show. I remember it freezing cold too. We shot a video for "Skin O'My Teeth" for Headbanger's Ball, and you could see our breath because it was so fuckin' cold.

JB: Do you guys like playing big festival shows like that?

DE: Yeah, yeah, we do. The thing about that is when you get many big bands together in an environment like that it's a festive environment for everyone involved. The fans really dig it because it's a good chance for them to see a lot of bands all at once. It's a bargain for them to buy a ticket - it's also like a fun, cool thing because like you get a few months worth of concerts, all in one day, rather than having to go see each band separately, and uh...

JB: Shelling out big bucks.

DE: ...Yeah! And you know, it's something we're actually concerned about. Through this whole tour, we tried to make sure we had low ticket prices because we feel that tickets are really getting expensive and we would rather bear the brunt of that ourselves and have more people show up because tickets are affordable.

JB: Looking at the time, it looks like we're about to be interrupted, so let's just talk about some of your influences in developing your own style?

DE: You know, most of my influences are from the hard rock and heavy metal of the '70s. Guitar rock, some progressive stuff...

JB: Anyone in particular?

DE: Well... I could list a bunch of them, but it's not their interview. I don't want to sit here and give them a bunch of credit. I've acknowledged it plenty of times, so...

JB: Well, that's cool.

Operator: Excuse me, gentlemen. Dave, your next interview is about ready...

JB: Well Dave, I appreciate the time.

DE: Yeah Jeff, it was good talking with you.

JB: And I'll be seeing you Monday night down here.

DE: OK - look forward to it.


On the Phone with Dave :: Out to Lunch :: So Far, So Good for Megadeth :: Rust in Peace :: Dave the Human, Mustaine the Artist :: A Founding Forefather of Thrash :: The Outside Corner :: Music Is Our Business... And Business Is Good :: Deth Rally :: Trial by Fire :: Megadeth Conquers Globe :: Megadeth: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered :: Shooting from the Hip :: I Made It Home Alive! :: So Far, So Good... Now What? :: Megadeth: Online and Onstage :: Sodom and Gomorra :: Metal Is Still Their Business... But Who's Buying? :: Shooting from the Hip II :: Country and Western :: Metal Church :: Get in the Van :: Foreclosure of a Team :: Last Men Standing :: Without the MTV Support :: Set the World on Fire :: Dave Mustaine University :: Heavy Metal Marines :: The Real Line-up of Megadeth :: Risk Factor :: The World Will End in Megadeth :: Megadeth: Crush'em with Ferocity and Finesse :: An Ugly American :: Try to Sue Capital Records! :: Big Boys :: We're Pissed Off Again :: Dave Mustaine's Symphony of Reconstruction :: It Wasn't Fun Anymore :: Metallidethica :: Answers to the Questions Everyone's Been Asking :: Dave Ellefson: Life After Megadeth :: Die Another Day

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