Dave Mustaine was fired from Metallica in April 1983 and, despite having an extremely successful career with Megadeth, has always seemed to harbor a little resentment toward his former bandmates. The most recent examples being when Mustaine accused Metallica of “holding him back” throughout his career, and saying Metallica is afraid to take Megadeth on tour with them.
Anyway, the point here is that former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson is sick of hearing about it. In an interview with Heavy Talk, Ellefson likens Mustaine’s firing to his own from Megadeth and, in his own words, said Mustaine “looks fucking pathetic” at this point. Which isn’t a surprising shot from Ellefson, considering his strong opinions on Mustaine and the way he handled Ellefson’s firing.
“I got one call: ‘You’re fired.’ [Laughs] And I said, ‘What the fuck, man?’ I said, ‘Some shitty fucking people just dropped a bomb on my house. And that’s it? It’s not even true. It’s fucking bullshit. And this is how you treat me?’ It was non-negotiable. I mean, I asked. I said, ‘I’m gonna take care of it. Let me just deal with it. And it will fucking be done. We’ll be ready to go on the road in two months, and everything will be fine.’ And it was. Because it was just false allegations and bullshit.
“But [Dave] didn’t wanna know about it. I think he was getting pressure from some other people around him. And it’s too bad it went that way. Because it was really nothing. I took care of it. And then once the word came out that I was fired, then it turned into this big fucking thing, which, quite honestly, was very damaging and very hurtful and not fair. I’m glad I don’t have that fucking amends on my shoulder, because that was fucked up.
“Look, I have no choice but to have to forgive it so I can move on. I really don’t. So I don’t know what more to say about it other than that. Look, at some point… The damage was done. So you move on. We’re all human, and it is what it is. You can’t lament it. I’ve watched how he’s treated his dismissal from Metallica, still bitching about it 40 years later, and I think it looks fucking pathetic. And it’s, like, ‘You know what? Fix you shit and move on.’ And that’s how I’ve chosen to deal with it: fix your shit and move on.
“And that’s why I put out four records in the time the last fucking Megadeth record came out, and I think every one of ’em are as good or better than the latest Megadeth record. I think the quality… And part of it is I’m working with great people. Whether they’re famous or not doesn’t matter. I’m working with good people. They’re safe, they’re reliable, they’re truly men of integrity, and I think that really makes a big difference. I feel safe around them. And the creative process is fun. It’s not restrictive. It’s unlimited.
“And so this creative explosion has happened. And again, listen, I’m not trying to be in 85 bands — believe me, I’m not. But it’s interesting that there was this sort of post-Megadeth season here where all these records came out. And rather than try to limit them and restrict them, I’m, like, ‘Fuck it. Put ’em out. Let’s go.’ In a lot of ways, it’s turned out okay. It’s been fine. And I’m okay. People ask, and I’m, like, ‘I’m okay.’ It was kind of a weird ending.”
Ellefson later jokes that he knew three things when he met Mustaine in the early years – “one, our band was gonna be successful; two, it was gonna be a lot of work; and three, one day this is gonna end really badly.” And while their relationship has certainly soured, Ellefson has done pretty alright having played on some legendary thrash records and even having new bands like Dieth and Kings Of Thrash.