Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine has opened up on the dismissal of band co-founder David Ellefson last year, saying he’ll “forgive” the former bassist but “just won’t play music with him again”.
Ellefson was accused of grooming an underage girl online last year when several explicit screenshots and videos surfaced of the bassist and the girl, who later denied she was underage and said the interactions were consensual.
Ellefson also denied the accusations, calling the contents of the images and footage “private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family” – but was ultimately fired from Megadeth two weeks after the accusations emerged.
“While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward,” read a statement Mustaine issued at the time.
“Let me just say this – it was a hard decision that had to be made,” Mustaine has said of Ellefson’s firing in a new interview with Metal Hammer. “There were a lot of people involved and I had to make a decision, because unfortunately, when you’re the leader, you’re the one that has to suck it up and face the music.”
Mustaine continued, “All I wanted to do was make a clean break, and not hurt anyone, not hurt the fans and not hurt him. I just wanted to move on, and I hope the gentleman concerned is doing okay.”
The Megadeth frontman also alluded to the 2004 lawsuit Ellefson once filed against him for what he claimed were millions in outstanding royalties (the case was later dismissed). “I’ve forgiven him before when he sued me,” Mustaine said, “and I’ll forgive him a thousand times. I just won’t play music with him anymore.”
Five months after his dismissal from Megadeth, Ellefson said he was “perfectly content and happy”, and later claimed that he was dismissed because of his decision to respond to the allegations made against him, though “the Megadeth camp didn’t want me to say anything”.
Last year, Ellefson filed revenge-porn charges against the person whom he alleges illegally leaked the video and screenshots that prompted the allegations against him, meeting police in Scottsdale, Arizona last June to pursue the charges.
Since his dismissal from Megadeth, Ellefson has formed a new band called The Lucid, who released a self-titled album in October 2021.
Megadeth recently announced their long-awaited 16th studio album ‘The Sick, The Dying…And The Dead’, which is due out on September 2. The album is the first the band have released since Mustaine recovered from throat cancer, and was announced alongside the first single ‘We’ll Be Back’.
Recorded at Mustaine’s house, the album features guitarist Kiko Loureiro and drummer Dirk Verbeuren alongside temporary bassist Steve DiGiorgio, who filled in for the dismissed Ellefson prior to the announcement that former Megadeth bassist James LoMenzo would take up the role permanently.