Mustaine wants to forgive Ellefson but does not play music with him

Megadeth bandleader Dave Mustaine says he’s ready to forgive the heavy metal band’s former bassist David Ellefson. But he doesn’t want to play music with him anymore.

That’s how Mustaine explained it to Metal Hammer in a candid interview on Friday, June 24.

Megadeth’s new single, “We’ll Be Back”, arrived the day before. The band’s 16th studio album, The sick, the dying… and the dead! comes out in September. Last year, Ellefson was fired from the band amid a sex scandal. Bassist James LoMenzo replaced him last month; Steve Di Giorgio of Testament stepped in to record bass on the album.

“I’ve made mistakes myself so I know what it’s like to have people shooting at you,” Mustaine told Metal Hammer. “But what we needed to remember is that Megadeth has a lot of moving parts. … I’ve made decisions in the past that have affected the safety of the group, and I know what harm that has caused.”

He adds: “But I don’t want to say anything about someone who is unable to defend himself.”

Still, the Megadeth singer-guitarist continues, “Let me say this: It was a tough decision to make. 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 to swallow and face the music. All I wanted to do was take a clean break, and not hurt anyone, not hurt the fans, and not hurt him. I just wanted to pass to something else, and I hope the gentleman concerned is doing well. I imagine there was an adjustment that must have taken place when it happened.

Recalling the fallout from Megadeth’s two-year breakup from 2002 and Ellefson’s $18.5 million lawsuit in 2004, Mustaine says, “I already forgave him when he sued me and I I’ll forgive him a thousand times over. I just won’t play any more music with him.”

Mustaine also spoke about the difficulty of the decision to Rolling Stone this week, saying, “It was hard for me to let him go. And I’m happier now than I’ve ever been.”

Last year, Ellefson returned to The Lucid – a band made up of Sponge singer Vinnie Dombroski and Fear Factory drummer Mike Heller – with the singles “Damned” and “Maggot Wind”. Meanwhile, Megadeth’s “We’ll Be Back” marks the studio debut of the band fronted by drummer Dirk Verbeuren’s Mustaine, who joined in 2016 but had yet to contribute to the LP.

The sick, the dying… and the dead! arrives September 2. This summer, Megadeth will be touring with Five Finger Death Punch for a series of shows in North America. Get concert tickets here.

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