David Ellefson Reveals The Megadeth Songs He Finds Most Challenging


Say what you want about Megadeth, but they’re a guitarist’s band, meaning playing any of their parts can’t be easy. Now, ex-Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, who played on the band’s most famous albums like Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? and Rust In Peace, has revealed which of the band’s songs he finds most difficult to play.

Speaking with Monsters, Madness and Magic, Ellefson was asked which Megadeth songs were the toughest to play. Here’s what he said, as transcribed by Blabbermouth:

“There’s songs… They’re all hard if you play ’em right, is the truth, because they’re fast. There’s a lot of muscular intensity. You can’t just sort of phone it in. You’ve really gotta warm up. And you’ve kind of gotta be warmed up and have a lot of your endurance in place; you can’t have just been on vacation and pick your bass up and rip through the tunes. It requires dexterity and everything. So ‘Holy Wars’ can be difficult to play. When we had it at the end of the set, it was easier to play ’cause you’re warmed up for an hour and a half; it’s a lot easier. When we used to come out and start with it, back in the ’90s, like with the ‘Rust In Peace’ or something, I think we started with it at the time, and it was, like, ‘Oh my God. This is a fucking killer to come out of the gate with this one.’ You were kind of waiting for the little break where Marty [Friedman, former Megadeth guitarist] does the flamenco thing, so you can go, ‘Ah…’ and shake it off. ‘Cause if you tense up, you get the Popeye arm. The funny thing is something like ‘My Last Words’ which has that really ripping pentatonic pattern, that actually is not that hard to play ’cause it’s a pattern — it’s a pentatonic pattern. So sometimes things you think would be harder aren’t and some of the more notey complexities would be… ‘Tornado [Of Souls]’, ’cause of the downpicking on ‘Tornado’, could be a thing. And I would change it sometimes depending on who the drummer was. When Shawn Drover played in the band, he’d play very much behind the beat like Chuck Behler. He had a really relaxed feel — very comfortable to play with, Shawn, actually. And when Nick [Menza] was in the band, he would always push everything — everything was always at the front edge of the beat, so you’re hanging on for dear life. [It’s, like,] ‘C’mon — pull it back a little bit, dude.’ So sometimes the drummer made all the difference.”

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