Ancient MEGADETH members David Ellefson (low) and Jeff Young (guitar) recently announced the first four concerts of the KINGS OF THRASH “The MEGA Years” round. They will be joined on the dates by another former MEGADETH member, Chris Poland (guitar).
THE KINGS OF THRASHwhich also includes the drummer Fred Aching as well as guitarist/singer Chaz Leonwill perform MEGADETHthe classic albums of “Killing is my business… And business is good!” and “So far so good…So what!” in their entirety.
In a brand new interview with Yes! You CAN play guitar!, Ellefson indicated how THE KINGS OF THRASH came together: “[Jeff] and I got along well. We lived together a lot, because back on the “So far so good…So what!” tour, the band and crew were still having fun, sharing rooms together. So he and I spent a lot of time together. I played the guitar a lot with him; I learned a lot with him, which was fun. So now to connect with him all these years later… We connected through the [making of the upcoming] Nick Menza film [about the late MEGADETH drummer], quite honestly. And I stayed in touch with him. We even jammed together once at a time Ronnie Montrose tribute to NAMM few years ago. So we weren’t completely distanced from each other.”
According Ellefsonthe idea of THE KINGS OF THRASH materialized after him and Young gathered on stage on May 10 at Ultimate jam nightthe longtime community show-in-residence at the famed Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood, CA, as part of a special tribute to the so-called “Big Four” of 1980s thrash metal – METALLIC, MEGADETH, KILLER and ANTHRAX. The event marked the first time David and I f played MEGADETH songs together on stage from the UK rock monsters festival on August 20, 1988. “It spawned, basically, the THE KINGS OF THRASH“, he said.” It was, like, ‘Wow! It was really cool, and it was a lot of fun.'”
David went on to say that he had started thinking about a way to perform some of the MEGADETH‘s classic material last year. “This idea had occurred to me — and it occurred to me last fall,” he explained. “I was at an autograph show on the east coast, and people were taking me “Killing is my business” records left and right. And it just reminded me, this record needs to be played; it must be executed. Same as “So far so good…So what!” To me, they’re kind of those two really special records that – they never went unnoticed, but they didn’t have the big fanfare like “Peace sells” and ‘Rust in Peace’ and all that. So, for me, I made it my mission. I was, like, ‘You know what? Let’s find out these things and get them on stage and play them.
“[Jeff] told me, he said, after MEGADETHi think he said he intentionally forgot how to play MEGADETH songs; he just wanted to move on,” Ellefson continued. “Because when you walk into the band, it’s a deep dive and it’s a strong compression. You really have to live that music from the ground up, day in and day out, all the time in order to really grasp what it’s like. And then when the gig was over for him, he moved on.
“He did a ton of heavy work on [the KINGS OF THRASH]. He really works with our singer chazdrummer Fred to get through this stuff. Even he and Chris Poland are working on this thing.”
David clarified that the underlying intention THE KINGS OF THRASH is not to stick to his former bandmates.
“It’s a party, not retaliation,” he explained. “It’s a good time. It’s a happy time, to celebrate these songs and these tracks and these records. So we’re going with just fun… It’s, like, ‘Wow. Wouldn’t that be fun what if we went out and played those records?’ And we do. So it’s supposed to be this celebration and bringing people together. And honestly, that was kind of always my role in MEGADETH. David [Mustaine, MEGADETH leader] always called me “the ambassador”, and I’ve always been that guy, and I a m this guy. So it’s like, let me continue this role in our community and have a goodwill one.”
asked if there are any plans to THE KINGS OF THRASH to play more shows after the dates already announced in October, Ellefson said: “I think so. That was it – let’s show four, see if anyone cares. And it seems like everyone… The phone is blowing up – people are calling, promoters are calling and people want to see it. It’s interesting. It’s cool. It’s a deep dive into a very particular period of the band’s history and catalog that may not be played elsewhere. And we’ve qualified. Definitely. our resume and our pedigree and our history with the band – it’s legit. And I have to say – it’s fun, man. I think it’s fun.
As for THE KINGS OF THRASHthe approach to performing material that was originally written and recorded over three decades ago, Ellefson said, “I have to say, man, “Killing is my business”, there’s a lot of deep stuff on this record, but because of the tempos and because of the speed, a lot of stuff like that kinda got glossed over, because the production on the record wasn’t great, because that we didn’t have a lot of money to do it at the time. Now, live, going there, there are rhythm patterns and grooves that I think come out in a live setting that are so hip. There’s this almost funk, R&B-like vibe to some of the beats that are so cool.
“When we wrote these songs, especially “The skull under the skin” and even ‘Look at the cross’, these songs were written very slowly; the original tempos were [much slower]”, he revealed. “So they were really cool. So one of the things we’re focusing on is bringing out the sleazy, skin-tight, greasy groove that’s in there – because it’s really is in there. And I think our drummer Fred helps a lot with that. I think people are going to really enjoy what they’re going to hear.”
THE KINGS OF THRASH tour dates:
October 12 – San Diego, CA – Brick by Brick
October 13 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
October 14 – Las Vegas, NV – Space
October 15 – West Hollywood, CA – Whiskey A Go Go
VIP packages are available for all shows.
The Whiskey A Go Go concert took place four months after Ellefson and Young reunited in Los Angeles for interviews to be included in the upcoming feature documentary “It Was My Life: The Nick Menza Story”. Ellefson signed on as the film’s co-producer, and will also provide narration to guide the viewer through the exploration of the ending MEGADETH drummer’s life.
In June, Ellefson Told The neurotic guitarist that he and Young “have been working on some new songs.”
Ellefson was fired from MEGADETH over a year ago after sexually tinged posts and explicit video footage involving the bassist was posted on Twitter.
David was in MEGADETH from the creation of the group in 1983 to 2002, then from 2010 until its last release.
In 2004, Ellefson filed an $18.5 million lawsuit against Dave Mustainealleging the MEGADETH the chef cheated him out of profits and backed out of a deal to transform Megadeth inc. to him when the band broke up in 2002. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed and Ellefson joined MEGADETH in 2010.
Younghis entire career with MEGADETH was devoted to recording and touring to support the band’s 1988 platinum selling album “So far so good…So what!”
I f made headlines in December 2009 for accusing Mustaine to, among other things, “discuss, exaggerate and just plain lie on some level about nearly every talented musician who has come through his dysfunctional little ensemble”. He also disputed Mustainesays in an interview that YoungThe drug problem has led to MEGADETHThe 1988 Australian tour was canceled and the band “banned” from performing in the country.
Poland was a member of MEGADETH from 1984 to 1987, during which time he performed on the band’s classic albums “Killing is my business…and business is good!” and “Peace is sold… But who buys?” He is also a featured soloist on the band’s 2004 album, “The system failed”.
In 2004, Poland and/or its management and attorney have filed a lawsuit against Mustaine concerning the use of the three “Rust in Peace” demos on the reissue of the album without Chrisauthorization. Chris eventually settled for $9,500 and thus ended a professional relationship with Dave and MEGADETH.
Over the past two decades, PolandThe main musical focus of has been the fusion band OHM:who has released several full length studio albums to date.