Alive and well

Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson rejoin forces in the revamped heavy metal band Megadeth.

April 15, 2011 16:17
3 minute read.

Megadeth band 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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There’s hope yet for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. After all, if Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson, the two prime movers of of the world’s most popular heavy metal bands – Megadeth – have buried the hatchet after years of bitter feuding, then anything is possible.

With more than 20 million albums during a three-decade career launched in 1983, the pioneers of thrash metal – along with Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax – have experienced a turbulent history involving drug abuse, revolving door personnel changes, health problems and conversions to Christianity. Along the way to sobriety, they’ve released some classic musical statements, including the platinum-selling landmark Rust in Peace in 1990 and the Grammynominated, multi-platinum Countdown to Extinction in 1992.

Outspoken guitarist and frontman Mustaine, who was booted out of Metallica before he formed Megadeth, and bassist Ellefson were the two constants in the band until the first phase of their career ended in 2002 when a debilitating nerve injury in his arm forced Mustaine to give up guitar playing and break up the band.

Following intensive physical therapy, Mustaine recovered and in 2004 reformed the group but without Ellefson, who sued his former band mate for $18.5 million for unpaid royalties and shares of merchandising and publishing rights. Mustaine countersued, and both cases were settled out of court in 2005.

But last year, on the eve of the band’s Rust in Peace 20th Anniversary Tour, Ellefson was approached by drummer Shawn Drover who, according to Classic Rock magazine, told him, “If ever there was a time for you and Dave to talk, now is it.” The two worked out their differences, and the bassist returned to the lineup, saying, “It felt like I never left.”

For his part, Mustaine released an audio message to fans commenting on his and Ellefson’s rapprochement and expressing the tenets of born-again Christianity, to which both he and Ellefson pledged commitment almost a decade ago.

“I hope you take my lead today and you go and spend some time alone reflecting on people that you may need to forgive or that you may need their forgiveness, and see what happens, man… I feel so great, and I know so many of you feel great, too.

And this is all because I was willing to take my hat in my hand and talk with my brother and to work things out.”

By all accounts, things worked out fine, with the Rust in Peace tour satiating fans and Ellefson deciding to continue his partnership with Mustaine beyond the tour. Earlier this year, metal fans rejoiced when a special one-time show was announced for April 23 in California, featuring The Big Four – Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer – performing at an all-day show together.

But first, Megadeth is coming to Israel – on April 16 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.

The band has staunchly loyal fans here who have turned out for their three previous local performances – in 1995 at the Cinerama in Tel Aviv, 2005 at Palmahim Beach, and in 2007 before a sold-out crowd at Tel Aviv’s Hangar 11.

Next week’s show will likely witness their biggest Israeli audience yet, spurred by the chance to see the classic Mustaine-Ellefson lineup. The revamped band is also recording material for a new album, so it looks like this year could be a mega year for Megadeth.

April 16 at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds,

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