Megadeth to invade Motor CityWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Twenty years ago, Megadeth unleashed its metal masterpiece, “Rust in Peace.”
“Tremble you weaklings, cower in fear,” singer-songwriter-guitarist Dave Mustaine snarled on the title track. “I rule on land, air and sea/ Pass judgment on humanity.”
Mere mortals beware: Mustaine, bass player David Ellefson, drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick are playing the album in its entirety on the American Carnage Tour.
“As a mainstream album, it was not super-successful regarding radio and video play. I think that’s probably why it became such a cult classic,” Ellefson said.
“I like playing ‘Five Magics,’ ” he said during a call from his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. “To me, that’s like one of the most musically difficult songs on the record. When we were recording it, we called it ‘The Master of Five Tempos’ because it’s basically five different songs put into one composition.”
The bassist is up for that challenge.
“I listened to everybody from Gene Simmons to Steve Harris on the rock side, and then I’d listen to people like Stanley Clarke and even Anthony Jackson who played on some Al Di Meola records,” Ellefson said. “Going outside into almost the fusion world exposed me to a level of bass playing that far exceeded what many rock players did.
“I still like the riff and the attitude of the rock guys, but combine it with the chops of the jazz guys.”
Megadeth will play the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Aug. 19 with Slayer and Testament. Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert range from $10 to $39.50.
After being fired from Metallica, Mustaine met Ellefson and they formed Megadeth in 1983. Guitarists and drummers have come and gone — until Mustaine injured his arm and disbanded the group in 2002.
When Mustaine re-formed Megadeth in 2004, Ellefson wasn’t ready to come back. He rejoined the thrashers in February.
“[Drover] knew certainly for the Rust in Peace Tour that it was almost mandatory that we needed to have some more original members back in the band, and I was a co-writer of that and I was a foundation of Megadeth from the very beginning,” Ellefson said.
“It’s funny, Dave and I, you know, any tensions or strains of our relationships that we had, once we got on the phone for two minutes, all of that went away, and we both thought, ‘yeah, absolutely, we should make this happen’.”
Ellefson said a new song, “Sudden Death,” will be included on Guitar Hero 6 this fall.
“It’s all about the riff,” he said. “Even though our riffs were really heavy and a lot of [our music] had a real dark ring to it, [our songs] always had a melody or something memorable about them.”
Megadeth received its first Grammy nomination for best metal performance for “Rust in Peace.” Seven nominations have followed. Some might say the quartet is the Susan Lucci of thrash metal.
“I think to just be nominated is huge because what that says for metal is that metal — which has always sort of been the red-headed stepchild that everybody was hoping would just shut up and go away — when you get nominated for a Grammy, what that says is that it’s not going to go away and that it’s so popular and that it’s so loud and so boisterous that you can’t deny it and ignore it anymore,” Ellefson said.