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Interview: Megadeth Bassist Says Pantera’s Phil Anselmo ‘Sounds Best He Has Since Vulgar Display Of Power’

Edited by Brett Buchanan

David Ellefson is Megadeth’s second most iconic member. He has played on almost every Megadeth release and as of now the only other original member left in the band besides Dave Mustaine. More recently, Dave has been playing in a massive supergroup called Metal Allegiance. This supergroup also features guitarist Alex Scholnick from Testament, ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, and Mark Menghi from the New York band Constricted. Their debut self titled album also features guests from metal greats such as Death Angel, Anthrax, Down, Mastodon as well as the one and only Bumblefoot. I was recently able to conduct a telephone interview with him. After being starstruck, I was able to interview him about this project, where he reveals that a recent collaboration with Pantera’s Phil Anselmo might be the best he’s sounded since Vulgar Display Of Power.

How did a huge gathering like this happen and what was the idea behind it?

It all happened when me and founder Mark were talking about jamming together as well as with a lot of other artists and how cool it would be. This was back right before Motorhead’s Motorboat fest in September. We then noticed a slot was open. The promoter then called me and I said that I think we could get this idea on there and call it Metal Allegiance. After the performance Alex hit me up and him and Mike Portnoy had the idea to make a record and not just keep this a live act. So December of last year we went over to Mike’s place and started writing songs for the record. When the songs were finished we showed it to Nuclear Blast and they signed us.

During that first performance did you guys have any original songs or just did covers?

At that time we did not have any original songs written. We just played covers by classics such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy.

Is this a one time only project or will they be more releases in the future?

I plan for this project to continue to develop. We hope to do future records and tours.We want this to be a really cool event that just keeps continuing.

I notice Geezer Butler and Wolfgang Van Halen were live guests. Any plans to record with them?

The thing is with Wolfgang was he was playing in Tremonti while we were on the boat. We told him we had plans of playing the entire self-titled Van Halen album front to back and asked if he wanted to jump in on some songs and he said sure. That’s the beauty of this project, we are not so locked into roles. We allow all these guests so we can have all these crazy and spontaneous moments.

For those that don’t know can you tell us about the upcoming live interview?

Only 100 people can get into it.It will be at AOL studios in New York City.It will be a very personal thing where audience can all ask the bands questions. It will be filmed and broadcast across AOL’s networks.

When listening to your album I noticed the track with Phil Anselmo, “Dying Song” sounded a lot like Down. Was this meant to be an homage?

Yes it is, and I found that to be really cool. This project is a collection of all styles of metal. When writing this album if we noticed a track sounded like something else we kept it and thought it was cool. If a song sounds too much like other stuff or to much like we have already done we try not to repeat that, but with this band we see it as tipping our hats to a style. If we heard something sounding thrash it’s awesome. We try not to limit anything, and as a result we now have a well rounded collection of all styles of metal. I thought “Dying Song” is one of the best performances Phil has done on record since early Down or even since Vulgar Display of Power. He really knocked it out of the park.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgFGODoXXbY&w=560&h=315]