In a brand new interview with TheMusicBiz.org, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson was asked how he managed to develop a distinctive bass style at a time when no one quite knew how to be a metal bass player, especially in terms of thrash.
“Well, y’know, for me, I grew up on a farm in a very rural part of the United States, in Minnesota,” he responded. “The music bug came on me; it lit me up. I felt alive and like I had a purpose, so I looked for every opportunity and every person I could play with. I would play with the church acoustic guitar player, I’d play with the third-grade band teacher. I was 12 and getting asked to join bands with guys who were 16 years old and knew every LYNYRD SKYNYRD song. I would play with anybody and everybody. Then there came a time when I was in my mid-teen years where I was playing in a jazz band in high school and listening toJaco Pastorius, WEATHER REPORT, Spyro Gyra, Al DiMeola. Anything I could get my hands on to play. Largely, I went well out of the school of rock and roll to develop my skills. And so by the time I was 18 and I graduated high school and moved to California and metDave [Mustaine, MEGADETH mainman], certainly by this time IRON MAIDEN had come out, and Steve Harris had really opened my eyes to what a bass player could do.”
He continued: “I knew of bass players who were singers and songwriters, like Geddy Lee[RUSH] and Gene Simmons [KISS], but for Steve to be the bass player and a songwriter but not a singer was very intriguing to me. And I liked it because I was never a good lead singer. I sang backups in a few bands. I sang lead a little as a kid, but I never had a good lead vocal voice. But I’m the Michael Anthony [VAN HALEN], a good back-up singer guy, y’know? Like the harmony in ‘Peace Sells’, that was me going for that. I jumped on what I call the Michael Anthony harmony. The high third and fifth. And that’s just where I go when I’m singing harmonies usually.”