David Ellefson on the Scandal That Got Him Kicked Out of Megadeth: "We All Come Into the World with Our Birthday Suit On"

"When you bare it all, you've got nothing to hide. Fuck it, now you can truly be yourself!"

Photo: Carter Sterling

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jan 4, 2024

In a new interview with Metal Hammer magazine, former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson has discussed the sexual misconduct allegations that got him fired from the band in 2021.

At the time, several explicit screenshots and videos circulated on social media, including some accusing Ellefson of grooming an underage girl. "The actions in the video were between two consenting adults and were recorded without my knowledge," the musician claimed in response, denying any wrongdoing.

He went on to file revenge-porn charges against the person he alleged had leaked the clip and the screenshots — not the woman in the video, a Dutch teenager Ellefson claims was 19 at the time they exchanged explicit messages.

The bassist alleged in the legal document that, after meeting at a Megadeth signing in the Netherlands, the two struck up a friendship, which he admitted eventually led to masturbating in front of each other on Facebook Messenger four or five times, the last being in February 2021.

Now, Ellefson has newfound perspective on the scandal that cost him his job. "There's two sides to it," he said [via Louder Sound]. "One: when you bare it all, you've got nothing to hide. Fuck it, now you can truly be yourself! We all come into the world with our birthday suit on, so what are we ashamed of?"

"What I feel the worst about is the embarrassment that it caused some people, like my family, who didn't deserve it," the musician continued. "Out of respect for them, I'm going to keep the family dynamic off the table [during interviews]. That's at their request."

Ellefson went on to claim that bandleader Dave Mustaine was unwilling to leave the door open for the transgression to resolve, preventing the bassist from returning to the lineup somewhere down the road. "Dave, his manager and his lawyer [called me after the scandal]," he remembered. "There was a sentiment from one of them saying, 'Let's step back, let Ellefson deal with it. It leaves the door open for him to come back.' Dave didn't want that. He made his decision and it is what it is."

"I knew my playing days weren't over," Ellefson said, having continued his music career — as both a solo artist and collaborator — after getting kicked out of the legendary thrash metal outfit, who decided to remove his bass tracks from their 2022 album, The Sick, the Dying... and the Dead!

He continued, "Six months post-Megadeth, in January 2022, I got an email from Guilherme [Miranda, ex-Entombed AD guitarist] about this Dieth thing. I said, 'Send me a song.' I played bass on it. In Megadeth, because Dave and I played together so long, we could finish each other's sentences. With this, it was so random! It was dark and bizarre and caught my attention!"

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