Monday, February 7, 2011

Megadeth Bassist Dave Ellefson Speaks On Metallica Influence

Bass Player magazine recently conducted an interview with Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson Jr. In the interview he reveals the bands early influences:

"For us, it was first about defining our music. At the time in L.A., hair bands playing melodic metal or heavy pop was all the rage. We were more into the European neoclassical metal of people like YNGWIE MALMSTEEN and the SCORPIONS with MICHAEL SCHENKER and ULI ROTH—that combined with the punk rock attitude of the SEX PISTOLS and THE RAMONES; the hybrid of those two is really what thrash metal is. In addition, we were looking to add a level of complexity and intensity to the METALLICA template. So instead of three-chord songs with a cute lyric, Dave was writing these epic compositions, with different sections, tempos and keys, that were orchestrated to the last note and took months to record. Bass-wise, he was always very good about getting me involved, saying, let’s make this part the bass line, or, why don’t you start the song. Yes, and it’s essentially three-fold: To support the guitar lines, to hunker down and lock with everyone on the main unison riff—because that’s where the power and heaviness comes from, and last, to play in melodic counterpoint to the guitars or rhythmic counterpoint to the drums and create a voice of your own. I quickly realized the guitar and the drums are the foundation of the band, not the bass; I’m more like the mortar between the bricks— the connection that glues those two sides together. That’s what led me to always add my bass late or last in the recording process. Ideally, Dave would lay down a keeper rhythm guitar track first and then the drums were added, and at least a scratch vocal. So by the time I was ready to cut, I’d have a clear direction as to how the part should go, and if I wanted to play some upperregister melodic fills I’d know how to not conflict with the vocals. Plus, I could get a better tone by tailoring it to fit between the drums and guitars."

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