Megadeth’s David Ellefson Almost Joined Metallica… Twice
Can you imagine a world where David Ellefson is the bassist for Metallica? It almost happened, according to the Megadeth five-stringer. Not only was Ellefson considered when Jason Newsted left Metallica, but he was discussed by the thrash legends after Cliff Burton’s death in 1986.
Ellefson revealed nearly nabbing the ‘Tallica job while speaking to The Metal Voice. “I know that there was a conversation about considering me. I know Lars [Ulrich] and Dave [Mustaine] had chatted, ’cause [Metallica] were putting their short list together,” Ellefson says. “And, to be honest with you… I mean, look, Metallica are great, and I’m a fan of theirs and friends with them, and I would be there to be of service with them in whatever way, but they, I think, made their decision right around the time when Megadeth had disbanded in 2002.”
Of course, it was Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies / Infectious Grooves) who landed the position as Metallica’s bassist. In Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster documentary, Trujillo can be seen getting the good news, along with $1 million in advance for getting on board.
In a separate interview Dave Mustaine did with CBS, the Megadeth frontman spoke of Ellefson nearly being recruited by Metallica after Cliff Burton’s death in a bus accident. “When Cliff died, there was a moment where Dave’s name had come up and I was a little concerned,” said Mustaine. “I didn’t want to lose my bassist and I certainly didn’t want to have another reason to be upset.”
The feud between Metallica and Megadeth (ignited by Mustaine’s surprise firing from Metallica in 1983) would have likely worsened if Ellefson jumped ship, as wounds were still fresh — both in 1986 and 2003.
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