Megadeth Took 10 Years to Become Profitable, Says David Ellefson

"Everything we had, we put back in the band," the bassist says.

Ultimate Guitar

While discussing the latest album "Super Collider" and overall band longevity with Sirius XM radio, founding Megadeth members Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson touched on the subject of early days, revealing that it took a decade for the band to become profitable.

Interestingly enough, the topic was brought up by guitarist Chris Broderick. "I almost have a question for them," he kicked off. "When you're 20, you're just living for the day, and you never think 'I'm gonna be doing this when I'm 40' or whatever. Did you ever think about that at the time?"

"I didn't think I'd live this long [laughs]," Mustaine jokingly replied, just to have Ellefson chip in and explain in more detail.

"This is one of these bands - when it came together, you could just feel that something was special," the bassist said. "Something big was surrounding this. And it didn't happen overnight, Dave and I worked - it was 10 years before we actually took a penny home from this thing. 'Cause everything we had, we put back in the band, we kept building it, we kept getting it bigger and bigger."

During the rest of the interview, Mustaine also discussed acoustic Megadeth performances, noting there is more to Deth tunes than meets the eye.

"The idea of Megadeth doing acoustic sounds kinda weird, but when you hear it, you realize there are so much of Spanish, classical flamenco elements in this music. You start to really hear the nuances, you start to hear the choruses - how hooky they really are when not covered in electric guitar sounds. It also shows the quality of music, 'cause in heavy metal, not a lot of bands emphasize the melody part of it."

As the group's fourteenth record, "Super Collider" was released on June 4 via Tradecraft. With 29,000 units shipped in the US within the first week it debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 chart.

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37 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Megadeth took 10 years to become profitable because all their money went to afgan opium growers , who gave profit to the taliban and created the shit that Megadeth write about today . See ? Apart from getting high they made an investment in their own future . Is that a decent enogh conspiracy Dave ??!!
    Try playing any Deathcore song acoustically and you'll realize that there's not much music to it, you might as well just use guitar body for percussion purposes. On the other hand, play something like Megadeth and it has meaning to it. Songwriters in modern Metal somehow forgot that they're making songs that actually should have some depth to it.
    Carl Hungus
    Mustaine is older and comes from a generation that was influenced by some of the best songwriting bands ever. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden for instance were all influential even though they represent a different period in metal.
    Amen. That music is ALL low end. It's a ton of double bass pedaling, down tuned guitar/basses and growls. Where are the melodies? I've never understood why anyone would get an 8 string guitar and tune it down. Just pick up a bass, dammit.
    There's a lot of Deathcore that is the exact opposite of that. Also, don't apply what bad Deathcore bands do to all modern metal. Stop by the Metal forum sometime. (There's 1 thread in particular you should check out; it's titled "2013".)
    That's incredibly ignorant. What if I told you not all deathcore was Binary chugs on a low tuned guitar with nothing but breakdowns and pig squeals.
    Well a shit-tonne of it is
    i dont know why people are down voting this statement. Ultimate guitar is truely a place of musical ignorance. Every single genre has more bad than good, because anyone can do it, but not everyone can work hard at it. There are gems in every single genre.
    I actually like some Deathcore like Suicide Silence, mostly when I'm pissed off or when I'm in misanthropic mood. They have some amazingly dark melodies (eg. solo for Wake Up is one of my favorite solos ever). But 99.9% of anything else I've heard that's associated with that genre is the 1000011010110001 tab thingy with random breakdowns all over the place.
    I don't like deathcore but hey at least they're doing their own thing and experimenting with their unpleasant riffing. It's got a following so they must be doing something right, right?...Deathcore songs aren't meant to be played on acoustics, otherwise it would be weird if they tried it in a live show.
    This site should just rename itself "Ultimate Mustaine" and be done with it.
    Agent 00Awesome
    By putting it back in the band he of course means buying a shit load of drugs.
    You beat me to it. The Dave's may not have been making money. But their drug dealers sure as hell were.
    i think most of the melody came from marty friedman. he brought the melodies in when he joined megadeth.
    bull-damn-shit. Listen to first Megadeth album and hear classical music. And So Far So Good So What. Listen to In My Darkest Hour and Mary Jane. Pure genius.
    What absolute shit, listen to Mary Jane and say there's no melody and Marty had NOTHING to do with that.
    not to mention that Marty joined after RIP was already written.
    i'm not really sure, but i think that Marty's solos were not written, i think they refer to that
    Well, he kind of explained it in the interview, they put their "profit" from the first 10 years into the band. They were sort of investing in themselves, and it all payed off. Plus, Marty definitely added something else to the band.
    La Moda
    not to discredit friedman, but if he was as great a rhythm player as dave, he wouldn't be in a hole in japan, releasing albums that go unnoticed with the exception of his fanboys. I believe the melody starts with dave and the rest of the band accentuate it with their talents.
    I would actually disagree with you. His heart was in Japan even when he still was in Megadeth. AND! Some of his solo material has very nice melodies
    Strongly doubt that, how did they afford to eat. I think their definition of taking a penny home, means being able to spend money on stuff that's not necessities. It would be nice if all of us musicians would be able to afford food and shelter only by playing music.
    I don't recall if it was Gar or Ellefson that sold their gear for drug money during the recording of Peace Sells. No wonder they made no money back then.
    it was Chris Poland who sold half of their gear to a pawn shop for drug money, Dave got pissed and had to buy it all back.
    they blew most of their contract money for Killing Is My Business, for drugs.. that's why the production wasn't the greatest lol.