When Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine revealed during an online chat with members of the band's official fan club, Cyber Army (formerly MegaFanClub), that Megadeth has "five songs almost finished" for its next studio album, it whetted the fans' appetite. As previously reported, Mustaine is currently going over the new material at the band's Vic's Garage studio in San Marcos, California with engineer Ken Eisennagel, who previously worked with Megadeth during the pre-production phase for 2009's "Endgame" and 2007's "United Abominations" CDs. Ahead of Megadeth's entrance to the studio in 2011, Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson spoke to Ultimate-Guitar.com interviewer Robert Gray.
"There's some ideas that we're now starting to individually compose" explains Dave, known affectionately as "Junior" by the fans. "We're starting to put some things together, but the actual getting together in the studio to really get things started for the next record as far as all of us being in a room with a producer and all that, that is something we're gonna start after the 1st of the year."
Musical ideas for Megadeth's thirteenth studio album are at an early stage of course. "I think they're very cool and obviously they're very heavy" assures Ellefson. "I think more than the actual material though... because again, at this point everybody has some individual ideas or some collective ideas that are at least established. More than anything though, I think we're excited about it because we've had such a great year of reconnecting. There've been some huge successes with the 'Rust In Peace' tour and the 'Big Four' DVD, and just coming off of that, it's an exciting time for us to start and carve out the next chapter of Megadeth."
Ellefson returned to Megadeth's fold in February 2010 following an eight-year hiatus, reuniting two of the group's original members. Will that add a different flavour to proceedings? "I think so" muses Ellefson. "I think what's nice to a large degree is that Dave was really the primary writer if not the only writer of the past few Megadeth records, and I think when a band works together as a unit regardless of who writes it, there tends to be a different flavour and a different style. I think that one of the cool things about where the band is right now as a unit is that it isn't only... Obviously, Shawn Drover now has been there for awhile, so he's got some experience. He knows how Megadeth writes, records and operates; he knows how Dave writes, he understands Dave's compositional style, and as well, Shawn has started to contribute some of his own material, like on "Headcrusher" from the 'Endgame' record. Now it's kinda cool though, because there's now me and Dave who both can go back to the seed of Megadeth, to the origins of it. I think that there's a really cool chemistry right now with Dave and I being back together. I think our playing has a certain style, and adds a certain tonal quality to Megadeth. There's a really cool mixture of all the ingredients right now in the kitchen to really whip up something pretty tasty."
How the next Megadeth album will compare to "Endgame", Ellefson isn't sure, but the fans need not worry as the man himself reasons why. "This much I do know. I'm sure that after playing the 'Rust In Peace' album for the last year, that that will definitely have an influence on the sound of Megadeth moving forward."
Ellefson has been privy to the material Dave Mustaine has been compiling at Vic's Garage. "I've been listening to it, and I know what it is" confirms Ellefson. "Again though, we're at a stage where we're just compiling ideas - riffs, lyrics, things like that. Those early ideas often turn many corners and take many new twists before they're finalized on the final album. The seeds of the ideas I think are great, and I think they're really heavy and they're powerful. I don't think Megadeth fans will be disappointed at all. If the final outcome of what I'm hearing at this point with these seeds of ideas, if these come to fruition like they should, I think we're gonna have ourselves a smoking record."
By Robert Gray