Megadeth co-founder and bassist David “Dave” Ellefson had a recent interview with Ryan J. Downey of Altitudes & Attitude and revealed that he didn’t have any influence from Cliff Burton of Metallica.
Here is his statement:
“I met Dave Mustaine in June of 1983. He had just left Metallica literally not more than eight weeks before that, in April. So I didn’t know anything about Metallica, didn’t know who Dave was, heard nothing about Cliff Burton — knew nothing about it, coming from the Midwest. And I didn’t know anything about Cliff.
And because the only recording Dave had of Metallica was ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’, and that had another bass player on it named Ron McGovney. So when we did a cover of ‘Mechanix’, I played Ron McGovney’s basslines.
Really, quite honestly, my Metallica bass player was Ron, believe it or not, and I kind of modeled what we did off of that ‘No Life ‘Til Leather’ demo. And I remember the day when ‘Kill ‘Em All’ and we sat… There was complete silence in the room, and we sat and we listened to the album.
And the differences — tempos were pulled back. And obviously the bass solo, ‘Anesthesia’. That was really my first experience hearing Cliff. And at that point, we were two months into… Megadeth was well on its way.”
David Ellefson revealed who were his influences in those years:
“So, long answer to your short question is I didn’t really have an influence from Cliff. That was not where my influence came from. And quite honestly, growing up in a rural area of Minnesota, bass players in rock and roll were cool, but when I started hearing some jazz players…
Those guys were more of my influence, along with Steve Harris and Geddy Lee and Ian Hill and the metal guys. But, for me, I went more into the jazz world… But those were the things that I brought in, and I think that made, me and Dave, our participation together with the Megadeth sound something that was…
And even then with Gar Samuelson and Chris Poland — they were jazz-fusion musicians. We really had a very different sound — different even from Anthrax, from Metallica, from Slayer — a very different sound. And I think that probably is what sort of set us apart as our own pillar of the ‘Big Four.”
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