DAVID ELLEFSON Looks Back On Guitarist KERRY KING Leaving MEGADETH For SLAYER - "He Saw There Was An Audience For It, And The Bay Area Was The Holy Grail"
March 21, 2021, 6 months ago
Megadeth bassist David Ellefson guested on Waste Some Time With Jason Green and looked back on the band's early days, including Dave Mustaine becoming the band's singer out of necessity and Slayer guitarist Kerry King joining the band early on.
Ellefson: "By the end of '84, Kerry King had come in to start playing to be our second guitar player. He was in Slayer at the time, and we were still trying to audition singers up to this point. And I remember, it was New Year's Eve of '83 going into '84, and another singer flaked out. Dave just took the lyrics and pinned them up either on the wall or like on a mic stand, we had a microphone there and then he just went up to the mic and we started playing. And I don't know what it was, I think it was something like 'Chosen Ones' or 'Looking Down the Cross,' it was not easy to play and sing, and then he did it, he sang through it. And we stopped and I just went, 'Dude, that was freaking amazing,' and he looked at me and he was like, 'Really?' And his face is all red; he's not really breathing like a singer, plus trying to riff and play those complex parts, and you know, it just hit me.
I was just like, 'Look, man, you're writing the lyrics, no one's gonna get inside this character that you're singing from more than you. You're the obvious guy.' So it was weird that we then turned into a four-piece, which is what Dave had just come out of from Metallica, and of course, in Metallica, Dave was not the singer. He was kind of the frontman, as I understand. Between the songs, he did all the banter with the audience, but he was obviously the lead guitar player and James Hetfield was the singer.
So we debuted the band in early 1984 in San Francisco with Kerry King on guitar, Lee Rausch on drums, me, and Dave. We'd go back up again in April, February and April of '84, we debuted the group, and right after that, Kerry King decides he's going back to Slayer full-time - because he saw there was an audience for it, and the Bay Area was the holy grail. Kerry saw that, and that's it, that's, 'I now see the vision of Slayer.'"
Check out the interview below.
Photo - Chad Lee Photography