The move comes in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
Megadeth have parted ways with founding bassist David Ellefson. The move comes amid allegations against Ellefson for sexual misconduct. The band released a statement on Monday detailing Ellefson’s departure.
“We are informing our fans that David Ellefson is no longer playing with Megadeth and that we are officially parting ways with him. We do not take this decision lightly. While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward. We look forward to seeing our fans on the road this summer, and we cannot wait to share our brand new music with the world. It is almost complete.”
Earlier in the month, sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving Ellefsonwere posted on Twitter. The longtime Megadeth member later released a statement on Instagram denying all social media chatter that he “groomed” an underage fan.
“As you may or not know, some private and personal conversations and interactions have surfaced online, released with ill intention by a third party who was not authorized to have them or share them,” Ellefson said in a statement on May 10. “While certainly embarrassing, I want to address it as openly and honestly as possible.
“As much as it’s not something I’m proud of, these were private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family,” he continued. “The other party involved has made a statement which you can see below. I thank her for doing so and hope that this clarifies that the situation was not at all as presented.”
Ellefson’s statement was accompanied by a screenshot of a social media post from the woman involved, who denied any suggestions that she was underage at the time. The woman also revealed she recorded the intimate moments and shared them with a friend without Ellefson’s permission, calling herself “naïve” for doing so and claiming that the contact between her and the musician was “all consensual and all online.” She also called assumptions that she was “groomed” by Ellefson “misinformation.”
“Yes, those video calls did happen, but I was the one to initiate it and never was I underage, I was always a consenting adult. Nothing inappropriate ever happened before that. It was all consensual, I’m not a victim and I have not been groomed in the slightest as I was the one to initiate it,” the woman stated.
The same day, Megadeth said it was “aware of the recent statements regarding David Ellefson” and indicated that it was “watching developments closely.”
The band added, “As it relates to creativity and business, we are all familiar with one another. However, there are clearly aspects of David’s private life that he has kept to himself. As this situation unfolds, it is important that all voices be heard clearly and respectfully. We look forward to the truth coming to light.”
Ellefson was in Megadeth from the band’s inception in 1983 to 2002, when the group briefly broke up because Mustaine suffered severe nerve damage that left him unable to play guitar.
Mustaine reformed Megadeth 17 years ago. Originally setting out to record a solo album, Mustaine enlisted studio musicians to play on what ultimately became Megadeth’s 2004 comeback album The System Has Failed, subsequently recruiting former Iced Earth bassist James MacDonough to take Ellefson’s place for the album’s touring cycle.
In 2004, Ellefson filed an $18.5-million lawsuit against Mustaine, alleging the frontman shortchanged him on profits and backed out of a deal to turn Megadeth Inc. over to him when the band broke up in 2002. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed and Ellefson rejoined Megadeth in 2010.
David, who became a Lutheran pastor nearly a decade ago, and his wife Julie Ellefson have been married for 27 years. They reportedly dated for six years after getting together in 1988. After two days of engagement, they married on April 2, 1994. They have two children, Roman Alexander (25) and Athena Grace (22).
Ellefson, who has lived in Scottsdale, Arizona since 1994, is also an author and entrepreneur, holding the reins of EMP Label Group, Combat Records, Ellefson Coffee Co., and more, in addition to a diverse portfolio of brands and signature products. Ellefson was also inducted into the 2018 class of the Iowa Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, just over the border from Jackson in Spirit Lake, Iowa.