Megadeth Part Ways with Bassist David Ellefson: “Working Together [Is] Impossible Moving Forward”

Frontman Dave Mustaine cites "an already strained relationship" with the bassist, who recently admitted to an "embarrassing" sexual encounter with a young woman

Megadeth fire David Ellefson
Megadeth, photo courtesy of band

    Megadeth have announced that they are parting ways with longtime bassist David Ellefson. The news comes after the veteran thrash-metal musician confessed to an “embarrassing” online sexual encounter with a young woman, but denied reports that he had groomed her.

    In a statement posted to all of their social media channels on Monday (May 24th), Megadeth announced that Ellefson was no longer in the band, also suggesting that the relationship between frontman Dave Mustaine and Ellefson had already been strained.

    The full statement reads as follows:

    “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.

    Dave Mustaine, Megadeth, May 24th, 2021″


    A leaked video of Ellefson and a young woman engaging in an online encounter surfaced earlier this month, showing the thrash legend in compromising sexual situations. The 56-year-old, who has been married for 27 years, admitted his involvement with the woman, but insisted that she was not underage, as some had surmised, and that the relationship was consensual.

    “While certainly embarrassing, I want to address it as openly and honestly as possible,” wrote Ellefson. “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.”

    The bassist also shared a testimonial from the woman herself, who revealed she was of legal age, writing, “Yes, those video calls did happen, but I was the one to initiate them and never was I underage, I was always a consenting adult. Nothing inappropriate ever happened before that.”


    Following his departure from Metallica, Mustaine recruited Ellefson when he formed Megadeth in 1983. Ellefson remained with Megadeth until the band broke up in 2002, but when they re-formed in 2004, he didn’t return to the band, instead suing Mustaine for $18.5 million over merchandise and publishing royalties. The two Megadeth founders eventually patched things up, and Ellefson was welcomed back in 2010, recording their last three albums, and working on their forthcoming 16th studio LP.

    Megadeth recently announced new 2021 dates for a co-headlining North American tour with Lamb of God. As Mustaine mentioned in the statement, work on the band’s follow-up to the Grammy-winning 2016 album Dystopia is near completion.

    A publicist for Megadeth had no further comment.