‘Simple Truth’: Megadeth Bassist Dave Ellefson Talks New Solo Single To Raise Funds to Fight Covid-19
Grammy-winning artist David Ellefson has unveiled “Simple Truth,” a new single from the Megadeth bassist’s eponymous solo-band, Ellefson,and a preview of the group’s forthcoming album being released on his Combat Records label.
The track, available now via Ellefson’s Bandcamp and will be released across all digital platforms on April 17, was co-written by Ellefson and vocalist Thom Hazaert, along with Italian guitarist Andy Martongelli and drummer Paolo Caridi. Even better is that all profits from the single will be donated to the Croce Rossa Italiana [Italian Red Cross], who are currently on the front lines of the war against Covid-19.
I recently spoke with David Ellefson about “Simple Truth” and more in this exclusive new interview:
When did you first start hearing about Covid-19?
David Ellefson: We all started hearing about it late last year. I think that, just like Ebola and a lot of other diseases, we’re often more inclined to think it’s “over there” and isn’t something that would affect us. This past January, while we were doing a tour across Europe, we started hearing about it coming there. That’s when we started to pay serious attention to it. Then by early February, as we were going through France and Italy, we started hearing more about an outbreak. We were about two weeks ahead of the virus when we hit Europe. We got back home and so far none of us [band, crew or staff] have been affected in any way. The best precaution now is to just stay inside and try to limit your exposure.
How did the new single, “Simple Truth” come about and what inspired you to use it to raise funds for Covid-19 relief?
DE: We wrote the song on a day of rehearsal for my Ellefson solo tour we were doing last November. My singer, Thom [Hazaert] who is also my business partner, was the one who suggested we try to write a song. So I just went in, plugged in my bass and started going for a riff, which became the opening riff. Then we all jumped in and started jamming. Thom put melodies together and Andy [Martongelli] contributed a breakdown riff. In an hour we had a song written and ready to go.
I’m fortunate to live in a remote area and when I was out riding my bike recently it hit me. We’ve been talking about putting the song, “Simple Truth” out, so I said let’s take the money we make from it and give it to the Italian Covid-19 relief fund. Let’s make it about charity instead of about us. The song is a way for us to contribute, raise awareness and put some money into the pockets of relief aid for Italy.
What’s your writing process like?
DE: There’s no real set formula. In Megadeth, we write in a different method with putting riffs together, and Dave [Mustaine] is the chief architect of that process. When I do things outside of Megadeth I’m open to whatever the environment dictates.
Can you give me an update on your new solo album and tour?
DE: We had some Australia and Japan dates scheduled for May that have been pushed back to Feb of 2021. The album itself is written, demoed and has been laid into session files to be recorded. It has a collaborative vibe. My goal is to finish it later this year and in early 2021 putting out the full-length solo album.
Are there any other projects you’re involved with right now?
DE: My non-profit, David Ellefson Youth Music Foundation, has a School’s Out initiative where me and a slew of my rock-star buddies and musicians are giving free music lessons to students who are out of school right now because school is closed. If you’re a student 18 and under, you can sign up for a lesson. There are a lot of working musicians on our list who’ve had to come off the road because of cancelled tours. So we’re also doing a fundraiser and putting the donations that come in to good use by helping those who have been furloughed stay employed.
Is there a message like you’d like fans to know about the new single?
DE: Here in America it seems like it’s always go go go. Then a moment like this happens and your faced with self-honesty. For a lot of us, as we sit in our homes, we realize that maybe we can be more attentive to our families and to the simpler things in life. It isn’t always about getting more and going to more places. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just sit still. And it’s in those moments of silence and reflection that you can actually hear the truth.