Megadeth to perform album in its entirety on tour
By JOHN BENSON
When Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson looks back over the thrash band’s platinum catalog, the outfit’s 1990 album “Rust in Peace” doesn’t necessarily stand out. Sure, he’s proud of the album, but the act’s true high-watermark effort came with 1992’s “Countdown to Extinction.”
Nevertheless, when word leaked that visionary singer- guitarist Dave Mustaine was going to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Rust in Peace” by touring and playing it in its entirety, Ellefson, who left Megadeth in 2004, knew this was a perfect time to rejoin the band he helped form in 1983.
“We’re doing this for the fans,” said Ellefson, calling from Scottsdale, Ariz. “This is their album, is what they requested, so this is their tour. As far as memories go, it’s funny that that became such a fan-favorite record because it was not the most mainstream of our records, and yet it has become this thrash-metal cult classic. It doesn’t surprise me because I get it. Musically, it’s a ferocious album. And our fans who love the intricacy of Megadeth and love the musical scope of what we do, I guess ‘Rust in Peace’ really encapsulates that, and it set forth really the best years of our career that followed.”
If hearing “Rust in Peace” wasn’t special enough for Megadeth fans, Mustaine upped the ante by joining forces with Slayer — which plays its 1990 “Seasons in the Abyss” album in its entirety — to relive the two groups’ famous 1991 “Clash of the Titans” tour. Now called the “American Carnage Tour,” the headbanging affair rolls through Northeast Ohio Wednesday at the Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City in Cleveland.
Ellefson said he’s enjoying the walk down metal-memory lane, which finds Megadeth performing a few “Rust in Peace” tracks live for the first time.
“The song I was really looking forward to playing was ‘Five Magics,’” Ellefson said. “It’s a really intricate track. Just as a composition, I think Beethoven would be proud of Megadeth. In our five- and six-minute tunes, we basically have opuses. And that’s what ‘Rust in Peace’ is full of, especially ‘Five Magics.’ So is the song ‘Rust in Peace ... Polaris.’”
For diehard fans of Megadeth, the tour may seem like a dream come true considering earlier last decade Mustaine announced he was ending the group due to a left-arm injury. Then a few years later, Mustaine, an original member of Metallica, and Ellefson were suing each other in what felt like typical rock-star drama.
Yet despite the battles and hurdles, Megadeth appears to be back in full form with Ellefson returning to the fold. In fact, the bassist says the band’s camaraderie is as strong as ever with the hope being history is about to repeat itself.
“Things are feeling really good,” Ellefson said. “We’ve been at our leisure writing material and creating some things, and there’s really a cool dynamic happening where lots of times it’s just the four of us backstage before a show, and we’re throwing some ideas at each other. There’s a real camaraderie that’s happening. What’s interesting about that is it’s exactly the way it was when we concluded the ‘Rust in Peace’ tour 19 years ago and then rolled into what became our biggest record, which was ‘Countdown to Extinction.’”
He added, “This is going to be a great year for us to just really make things right, go out and lock arms, plant our flag again and stake our claim.”