According to the Los Angeles Times, bassist David Ellefson, founding member of the Grammy-winning thrash band Megadeth, has been dismissed from the band following allegations of sexual misconduct with a teenager. Singer-guitarist Dave Mustaine issued a statement via the band’s Twitter on Monday morning.

“We are informing our fans that David Ellefson is no longer playing with Megadeth and that we are officially parting ways with him,” wrote Mustaine. “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.”

On May 10th, two sexually explicit videos of Ellefson, 56, were leaked by an anonymous third party on the internet and shared to Twitter; at least one of the videos revealed him masturbating. Also leaked were screenshots of intimate messages exchanged between Ellefson and a fan, whom others have identified as a 19-year-old woman. On social media, users alleged that Ellefson groomed said fan, who was thought to be underage, into a sexual relationship.

Ellefson addressed the leaks on his Instagram page, which is now private. “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 wrote, referring to his wife of 27 years, Julie Ellefson, and their two adult children. “The other party involved has made a statement which you can see… I thank her for doing so and hope that this clarifies that the situation was not at all as presented.”

Ellefson shared a screenshot of a post written by the fan alleged to be underage. Under the now-defunct Instagram alias “edophosauruses,” she addressed the leaks and attested to recording the videos. “Yes, those video calls did happen, but I was the one who initiated them, and never was I underage,” she stated. “I was always a consenting adult. Nothing inappropriate ever happened before that.”

Representatives for the band could not be reached for comment.

Mustaine and Ellefson co-founded Megadeth in 1983 after Mustaine was fired from Metallica. Megadeth released its debut album Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good! in 1985. The group went on to record several platinum albums, including 1992’s Countdown to Extinction, which peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. 

Two years after the band’s dissolution in 2002, Mustaine released The System Has Failed, a solo album under the banner of Megadeth. This sparked a years-long feud with Ellefson, who claimed legal ownership of Megadeth’s name. In 2010, Ellefson called a truce and rejoined the band; in 2017, they won their first-ever Grammy for best metal performance, for their song Dystopia.

Megadeth had plans to release a new album in 2021, tentatively titled The Sick, The Dying… and The Dead! Megadeth will still embark on their North American tour, co-headlining with Lamb of God. The tour begins Aug. 20th in Austin, Texas.

8 Responses

  1. Not behavior one would expect from Pastor Ellefson.

    “Now Davey, he got busted with his pants down. Miracle Man, got busted……”

    1. Love the Miracle Man reference….no surprise Dave doesn’t like Dave. Furthermore, I’m so glad I’m not directly plugged into Twitter, Gram and the others. Bunch of rubbish half the time.

      Most important, I hope this is nothing more than a tawdry affair of two consenting adults and not another underage female being accosted against her will.

      One things for sure, Ellefson’s marriage is on the rocks and he just lost his job. I’ve always thought Ellefson was the more mature of the the two Dave’s.

    2. Tasker,

      I couldn’t agree more, social media is a double edged sword.

      On the one hand, it seems like a necessary evil for people in the industry. As it is a way for artists to connect “directly” with their fans and publicize their wares.

      On flip side, it is a vacuous tool of narcissism which can sometimes lead to one being censored, canceled or worse.

      The feeling that I got (and I could be wrong) was Ellefson had never even met this woman in person (I think she she is from Finland?). It seems this was an exclusively online/on camera “affair,” and only his wife can decide if she feels it was an actual affair, a transgression, or otherwise.

      While I am not diminishing the situation, the alleged victim admitted she pursued Ellefson, was a willing participant and was 19-years-old at the time. Certainly a conundrum, but I am sure Mustiane weighed all of his options before making his decision. Was it hasty, misguided or justified? Only time will tell.

  2. I don’t know, Dave Mustaine has his reasons and judgements but to me this sounds like trying to appease the Me too I’m woke so cancel everything culture. Dave Ellefson is certainly not in a minority within the music business of those who indulge a sweet tooth so to say. I’ve lived the opposite of the so called “sex, drugs & rock and roll”ethos, but I am not Ivory pure either. I choose to listen, read, watch what I want and as I got older realized that much of the lore is embellished upon to make the legends seem larger than what they were. Of course just as much of the debauchery is true as well, but I try not to cast stones, but most of the time I wind up lobbing a few.
    Soon the Benedictine monks that were featured on those Chant albums from years back will come under scrutiny as well.

    1. Rob, based on Mustaine’s statement, I interpret it to mean there were other issues at play re: Ellefson. This incident may be the “final straw” or “excuse” to dismiss Ellefson from Megadeth.

      While Ellefson had been with Mustaine and Megadeth since the beginning, and the majority of the band’s tenure, I think Mustaine always appeared to diminish the importance of Ellefson to Megadeth.

    2. You are probably right Rattlehead. At this point Mustaine should just go play shows billed as “Dave Mustaine & a few other random guys.”

  3. Sounds like mustaine had other reasons for not working with ellefson , sounds like ellefson has a marriage problem , he had an affair with a younger legal age person 2 consenting adults of legal age – to turn it into something lurid and then insinuating
    possible predatory behavior bordering on criminal is horrendous and borders on libelous – ellefson is paying the price with his family right now , let’s not burn him at the stake just yet~

  4. Dave always seemed to be a smart sensible guy (from what little i’ve seen) so I’m surprised that he would allow himself to fall prey to this stuff (You never really know who’s on the other end of an online interaction). Somewhere there’s a young bass player who might get the break of a lifetime, playing with an established band like Megadeth.

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