Megadeth’s David Ellefson: Dave Mustaine’s Guitar Playing Changed Kerry King’s Life
In 1984, Slayer's Kerry King enjoyed a brief stint as the second guitar player in Megadeth, serving as one of the band's live members. Megadeth's David Ellefson looked back on this moment in the band's history in a podcast interview with Todd Kerns (bassist for Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators), noting how Dave Mustaine's guitar playing in particular changed King's life.
"Kerry King was incredible," praised Ellefson, who reflected on those 1984 memories.
Explaining how King landed a role in Megadeth, Ellefson continued, "We were looking for a second guitar player to do these gigs when we debuted the band in 1984 up in San Francisco… There was a couple of guys around, and then Kerry was maybe referred to us by somebody. And he came in."
By then, Slayer had already released their debut album, Show No Mercy, the year prior. Meanwhile, Megadeth were still gaining their footing, having released their Last Rites demo in March of '84 after forming the band once Mustaine had been dismissed from Metallica in '83.
"At that time, Slayer still had makeup. Slayer didn't really have their indentity yet," added Ellefson, who detailed, "They grew up in Southern [California], so there was a lot of influences [from Los Angeles]. So Kerry comes to play guitar with us. And he would stand there with just no expression on his face and watch Dave play some gnarly riff like 'Chosen Ones' or 'The Conjuring', and then Kerry would just stand there and then he'd put his hand on his guitar and play it back note for note. And you're, like, 'Holy hell! This guy really gets Dave.'"
Even before being recruited by Megadeth, King had idolized Mustaine from afar.
"[Kerry] always said... he goes, 'I saw Dave play with Metallica opening for Saxon at the Whisky,' and he said, 'It changed my life. Watching Dave in particular, it changed my life.' So [Mustaine] kind of became a mentor and a role model. So [King] was super happy to be in Megadeth," Ellefson recalled.
It wasn't long before Slayer made the decision to ditch the makeup either as the Megadeth bassist went on, "And then when we went up to San Francisco, [King] saw the thrash scene and met the Exodus guys and all that was going on, and Kerry saw the light. And he went back home to L.A. and wiped the makeup off of Slayer's faces."
Wacth Kerry King play with Megadeth further down the page.
More than 35 years later, Slayer may have retired, but King is still going and is said to have two full length albums worth of solo music prepared. As for Megadeth, they've long been at work on the successor to 2016's Dystopia, which will hopefully be released in 2021.
David Ellefson Speaks With Todd Kerns
Kerry King Plays Live With Megadeth in 1984
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