Last May, Megadeth parted ways with founding bassist Dave Ellefson in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal that involved leaked sexually explicit videos between Ellefson and a woman other than his wife. Since then, Dave Mustaine and Co. have been touring with former Megadeth bassist James Lomenzo, and they tapped the prolific Steve DiGiorgio (Testament, Death, etc.) to re-record Ellefson's parts on their forthcoming album, The Sick, The Dying... and the Dead!.
Since Ellefson was fired, Mustaine hadn't offered up too many details about how he personally felt about the whole situation, but in a new interview with Metal Hammer, the thrash pioneer said that he forgives Ellefson for his personal misdeeds, but doesn't regret firng him from Megadeth — saying that it was "a hard decision that had to be made."
"I had to make a decision… when you're the leader, you're the one that has to suck it up and face the music," Mustaine told Metal Hammer, clarifying that he did it for the sake of the band's reputation and his own job security.
"I have made mistakes myself and so I know what it feels like to have people gunning for you," Mustaine said. "But what we had to remember is that Megadeth has a lot of moving parts to it. There are four band members, you've got their families, their management companies, the agencies, all of their technicians and on and on and on."
"All I wanted to do was make a clean break, and not hurt anyone, not hurt the fans and not hurt him," Mustaine added. "I just wanted to move on, and I hope the gentleman concerned is doing okay. I imagine there was some adjustment that had to take place when it happened."
Notably, this isn't the first professional falling out that Mustaine and Ellefson have endured. The bassist co-founded the band with Mustaine in 1982 and continued to play with the group up until their 2002 hiatus, but ended up suing Mustaine for royalties and the rights to the name Megadeth in 2004. Eventually, the two parties made up and Ellefson returned to Megadeth in 2010, remaining a full-time member of the group until his departure last year.
"It was hard for me when I lost my job," reflects Mustaine. "But I've forgiven him before when he sued me and I'll forgive him a thousand times. I just won't play music with him anymore."