The last place you might expect a member of the Big 4 of thrash metal to appear on tour could be a bar hidden in the corner of a small plaza off San Pedro Ave. But original Megadeth bassist David Ellefson didn't earn a reputation for being arguably the nicest guy in heavy metal purely based on playing stadiums the world over.
While Megadeth works on the follow-up to 2016's Dystopia, Ellefson is taking his signature basses across the country for a three-month "Basstory" trek, incorporating stories behind his riffs and classic songs into jam sessions on stage. The Alamo City was lucky enough to be one of those stops Friday night when Fitzgerald's hosted the man who's much more than Dave Mustaine's sidekick.
But it wasn't just Ellefson and a bass on stage.
Ellefson more than acknowledged local Megadeth tribute band Rust In Peace. He made the dreams of singer/guitarist Ozzy Espinoza, guitarist Mario Prz Jr. and drummer Miguel Morales come true by spending nearly 90 minutes on stage thrashing out to a medley of riffs and vocals such as "Tornado of Souls," "Five Magics" and "Rust in Peace . . . Polaris." The “band” even pulled out "The Conjuring," a tune Megadeth doesn't play live anymore due to Mustaine's born-again Christian status and his no longer being in tune with its lyrics.
Prior to jamming with Rust In Peace, Ellefson began his set in solo fashion, dusting off "Killing is My Business . . . And Business is Good" and "Hook in Mouth" (watch ATM Facebook Live footage of the latter here). Later, he was joined by Helstar vocalist James Rivera for several tracks, including “Loup Garou” and “Fatal Chances,” both performed for the first time ever off their 2006 Killing Machine record Metalmorphosis (see setlist in slideshow below).
Although Ellefson was booked inside Fitzgerald's while an American Warrior Fest celebration with acoustic country music was taking place in The Yard, many of those military folks came in to watch Megadeth’s bass rattlehead discuss his instrumental knowledge and showcase his skills. See some of what they saw by watching ATM’s footage of snippets of “Countdown to Extinction” and “Dawn Patrol” here.
Watch more of Ellefson in action with ATM's footage of "Wake Up Dead" and "The Conjuring" here. Afterwards, Ellefson met with fans, even saying goodbye to a pair of his signature basses (see slideshow). Then he acknowledged his support for the troops, explained the impetus behind Basstory, spoke about his autobiography "My Life With Deth: Discovering Meaning in a Life of Rock & Roll" and more in a chat with ATM upstairs in Fitzgerald's loft while local acts played below. Watch our conversation by clicking the video box.