Dave Mustaine seemed to confirm in a recent interview something Megadeth fans have long-presumed about the band's lineup change last year: Mustaine jumped at the chance to fire bassist Dave Ellefson.
"I don't really like talking about him anymore," Mustaine told Eddie Trunk in a recent interview, regarding his fellow Megadeth cofounder. "I like telling the funny stories, but I really don't like talking about [the scandal] part of things, because the guy I know and love was a different person."
He added that hiring Testament bassist Steve DiGiorgio to replace Ellefson's bass tracks on the forthcoming Megadeth album was something the band "needed" to do.
"On the outside looking in, there were a few people that were saying that I did the wrong thing," Mustaine said. "But I'm sorry — for my personal convictions — I just couldn't have that around us. And even it if wasn't true, I didn't want that in my life."
Ellefson was terminated from Megadeth in May 2021 after admitting to exchanging sexually explicit messages with a woman from the Netherlands. While Ellefson, who has been married since 1993, was cleared of any legal wrongdoing in the case, the scandal cause much upheaval in his personal life.
When Ellefson turned to his band for support, he found none. Although Mustaine was quick to release a statement saying the band was "watching developments closely," police records show Ellefson was officially fired from Megadeth within five days of the explicit images being leaked online. A public announcement came about a week thereafter.
Ellefson later told The Jeremy White Podcast that the scandal brought to a head some "longstanding resentment" between Mustaine and himself.
"This was an opportunity to settle the score," he said. "And it is what it is."
Megadeth's new album, The Sick, The Dying ... And the Dead!, is due out September 2.