‘My Life With Deth’ by David Ellefson with Joel McIver
Published by Simon and Shuster
Reviewed by Steve Earles
Now, some reviewers have made a big deal about Ellefson’s Christianity, so I’ll refer to no less a metal legend than Kerry King (who was briefly actually a member of Megadeth, and has also played on the same bill as Megadeth on several occasions) on this subject: “When it comes to religion, I admire anyone who doesn’t just chime in with ‘Well, I believe this, and this is the way everybody in America thinks.’ I give Ellefson credit for that. He doesn’t try to talk me about of my beliefs.”
So, ‘nuff said on that subject!
Now, Joel has done a superb job on crafting David’s reminiscences into a coherent and engaging story (I can’t wait to see his forthcoming book with Max Calvera). It’s a very different book to Dave Mustaine’s book, Ellefson is a very positive and straightforward chap, the book doesn’t echo with the sound of axes being ground. I really enjoyed the early part of the book, where Ellefson talks about his upbringing. His family seem to be really decent hard-working folk, and there is no question of them having anything to do with his lengthy descent into drink and drug addiction. Having played in a variety of bands and honed his bass-playing, he decamps to the very-camp at that time Los Angeles, where he teams up with Dave Mustaine, freshly fired from Metallica, to form Megadeth. Anyone interested in Megadeth, and thrash metal in general will love this part of the book, I know I did. David does not pull any punches about his addictions, and there is great credit due to the man for pulling himself out of a hole. Interestingly, he doesn’t credit his faith for saving him, as much as from stopping him descending back into the abyss. Newly, clean the book again focuses on Megadeth, up to the point where Mustaine pulls the plug on the band. A family man, Ellefson found himself having to do other work to survive, and his ‘get-on-with-it’ attitude is very admirable. Eventually reunited with Mustaine, David is currently firing on all cylinders in Megadeth, yet it’s his positivity, love of friends and family, that really come true. He genuinely tries to not to say a bad word anyone, and seems to have done himself a lot of favours with this attitude, contrast this book with Dave Mustaine, and it’s almost like light and dark!
To conclude, a good read for any fan of Megadeth and thrash metal, and for any budding musicians, but moreover, it’s an extremely uplifting book!