ScorpioN is now accepting questions! Submit here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Before you ask a question, read the SCORPION ARCHIVES and make sure that your question has not already been answered! ScorpioN may not be able to answer every question asked. Please only submit one question per email in an easy to read format. Check back here to www.megadeth.com/scorpion often to see if your question was selected! ScorpioN section is updated every Monday.
There really isn't much information on Dave's pre-Metallica band Panic. Could we have a little information on the band such as whether or not any recordings/demos will surface or how the band broke up, or what the band sounded like?
I asked Dave about his first band Panic, and here is what he had to say:
"Panic was my first real band Drummer Mike Leftwych, Bass Bob Evans, Guitar Tom Queck, Singer Pat Voeks, and I Dave Mustaine was lead guitar.
And although I had gotten together and played with various other friends and acquaintances, Panic would be my first band that I actually performed anything under. Songs like, The Mechanix, Jump In The Fire, Childsaint, and several other riffs that made it into the Metallica or Megadeth fields.
The band was a five piece and we hardly ever played or rehearsed toward the end. We just went to parties, set-up and shredded, and by the time people knew what hit them, we were already packing it back up or we had taken over the place. One of the low lights for Panic was the first show ended in tragedy with a car crash resulting in the deaths of both of my friends, sound man Joe (it has been so long I have forgotten his last name), and drummer Mike Leftwych.
There were never any tapes made that I know of, certainly no demo tapes made up. But you never know, they could have had a bootlegger there from before.
This was my first and only amateur band. My next two bands, Megadeth and Metallica, would sell almost 100,000,000 records worldwide."
On the album The System Has Failed, can you tell us more about the musicians?
Yes, I can tell you more about the musicians who played on The System Has Failed. In addition to Dave Mustaine, the other musicians are Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums, Jimmy Lee Sloas - Bass, and Chris Poland - Guitars. Vinnie Colaiuta's resume includes the renowned Frank Zappa. In addition to being amazing at the bass, Jimmy Lee Sloas is also a talented Producer and Song Writer. Chris Poland (unless you have been living under a rock, that is a name that most of you should recognize), is a former member of Megadeth and his previous Megadeth credits include Killing is My Business...and Business is Good! and Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?
Hi, I am turning 14, I play bass and I really want to know what would be a good distortion overdrive pedal.
Hello, David Ellefson recommends the MXR bass distortion pedals.
Hey ScorpioN, Megadeth has been my favorite band for a long time and I've always loved the song "Mary Jane" off the album "So Far, So Good...So What!" And I'm curious as to what the meaning of the song is. I've heard it's about a girl practicing black magic, but I've also heard it pertains to marijuana. Thanks a lot ScorpioN!
Legend has it that Mary Jane Twilliger was a young witch buried alive by her father in the nearby Loon Lake, MN cemetery. The mystery surrounding her grew to such legendary proportions over the years that it was rumored anyone who dared violate her grave in any was was doomed to a certain and immediate death. There were even stories of deadly car crashes involving people who got drunk and caused mayhem on her grave, thinking it was all harmless fun.
The Jackson County Historical Society relocated the headstone from her grave to its museum located in the nearby town of Lakefield, MN. Check out a photo of David Ellefson with Mary Jane's headstone below. Her headstone’s epitaph was the inspiration to the bridge section lyric of the song.
"Beware my friends, as you pass by
So you are now, so once was I
As I am now, so you must be
Prepare my friends to follow me"
The other day I was just staring at the front of my Copy of Rust In Peace, and noticed, the two guys sitting to Vic's left are Mikhail Gorbachev and George H.W. Bush, but I have no idea who the other three guys in the hangar are.
You are indeed correct about the two gentlemen at Vic Rattlehead's left being Gorbachev and Bush. And to answer your question, to the right of Mr. Rattlehead in the Hangar, we have Richard von Weizsäcker, Toshiki Kaifu and John Major. Dr. von Weizsäcker was the president of Germany during the timeframe when Rust in Peace was released in 1990. Likewise, Toshiki Kaifu was Prime Minister of Japan at the time, albeit for only a very short-lived time. And John Major was Prime Minister of the UK and leader of the British conservative party. Collectively, these five world leaders represent the five so-called "Superpowers" of the world during the early 1990s.
Hi Scorpion, I have a question that I don’t think has been asked on here before…
I found that a split 7” of Megadeth and a Ska-Punk band called Less than Jake exists, with Megadeth’s “The Disintegrators” on one side, and a song by Less Than Jake called “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads” on the other. Is it a bootleg or something? I just find it kind of funny to have Megadeth doing a split record with a Ska band!
Thanks for your time..
The Megadeth/Less Than Jake split 7" is not a bootleg, it is an official release that was sold during the Ozzfest '98 tour, which featured Megadeth, and the Warped Tour '99, which featured Less Than Jake. The two bands were labelmates at Capitol Records at the time.
Thanks for your question!
I was flicking through channels when I saw an episode of Duck Dodgers that was starring Dave Mustaine! Did someone fake Dave's voice or is that actually Dave's voice?
No, you were not just hearing things. That was indeed the voice of Dave Mustaine, starring as himself. The episode of Duck Dodgers you are referring to is called "In Space, No-one Can Hear You Rock/Ridealong Calamity". It originally aired Saturday, November 5, 2005 on the Cartoon/Boomerang Network. In this episode, the Martians create a weapon to drain energy from Earth's music and use its atomic power to destroy the Earth. Dodgers unfreezes Dave to play enough heavy metal to overload the device. Megaduck rules! Now I've always known Dave was a rock star, but to save the planet as well? My hat is off to you sir!
Duck Dodgers was not Mustaine's only television appearance. He has also been featured on Rock N Roll Jeopardy!,The Drew Carrey Show, Black Scorpion, Behind the Music, I Love the 80s, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Top Ten, Headbanger's Ball, CNN, and several others. Seems he's had quite the TV career!
Are there any plans for a 30th anniversary of the "Killing Is My Business...and Business Is Good!" album celebration, like a tour or probably another remaster of the album? I'd like to know.
Hello Megadeth! I was just wondering what I should practice as an electric guitarist, songs, scale, and arpeggios. I'm turning 15 June 3rd, so I'm not a god at guitar just want some song suggestions for intermediate players. Thank You! I will be purchasing your new album!
Great question and happy to hear you have so much interest in playing the guitar. I went right to Mr. Dave Mustaine himself with your question. here is what he had to say:
"Pick your influences, be careful of the tab that is out there, because most of it is crap, and ask a lot of questions. -Dave Mustaine"
Hope that helps! Keep up the great work!
While listening brilliant track "Go To Hell' I've started to wonder who the female voice in the beginning of the song belongs to.
Could you tell me this information please? :)
Alex from Russia
The female voice on the track "Go To Hell" is that of David Ellefson's wife. Her maiden name was Julie Foley at the time and that would be her credit on the recording.
Dave Mustaine asked her to do it and was recorded at The Enterprise Studios in Burbank in 1991 for the film soundtrack "Bill and Ted Go To Hell" but was later retitled "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey".
Ironically, this song released within only a few weeks of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" that contained the same prayer! Neither Megadeth or Metallica knew each other was recording it.
I really love the song "1000 Times Goodbye" from The World Needs a Hero album, and I've been wondering for a long time who is the female voice in it?
Her name is Heather Keckler, and she was my predecessor in this Q & A section. She worked on megadeth.com for many years as a columnist under different monikers such as "Miss Megadeth" during the Cryptic Writings era, "Catnip" around the time Risk was released, and ultimately she was the "She-Wolf" Q & A columnist, which eventually became my column, the ScorpioN.
Vic Rattlehead is the greatest mascot of all time in my opinion, but what is he holding on the Rust in Peace cover? It really stands out on my signature VMNT!
Hi Kyle, this question had already been answered in a previous ScorpioN column. I will gladly repost.
"Rust In Peace is my second favorite album, next to The System Has Failed, of course. Band artwork is always fascinating to me, so I was happy to pass along your question.
Dave said, "It’s a McDonald’s cheeseburger from 1961. Not really, I think it is supposed to be like Kryptonite."
So I guess that means that Vic Rattlehead isn't Superman..."
I am a bass player from Edmonton Alberta, Canada, and David Ellefson is one of my favorite players of all time! He is who inspired me to get a Jackson bass because I love the tone of his bass in all the Megadeth albums. My question is this:
How exactly does David achieve his tone? It's really "tinny", really bright and really punchy, but it still has that warm sound to it.
Thank you in advance for answering this!
Hello Kristian, I have an answer for you right from David Ellefson himself.
"Thank you Kristian and glad you're liking what you hear! My tone has evolved over the years but I do try and maintain that tight low end while having that "bite" on the top end to cut through the drums. The Jackson basses with SIT Strings Nickel Powerwound strings, medium heavy Jim Dunlop Tortex plectrums and Hartke amplification certainly help but it is also in how I attack the strings and anchor my hand on the bridge to control the string's performance. You can probably see this more clearly on my Rockhouse Method instructional DVDs and even You Tube videos of live Megadeth performances, too.
I hope this helps and I hope you enjoy your Jackson bass!"
Is there an official list of all the songs Megadeth has covered?
In the latest video post Dave is seen in front of a dry erase board with the words:
No one will deny me
No one will defy me
No one will define me... .
Are these by any chance lyrics for a new song?
Or is this Dave’s mentality and mantra for recording the new album?
I took your question directly to Dave Mustaine and here is what he had to say...
"Words to live and die by. Maybe lyrics...definitely my motto."
There ya have it!
I've been a huge Megadeth Fan since the 80's. Recently I saw Dave Mustaine on an Episode of Hell's Kitchen (which I am a fan of as well). I was curious as to how that experience was for him.
Dave Mustaine and his wife Pam were indeed guests on an episode of Hell's Kitchen which aired earlier this month. I went to Dave Mustaine himself with your question and this is what he had to say.
"We were very excited to go, the show was great, Gordon was brilliant, and we are happy to have seen a genius chef at work.
The competitors got their heads handed to them and rightly so. My face said it all when they asked me what I thought about the food."
There ya have it! ...and I am certainly glad I wasn't on the menu! You never know with Chef Gordon Ramsay!
Thanks for the archives which is full of interesting questions and answers. My question is, What is the meaning of the sign on Cryptic Writings album?
It is called a "Veve". It was a style of writing warnings and notices for what we would call "homeless travelers" or "hobos". They indicate safety as well as danger, shelter, etc.
Here's what Dave Mustaine had to say regarding the cover soon after the album was released:
"It's called a veve [pronounced vay vay]... It's a voodoo symbol... It means that you can enter into a premises, that it's safe and there is no poison. It's a warning telling you where you can and can not go. It's also a direction. Most of the hobos were people who practiced voodoo. They would go from building to building whether it was a shanty or it was a shack. They would go in there and they'd find chalk writings on the wall that told them if it was a safe place. It was usually done with a burnt stick... When I first got the artwork back it was littered with voodoo symbols and all kinds of stuff. I told them that it was too heavy. I didn't want anything on there that would give homage to pagan gods and shit like that. I want it to be about the music. As it is, that symbol right there, we don't really know exactly what the combination of everything is. We know pretty much what the breakdown of each symbol is but it's like crossing different kinds of medications. You take two separate medications and they have a different and combined effect. There might be something where those symbols counter another symbol and turn it into something else."
In the song “Hook in Mouth”, there are references to a P.M.R.C. What is the PMRC?
The song Hook in Mouth is about censorship, and it is basically aimed at the P.M.R.C. P.M.R.C is an acronym for Parents Music Resource Center. It was founded in America in the mid-1980's by Tipper Gore, to quote "alert the public of the growing trend in music towards lyrics that are sexually explicit, excessively violent, or glorify the use of drugs and alcohol." Essentially we have the P.M.R.C, and Mrs. Gore of course, to thank for the vile "Parental Advisory/Explicit Lyrics" stickers.
ScorpioN, could you tell me about David Ellefson's tour in Australia this month? Is he only speaking or will he be playing music as well? Can you tell me more about it?
David Ellefson's "My Life With Deth" 5-date Spoken Word Tour kicks off in Perth, Australia on March 24th and wraps up in Adelaide, Australia on March 29. The evenings with David will feature stories from life on the road with Megadeth, a bass demonstration and audience Q&A. There are meet & greet packages available as well which gets you some merch, autographs, a photo with David and you get to meet him! Check out the following link for more info: www.metropolistouring.com/tour.php?tour=2015_david_ellefson_of_megadeth
The music video "Breadline", what was the inspiration behind it
"Breadline" is about when Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson used to have to drive downtown everyday past the soup kitchens and they would see the derelicts out in the street with their shopping carts. They realized that if they didn't make it soon they would be one of them because they were running out of options and they had no other choice but to make it or die trying.
Studio update #8 which is posted on youtube during the recording of Super Collider, there is a song that is played at the start. I want to know is this just dave practicing or was this turned into a song then taken out before release? I always looked forward to seeing what this song would turn into and I am curious to know if it was indeed a song and why it didnt make its way into the album.
Hello Arka, the riffage that Dave is playing to the click track at the beginning of the Studio update #8 video, 0:00 - 0:17, is what would become the song "A House Divided" from the album "Super Collider". Is is a bonus track on the extended version of the album. Great song!!!
Studio Update #8
A House Divided
I always wanted to know about the meaning of “So Far, So Good... So What!” ’s title and why Dave called it like this!
I sent your question over to Dave Mustaine himself. This is what he had to say.
"It's just an added sarcasm I made to the end of an encouraging saying. There is no other meaning...I was just being a brat!"
...and there you have it! Great question!
I was wondering about the Hangar 18 video. What is that footage from? A sci fi movie? I have tried to find it but have probably looked in the wrong places. The only other answer I can come up with is that its film created by Megadeth specifically for that video.
You are right, the footage was created by Megadeth and director Paul Boyington. You can hear comments from both Daves about the making of Hangar 18 on the Rusted Pieces home video, which I will translate here:
Mustaine: The making of Hangar 18 was really elaborate, as far as the people that were involved. There's a lot of creatures, a lot of makeup, a lot of special effects, miniaturization..
In this video, the creatures that were used, they were quite numerous. There was all kinds of variations from just normal makeup to prosthetic makeup, where they put plastic on you, and they had all different kinds of helmets and masks that they were wearing.
Ellefson: Director Paul Boyington's specialty is building miniature sets, in fact he's done it for some commercials, and for special effects in movies, building entire cities in miniature, like 2-3 feet high miniatures and then having a robotic arm with a camera on the end swooping through the city, and you're going to see a lot of that kind of effect in the Hangar 18 video here, in fact there's a segment right in the very beginning where there's some cattle mutilation, there's dead cattle, there's a comet superimposed coming through in the background...
We shot for two days to actually get the band shots, at a power plant, which supplies about one third of the power to all of Los Angeles, down by the beach...Richard Schnell, who actually created the characters and did all the makeup for the aliens, had us painted white, and then put kind of like a water-based white makeup all over us, and we had to wear these contact lenses. I personally had never worn contact lenses before and I hate the things. Anyway we were put in the four cryogenic chambers in the end and (they) were put onto a cart which was towed by a couple of people down this track, it's at the very end of the video...eyes were killing us, freezing cold...the fun of making videos.
I have been a fan of Megadeth since I was a young boy. I have been playing guitar bass and drums for many years now and I was wondering if you could pass this along to David Ellefson. When I play bass I use his signature concert bass by Jackson but I have went through several amps and just cannot get a sound that I like. I was wondering if he had any advice on putting a rig together and what would be some combinations that would work well to play Megadeth and other metal bands music. I really hope he gets this I'm really at a crossroads and need some help and I wouldn't dream to ask any other person.
Thanks in advance Tom
Hi Tom, David Ellefson read your email and asked that I get back to you with the following advice.
As for the bass sounds, tone is always in the hands and how the player attacks and fingers the notes. With that said, David uses a medium heavy gauge pick, anchoring his hand on the bridge, and also fingers the notes on the fingertips for the least amount of skin contact and clarity.
For gear, David always suggests the Jackson basses and Hartke amplifiers as they have been a staple of Megadeth recordings (studio and live) for many years. His signature line of basses have fast thin necks and have EMG pickups to replicate the active sounds of the legacy. The Hartke LH500 or LH1000 amplifier heads are really simple and sound fantastic! He uses the HyDrive cabinets live but often prefers the articulate tone of the XL series aluminum cone speaker cabinets.
Hope that helps! Let us know how it goes.
I was just wondering what acoustic Dave is using in this video from 2001. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rwQujLNQyV0. I couldn't really read it clearly.
Also does Dave use/still have any other acoustics other than his signatures?
(Come visit Scotland soon wee miss you)
Hi Dale, the acoustic guitar Dave Mustaine was using in the video that you have linked to, from a Musique Plus acoustic performance in Quebec in 2001, was a Tacoma. The guitar was given to Dave and he didn't like it much and ended up eventually giving it away. Tacoma Guitars was a line of musical instruments from Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Tacoma brand guitars were originally manufactured in Tacoma, Washington. Fender eventually shut down manufacturing of Tacoma products, and new stock is unavailable to dealers.
I am wondering. Has Risk(1999) ever been released on vinyl?
Hello! I was wondering if there was any meaning behind the phrase "4 in the morning" in Dave's lyrics. Take the lines:
"It's four in the morning" - Wake Up Dead
"It's four in the morning and I still see your face" - Almost Honest
The lyric "four in the morning" does in fact have meaning behind it. Four in the morning is supposed to be the time that the most demonic activity is taking place in the unseen world. It is also the supposed "Darkest Hour". As well, Dave Mustaine's insomnia strikes every night at 4 am! This is a fact.
Got a question for the lord and savior for all metal bass players: David Ellefson
Back in the KIMB era David played with his fingers (I'm a finger style player as well) and I really enjoy playing that stuff, what brand of strings did Mr Ellefson use back then (if he played with fingers or pick) I tried a lot of strings before and attempting to play with pick and fingers.
I found out that DRs are too heavy for finger play and Rotosound not durable enough for pick.
So would be awesome to know what brand David used to play.
David used Rotosound Swing Bass strings during that period. He initially played with fingers when Megadeth was formed but he moved over to a pick full time by the time the band was into the KIMB era.
I want to ask David Ellefson or whoever knows, is there a prototype of his signature Jackson concert bass guitar, designed for left-handed people, and if yes, where i can find it ?
David Ellefson doesn't have a prototype of the signature model as a lefty but Jackson will likely offer a left handed model bass in the near future.
Hope that helps!
I was watching a video of the song The Right To Go Insane. I suppose it is about Shawn Nelson, is that true??? And what are that graves on the beginning of the video (there is inscription "beloved father and beloved mother" on it) and on the end of the video (with inscription "vic rattlehead 1952-1995")???
Hello, yes this is true, the "The Right To Go Insane" video is based on Shawn Nelson's tank rampage.
"Shawn Timothy Nelson (August 21, 1959 – May 17, 1995) was a U.S. Army veteran and unemployed plumber who stole an M60A3 Patton tank from a United States National Guard Armory in San Diego, California, and went on a rampage on May 17, 1995, destroying cars, fire hydrants, and a recreational vehicle before being shot and killed by police."
The two graves at the beginning of the video represent Nelson's mother and father who both died of cancer in 1992.
The Vic Rattlehead grave at the end is a representation of the one who drove the tank through the video. It is fictitious, and is why the dates of Nelson's death don't exactly match what is on the Vic headstone.