Dave ELLEFSON: "Risk was very much a transitional record"
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01/10/2019 07:10 - Published By Wahm Team

Eonmusic conducted and interview with David ELLEFSON (MEGADETH) about the album RISK, that was issued 20 years ago.

Dave declared:

"It's a storied one, for sure.

I think ultimately we came off a very successful rebuilding campaign with "Cryptic Writings".

That was a record that repositioned the band, we finally became profitable again. he said.

We dug ourselves out of some huge financial holes, major transitions in our whole management team, a lot. And plus, here in America, we basically wrote a record that fit very well with the FM radio sound that was going on, because, man, as you know, the '90s were not kind to thrash metal. Between the Seattle sound, the nu metal music and all this stuff, I mean, for us thrash bands, it was challenging, and I think we really hit the mark with "Cryptic Writings".

About why "Risk" did not work as their previous album

"I think we came off the road, and we went into the studio with "Risk" much too early.

We didn't have all of the songs together. I think our mindset was, 'We need to write these sort of mainstream radio songs, and when we get to Nashville, we'll chuck these metal tunes out, no problem, because we can do that in our sleep.' And I think what happened is we got to Nashville, and we didn't chuck out the metal songs, he said

I think there was so much focus on the record being this sort of polished, mainstream, radio-friendly record that the metal songs sort of got pushed to the side, and they didn't get included. And if anything, I think that's the story of that. But some of the songs are very likeable songs, forget about the genre or anything.

But I think when you buy a MEGADETH record, it needs to have a certain sound to it. I mean, even the logo — all of a sudden, pointy guitars, pointy logos, all that shit was illegal in heavy metal. People were thinking, 'Don't even say you're heavy metal. Say you're hard rock.' Because heavy metal had such a horrible stigma here in America. IRON MAIDEN — everybody went through a downturn. It was a challenging time."

Dave was then asked if they realized that "RISK" wasn't connecting with people:

"We knew it right away. As soon as we put it out, we knew it, and honestly, there was a conversation on the bus not long after that European tour when Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH frontman), he just said, 'We have to go back to being a thrash band.' He said, 'We've got to get back to who we really are and stop chasing this and that.'

And that was when Marty Friedman just said, 'Look, if we're going to go back to being a thrash band, I'm out.' And the next day he quit. And it was a couple of weeks later when Al Pitrelli came in. So, yeah, it was very much a transitional record for us personally in the band. And part of me was going, 'God, are we just going to go back to being what we used to be? Shouldn't we continue to move forward? As humans, don't we grow forward?' It was an interesting moment — very, very challenging. The whole infrastructure of just who we were as a band was just on the line — everything."