NAMM 2018: Interview with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth – Ellefson Coffee, The Rise of LA Thrash Metal and Metal Allegiance

Photo Credit: Tammy Greene

We’re here having morning coffee with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth, in the Ellefson Coffee Co. booth at NAMM 2018. It’s perfect, I love coffee! How did this come about?

Dave Ellefson: You know it’s, I had been introduced to a coffee roaster about two years ago and that’s what started it her knew the roasting process, I came up with names, marketing, and branding. That’s where it started it. Here we are in two short years. We’ve had retails shops, we have retail accounts, we’ve done the biggest heavy metal festivals in the United States, and now we’re an exhibitor NAMM I mean, I’m just beyond thrilled.

You’re debuting the signature artist blend of coffee, Skid Row, Queensryche Michael Wilton, and Autograph. Tell us a little bit about this and how much are the artist involved in making their brand.

The artists are totally involved. In fact, Michael Wilton had a coffee before, his Whip’s coffee brand. It kind of went dormant for a while so when we hit him up, he’s totally excited about it. He’s had experience doing this. I just loved the Skid Row Slave to the Grind. I mean it’s just a perfect name for a coffee. They’re dear friends of mine and same with Autograph. We just signed them to the label, EMP this year. It’s just kind of a wine extension for the coffee we can make coffee for other people. I think the artists had just begun to kind of a nice part of their memorabilia, their merchandising, and we all drink coffee so it’s going to fit.

Visit Ellefson Coffee Co for more information.

Photo from Ellefson Coffee Co. website

Inside Metal the Rise of LA Thrash Metal produced by Bob Nalbandian. You are the narrator of this documentary.  How was this presented to you? And what was the draw to take on this type of roll?

Bob Nalbandian has been doing these films about the L.A.’s music scene, and he said look I’m doing it on the rising Thrash scene, and I want you to narrate it, I said, “Awesome, I’m in”. So that’s how it started.

Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer are three of the Big 4, that’s from Los Angeles.  With Slayer announcing they are retiring, how does that affect the scene? They are a staple in the Thrash Metal fabric.

 I mean, I hate to hear that. I mean, they’re quite young to be retiring. You know, the truth of it is, I don’t think any of us ever really retire out of music you know. It’s something that’s with us for life. So, but certainly, you know I guess they got their reasons for making that decision. I mean, I’m glad we got the big four in when we did. The greats. I saw David Mustaine even tweeted a wish out. We hope there might be another one, and I echo that sentiment, I hope there will be another one. It’s even the sense of farewell with slayer and what they’ve done with the scene.

Oh yeah. That would be awesome!

To spread your wings a little bit further in the business sector. You have secured Combat Records recently, adding this to Ellefson Emp Label Group, EMP Underground, EMP Outlaw and THC Music. Give us a synopsis of these companies and how will Combat fit in?

You know Combat when we re-launched that specifically a full-blown Thrash record label you know it had Thrash and Punk so might have some punks stuff on it. We really want to go back to its glory day and keep the branding in everything that we do consistently.

Photo from Combat Records website

What’s in store for Megadeth in 2018?

You know we have a whole bunch tour dates we just put up on, under the tour section. Starting in I believe April already and then the big run through Europe this summer. There would be much more stuff announced. I think kind of the big thing in the 35 years, is that every month we’re celebrating an album, after 15 studio we have out.

Wow, I must let that sink in, it’s an amazing accomplishment.


Metal Allegiance will be tonight at the House of Blues Anaheim. You being part of the Core 4, when did was the band form and how much has the band grown?

Technically we launched it in 2014. On the Motorhead Motorboat Maiden voyage. That’s, it just has grown and continued since then we did our debut record on Nuclear Blast. We have a follow-up album coming out now this summer on Nuclear Blast, all original material and with some new guests on it, and tonight’s show here on House of Blues in Anaheim.

I’m thrilled to say, I’ll be covering the show.

It’s a great way… You know NAMM’s is a great time to do it. Because in this live performances today that’s been somewhat all-star based, as moving forward and now we’ll have a second album out you know… We’ve become more of an artist in our own right. So, having the original material to play it’s kind of a staple of a great bunch of guys as the original musician.

I really enjoyed it, not only some of the best metal music, you guys have a lot of fun. Last year was a Tribute to our Fallen Heroes, the who’s who of Metal. I understand it will be a little different this year, I’m really looking forward to covering the show.

Thank you. I appreciated it.

You’re welcome. Thank you, I’ll see you on the stage tonight!

Ellefson Coffee Co booth at NAMM 2018 was always happening, the Core 4 of Metal Allegiance were signing autographs.

All photos by Tammy Greene
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