ELLEFSON, the solo band of MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson, released its covers album, “No Cover”, on November 20 and the music video for the band’s cover of the AC/DC song “Riff Raff”, can be seen below.
“Riff Raff” recording lineup:
David Ellefson – Bass
Jason McMaster – Lead Vocals
Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal – Guitar
Dave Lombardo – Drums
ELLEFSON has cited some unexpected medical situations for pushing back the “No Cover” release date by more than a month. Vocalist/co-producer Thom Hazaert states: “There’s no easy way to say it, but in July, right in the middle of recording the album, I had massive heart failure and went into full cardiac arrest. My heart literally stopped for several minutes, and I was revived at the hospital. There was a long recovery, but we managed to finish the record, and secure amazing deals with our friends at earMUSIC and Ward, but obviously we had to revisit our timeline a bit. And literally, maybe a month and a half later we were in Los Angeles, at Al’s house, shooting the video for ‘Auf Wiedersehen’. I’m just extremely humbled and thankful to be here to be able to, not only, finish this incredible record, but be able to see it released worldwide with incredible label partners, which really almost wasn’t the case.”
He adds: “Originally we had envisioned ‘No Cover’ as a smaller, limited-release ‘quarantine project’ we were doing for fun with a bunch of our friends, really just to not have to release our studio album during the pandemic. But as it neared completion, and we really got to see what it was turning into, we realized it was worthy of so much more. I have a long history and friendship with Max at earMUSIC, and they are an incredible label, and home to some of our favorite artists, and friends — ALICE COOPER, DEF LEPPARD, and more — and we are ecstatic to be able to partner with them for not only this release, but future ELLEFSON releases as well. Ward had already released ‘Sleeping Giants’ for us last year in Japan, and we had secured a deal with them for our upcoming 2021 studio album, so it was a natural fit when we went to them with the idea of partnering with us on ‘No Cover’.”
Adds Ellefson: “It really was a crazy, whirlwind process, not only making such an involved album so fast, but also remotely, during a pandemic, with not only dozens of guests, but the entire band, spread around the globe. And then almost losing our singer in the middle of it. But at the end of the day, it turned out better than any of us had hoped, and really was one of the most fun records I’ve ever made. It’s been great to pull so many great and positive things out of 2020, despite all the challenges.”
Produced by Ellefson and Hazaert, with additional production by guitarist Andy Martongelli and Matt LaPlant (NONPOINT, SKINDRED, LIL’ JON), mixed by Alessio Garavello, and mastered by Maor Appelbaum (FAITH NO MORE), “No Cover” includes ELLEFSON-ized versions of 19 classic tracks from MOTÖRHEAD, W.A.S.P., DEF LEPPARD, CHEAP TRICK, QUEEN, JUDAS PRIEST, TWISTED SISTER, FASTWAY, FIGHT, DEAD KENNEDYS and more. Featuring cover art by Melody Myers (ALTITUDES AND ATTITUDE, ESCAPE THE FATE), an homage to the legendary DEF LEPPARD debut “On Through The Night”, “No Cover” is the second release under the ELLEFSON banner, the follow-up to 2019’s “Sleeping Giants”, a double-disc compilation combining new tracks, with unreleased Ellefson solo and F5 material.
ELLEFSON, featuring Ellefson on bass, vocalist Thom Hazaert, guitarists Andy Martongelli and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (SONS OF APOLLO, YES, ex-GUNS N’ ROSES), and drummer Paolo Caridi, are joined on the album by a who’s who of legendary guests including Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX), Eddie Ojeda (TWISTED SISTER), Brandon Yeagley (CROBOT), Dirk Verbeuren (MEGADETH), Frank Hannon and Troy Lucketta (TESLA), Mark Slaughter, Jason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS, ex-WATCHTOWER, EVIL UNITED), Greg Handevidt (KUBLAI KHAN, ex-MEGADETH), Chuck Behler (ex-MEGADETH), Gus G., John Aquilino (ICON), Doro Pesch, Dave McClain (SACRED REICH, ex-MACHINE HEAD), Dave Alvin (WHITE TRASH), Todd Kerns (SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS, Andrew Freeman (LAST IN LINE), Jacob Bunton (Mick Mars), Al Jourgensen (MINISTRY), Russ Parrish (FIGHT), DEAD BY WEDNESDAY, and more.
01. Freewheel Burning (JUDAS PRIEST) (featuring Jason McMaster, Gus G, Andy James, Dave McClain)
02. Tear It Loose (TWISTED SISTER) (featuring Eddie Ojeda, Dave McClain)
03. Love Me Like A Reptile (MOTÖRHEAD) (featuring Doro Pesch, Greg Handevidt, Chuck Behler)
04. Holiday in Cambodia (DEAD KENNEDYS) (featuring Charlie Benante, Bumblefoot)
05. Rebel Yell (BILLY IDOL) (featuring Paolo Caridi)
06. Wasted (DEF LEPPARD) (featuring Frank Hannon, Jacob Bunton, Dave McClain)
07. Riff Raff (AC/DC) (featuring Jason McMaster, Dave Lombardo, Bumblefoot)
08. Nailed To The Gun (FIGHT) (featuring Andrew Freeman, Russ Parrish, Jimmy DeGrasso)
09. Not Fragile (BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE) (featuring John Aquilino, Paolo Caridi, Bumblefoot)
10. Auf Wiedersehen (CHEAP TRICK) (featuring Al Jourgensen, Brandon Yeagley, Charlie Benante)
01. L.O.V.E. Machine (W.A.S.P.) (featuring Dirk Verbeuren, Dave Alvin, Bumblefoot)
02. Love Hurts (NAZARETH) (featuring Brandon Yeagley, Chuck Behler, Tyson Leslie)
03. Eat The Rich (KROKUS) (featuring Jason McMaster, Dave Sharpe and Opus of DEAD BY WEDNESDAY)
04. Sheer Heart Attack (QUEEN) (featuring Bumblefoot, Doro Pesch, Charlie Benante)
05. Over The Mountain (OZZY OSBOURNE) (featuring Andrew Freeman, Bumblefoot, Jimmy DeGrasso)
06. Sweet FA (SWEET) (featuring Todd Kerns, Bumblefoot, Shani Kimelman)
07. Beth (KISS) (featuring Tyson Leslie, Bumblefoot)
Ellefson says: “Before any of us started writing our own songs, we all began playing cover songs by our heroes during our formative years as musicians. So it’s fun to go back in time and revisit those songs which helped us to become the artists we are today, especially when, ironically, many of those artists have now become peers and friends.
“During the process of recording some covers for B-sides and bonus tracks for the upcoming ELLEFSON solo LP, Thom and I just said, ‘This is a blast. Let’s just do a whole album of covers.’ Literally, within two weeks, we had the songs recorded, and began calling our friends to join us, many of whom we had just performed with on the Megacruise back in October. From there, the album just fell into place.”
He continues: “A lot of our buddies have been playing covers and quarantine jams on the Internet during the pandemic, so this is really just an extension of that, but we took it the next level and actually recorded a full studio album. We’ve been working remotely anyway, as we’re all over the globe, so it was easy to incorporate some guests jumping in with some outstanding performances of their own. It’s been a really fun nod to making great music with our friends, who are kick-ass players, and many legends in their own right, which is the whole reason we got into this in the first place.”
Says Hazaert: “It’s all songs and artists that really mutually influenced both myself and David, especially a lot of early ‘metal’ and harder classic rock. Some stuff I picked, some stuff he picked, but for the most part is was all artists that we both loved. What’s funny, as there’s a bit of an age gap, we were sometimes more influenced by different eras of the same bands. But it was really him saying, ‘Let’s do this song,’ and me saying, ‘Yes!!! And let’s do this song.’ And before we knew it, we had over 15 songs. And it’s a lot of album tracks, deep cuts, early tracks, stuff people might not expect, which was what was so fun.”
He adds: “It was also great that we were able to work in a lot of nods to David’s history, getting Chuck Behler to play with us, bringing in original MEGADETH guitarist Greg Handevidt to play on ‘Love Me Like A Reptile’, a song they used to play in cover bands together before they moved to L.A. (which we wrote about in ‘More Life With Deth’), and Randy Burns is going to mix a track or two. As a singer, these are literally bands I’ve listened to, and covered all my life, and for me, getting to play with Eddie Ojeda, the TESLA guys, Charlie Benante, Jason McMaster, Mark Slaughter, etc, and sing these songs that mean so much to me. I mean, literally, the entire record is my bucket list of people I’d love to play with, and some of my favorite bands. So, it’s truly an honor to put together something so fun, and really as effortless as this was. It truly is a love letter to rock n’ roll, an homage to what made us, musically, who we are today.”
2019 saw the release of Ellefson’s “More Life With Deth” memoir, co-written with Hazaert, which led to the pair collaborating on the ELLEFSON compilation release “Sleeping Giants”, released as a companion album to the book. Ellefson and Hazaert followed up the release of “Sleeping Giants” with an extensive U.S. and European tour, dubbed “More Live With Deth”, with HATCHET guitarist Clayton Cagle, as well as FLOTSAM AND JETSAM’s Steve Conley, stepping in on second guitar in the U.S., including several now-legendary shows featuring MEGADETH alumni Chuck Behler and Chris Poland.
The European “More Live With Deth” tour saw the permanent addition of guitarist Andy Martongelli and drummer Paolo Caridi into the recording lineup, as well as the return of Bumblefoot to the fold, and ELLEFSON was born. March 2020 brought the release of the single “Simple Truth”, which was premiered on SiriusXM by Eddie Trunk, followed in May by the release of their re-imagined Post Malone cover “Over Now”, both of which garnered national airplay.
ELLEFSON is set to tentatively release its debut full-length studio LP in 2021.