In episode 58 of the "Behind The Vinyl" podcast, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson discussed the band's classic fourth album, "Rust In Peace". Released in September 1990 via Capitol Records, it was MEGADETH's first LP with guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza following the departures of Jeff Young and Chuck Behler.
"Really, I think, probably 'Rust In Peace' is the record that turned the corner," Ellefson said (hear audio below). "New decade, new record, new producer, new management, with Ron Laffitte managing us, really pulling things together. 'Cause Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH leader] and I were a mess — we were drug addicts; we were on drugs. In the early days, we were just using a lot of drugs, having a lot of fun. Then it crossed the line into being strung out and being addicts, and that was really what late '88 through '89 was about. I got clean March 1st, 1990, and I've stayed clean ever since — thank God. That was really the big turning point. That changes everything — it changes how you treat people, how you view people, what your day-to-day routine is. I think I was even cutting my bass tracks on that record three weeks sober.'
Ellefson went on to say that he and Mustaine "weren't even high" during the making of "Rust In Peace". "That was just our lifestyle," he explained. "That's the difference when you go from being a drug user to being a drug addict. When you're an addict, just getting drugs is to just get well to get normal, so you can go be productive. And that record, it was methadone clinics, it was rehab, it was firing managers, managers firing us, hiring new managers, and guitar techs quitting. Even the guitar techs quit — they were, like, 'We can't take these guys.'"
Last year, Ellefson said that he and Mustaine tried "everything" to make a reunion of MEGADETH's "Rust In Peace" lineup work.
The opportunity for MEGADETH's most celebrated lineup to regroup arose following the departures of guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover in 2014.
Menza was approached by Mustaine and Ellefson to replace Drover at the end of that year, and he started working out new tracks with the band. But the plan collapsed after he was offered a contract he described as "very unfair." A year and a half later, in May 2016, Nick died after suffering a heart attack during a concert with OHM: at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California.