As you may or may not know, Megadeth disbanded in 2002 due to Dave Mustaine’s arm injury, but when they returned in 2004, Junior was not a member of the fold and was instead involved in a legal battle with Mustaine.
During this time, David was a member of Soulfly, F5, Avian, Temple of Brutality, and more bands. He told The Right to Rock:
“Megadeth was disbanded from 2002 until 2004. There were couple of years when band wasn’t working at all.
“But yeah, I continued to greatly expand my musical horizons. F5 was funny because they were younger guys than me and they even grew up on some Megadeth records, so they had a much different ear and also influenced with other artists, other than what I grew up with.
“It’s interesting to play with them and I did some writing with some other artists during that time. And it really opened my mind to not being in one band, playing one genre of music.
“I enjoyed having my mind opened. It was kinda scary, I gotta be honest with you. There’s a comfort being in a band if you know what you’re gonna do every day. There’s a very small window of what’s acceptable and you kinda just go with that.
“But when you’re out on your own going rogue suddenly you’re kind of opened to anything and everything.
“And I think the trick there is to try to focus on the things you enjoy doing and you’re good at and in my case the things that your fans will come along with you on.
Remembering his early days, the musician noted:
“People ask me, ‘Do you have any advice for a beginner?’ Yes, play as much music as you can, learn from every genre, study with as many people, practice with as many people, take lessons with as many people.
“And then when you move to that next phase, when you’re ready to start performing with other people in grups or bands or ensembles, then it’s like enjoy the experience. My favorite was always being in rock, hard rock, and heavy metal bands.
“But I played with jazz bands, I looked for every opportunity I could to expand my musical horizons as a kid because that’s what gave me the skills when I met Dave and we started Megadeth to be more than just a heavy metal musician.
“I had education and training and things other than just heavy metal. And I think ultimately that’s what really has kept Megadeth to stay in the park. Even from out contemporaries in the genre.
“There’s skillset – Kiko [Loureiro] has it and Dirk [Verbeuren] has it. I’ve continued to study and define and expand who I am as a musician and as a bass player.”
You can check out Ellefson’s work with F5 below.