The arc of David Ellefson’s life is a compelling one. A kid from Minnesota moves to L.A. and ends up in one of the biggest metal bands in the world. His substance abuse problems nearly bring him down, but he overcomes them. Eventually he ends up leaving the band and taking a day job, but in the final redemption rejoins the band for the triumphant conclusion.
My Life With Deth: Discovering Meaning In A Life of Rock & Roll tells that story, and does it well. As a member of Megadeth, Ellefson embraced the lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock and roll. As he got older and wiser, his priorities shifted. The love for rock and roll remains, but family and faith are even more important.
Ellefson collaborated with veteran metal scribe Joel McIver to tell his story, and it was a fruitful partnership. Ellefson’s story of his upbringing to the point where he left for L.A. is especially interesting.
When it comes to the Megadeth years, there are plenty of tales of backstage antics and the personalities of his bandmates. Dave Mustaine’s strong personality is well known, and Ellefson’s role as a mediator and calming presence was invaluable to the band’s success.
The musical side of the coin gets plenty of attention as well. The reader gets an inside glimpse of the process of creating some of metal’s seminal albums like Peace Sells...But Who’s Buying and Rust In Peace along with less successful efforts like Risk.
Faith and religion are an integral part of Ellefson’s life, and are also an important part of the book. It helped him escape the prison of drug addiction, and his outreach work over the years has helped countless people. Christians in the world of secular metal are sometimes marginalized or mocked, but Ellefson truly walks the walk, garnering him respect even among those whose beliefs might not be the same.
My Life With Deth works on multiple levels. It’s a behind the scenes story of Megadeth, it’s a story of overcoming drug addiction and it’s the story of a man’s walk of faith. What could have easily been a life ruined and wasted turned into a life that was redeemed and restored, and Ellefson’s story of how it all happened is extremely interesting and inspiring.
(released October 2013 by Howard Books)