On October 9, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson was honored in his former hometown of Jackson, Minnesota with a declaration of a ceremonial annual holiday. "David Ellefson Day" kicked off at Jackson High School, David's alma mater, with Jackson mayor Wayne Walter in attendance. Ellefson also performed a special variation of his "Basstory" performance to the student body and gathered local attendees and media.
"I moved away from here upon graduation in May, 1983," Ellefson told KSFY. "It's been exactly 35 years. I know that because MEGADETH celebrates 35 years this year.
"A lot of things I've learned from Jackson or later in college studies, you don't really grasp the gravity of them at the time, but months and years later, you remember that form Jackson High School," he added.
The event in Jackson was the official announcement of the formation of the David Ellefson Youth Music Foundation, a charitable foundation which will help put instruments into the hands of underprivileged and deserving youth, as well as underfunded public-school music programs, starting with a donation of items to the Jackson public schools of donated gear from Jackson Guitar, EVH Amps, Hartke and more.
"When music programs start being diminished from public schools, that's my tribe they're essentially dismantling so I want to make sure my tribe stays together," Ellefson said.
"When you find your passion, you'll challenge yourself," he continued. "When we need mentorship, instruction, proper academia, your passion provides a vision for you. When you have vision you start to see beyond what everyone sees right in front of you."
Ellefson left Jackson in the early '80s to move to Los Angeles, where he met former METALLICA guitarist Dave Mustaine, and the pair co-founded multi-platinum, Grammy-winning hard rock act MEGADETH, going on to become one of the "Big Four" of thrash metal. Ellefson's smalltown Jackson roots have been immortalized in MEGADETH lore as the subject of classic songs including the smash hit "Foreclosure Of A Dream" and the underground classic "Mary Jane".
Ellefson, who has lived in Scottsdale, Arizona since 1994, is also an author and entrepreneur, with partner Thom Hazaert, holding the reins of EMP Label Group, Combat Records, Ellefson Coffee Co., and more, in addition to a diverse portfolio of brands and signature products. Ellefson was also inducted into the 2018 class of the Iowa Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame, just over the border from Jackson in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Ellefson is currently the middle of his "Basstory" world tour, with shows across America and Europe.
Photo credit: Mike Savoia