Former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson had a frenzied experience of recording Megadeth’s 1985 debut album “Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!”. He recently opened up on how he could still “hear what color the [cocaine] powder was that we snorted at various tempo shifts”. Previously, David Ellefson contacted police after a Megadeth firing.
David Ellefson talks about the usage of cocaine
They recorded their demo tape “Last Rites” in 1984, former Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine & Co. went on the lookout for a record label. They went on to strike the best deal, and eventually signed with the New York-based independent label Combat Records which gave the band $8000 USD in early 1985 to record an album.
The band ended up spending half of the money on food, alcohol, and drugs right away, and subsequently had to let the original producer go and finish the record themselves due to a lack of funds. Needless to say, “Killing Is My Business” ended up being a massive success despite the somewhat lackluster production and launched one of the most iconic careers in heavy metal history.
Combat Records would eventually get shut down after being purchased by Sony Records, but David Ellefson brought it back to life in 2017. David Ellefson goes on to describe what playing with Gwar was like, and the recording process of “Killing is My Business… and Business Is Good!” in particular (via Metal Injection):
“It was so fun in the studio playing with [Gar Samuelson], because I tell you, every time I hear, like, [Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good!] I can just hear, like, ‘Okay, snort a big rail–’ *SNIFF* ‘Okay, ready, Rattlehead, GO! *Trrrrrrrrrrt*’
“And then by the time it gets to the break, I remember NEEDING a break — we’re just looking at each other, me, Dave, and [drummer Gar Samuelson] in the room, like — ‘ *pant pant pant* ‘Holy SHIT! That tempo was way faster than we wanted it to be!’ And then we get to the break, tempo: ‘slow down, take a break’, before we kick it back into the outro.
“So I can hear what color the powder was that we snorted at various tempo shifts within that record”