DAVID ELLEFSON Interview Page 5
By Bob Nalbandian
SW: In LA at the time, you kind of had to play by the rules, and that's obviously why Metallica left. I remember seeing Metallica play the clubs in LA and their shows were not well-received at all. In fact most their shows back then were at the Orange County clubs like Woodstock, Radio City and Concert Factory that didn't have the Hollywood stigma. Even the early Slayer shows were primarily at the Orange County Clubs. By the time thrash metal came around the LA clubs like The Starwood were no more, the Whisky had just shut down [the show Metallica did with Saxon in '82 was one of the last metal shows at the Whisky before re-opening their doors to metal years later in '86] and I recall The Roxy were primarily doing plays and stuff like that. The only club in Hollywood at the time that really catered to metal was the Troubadour, who of course were ruled by the glam bands like Motley Crue, Ratt, WASP... So there were really no other venues in LA for metal bands to perform apart from punk clubs like Raji's and The Waters Club in San Pedro. But you're right...it was very difficult for thrash metal bands to survive in LA at that time.
DE: When we would go up to play The Stone on Broadway in SF, the Keystone Palo Alto and I believe we were one of the last bands to play the Keystone, Berkeley. And there was Ruthies as well, and these were all legendary venues in there own right with the San Francisco music scene, which obviously reached far beyond thrash metal. There was a very healthy scene there going on at the time and it was much different from LA. And even big pop acts like Journey, Santana, Huey Lewis...it was still a completely different scene than it was down in LA. And then along came thrash metal, and the kids just ate it up because it was always about the music in San Francisco, it was less of a "pose" scene like LA. There was more of a passion for music in the Bay Area and it just seemed that the town really rallied around that. Then the thrash scene started taking off, led by Metallica and Exodus, and then we would go up there to play and we would be packing in 500 seat clubs. And that's unheard of especially in this day and age where bands would play a club and there'd be only 30 or 40 people there. Back in those days for a brand new band like us to drive up 8 hours from LA and to be so well received was just incredible.
SW: Back in those days the live show was the fans only outlet, you didn't have radio or video music channels supporting metal music back then. So apart from the occasional big metal concert that would come to town the local metal shows were all you really had.
DE: It was a cool thing because we transitioned into making the Killing Is My Business... record and touring off that and then signing to Capitol records and then we made the video for "Peace Sells." And we were one of the few [thrash] bands back then that had a video on MTV. At that time MTV only had a half-hour metal show that was during the day like once a week and it took quite a few years later, I think around '89-'90, until it turned into Headbanger's Ball. I think we really hit our stride in '90 with Rust In Peace and I remember being on the Clash Of The Titans tour; that was really the first major sold-out arena tour for this type of music. And it still took the combined forces of three out of the big-four thrash metal bands to do that.
DAVID ELLEFSON Interview Page 6