Megadeth’s David Ellefson Says Working with Johnny Wore Black Is “Way Out of My Wheelhouse”

Image Courtesy of Dead CherryMegadeth bassist David Ellefson is constantly writing music, and not just for the legendary thrash metal band. A few years ago, Ellefson began collaborating with Johnny Wore Black, a British band that specializes in a dark, atmospheric brand of alternative rock. Last week, Johnny Wore Black released their second album in collaboration with Ellefson, Walking Underwater Pt. 2.

Ellefson tells ABC News Radio that he first met the man behind Johnny Wore Black -- Jay, as he prefers to be called -- at the U.K.'s Download Festival in 2009. The two became friends, and Jay asked Ellefson if he would listen to one of his demos. Ellefson was immediately drawn into the ethereal quality of Jay's music.

"There's something kind of mystical and sort of haunting and enchanting about a certain kind of music that comes from Europe, and certainly out of the U.K., and Johnny Wore Black had that sound," Ellefson says. "It's kind of this open, sort of jangly guitar, sort of arpeggiating kind of thing that I really like. It's sort of lush with reverb."

The two began collaborating on what would become Johnny Wore Black's first album, Walking Underwater Pt. 1. Ellefson then returned for Walking Underwater Pt. 2. The Megadeth bassist co-wrote or played bass on almost every one of the new album's tracks.

"David adds a musicality to his bass playing which I find intriguing and inspiring," Jay tells ABC News Radio. "Obviously different bass players will play in different ways, but like I said, the main thing is just that there's a real kind of melodic musicality to David's quality."

For Ellefson, Johnny Wore Black not only gave him a chance to work with a musician that inspired him, it also allowed him to do something completely different from his work in Megadeth.

"Participating with Jay on Johnny Wore Black is way out of my wheelhouse, and I think that that's what makes it cool," he says. "There are many sides to every musician, and I think sometimes, as listeners of somebody's work, you would never expect it. So this is one of those moments for me where all the rules of thrash metal go out the window."

With a new album out, usually a band would turn to touring in support of that album, but Jay doesn't envision a full tour for Johnny Wore Black.

"I've done the thing in the past where I've been, you know, on a bus, playing every small venue.I did that some years ago with a couple of bands, and I don't feel that's what we're trying to do with this act," he says.

In listening to Johnny Wore Black's music, there's a clear dramatic quality that doesn't lend itself naturally to the traditional rock concert experience. That most likely comes from Jay's film background -- he currently works as a stuntman, including on Game of ThronesThe Dark Knight Rises and Fast and Furious 6. Due to that background, if Johnny Wore Black were to play a few select shows, they would almost certainly incorporate a significant audio/visual element. Even still, Jay doesn't want to push a tour just for the sake of touring. 

"I think if there is a reason to play a specific gig, it's almost like I kind of want to keep people waiting until such a time as we need to be heard," he tells ABC News Radio. 

Until that gig comes, you can listen to Walking Underwater Pt. 2, available now.

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