MEGADETH will join FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH as special guest on the latter band's 2020 European winter tour, with BAD WOLVES in the opening slot. The trek will visit 14 European countries starting on January 20 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland and ending on February 20 at the Budapest Sportarena in Budapest, Hungary.
Speaking about MEGADETH's decision to support FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH as opposed to headlining its own tour, Ellefson told Danny Stoakes in a new interview (hear audio below): "The FIVE FINGER guys have been good friends of ours. We've seen 'em come up the ranks behind us. But they're doing great. They're very successful. They worked very hard. Their success is every bit deserved for them. And I think it's kind of cool.
"Normally, we come over [to Europe] and we do the festivals," he continued. "We've been looking at ways to headline or do some kind of a package tour that gets us much more penetrated across Europe instead of only doing the festival circuit. And I think it's a good way to do it. Obviously, it's big halls and arenas, and a lot of people will be there, and I think it'll be a good celebration."
MEGADETH's tour with FIVE FINGER will mark the first shows since frontman Dave Mustaine announced his throat cancer diagnosis this past spring. According to Ellefson, the MEGADETH leader is "excited" to get back on the road. "I talked to him last week," the bassist said. "I think it's important to have something to look forward to in these times and a good motivation. Dave is a fighter, and he's going through his recovery now, which is great. So we appreciate everybody's thoughts and prayers. And yeah, look, I think having something to look forward to in the New Year is a very optimistic, cool thing for all of us."
The 58-year-old Mustaine revealed his cancer diagnosis on June 17 on social media. He has since issued an update, saying that his doctors "are feeling very positive" regarding the progress of his treatment.
Although most of MEGADETH's previously announced 2019 tour dates have been canceled as Mustaine battles the disease, the MEGADETH-curated Megacruise — which is set to take place October 13-19 — will still depart as scheduled, and the band will be a part of it in some form.
Mustaine and Ellefson are the two remaining original members of MEGADETH, which was formed in 1983, following Mustaine's dismissal from METALLICA.
MEGADETH is considered to be one of the "Big Four" bands of 1980s thrash metal — a list that includes METALLICA, ANTHRAX and SLAYER.
MEGADETH has recently spent time in the studio working on material for the follow-up to 2016's "Dystopia" album.