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My Life With Deth by David EllefsonOftentimes, when a reader picks up a copy of a musician’s biography, they can expect to find a sad story, full of troubled childhood tales , addiction, and unfortunately, in some cases, death. Thankfully there are some stories out there with a little more hope to offer and that is the case with My Life With Deth: Discovering Meaning in a Life of Rock & Roll by David Ellefson with Joel McIver, released by Howard Books on October 29, 2013.

While Ellefson’s story does include a period of time living the “rock star lifestyle” with girls, booze, and drugs and all the other trappings, it doesn’t begin or end that way. The author discusses his early years as a farm boy in Minnesota, where his love for music was cultivated. He tells the story of a regular Midwest, church-going family who supported his dreams and sent him off to California after high school graduation. There he quickly met Dave Mustaine and was soon on the road to becoming one of the most influential metal bands of all time.

He tells his personal story of a journey through addiction, success,financial problems, marriage,family, sobriety, and a return to the faith of his childhood. He speaks of the period of time during which he was no longer a member of and of the other bands he was able to play with during this time and the job he took with Peavey. He became very active in his church during this time as well. Since 2010, he has been a member of once more and he says of his relationship with Dave Mustaine, who is also now a Christian, “He’s the colonel and I’m the lieutenant, and between us we win the war. That sums up the dynamic between me and Dave, as it has from the very beginning of .”

The book is full of quotes within the chapters from musician friends of Ellefson’s, including Kerry King of Slayer, Scott Ian of Anthrax, Rex Brown of Pantera, Frank Bello of Anthrax, and past and current members of , among others. Alice Cooper wrote the foreword to the book, and Ellefson tells an interesting story of Cooper giving advice to the boys of in the 1980s.

Each chapter begins with a quote, sometimes a Bible verse, and ends with a section entitled “A Thought”, with such subjects as Change-The Ultimate Leap of Faith, The Bass Guitar- And How to Play It, and Marriage.The photo insert is primarily pictures of Ellefson’s hometown and family members, his wife and children, and the author as a child.

The book closes with a selected discography, which includes Ellefson’s personal thoughts on the making of each album.

Ellefson is not apologetic for the amount of page space he devotes to his personal spiritual walk:  “I know I’ve talked a lot about faith, God, religion, and more in this book. I realize this might seem strange to you, coming from a heavy metal guy. Trust me, it would sound odd to me, too, if I was reading this book. However, we all have our path. Just know that these are my discoveries as they have come to me. Hopefully as the years pass by, I’ll have even more new awakenings about such matters.”

However, this is not a “Christians Only” book, nor is it a “Metal-heads Only” book. It is simply the story of a man with struggles who came out in the end in a much better place. In an industry that can be full of tragedy and excess, this is an inspiring tale of someone who was able to find meaning while continuing to live the rock & roll life for over 30 years.

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