Interview: Megadeth’s David Ellefson Talks Shop About Rock Shop (Video)

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David Ellefson Rock Shop is a solid and simple guitar/bass amp-modeling app that runs on iOS. It is made by PocketLabWorks and works in conjunction with the company’s iRiff Port cable/interface. In case you hadn’t guessed by the name of the app, special consultation was provided by  David Ellefson (bass player and founding member of Megadeth) in order to achieve the sound of his bass and guitar rigs.

How does it sound? The tones, while specific to a few amps and cabinets, are quite excellent and resonant. The settings are based off Mr. Ellefson’s amp setup which provides a gritty bass tone, full of attack. I liked it. (You can hear David playing through it at the PocketLabWorks website).

I had a few questions about how it was developed so rather than take my usual Paneldome approach, this time I was able to track down David for a Skype call and get some info from him directly. He was kind enough to take the time to talk with me.

A price tag of $9.99 might seem a bit steep to some. I might have thought that myself a year ago, but since that time, $9 or $10 apps have ceased to be as much of a hurdle for me as they used to be. That’s one iTunes album (if you’re lucky). No big deal.

I would say this is a fan’s app and I would likely pick it up for $9.99 myself because I am a fan. A large part of what you are purchasing are the tones and David’s main preset. Plus the app easily integrates David’s existing catalog of “how to” YouTube videos directly from within.

However the app does have other valuable tools like iTunes play along, effects processing and the awesomely named “slow downer” (which lets you slow down tracks for practice without changing pitch…a must-have for learning thrash and speed metal these days). I think these could push some non-fans over the edge to purchase it too.

Beyond the workings of the app itself, what struck me as interesting is what it represents in terms of marketing evolution.

I had many a Megadeth cassette back in the day — I’m old enough for that. And Megadeth has been around for a long time…almost 30 years. They helped invent and define the Thrash Metal music genre.

At first glance a sentence like that might make these guys sound old, but on the contrary — helping to develop an app like this is a strikingly contemporary action. I think it shows how connected David actually is to the evolving mechanisms of the music biz and that at least some members of the group are evolving as business-people and marketers by figuring out new ways to get the sounds they have created to the fans of their music.