In early 2017, Jackson, Minnesota (pop. 3,299) welcomed the rebranding of local cafe Coffee Choices as Ellefson Coffee Co., co-owned by none other than David Ellefson, co-founder of metal band Megadeth and a native of the town. Ellefson’s coffee is available at various retail locations across Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Arizona, Florida and Texas. Or of course, you can buy it on their website.
The shop in Jackson, however, seemed to be the first of its kind for Ellefson. The internet says the shop has permanently closed, but that’s only part of the story. The Ellefson Coffee Co. storefront has indeed closed, but production has moved to Kat’s Hog Heaven, a restaurant also located in Jackson. The Ellefson coffee shop used to feature not only drinks and food but tons of Megadeth memorabilia, some of which has now moved over to Kat’s Hog Heaven. The “Museum of Deth” comprises guitars, photographs, posters, and shirts from Megadeth’s storied past.
Formed in 1983, Megadeth took shape after co-founder Dave Mustaine was dismissed from Metallica. The band still tours to this day, even though the lineup has shifted throughout the years. Currently, members include Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Dirk Verbeuren and Kiko Loureiro.
Where does the connection to coffee come in? Ellefson dicusses his relationship with coffee and mission on the company website:
My love for coffee has accompanied me around the world for my entire musical career. Just like the spirit of a culture or the melody of a song, the enjoyment of coffee brings people together and creates harmony among us. The beans in this bag are traceable to their global origin and exemplify the spirit and culture of the people who grew them. It is my aim to bring this roast to our tables and awake our taste buds, fire up our rock n roll spirits and continue the global fellowship of music, art and coffee. May you, Roast in Peace!
Roast in Peace indeed, and in fact, that’s only one of the roasts that the company offers. Other highlights include Kenya Thrash, Jackson House Blend, and Urban Legend, which has an interesting story behind it. According to Thom Hazaert, Ellefson’s manager, the Urban Legend blend is inspired by the Megadeth song “Mary Jane,” which was based on an urban legend surrounding a 19th century Jackson witch. “One time when I was in Jackson, we even went Loon Lake cemetery to visit Mary Jane’s grave with a paranormal investigator,” Hazaret said.
“Dave is a big, big coffee guy,” Hazaret said when asked why the coffee company was started in the first place. “He called me one day…and said he found a coffee roaster.” From there, the company went on to create their trademark roasts and establish themselves comfortably in Jackson. Hazaret said they are very well loved by the community. “They really roll out the red carpet for us.”
"Reunited and it feels so good."A Grammy Award-winning rockstar visits his southwest Minnesota hometown and the school band room that helped ignite his passion for music. Watch as Megadeth's David Ellefson reunites with his former band teacher 35 years after he graduates from Jackson High School. Courtney Collen KSFY has the full story tonight after the American Music Awards on KSFY.
Posted by KSFY News on Tuesday, October 9, 2018
On Oct. 9, a celebration marked “David Ellefson Day” in the Jackson community. Ellefson performed at his old high school, and was even surprised with a visit from his high school music teacher. “[David] didn’t know he was going to be there.” Hazaret said of the reunion. Ellefson was touched by the honor, saying in a press release:
I grew up in Jackson, and the music program at the High School was so instrumental to
the fundamentals of my music education, and, really, served as a huge part of the foundation that I would build my career on. So it is a tremendous honor to not only be able to be honored by my hometown in such an incredible fashion, but to be able to give back, and hopefully help inspire the dreams of the next generation of musicians.
Ellefson is reaching out to this future generation through the David Ellefson Youth Music Foundation, which aims to inspire and engage the minds of young musicians. “It’s going to help him pass the torch of musicianship,” Hazaret explained.
He is the bass guitarist with 80s-90s American heavy metal band Megadeth and he's launching a foundation to spread his passion and support rural music programs. His first stop was none other than his hometown of Jackson, Minnesota. And it was a pretty special day. Tonight on #KSFY after the American Music Awards, hear what the singer did during his visit and what the community of Jacksonville means to him.
Posted by KSFY News on Tuesday, October 9, 2018