Apparently Being a Megadeth Guitarist Is a Competition
Gaijin guitar legend and former Megadeth shredder Marty Friedman recently rejoined the band for a brief spot in Japan but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be a regular member of the band anytime soon. Speaking to Guitar World, frontman Dave Mustaine praised current guitarist Kiko Loureiro and drummer Dirk Verbeuren—plus returned bassist James LoMenzo—as the band’s best lineup ever.
“If I’m being completely honest, [guitarist] Kiko [Loureiro], [drummer] Dirk [Verbeuren] and [bassist] James [LoMenzo] are the most pleasant people I’ve ever been in a band with.
“They work hard, aren’t money-driven and live to play. There have been a lot of people in this band, and I’ve dealt with a lot of assholes. Not everyone can handle this level of exposure. Not everyone shares my vision. But I’m not bullshitting you when I say that Megadeth, as it sits right now, is the best it’s ever been in 40 years.”
While speaking about Loureiro, Mustaine also opened up about his relationship with former Megadeth and Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler, who played with Megadeth before Verbeuren.
“This is the best group of people I’ve ever worked with. When I first heard Kiko play, I was enthralled. Megadeth has had guys like Jeff [Young] and Marty [Friedman], but Kiko is the best we’ve ever had. I don’t say that because Kiko is in the band now; I say it because it’s the truth.
“Kiko is the best guitar player out of all of them. When Kiko came in, the wounds from my personality conflicts with Shawn and Chris were fresh, and I had this paradigm of how things were, which I knew I needed to change.
“But Kiko and I got along, and I eventually knew he was a good fit, personality-wise. So, I said to Kiko, ‘Look, you’re gonna join Megadeth, and your life is gonna change.’ And we had Chris Adler helping us on drums, and I hoped he would stay, but he decided to stay with Lamb of God.
“So Chris recommended Dirk, and I fell in love as soon as he came in. I could tell that Dirk was the sweetest man, a phenomenal drummer and very humble. With that, I told Dirk the same thing I told Kiko when he joined: ‘Your life is gonna change, so be ready for it.’”
Of course, it was brought up that Friedman helped to pen some of Megadeth’s most memorable material but Mustaine is sticking firm to his argument.
“Marty is a superb guitar player, one of the best in the world. I’ve said a lot about Marty, but above all else, people need to know that I feel that Marty is a great guitarist. Kiko is better for Megadeth.
“That has nothing to do with skill as much as it has to do with the whole pie. What is their outlook toward touring? What is their outlook toward recording? What is their outlook toward songwriting? We all know that Marty is a unique guy who goes to the beat of his own drum.
“That’s great, but it wasn’t great for Megadeth. I love the music we made together, but people change, and we change with it. Kiko and I share a mindset, and I needed that. I need someone who will contribute and has a shared mindset regarding touring, recording and growing musically.”
Mustaine and Friedman both have big personalities and earned reputations, so it makes sense that a full-time relationship isn’t the move for them.