DAVE MUSTAINE On KIKO LOUREIRO’s Departure From MEGADETH: ‘It Wasn’t Really A Surprise’

Dave Mustaine Kiko Loureiro

In a recent interview with Sakis Fragos from Rock Hard Greece, MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine was asked about his thoughts on whether guitarist Teemu Mäntysaari, the band’s latest addition, would play a role in the songwriting for their upcoming studio album.

“Yes, I do,” he responded. “I think he’s gonna be a great addition to MEGADETH. He already has. We’re playing more songs now than we were playing before. And that has nothing negative to say about any of the previous lineups. It just says that he knew more about the band and understands the metal backbone of so many of these songs more than some of the other people would understand it.”

“When you’re a metal guy, I think you understand metal compositions more than somebody who, say for example, knows progressive rock like [former MEGADETH guitarists] Chris Broderick does, or somebody who knows bossa nova, which Kiko [Loureiro] does, or somebody that plays jazzy, like Glen Drover would play, maybe Al Pitrelli. These guys all have their strengths.”

“I’ve often thought, although I’ve never said it, I do believe that when somebody gets singled out by me, that’s pretty much it for them,” he added. “They’ve been indoctrinated into the world of great guitar players, and from that moment on, their life will change.”

When asked about whether he noticed any indications that Kiko might depart MEGADETH permanently or if it caught him off guard, Dave responded:  “Well, it wasn’t really a surprise, because it started to become clear that his family was gonna need him. And I’m a dad too, so I saw it and I knew that his wife and babies all needed their daddy. And Kiko is a good husband, he’s a good dad, and he needed to do what was right for him and for his family. And I applaud him for doing what he did. A lot of people would not have the guts to walk away from being a rock and roll star to take care of their kids. They would somehow sacrifice something, and it probably would not be their family.”

In a recent interview with Guitar World magazine, Kiko Loureiro discussed the factors that influenced his choice to depart from MEGADETH at the close of 2023 following a nine-year tenure with the band.

He said: “It started when I booked a trip home to Brazil. The last time I’d been was in 2019, before the pandemic; I got to a point where I said, ‘I need to visit my family,’ so I booked a trip for the Thanksgiving period in 2023 because MEGADETH never does anything around that time.

“When you’re young, not married and have no kids, the mindset is, ‘The more concerts, the better.’ But my daughter is 12 now, and I want to spend time with her. I also want to be out there playing. When the MEGADETH thing happened for me in 2015, I had a young daughter and twins who were newborns. I was always struggling with knowing I needed to be touring, but also wanted to be home with my kids and my wife. So the feeling of, ‘Should I be out doing this rock star thing while my kids are at home?’ kept coming up. And the more moments and important dates I missed, the harder it was.

“It got harder in 2023, especially during the three-month summer tour. So I went to Dave [MustaineMEGADETH leader] in June, saying, ‘This is too much. I’m not feeling like I’m in the right place or mood to give 100 percent.’ It was complicated for me to say because I wanted to play, but I knew I needed to be at home. And, of course, Dave was not expecting it. We had just done a show in Florida with the MISFITS, and it was right after that show that I talked to Dave. And then MEGADETH management was there, and I let them know I could not do the September gigs. I offered to help find a replacement and do what was needed to help MEGADETH be ready to go.”

As for what made his leaving a final decision rather than a temporary one, Kiko explained: “My proposal was not to do the September shows and help them find a replacement, which turned out to be Teemu [Mäntysaari]. But then I had some situations with my kids and had to go to the doctor, and I felt like I wanted to be home.

“And I get it — MEGADETH must go on, right? Being able to pick and choose where and when I play is not going to be a thing. I mean, I guess it could be, but that’s not the way it turned out. Maybe they felt like, ‘Well, Kiko might come out on the next tour and say the same thing,’ which I understand. So I told them, ‘I understand if you guys feel that I’m unreliable,’ They kept asking me, ‘Are you sure?’ Ultimately, I had to take control because I knew I needed and wanted to be home. People who don’t have kids won’t understand, while if you do, you will.”