In April 2015, it was announced that Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro had joined MEGADETH, replacing Chris Broderick, who had left the band five months earlier. Loureiro has now released the final video he sent to David Ellefson and Dave Mustaine five and a half years ago of him performing the song “Symphony Of Destruction” as a way of showcasing his skills.
This past April, Kiko posted videos of him performing the songs “Hangar 18”, “Trust” and “Holy Wars”, and he revealed the story behind his audition for MEGADETH. Introducing the clips, Kiko said: “This is not a ‘How To Play A Megadeth Song’ video. So don’t try to learn how to play this song from this video. There’s a lot of wrong notes, a lot of wrong riffs. But there’s a story behind this video. So let me tell you.
“In 2015, I got a call from Dave Ellefson and Dave Mustaine to do the audition for MEGADETH. And the management bought me a ticket on Monday to go to Nashville to meet Dave Mustaine and then actually to do the audition. But then I offered, ‘So do you guys want me to film me playing from home so I can send you a video playing a few songs?’ And they said, ‘Yes.’ So I had a Saturday and a Sunday to learn a few songs and shoot the video. So on Saturday I learned ‘Symphony Of Destruction’, ‘Hangar 18’, ‘Trust’ and ‘Holy Wars’. I tried to learn as fast as I could, memorize the structure of the songs, the riffs and the solos. So that’s why there’s a lot of mistakes there. And then I filmed on Sunday the four songs. I found some backing tracks on YouTube, put my camera, little amp and played. So I didn’t fix any notes, I didn’t try to edit or do anything — just the real Kiko trying to play the four songs in two days. My idea was not to show that I could play a hundred percent note for note, but the idea was to show that I had the technique, I had the style and I would be able to play the MEGADETH songs, of course, if I would have more time to learn all the notes. So I sent to the management, to Ellefson, to Dave Mustaine. Dave Mustaine answered, like, ‘Okay, there’s a lot of wrong notes.’ [Laughs] Then, on Monday, I flew to Nashville, and then here I am.”
Kiko, who was previously a member of the Brazilian metal band ANGRA, continued: “A lot of people were asking me about those videos, but I didn’t know where they were. So now, finally, I had the time to go through my hard disks and I found them. And please enjoy, but don’t try to learn the way I’m playing here, because it’s not correct. I did other videos on my YouTube channel showing how to play those songs, and you also can find a lot of tutorials, much better tutorials on the Internet from other players, and also the live gigs, the live shows, you can see me playing probably not a hundred percent but much better than this video. But I think it’s good to watch what I did.”
In an October 2015 interview with The Irish Sun, Mustaine was full of praise for Loureiro, saying: “A lot of times guitarists won’t know how to add to something — they’ll put something in there that’s kind of like tits on a bull, unnecessary. Kiko came in and immediately started making some really good suggestions that we applied [to MEGADETH‘s 2016 album, ‘Dystopia’]. When he first came in, I knew he had the ability but I didn’t know if the songwriting technique and talent was going to show up this early on.”
He continued: “What was great about the suggestions that Kiko made was that they weren’t just guitar ones — he made a bass part in a song called ‘Me Hate You’ [that made it] really come along. In fact, that was one of the songs where he made a huge melodic contribution in the chorus and I said, ‘Man, this sounds like something.'”
According to Dave, Kiko possesses all the elements that are required to become part of a legendary metal act like MEGADETH.
“For me — really simply stated — if you want to be a musician, that’s one thing. If you want to be a rock star, that’s another,” Mustaine said. “But if you want to be legendary, you need to have three very important components: you need to have ability, you need to have appearance, and you need to have attitude. Without all three of those things, it’s kind of like trying to have a three-legged milk stool without three legs — it’s just not going to work.”
He continued: “I found with Kiko, his ability was astronomical, with his attitude he was very confident in what he did — there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. In appearance, he was very classy and very subdued on the street, but up on stage he totally takes command of his performance. When he came up to Nashville to visit with me, I didn’t even have him play for the majority of the day he was there. I just wanted to hang out with him and it’s been a really long time since I hung out with a guitar player before I hired him. Usually I would listen to how he played and then I’d go, ‘Okay, we’ll work it out.’ I didn’t want to do that again. Hanging out with Kiko, and having lunch and kicking back and talking music was all I needed — I knew he was the right guy.”
In addition to Mustaine, Loureiro and Ellefson, MEGADETH‘s current lineup includes former SOILWORK drummer Dirk Verbeuren.