In a new interview with Guitar World magazine, guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who announced his exit from MEGADETH last September, revealed that he recommended to Dave Mustaine that he be formally replaced by one of his predecessors, Marty Friedman. The gig eventually went to Finnish guitarist Teemu Mäntysaari, who was welcomed into MEGADETH last November after first temporarily filling in for Loureiro.
“Actually, I even mentioned to management and Dave that I thought bringing Marty Friedman back would be amazing,” Kiko told Guitar World. “I have no idea if they’re talking about it or talking to him, but I did say that. But again, I have no idea beyond that, and I don’t want to make anything more complicated.”
Loureiro went on to say that he was warmly embraced by MEGADETH fans during his nine-year stint with the group.
“The fans never said anything bad about me or complained, which was amazing,” he said. “But I’m a fan, and I always understood that Marty was a part of those iconic albums like ‘Rust In Peace’ and ‘Countdown To Extinction’. I understood that Marty was the guy who helped create that sound and style, you know? From the moment I joined MEGADETH, I knew the fans could show me love, but I would never win their hearts over Marty.”
The 36-year-old Mäntysaari, who was scouted and selected by Loureiro for MEGADETH, was born in Tampere, Finland and began playing guitar at the age of 12. In 2004, he joined the band WINTERSUN. He has also been a member of SMACKBOUND since 2015.
Loureiro officially joined MEGADETH in April 2015, about five months after Chris Broderick‘s exit from the group.
Last September, Friedman was asked by Metalhead Marv of This Day In Metal what it was like to rejoin MEGADETH twice on stage in the space of six months earlier that year — first in February 2023 at Tokyo, Japan’s famed Budokan and then in early August 2023 at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany. He responded: ”It was wonderful. We have a wonderful history together, so when something special like that came up, it was kind of a definite thing that I wanted to do. And we both enjoyed it immensely. And I just hope the fans enjoyed it as much as we did. For us, it was just a really nice, nice thing to do to kind of just put an exclamation point on the thing that we did in the history of the band. And, of course, I’m the biggest fan of whatever they do in my absence and just rooting them on the whole way.”
At last year’s Wacken Open Air, Marty performed four songs with MEGADETH: “Trust”, “Tornado Of Souls”, “Symphony Of Destruction” and “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due”.
At Budokan, Friedman came up on stage for three songs toward the end of MEGADETH‘s main set: “Countdown To Extinction”, “Tornado Of Souls” and “Symphony Of Destruction”.
After his Tokyo reunion with MEGADETH, Marty told The Aquarian Weekly: “What I think is great about MEGADETH is that being a legacy act, there’s also new kids discovering them, and then they discover you and look to see what you’re doing now, so they get that experience of Marty Friedman as well.
“I’ve always been rooting for MEGADETH and they really did great,” he continued. “A lot of the things that they did in my absence led them to a very, very good place, and a lot because of Dave‘s [Mustaine, MEGADETH leader] effort and the bandmembers’ efforts. When they made it to Budokan, I was just so glad to hear that. Then they offered me to play and it was just the cherry on top. I had such a great time playing with them. It was something that the fans enjoyed as much as I did.”
Marty also reflected on the experience of performing with MEGADETH at Budokan in a separate interview with The Entertainment Outlet. He said about sharing the stage with Mustaine again: “It was great. It was something that Dave and I both wanted from day one, and we got it. There was just a lot of good feelings in that building that night — not just between us, but you could see in the audience, there was just something different about it. People were screaming, they were crying, they were smiling. It was a little bit different reaction from a normal show. And it was a great moment, I think.”
Friedman revealed that the biggest challenge he faced during his Budokan appearance with MEGADETH was performing his guitar solos the same way fans remember from his original stint with the band.
“If there was any challenge at all, I guess it would be playing the solos the way the fans remember them, which is something I wanted to do,” Friedman noted. “My playing has evolved so much since those songs came out, and there are so many nuances I would naturally do differently now. I had to resist the urge to play it like I would in 2023 and stick to the original way. For example, in a couple of those songs, I entered the solo on the downbeat, with the first note being the root of the chord. I would definitely avoid both of those things now, but apparently, I was fine with it back then.”