Late last year, Kiko Loureiro announced his departure from Megadeth – and it turns out at the time the outgoing electric guitar virtuoso recommended to Dave Mustaine and co that he be formally replaced by one of his predecessors.
In November, the Ibanez signature artist officially drew his nine years of heavy metal service to a close, mere months after it was announced he’d be stepping down from Megadeth’s tour shows due to family reasons.
No successor was immediately named in the aftermath of Loureiro’s announcement, and for a brief period, guitar fans wondered whether former Megadeth man Marty Friedman – who had reunited with the band for the first time in 23 years not long before – was poised to make a sensational return.
As events would transpire, Friedman did not end up rejoining Mustaine, with the gig instead going to Finnish metal guitar prodigy Teemu Mäntysaari, who was formally christened the new Megadeth guitarist after first temporarily filling in for Loureiro.
But before Loureiro had scouted and selected Mäntysaari for the role, he approached Mustaine and Megadeth management with another option: to rehire Friedman.
When it was put to him in an upcoming interview with Guitar World that many metal fans would have been holding out for Friedman’s return, Loureiro revealed, “Actually, I even mentioned to management and Dave that I thought bringing Marty Friedman back would be amazing.”
Though, obviously, that didn’t pan out in the short-term, Loureiro did imply that further conversations concerning personnel may be ongoing: “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.”
Whether anything comes of it remains to be seen, but for now, the mantle of Megadeth lead guitarist remains firmly with Mäntysaari, who entered the fray with sky-high praise from Loureiro: “He's an amazing, incredible player.”
In his conversation with Guitar World, Loureiro – who replaced Chris Broderick – also took the opportunity to reflect on his time as Megadeth’s guitarist, and paid tribute to the fans who accepted him in Friedman’s role.
“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.”
What can we take away from all this? Well, perhaps the door isn’t completely closed on a Friedman return at some point in the future. As mentioned, he’s already refamiliarized himself with Megadeth material thanks to those two guest performances he completed last year.
Last year, Friedman said of his relationship with Mustaine, “We're just two rock 'n' rollers with teenage dreams that never die. Both of us did whatever we had to do to make it happen. I think with guys who have had long careers, you'll probably find that we are very much in touch with our 15-year-old selves. And that is the prime motivator to go out of our way.”
No doubt his potential enlistment would go down well with Megadeth fans, who would certainly welcome the return of one of the band's most influential past members.
Stay tuned to GuitarWorld.com for the full interview with Loureiro, in which he opens up about why he left Megadeth, and what's in the cards for his future.