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Why Kiko Loureiro's mom bought him an electric guitar instead of sending him to therapy as a teen

Kiko Loureiro
(Image credit: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images)

Heavy metal fans are all too often misunderstood, as Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro remembers firsthand from his school days. 

As he explains in a new interview on the Chuck Shute Podcast (opens in new tab), he once wrote a story describing a metal festival, featuring typical elements and themes of the genre – “loud guitars, mud, skulls and blood” – and was subsequently asked by his school principal to attend therapy.

“I was like 13 or 14,” Loureiro recalls, “and then of course, the principal from the school asked my mother to go there for a meeting. She said, ‘Your son probably has a problem – you need to take him to a psychologist or something.’”

But instead of sending the young Loureiro to receive professional help, his mother opted for a solution that would turn out to be infinitely more productive for her son in the long run: buying him an electric guitar.

“The classical guitar was not enough,” the Megadeth man remembers. “My classical guitar teacher said to my mother, ‘Buy him a guitar. He's into rock now. And then I went to start having lessons.”

He then recalls his first guitar lesson, in which his teacher played Led Zeppelin's Black Dog. “It [was] like, ‘Wow, that's what I want,’ you know. So from then on, I started practicing a lot.”

Elsewhere in the conversation, Loureiro talks about his audition tape for Megadeth, for which he learned Hangar 18, Holy Wars... Symphony of Destruction and Trust only a day prior.

“I got the call from Dave [Mustaine] and he asked, ‘Can you send some videos of you playing the songs?’ So I chose Trust, Holy Wars, Symphony [of Destruction] and Hangar 18.

“I had a weekend – I wanted to send the videos as fast as I could, because I thought a lot of guitar players are probably sending those videos. I remember Saturday and Sunday I was playing [the songs] over and over. [I was] practicing and memorizing the songs because in rock you cannot have a piece of paper [to read from when playing live].”

Megadeth are currently embarking on the second leg of their Metal Tour of the Year with Lamb of God, Trivium and In Flames. The trek kicked off at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday (April 9), and will make stops in Lafayette, Fort Wayne, Kansas City and Pittsburgh before wrapping May 15 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“I think it's an amazing package,” Loureiro says, “because even if you're an old-school Megadeth fan who doesn't know the new bands, it's a great opportunity to get to know those other bands.”

And in other news, Kiko Loureiro recently announced the launch of his own online Guitar Academy, in which he breaks down his most elaborate compositions, hosts monthly hangouts and tutors technique and theory.

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).