IN THE TRENCHES WITH MEGADETH
By Becky Lawrence
When you have dedicated your life to classic metal as I do, the opportunity to see a serious metal show does not come often enough. Thank the Lord for Megadeth, who are roaring into town, bringing Motorhead, Volbeat, and Lacuna Coil with them. They are calling it the “Gigantour”, and this guarantees to be an experience that no metal fan should miss.
Press Pass LA had the chance to get to know Chris Broderick, the lead guitar player for Megadeth since 2008. He is currently the youngest member of the band, and has played on their last two albums, including the recently released and Grammy nominated “TH1RT3EN”, the band’s, ahem, thirteenth studio album.
There was obvious chemistry between Broderick and the notoriously “picky” Dave Mustaine at their first meeting in late 2007. Mustaine has compared the moment to when Ozzy Osbourne met Randy Rhoads. Broderick admits to the double-edged comment, saying “It’s one of those things … humbling and intimidating at the same time. It’s awesome that Dave would say that about me, but now I gotta live up to that.”
Broderick grew up in Colorado, and he holds a degree in classical guitar music performance from the University of Denver. One of his earlier projects was the band Jag Panzer, which composed and recorded an entire metal concept album based upon Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Broderick says, "Thane to the Throne was really cool because of the way it came together fairly effortlessly.” He doesn’t have much time to play his classical guitar while touring, but he says “I know it will all be there when I pick it up again and I will enjoy it as much as when I first picked it up. It’ll be something I can get back to and expand on later.” He is also not back in Colorado as often as he would like, but he does love to go snowboarding when he’s not on tour.
Mustaine started the festival in 2005, saying he wanted to "put together a festival that consisted of positive bands that play heavy music in a high energy environment." This year’s line up includes Motorhead, another larger-than-life figure in the history of metal. Broderick is humbled to be playing with them, saying only “they are just awesome". Broderick also enjoys the “unique sound and very unique voice” of Volbeat, an import from Denmark trying to make their name in the U.S. Lacuna Coil, from Italy, is with them also, and Broderick mentioned that both younger bands have “huge buzz around them right now”. After the first night, he was impressed that the show was “already super smooth…no production issues, even with the giant LCD".
While the Gigantour promises to be an amazing metal experience, you cannot help but ask Broderick about the Big Four. The Big Four lineup, consisting of Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer, first played in Bulgaria, and it has been called the greatest thrash metal show of all time. In 2011, The Big Four played only two shows: Indio, California, and New York City.
Megadeth’s time in Gigantour will conclude at the end of February, and Broderick tried to give me his summer schedule. “There are festivals in Brazil and in Europe in the early summer,” he said. “I’m always thinking about Big Four. I hope it does come about again but I haven’t heard any future plans. I usually don’t find out about it until it’s released to the press.” When I mentioned the tendency of Broadway musicals to find their way to Chicago shortly after being in New York, Broderick said “Chicago wouldn’t be a bad bet.”
You can hear the pioneers of metal for yourself Feb.24 at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City. Your ears will thank you.