Megadeth’s long-awaited new album, The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!, will finally be released on Sept. 2. It’s an absolute apocalyptic thrash masterclass, and we hopped on Zoom with guitarist Kiko Loureiro to chat about working with Dave Mustaine on the record and how he felt before his very first show with the iconic group.

As Loureiro explains, he’s got a unique perspective into Megadeth, because he’s a longtime fan who was in the crowd watching the classic lineup perform Rust in Peace in 1991. With that perspective, Loureiro wants to inject that fan-fueled energy into the parts he writes for Megadeth.

“I know the feeling of being that guy watching them live,” Kiko says. “How do I bring that feeling in musical notes? I’m always thinking about Megadeth. I don’t think about pleasing Dave, and I don’t think about pleasing the fans. I work toward pleasing the Megadeth entity.”

Though he doesn’t write simply to please Mustaine, Loureiro admits it still makes him nervous to present a new riff to the godfather of thrash. “When you’re creating something, it’s you — it’s who you are. So when you present to [your bandmate] you’re afraid of being rejected … What I’m happy about this album is that I was able to write guitar riffs and present [them] to Dave. Who would have the courage? ‘Hey Dave, I have a thrash metal riff for you, to be in a Megadeth album.’”

Kiko also explains how he and drummer Dirk Verbeuren have helped create a positive atmosphere within a band famously known for dysfunctional relationships between members.

“I have my own history playing with bands and other people. [I know what it’s like] to have discussions or fights with bandmates,” Kiko explains. “When I joined Megadeth, it was an opportunity for me to reflect on that and to be like, ‘Here I have a white canvas.’ The older you get, you have the experience [and] you don’t want to have that feeling [of conflict]. I know that Dirk thinks the same way, and Dave as well.”

“Dave and James [LoMenzo], because they’re older than me, we talk a lot. Sometimes I face personal situations that they’ve been through already. It’s a great thing to share those things because that makes you closer to the human beings inside a band — not to the rock stars — to the human beings. Then that helps everything — the musicianship, the relationship, the songs… all that.”

Finally, Kiko recalls the unforgettable moment of playing live with Megadeth for the first time. “The first show was in Quebec [at] a big festival, city festival, like 70,000 people. [It was] surreal. It was this huge stage and [it was] raining. Then suddenly I was watching Megadeth from a new perspective. I was watching Dave play from a different perspective. This image is very strong in my memory — the silhouette of Dave singing and then the rain and this mass of people. It’s like a photo in my brain.”

“Practicing for that show was not about learning the notes, it was practicing not to be nervous, how to control your thoughts. You have to work not to have those destructive thoughts — ‘What’s going to happen if I miss that chord?’ You have to train [yourself] not to have those weird thoughts. ‘I’m going to play the wrong chord now.’ And then you do it. If you think that, you’ll play it.”

Megadeth's Kiko Loureiro - His First Show With the Group + What It's Like Working With Dave Mustaine

Check out our full interview with Kiko Loureiro above and click here to pre-order The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! Megadeth are currently on a massive North American tour with Five Finger Death Punch, so check out the tour dates and grab your tickets here.

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