During a new "The Metal Tour Of The Year" bassist roundtable video chat with Knotfest's Ryan J. Downey, MEGADETH's James LoMenzo discussed the setlist for the upcoming 2022 leg of the trek, which will kick off on Saturday, April 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada and hit a further 21 cities before wrapping in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Sunday, May 15.
"You have to take into account that Dave's [Mustaine, MEGADETH frontman] been through a lot with his voice, so a lot of the songs that we pick are predicated on [the fact] that he is healing correctly," the bassist said, referencing Mustaine's recent battle with throat cancer. "So that's part of it as well. But it's a long road ahead. We're always swapping in songs. We've got a whole pile — they're all sitting, waiting to be let loose. That's the great thing about being in this band, is that there's just an inexhaustible catalog.
"I don't know how to say this delicately, so I'll just say it. The truth of the matter is when you go to see a lot of your favorite bands — let's be the fan guy; okay, let's go to see our favorite band… I remember when JUDAS PRIEST was doing all of 'Nostradamus'," he continued. "It was a good record, but it wasn't 'Hell Bent For Leather'. And I've gotta say that people wanna hear the songs that they love. Why wouldn't you play them for 'em?
"So that's the problem with a band like MEGADETH," James added. "And there are bands, as we move along — all bands, as you move along, you start just getting this giant catalog. And how do you get enough in there to give the core fans what they really want as opposed to the esoterics? You try and throw a thing here and there, but you've gotta keep the hits, man."
The entire chat, which also included LAMB OF GOD's John Campbell and TRIVIUM's Paolo Gregoletto, can be seen below.
Two months ago, Mustaine confirmed that LoMenzo will play bass for MEGADETH when the band returns to the road next month. Joining them will be co-headliners LAMB OF GOD along with special guests TRIVIUM and IN FLAMES.
LoMenzo joined MEGADETH in 2006 and appeared on two of the group's studio albums, 2007's "United Abominations" and 2009's "Endgame". He was fired from the band in 2010 and replaced with returning original MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson.
In addition to MEGADETH, LoMenzo has played with Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde and WHITE LION. For the past nine years, LoMenzo has been performing with iconic rocker John Fogerty.
LoMenzo played his first show with MEGADETH in nearly 12 years last August in Austin, Texas. The concert took place three months following Ellefson's dismissal from MEGADETH after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving him were posted on Twitter.
Asked in an interview with Melodic.net what it has been like for him to play with MEGADETH on "The Metal Tour Of The Year" last summer after such a long absence from the band, James said: "Well, I'm really having the best time. Dave's [Mustaine] been really welcoming and supportive, and the band as a whole is just fantastic. It's a real powerhouse. Dirk is a dream drummer for this type of music, and Kiko's just so musically deep. Dave's playing as good or better than ever and now that he's on those Gibson guitars, his sound is so much more gut punching then I remember it."
Regarding how he ended up returning to MEGADETH, James said: "Dave's management reached out at first to see if I'd even be available, which I really wasn't, but after a call with Dave, I realized how important for MEGADETH and even for myself this would be. Time was ticking, so I knew it would be a crunch, but having been here once before the re-learning curve was a tad less steep. I made some arrangements with the Fogerty camp, and they were gracious enough to allow me a leave to do this."
Mustaine has yet to reveal who played bass on MEGADETH's new album after Ellefson's tracks were removed from the LP following his exit from the group.
Ellefson laid down his bass tracks on MEGADETH's sixteenth LP in May 2020 at a studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
In July 2021, Mustaine announced during an episode of his Gimme Radio program "The Dave Mustaine Show" that Ellefson's bass tracks would not be used on the new MEGADETH album.
In early May 2021, Ellefson released a statement on Instagram denying all social media chatter that he "groomed" an underage fan.
On May 24, 2021, Mustaine — who formed MEGADETH with Ellefson in 1983 — announced the bassist's departure from the band.
Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the group's inception in 1983 to 2002, and again from 2010 until his latest exit.