August 31, 2022

MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine has commented on his decision to hire bass player James LoMenzo as a permanent member of the band. LoMenzo was MEGADETH's bass player in the mid-2000s and recently stepped back in as a touring member for "The Metal Tour Of The Year". Lomenzo officially rejoined the MEGADETH family in May.

Speaking to Revolver magazine, Mustaine stated about why he enlisted TESTAMENT's Steve DiGiorgio to play on MEGADETH's upcoming album, "The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!": "We parted ways with David Ellefson [in May 2021], and the idea to get Steve basically was… In the end, it's always gonna be my decision. But there were a couple of guys we looked at. We were trying to finish the record, so the criteria for someone to be a session player and finish the record versus be a guy that's gonna be a bandmember that we can find right now that's gonna make a commitment and leave what they're doing to come join us, we just didn't have the time. So we sought out for a guy that would just help us finish the album, and that was Steve.

"I'm not a guy that likes to poach people from other bands," Mustaine explained. "I hated when [METALLICA] did that with Cliff Burton. I mean, granted TRAUMA wasn't a great band. But I think it just sets you up for resentment from people when you go and take their bandmembers. If the guy quits and wants to join your band, that's cool. But if I would have went to TESTAMENT and said, 'Hey, I want Steve,' or I would have just went to Steve and said, 'Hey, I'll give you a gazillion dollars' and [he] quit [TESTAMENT], you know what would happen? I would lose my friendship with [TESTAMENT guitarist] Alex [Skolnick] and with Chuck [Billy, TESTAMENT singer]. And it's not the way to go."

Regarding LoMenzo's addition to MEGADETH, Mustaine said: "We welcomed James with open arms, and everybody loves him. He's just such a great, great guy. So it wasn't a hard decision at all to make. It was basically calling him, seeing what he was doing. Everybody is really, really happy with him. I haven't really seen that much pushback from the fans. I know that the two people that matter the most, besides me, Dirk [Verbeuren, drums] and Kiko [Loureiro, guitar], love him. It's what I wanted. I wanted to have the four of us playing together and all being comfortable with one another and knowing that there was no weirdness going on or any double dealing or anything like that, because those are the things that always ruin bands. We've had this closeness, the four of us, since James came. They're always together somewhere — always, always. James is down at the bar having a glass of wine with Kiko, or James is in the gym working out with Dirk. They are always doing something wonderful together."

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 nine years, LoMenzo also performed with iconic rocker John Fogerty.

LoMenzo played his first show with MEGADETH in nearly 12 years in August 2021 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.

Ellefson laid down his bass tracks on MEGADETH's sixteenth LP in May 2020 at a studio in Nashville, Tennessee. A short time later, he raved about his performance on the record, telling the 96.7 KCAL-FM radio program "Wired In The Empire" that his musical chemistry with Verbeuren was comparable to the interplay between Geddy Lee and Neil Peart on classic RUSH albums. "I feel like on the new MEGADETH record, me and Dirk have those same moments," he said. "It's MEGADETH — it's not RUSH, obviously — but in the field of what we do, there were these moments that I was just going, 'Oh, my God.' This is me as a kid going, 'This is my Geddy/Neil moment right here.'"

In June 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 LP.

Ellefson was in MEGADETH from the band's inception in 1983 to 2002, and again from 2010 until his latest departure.

"The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!" will arrive on September 2 via UMe.

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

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