MEGADETH's DAVE MUSTAINE: TEEMU MÄNTYSAARI Is The Guitarist 'I've Been Looking For For A Very Long Time'

April 13, 2024

In a new interview with Colombia's Alejandrosis, MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine spoke about the recent departure of the band's longtime guitarist Kiko Loureiro and addition of his replacement, Teemu Mäntysaari. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, I can tell you that Kiko leaving was bittersweet. Kiko is a really good dad, and he loves his family, and he also loves his craft. He's a wonderful guitar player, and he's been a good friend to me and to MEGADETH fans and the band. And we found out that Kiko was having stress and strain on his family, being away so much, and we knew that it wasn't gonna get any better; it was just gonna be more shows and more time away from home right now. And he's got three little ones [at home]. So, in the formidable years, he needs to be there. We all agreed and said that we're gonna bring in an understudy. Teemu came in and helped us for a little while, and then we realized that this is probably the best thing, is for us to stick with Teemu and [for Kiko to] step aside and go back and take care of [his] little ones until everything's okay."

Elaborating on Teemu's technical ability, Dave said: "Teemu is a monster. He is the guy I've been looking for for a very long time. I ask him to learn a song, he learns it. I ask him to learn a solo, he learns it. I ask him to learn a vocal part, he learns it. And he has a really great right hand. It's very intelligent. It's a lot like mine. And I love watching him play and I love watching him learn, because he learns as fast as anybody else could, and it's made me really interested in my craft again. I can tell you I was not really looking at guitar like something that I needed to make part of my day every single day. Sometimes I would set the guitar down and I wouldn't touch it for a couple of days. Ever since Teemu came in, I'm ready — I'm ready to warm up, I'm ready to practice, I'm ready to go over the solos, and I'm ready to fucking rip."

He added: "I talk to Teemu and I say, 'Hey, Teemu, we need to add a new song to the set.' 'Okay. What song?' 'What? Okay. What song? Are you fucking kidding me? You know how much I had to beg for the last 30 fucking years to get any of the other guitar players to learn somebody else's solo. And here you come in and you just flail this stuff out like you're eating Rice Krispies. Come on, man.'"

Mustaine concluded: "I'm so excited, and I can't wait for you to see this dude."

Teemu stepped in last September for Kiko, who announced earlier that month that he would sit out the next leg of MEGADETH's "Crush The World" tour in order to stay home with his children back in Finland. It was later revealed that Mäntysaari would continue to play guitar for MEGADETH for the foreseeable future, with Loureiro seemingly having no plans to return.

In a separate interview with Brazil's A Rádio Rock, Mustaine was asked what he looks forward to in this next chapter of MEGADETH. He said: "Well, I'm expecting us to keep doing what we've been doing. Kiko had recommended Teemu, and Teemu is an exceptional guitar player. Kiko was at the top of his game when this happened, so we were obviously disappointed, but it is what it is. If Kiko would have said, 'I don't know anybody, and you're on your own,' that would have been a lot harder. But Teemu is the right guy for MEGADETH. And Kiko knows that Teemu is the right guy for me. So, he actually did us a really big favor, and I love him and I wish him the best with everything that he does."

Mustaine went on to say that "Teemu is gonna make a lot of people happy" on MEGADETH's South American tour "because we're gonna be playing some songs that we haven't played for a long time. When he came in, I figured instead of just saying, 'Well, you've gotta learn these 30 songs here,' I asked him to learn a couple more. I mean, what's the difference when you're learning 30 songs? What's 33, right? Well, if he learned three and I said he's gotta learn 30, that's different. But I asked him to do some other songs that Dirk [Verbeuren, MEGADETH drummer] and James [Lomenzo, MEGADETH bassist] have been asking me to play for a very long time, and we're adding them now, which is great."

Kiko announced his decision to step back from MEGADETH in a social media post in November. He wrote in part: "Dear MEGADETH fans, I want to share with you a decision that hasn't been easy for me. In September, I had to step away from the U.S. leg of the tour for family reasons. Looking ahead, during 2024, we anticipate an even heavier touring schedule for MEGADETH. After thorough reflection and discussions with Dave Mustaine and MEGADETH's management, we have collectively agreed that it is the right move to extend my absence. I don't want to hinder any of the band's plans or the hard work of all the incredible people involved in the tour."

In early October, Mustaine told Shaggy of the 94.9 and 104.5 The Pick radio station in Idaho Falls, Idaho about Teemu's addition to MEGADETH: "People are losing their minds over how things are going right now 'cause we have a really good chemistry together."

According to Mustaine, MEGADETH has been able to change up its setlist a bit as a result of the guitarist switch. "We've got a bunch of songs from our catalog that we're playing, a bunch of new songs too," he said. "We've been able to add a bunch of songs to the set because Teemu was a metal fan. Kiko did not grow up baptized in metal."

In September, Mustaine was equally full of praise for Mäntysaari, telling Wes Styles in a separate interview: "He's really great. And I'm super excited with what Teemu has brought. And it's uncanny because he plays a lot like Marty [Friedman, former MEGADETH guitarist]. And it's really exciting. At certain times I just close my eyes during the set and I just hear these songs played, whether like Kiko in the past or Teemu now, it just sounds really magic because these guys have learned these songs and they're not just going out there and just banging their guitar around; they actually learned the solos from some of the virtuosos that I've played with over my career."

MEGADETH played its first concert with Mäntysaari on September 6, 2023 at Revel in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mäntysaari was born in Tampere, Finland and began playing guitar at the age of 12. In 2004, he joined the band WINTERSUN. He has also been a member of SMACKBOUND since 2015.

Loureiro officially joined MEGADETH in April 2015, about five months after Chris Broderick's exit from the group.

Shortly after Loureiro's addition to MEGADETH, Mustaine called him "definitely the best guitarist we've ever had." His comments echoed those he made about Broderick during the latter's tenure in the band. Back in 2013, during the making of MEGADETH's "Super Collider" album, Mustaine wrote in a tweet that Chris was "without a doubt the best guitarist I've ever played with."

Mustaine told Revolver magazine that finding Loureiro "was really a mind-blower. It was the first time since Marty Friedman joined the band that I was really intimidated as a player," he said. "He's such an amazing talent, and he's been coming in with all of these fresh ideas." Mustaine added that Kiko was a good fit personality wise. "Chris [Broderick] and I had a good chemistry, but we weren't really as close as I would have wanted us to be," Mustaine explained. "Kiko, I feel like I've known him for years."

In 2009, Mustaine praised Broderick, saying in an online post: "I am going on record and I am saying unequivocally that Chris is THE BEST GUITARIST MEGADETH has ever had. And the real talented musicians in MEGADETH's alumni will agree, he is an absolute monster. I mean, he plays the catalog better than anyone did. Jeff Young never wanted to do Chris Poland's stuff, and so on, and so on, until the last guitarist we had before we disbanded over my arm injury."

Mustaine added: "It's funny, because just when I think [Broderick] can get no more outrageous, or any more thrilling with the guitar solos, he comes up with something really beautiful like Marty Friedman would do (he has Marty pretty well down pat),and then goes into the GIT styles that Jeff Young did, yet, there is still such a freshness to his playing and he is so raw, it's like having a new prize bull. And even though he ain't a such a young bull, he's definitely an old bull like me."

Find more on Megadeth
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).