Metal Sludge recently conducted an interview with NEVERMORE guitarist Jeff Loomis as part of their regularly weekly "20 Questions With…" feature. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Metal Sludge: What single rock star really needs to be punched in the mouth?
Jeff Loomis: "(laughing) Let me thing about that. Goddamn it! That's a hard one. I got say it without, ah, I knew you were going to get me on one of these. (laughing) I'd have to say Jeff Waters from ANNIHILATOR."
Metal Sludge: Why?
Jeff Loomis: "Well, because at one point on Blabbermouth he said he was one of the fastest guitar players in the world and I just find it really hard to believe that. If he was willing to show people through a contest, ah, I just don't believe he's the fastest. There are flamenco guitar players that are faster than he is. Not that he's a bad guy or anything. I just think he opens his mouth up a little too much."
Metal Sludge: Okay, let's go back a ways. When you were still a teenager in high school you slipped through the cracks and found yourself in Hollywood auditioning for MEGADETH. How did your demo tape from Appleton, Wisconsin find its way into Dave Mustaine's hands? How did that all go down, and what was the band's reaction after they realized you were skipping school to be there?
Jeff Loomis: "Yeah, well, I was 16 years old and wasn't even finished with high school and the drummer from FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, Craig Nielsen, I'd been friends with him for a very long time. He used to live in the Wisconsin area and moved out to Los Angeles and through word of mouth found out MEGADETH was looking for another guitar player and so he asked me to send out a demo tape. I'm not sure, but I think a manager they had at the time heard [the tape] and basically I flew out there. I was sitting in the waiting line because there was probably a line of 50 guitarists and I remember Junior, Dave Ellefson, walking out and going, 'What the hell?' Seeing this kid, 16 years old and my hair wasn't even long, I looked like a total idiot and he was wondering how I even got there in the first place. Being the nice guys that MEGADETH are, I played the audition and wound up playing four songs with them. I think I played 'Wake Up Dead', 'In My Darkest Hour', 'The Conjuring' and one other one I don't remember, but it was kind of weird because Mustaine didn't sing at all. He was just kind of looking through me in a sense. It was one of those things that was extremely intimidating and basically after the audition was over he came up to me and said, 'Sorry, little dude, you're just too young, you don't have enough experience for something like this but we really appreciate you coming out.' It was one of those things that kept me going because he said if you work hard enough at it you'll be a great guitar player so maybe he could tell the talent that I had at the time. How ironic 16 years later I'm going to be touring with them so it's pretty fuckin' cool."
Metal Sludge: Does he remember you're the guy that was 16 years old when you auditioned for the band?
Jeff Loomis: "Well, I think a lot of people know that back then Dave had some problems with substance abuse and stuff, so I don't think he really remembered. It's true because I had a chance to talk with him recently when we did a thing for Guitar World together and the same question popped up and he said, 'You know, I really don't remember,' plus that was 16 years ago so that's a hard thing for anybody to remember something like that. He's an awesome, awesome person and NEVERMORE can't thank him and his band members enough for inviting us out. We're totally stoked about it."
Metal Sludge: Out of all the band you've toured with, who was the coolest, and who were the biggest dicks?
Jeff Loomis: "The biggest dicks were ANNIHILATOR. There was a cat in that band, a guitar player, that just bothered the piss out of the whole band. So we were glad to get off that tour. The best band we ever toured with, well, I'd have to say DEATH back in 1995."
Read the entire interview at MetalSludge.tv.