Dave Mustaine has officially confirmed that Teemu Mäntysaari will be MEGADETH’s guitarist for the foreseeable future
Mustaine addressed the band’s current lineup shortly after MEGADETH guitarist Kiko Loureiro announced his decision to extend his break from the group’s touring activities.
Yesterday (Monday, November 20), Mustaine released the following statement: “Hey Droogies, last week I received a call from my partner, Kiko Loureiro, and we spoke for a while. I asked him how things were going regarding the important issues that led to his absence from our previous run, which was necessary for him to be with his family.
“I want to update you now on what Kiko shared with me. But before I do, want you to know that I love, respect, and fully support Kiko‘s decision. He has emphasized his love for me, MEGADETH, and all of you, our fans.
“As a reminder, Kiko had to leave the tour last August to handle some very important and private family business. He was conflicted but appreciative when I told him that he needed to go to take care of his family. He agreed but was still concerned about us — meaning the fans, and MEGADETH. I told him at the time, ‘Go! Kiko, you can never regain this time with your family, I know first hand… I paid the price myself’. Eventually, he agreed.
“Kiko is a top-notch professional, a maestro — and he did not want to hurt me or MEGADETH,” Mustaine continued. “We came up with a solution to find a fill-in for him during that time and that’s when he presented and trained Teemu Mäntysaari to take over for us. In the beginning, this was only going to be until the first week of October 2023. However, things rarely turn out the way they are planned.
“The 2023 tour is over, and it was long and arduous. Last year saw a substantial amount of touring, and it appears that 2024 is gearing up to be even more intense, with extensive touring commitments keeping us on the road for most of the year. We have had many conversations with Kiko about this and they have all been very positive. Kiko is going to remain on an extended leave of absence, due to our heavy touring commitments next year and we are going to continue to move forward with Teemu Mäntysaari as the guitar player for MEGADETH.
“I would like to thank Kiko for his dedication and hard work these past 9 years, helping us to achieve a Grammy on ‘Dystopia’ and the additional awards we have received on this latest record ‘The Sick… The Dying…And The Dead’,” Mustaine added. “I could not have done this without Kiko Loureiro.
“We hope to see all of you supporting Kiko in his next endeavors, and we want to see you next year out on the Killing Road. We have exciting plans to share with all of you in our next newsletter.”
Loureiro, who had previously disclosed in September that he would be sitting out the next leg of MEGADETH‘s “Crush The World” tour to spend time with his children in Finland, revealed his decision to step back from the band in a social media post on Sunday (November 19).
The guitarist wrote: “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.
“My nine years with MEGADETH have been an unbelievable journey, filled with countless ‘pinch-me’ moments,” he continued. “Unforgettable tours, a Grammy Award for ‘Dystopia’, a Grammy nomination, and various accolades for ‘The Sick, The Dying, And The Dead’ are just a few of the highlights. It is hard to put into words the magnitude of these experiences.
“I am sure any heavy metal fan can appreciate how incredible it is to play and create music in a band you grew up listening to, and to share the stage with a guitar legend like Dave Mustaine, along with phenomenal musicians like James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren, not to mention our incredible crew. However, the most cherished aspect of these nine years has been getting to know the incredible army of devoted MEGADETH fans around the world. Your dedication is inspiring, and I have immense admiration and respect for all of you.
“Much love, see you soon!”
Mäntysaari made his debut with MEGADETH on September 6 at Revel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 36-year-old guitarist, hailing from Tampere, Finland, began playing at the age of 12 and joined WINTERSUN in 2004. He has also been a member of SMACKBOUND since 2015.
Kiko Loureiro officially joined MEGADETH in April 2015, approximately five months after the departure of Chris Broderick from the group.