Megadeth's Chris Broderick: Shredding
is his business
Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick
March 20, 2010
Chris Broderick follows a long line of Megadeth guitarists,
but judging from the constant praise that mainman Dave Mustaine
bestows upon him, it seems that Chris should be around for
long time. With a degree in classical guitar musical performance,
he began his career with the power metal band Jag Panzer and
also spent time in Nevermore (who appeared on Megadeth's 2005
Gigantour). When guitarist Glen Drover left Megadeth in 2008,
Chris' time began.
2009's Endgame was Broderick's recording debut with the
band and his technical thrash playing and solo trade-offs
with Mustaine cover the disc from start to finish.
In March 2010 Megadeth embarked on the month long Rust
In Peace 20th anniversary tour. Fans all know who the guitarist
was on that album, so how would Broderick be recieved? Does
he feel the pressure from fans that clamor for Marty Friedman
and the Rust In Peace lineup?
Live-Metal.net's Jeff and Greg Maki sat down with Broderick
backstage at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, Md., prior to Megadeth's
ill-fated show that ended after just three songs on March
Jeff Maki: Does it feel at all strange doing an anniversary tour for
an album that you didn’t have any part in making?
Chris Broderick: I think if you step back,
you can take that view with it. But no. I go in and I do my
job. I look at what I have to play and try to do the original
composer as much justice as possible. That’s really
my view on it. I try to present it as well as I can.
with this Rust in Peace tour and now with Ellefson
back in the band, fans are always clamoring for the Rust
in Peace lineup. Do any of these things bother you?
No. I can totally understand why people would want the original
lineup back in the band, because it’s kind of what they
grew up with. When they think of Rust in Peace, they
think of that lineup of people. But in my mind, what is the
original? Because it’s gone through so many incarnations,
and in a way, I think it could potentially have been some
of the rebirth of Megadeth in the first place, because each
person—no matter how big or how little of a part they
may have in the writing of a CD or something like that—you
kind of put your fingerprint on it and you kind of give it
your own little style. I know for the Rust in Peace thing, it’s Marty’s CD. But if you look at the
full course of Megadeth, you can’t just see one guitarist
did Ellefson rejoining the band affect you, personally and
Well, to tell you the truth, I know [former bassist] James
[Lomenzo] really well. He’s a great bass player, a good
guy. But when Ellefson came in, for me it was so quick. He
stepped in and just started playing the songs, and it was
just like when I joined. It was, “OK, let’s get
down to work.” So we did. We just started hunkering
down and playing the songs, and since then I’ve gotten
to know Dave and he’s a great guy, as well. For me,
it’s just one more great musician I’ve gotten
to play with now. It’s awesome.
Greg Maki: How
much rehearsal was involved for the Rust in Peace album and
which songs were the hardest to learn?
The amazing thing is, we had a lot of rehearsal time for
this tour, and that’s never happened before. Even when
I joined, I was rehearsing the songs a lot, but when it came
to the full band getting together, it was like one or two
days. With this tour, I think we were together probably for
a little over two weeks—something like that, somewhere
along those lines. As far as the difficulty of the different
songs, I’d have to say when I originally learned the
first five songs that I know off of Rust in Peace,
like “Tornado of Souls” and “Holy Wars,”
as being the most difficult because one, I had no experience
with Marty Friedman’s playing, and two, it was so under
the gun—I had so much more material to get down. Now
that I’ve had time to experience his playing and see
what he’s like, to go back and learn “Poison Was
the Cure” and “Lucretia,” and just kind
of relax with those solos, they’re fun. They’re
just fun to play. I love “Lucretia.” It’s
probably my favorite solo to play right now.
know all the fans coming out aren’t 35, 40 years old.
You’ve got kids, teenagers, people who weren’t
even alive when Rust in Peace came out. What is it
like playing those songs for them and interacting with them?
To me, it’s funny to step back and think about that
because I see a kid where the CD is older than they are and
they’re so into it, and it’s like they’ve
grown up on it their whole lives, as well. The only thing
I’m thinking usually when I see that, especially when
I’m onstage, is I try and feed off their energy. If
they’re really into it, it only helps me be that much
more into it. I appreciate it to no end.
the European festivals coming up, the so-called “Big
Four” [Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax] are
playing. Are you excited about that? What are your thoughts
I’m excited about it, of course. But my thing is, I’m
always just trying to work on my performance, and so I really
try to narrow my focus to that all the time. So whether we’re
playing in front of a club crowd or whether we’re playing
in front of 60,000 people or whatever, my focus is still pretty
much the exact same. I want people who come to a small show
to see something that’s as good as something that you
could see anywhere. That’s my focus.
you a fan of Testament and Exodus? You’re not really
from the thrash scene, so what is it like being in the whole—
It’s kind of cool. It’s like a new introduction
to me because it’s got its own kind of culture and its
own kind of social group that it belongs to. I think it’s
really cool, especially when you think of Bay Area thrash.
It’s in-your-face, loud guitars, blast beats on the
drums and the same thing with the vocals, just in your face.
So I actually like it a lot. It’s a little bit different
from where I came from, which was kind of like everything
from classical to jazz to the very virtuosic guitarists that
Shrapnel would record. So that’s kind of where my roots
a very schooled musician. You’ve got a music degree.
So how did you end up in metal from that background?
The funny thing is, there are aspects of each type of music
that draw me to it. For classical, it was its compositional
excellence and its beauty and its elegance and stuff like
that. With metal, it was just totally almost like the opposite
of that, in a way, where whatever goes, whatever happens.
I love jazz because of its harmonic density and flamenco because
it’s like classical but with fire behind it. I have
all these little labels for reasons why I like different styles
of music, but it’s funny because within each genre I’m
very picky about the artist. What it comes down to me in the
end is that you always have to have an artist that is competent
at what they do for me to like it. If I hear something that
sounds like they’re doing it just because it’s
what they’re technically allowed, then I generally won’t
those different styles that you’ve played, which would
you say is the most challenging?
You’ll never master any of them. I could practice 12
hours a day on my electric guitar for the next 60 years and
I still wouldn’t be where I wanted to be on the electric.
And the same thing for the classical. So it doesn’t
Megadeth is keeping you busy, but do you have any aspirations
to record and do things in those other styles?
Oh yeah. Yeah, definitely. But my thing is amalgamation.
I love to try and blend those ideas and put them in a song
or on a CD at least. I think every style of music needs climaxes
and ebbs and tides in its flow. So that definitely helps,
kind of like a film score or something like that.
few weeks after Endgame was released, Mustaine was
publicly displeased with the album’s promotion. I don’t
want to get you in trouble with the label or anything. Did
you share that sentiment at the time and what are your feelings
Well, again, that’s an area where I don’t really
have much expertise in a way, because I wasn’t really
keeping tabs on how much they were advertising it, how much
magazine time they were giving it, how much airplay they were
trying to push for it or any of that. So I can’t really
speak to that. Yeah, that’s simply it for that question.
was the experience like writing and recording with this band
and Dave Mustaine?
It was awesome. We started the process with just kind of
submitting our own ideas, each of us, from [drummer] Shawn
[Drover] to James to myself—and, of course, Dave, right?
[laughter] He might’ve submitted one or two.
But at any rate, we all started with that process, and then
we started weeding down what sounded the most Megadeth. And,
of course, Dave—you can’t go to a better guy to
sound like Megadeth, right? So most of his material was on
the CD, but both Shawn and I had a little bit of a role in
a couple of the songs. The coolest thing about it was, when
we were recording, we would work on some riffs or parts of
songs that we had an idea on and we’d actually be able
to record it and then sit back and listen to it and say, “Let’s
double that chorus” or “Let’s transpose
that chorus up a whole step”—anything—“Let’s
make this part faster, that part slower”—and kind
of bounce ideas off each other in the construction of the
song process at that point. That’s a luxury I’ve
never had because in the prior projects I did, it was always
you had to know exactly what you were going to record before
you went in because you had such a finite amount of time to
record, and usually even then you’re struggling to be
able to get what you wanted down. So that was awesome.
hear all this talk about Dave Mustaine and his hired guns.
You’ve been in the band a while now. At this point,
do you truly feel like a part of Megadeth, a full-fledged
member of Megadeth?
Definitely. It’s one of those things where you have
the 90 days when you get a job. I feel like I’ve been
through that, and we’re looking at the long term at
this point in time. And to tell you the truth, again, I’ve
always felt so busy in this project that I haven’t even
had time to consider that one way or the other. I do what
I come to do. I play the guitar and that’s it.
obviously hoping to finish your career with the band. Have
there been any discussions with that?
I’ll leave that up to Dave because he’s talked
sometimes about the next CD being his last one and then he’s
talked about continuing on. So you never know where things
may go with his mindset. But as long as he is making CDs,
I plan to be there.