In 1983, Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson formed Megadeth in Los Angeles. They reached international fame in the 1980’s and are ranked as one of the “Big Four” metal/thrash bands that also include Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. The band has released several platinum and gold albums over the years, including their landmark albums Rust in Peace in 1990, and the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum album Countdown to Extinction in 1992.
Guitarist Chris Broderick joined Megadeth in the beginning of 2008. He has been playing the guitar since he was eleven years old and has a degree in Classical Guitar music performance at the University of Denver and the Lamont School of Music. During a recent concert swing through Denver, I had an in-person interview with Broderick to talk about everything from his start in music to where his talent has brought him today.
Broderick is a Colorado native who was raised around music. Before he even started playing an instrument, his earliest influence was classical music. “I had a lot of classical music influence from my parents. My mother played piano when she was in college… Then the first known influence I had was Barracuda by Heart.” He told me that the minute he picked up the guitar, he knew that he wanted to make a career out of playing music.
Th1rt3en (Roadrunner Records) was the second Megadeth album he has recorded since being with the band (the first was Endgame in 2009). The latest album is more melodic than anything Megadeth has ever done before, and has received rave reviews from fans all over the world. When asked what Megadeth’s songwriting process is, Broderick said, “We all come up with our individual riffs and songs. It could be just a real small guitar riff, all the way to almost a completed song. We all write on our own and when we start thinking about making the next CD, we throw all of those into a folder and then start listening and deciding which ones will make the next CD. Then from there, depending on how developed the parts are, we’ll work on the song format…Then after that, we kind of segment into our own parts. Shawn lays down the drums, Ellefson comes in and lays down the bass, Dave [Mustaine] works on the lyrics, I’ll lay down my rhythm parts and then I’ll start looking at things like counter-melodies and harmonies over the top on guitar and my lead parts…Dave does the same as well.”
Th1rt3en was released November 1, 2011 and debuted #11 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and #1 on the Billboard Hard Rock chart. They also received their tenth Grammy nomination for this project, earning a “Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance” nomination for their single Public Enemy No. 1.
Broderick said that his most memorable moment to this point in his career was playing the Big Four show in Warsaw, Poland. “The Warsaw, Poland show has been the most memorable. Not only was it one of the largest (there was about 120 thousand people there), but it just had a great vibe to it. You never know what’s going to make a concert good or bad, whether it’s the audience or if you got enough sleep the night before. Everything just came together.”
Megadeth has stayed relevant in music over the years with the many different trends that have come and gone. “They’ve stuck to their guns with their style. Megadeth has always stayed Megadeth,” Broderick stated. Megadeth was one of the few bands that didn’t change their style when grunge music was big. “A little bit of experimentation is okay, but if you are changing it for the wrong reasons, then it doesn’t work,” he said.
His favorite songs to perform live changes constantly, but right now it’s Tornado of Souls and How the Story Ends.
Broderick has some great advice for musicians looking to make it in the business: “Always make sure you’re having fun on the instrument…always try and get yourself out there, whether it’s clips on YouTube or Facebook or whatever. Never turn down opportunities, and don’t get jaded when things don’t happen for you right away,” he said.
As a Colorado native, Broderick loves returning home when not on tour, his favorite part he said “It’s definitely my friends and family…and secondly, the snowboarding and the mountains.” Growing up in Colorado, he said that his favorite venue is Red Rocks, and his favorite concert he ever saw there was Pantera. “It was awesome and when you get the right environment at Red Rocks, there’s no rain, the temperature’s right, it’s just perfect. They were on fire, the crowd was going nuts.”
Gigantour 2012 with Motorhead, Lacuna Coil and Volbeat wrapped up last night in Texas. Beginning May 11th, Megadeth and Rob Zombie will embark on a co-headlining tour that will wrap up on May 26th in Oklahoma. Check out Megadeth’s website for more information and tour dates.
Megadeth is: Dave Mustaine (vocals, guitar), David Ellefson (bass), Chris Broderick (guitar) and Shawn Drover (drums).
For more information: www.megadeth.com