Megadeth guitarist opens up about new album
By Steve PatrickPosted Nov 9, 2011
Fans of thrash metal need not be dismayed by the recent Metallica + Lou Reed atrocity that is “Lulu.” Thankfully, the metal gods saw fit to time the release of “Lulu” with that of the new album from another pioneering thrash band: Megadeth. Megadeth’s aptly named new record “Th1rt3en” was released last Tuesday to critical acclaim.
Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick, who joined Dave Mustaine and company in 2008, spoke with UWeekly about the new album, performing as the Phantom of the Opera on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and his thoughts on the recent Big Four shows:
UWeekly: “Th1rt3en” is your second album with Megadeth. How does it differ from “Endgame” in your opinion?
It was a night and day sort of difference for me. “Endgame” actually took a little while to record; we were dealing actually with the construction of the studio and a lot of things of that nature, so that took a while to record. It was my first CD that I recorded with Megadeth so I didn’t really know what to expect or how things were going to run. With “Th1rt3en” of course that changed and I felt much more comfortable and kind of knew the process and all of that. Not to mention that the songs…they almost wrote themselves. They just flowed right out. We had a two-month window to record and we were able to get it done in that time, so that’s awesome.
UW: You’ve played with both James LoMenzo and David Ellefson in Megadeth. How are they different as bass players?
Very different actually. I think Ellefson…his playing, in my mind, is a little bit more like my playing in the sense that it has a really sharp attack to it. It’s more guitar-istic in a way. It’s very precise and very punctuated. Lomenzo is another awesome bass player. Definitely has more of that soul kind of sound...that vintage bass player kind of growl to his playing and a very cool tone. Much more, in a way, organic sounding. Different types of players and both very talented in their own right. It’s just like comparing people’s personalities. There is no better nor worse, there’s only different.
UW: Do you know what prompted the decision to retool a couple earlier Megadeth demos (“New World Order” and “Millennium of the Blind”) for inclusion on the album?
I really don’t. The only thing I can guess is that maybe Dave had a vision for them that he didn’t feel had been met up to this point. So, that would be the only conclusion that I could draw, but I didn’t really have much to do with that decision.
UW: You’ve said in other interviews that you like this album because it sounds like a mini-history of Megadeth’s whole career. Do you think reworking those demos helped contribute to that vibe?
Yeah, absolutely. I think you can really hear the whole “Rust in Peace” vibe on those and they are the representation of “Rust in Peace” in my mind for this CD. If you look at like “Public Enemy No. 1” that’s kinda like “Countdown to Extinction” kinda stuff. “Never Dead” would be like “Killing is My Business…” and “Sudden Death” is like “Endgame.” So I kind of have these songs that I’ve assigned to different CDs that for me are reminiscent of them.
UW: Are any of the new songs coming off particularly well when played live?
Well, the only one we’ve really performed live so far is “Public Enemy No. 1” and it seems to go over really well. In fact, when we played it at the Kimmel show the other night I couldn’t believe how many people were already singing along with the lyrics, so that was quite amazing.
UW: Speaking of the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” performance on Halloween, did the band already have their costumes picked out? (Broderick was dressed as the Phantom of the Opera)
laughs No, no, the costumes were kind of pre-picked…we knew we wanted to do classic movie monsters and then it was within what the Kimmel show had on hand to be able to make us. For me it was probably about a half an hour to 45 minutes in the make-up alone. For Mustaine (Frankenstein) and Ellefson (Wolf Man) it was definitely longer…I’d say hour and a half to two hours. I had the mask on and I went up to sing the backing vocals and the mask actually caught the vocal mic as I was peeling off of the mic. So I was like, “Alright, I’ve already had it with the mask.” I couldn’t even see out of my right eye anyway because the mask was so off-center from my eye. laughs I knew I already had all this cool scarring work that they had done on my face underneath it, so I knew I wanted to pull the mask off anyway. So, I took the mask off and as soon as I did that, and kept moving around, the latex was pulling off. It was pretty funny.
UW: What were your thoughts on the news that your previous band, Jag Panzer, was calling it quits after 30 years?
I was a little bit bummed out. I had been talking to Mark (Briody, guitar) and Rikard (Stjernquist, drums) quite a bit and kind of knew the whole situation. I know how hard both of those guys have had to work to keep the ship sailing and the amount of work they do is amazing. I know they’ll definitely be doing something again. Just keep your eye out and you’ll see ‘em again.
UW: Just as a metal fan, was the first Big Four show totally surreal for you to be in a room with all of those guys (Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica) at once?
Yeah, especially just with the idea that they had about really reinventing thrash in the first place. When the Big Four shows were kind of brought to our attention, you know, I was kinda like, “This is gonna be huge, this is gonna be big, but it’ll probably just be four bands doing their thing.” But right off the bat it became apparent that it was much more about the music than it was about each individual band or a package that we were trying to sell.
UW: Both Mustaine and Ellefson are pretty vocal about their Christian beliefs; do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person as well?
No, I’m agnostic … is what I would call myself. My biggest thing is I claim not to know and I don’t try to superimpose my beliefs on anybody. They definitely have their beliefs and I think they serve them really well.
UW: “Th1rt3en” came out the same day as Metallica’s experimental record with Lou Reed, “Lulu.” Any thoughts on the fact that “Th1rt3en” is supposed to far exceed “Lulu” in sales?
You know, I never want to try and speak for the fans. It’s ultimately up to anybody who listens to our music to decide whether they like it or not…where their loyalties lie. I’m happy when it works out and maybe a little disappointed when it doesn’t, but I can’t make those kind of calls. It’s ultimately…once you put it in the public domain it is up to the public to decide how it’s perceived. Hope for the best, but that’s as far as I would take it.
Megadeth’s new album “Th1rt3en” is available wherever records are sold.