In a recent conversation with Guitar World magazine, Kiko Loureiro provided insights into the factors influencing his decision to part ways with MEGADETH at the close of 2023, concluding a significant nine-year chapter with the band.
Reflecting on the genesis of his decision, Kiko shared, “It started when I booked a trip home to Brazil. The last time I’d been was in 2019, before the pandemic; I got to a point where I said, ‘I need to visit my family,’ so I booked a trip for the Thanksgiving period in 2023 because MEGADETH never does anything around that time.”
The seasoned guitarist delved into the evolving priorities that played a role in this pivotal decision, stating, “When you’re young, not married, and have no kids, the mindset is, ‘The more concerts, the better.’ But my daughter is 12 now, and I want to spend time with her. I also want to be out there playing.”
Highlighting the juxtaposition of family commitments and the demands of a rigorous touring schedule, Kiko discussed the ongoing internal struggle. “When the MEGADETH thing happened to me in 2015, I had a young daughter and twins who were newborns. I was always struggling with knowing I needed to be touring but also wanted to be home with my kids and my wife. So the feeling of, ‘Should I be out doing this rock star thing while my kids are at home?’ kept coming up.”
The turning point crystallized during the extensive summer tour in 2023, prompting Kiko to approach MEGADETH’s leader, Dave Mustaine, in June. “It got harder in 2023, especially during the three-month summer tour. So I went to Dave in June, saying, ‘This is too much. I’m not feeling like I’m in the right place or mood to give 100 percent.’”
Detailing the ensuing conversation and his offer to assist in finding a replacement, Kiko explained the complexities of making such a decision midstream. “It was complicated for me to say because I wanted to play, but I knew I needed to be at home. And, of course, Dave was not expecting it. We had just done a show in Florida with the MISFITS, and it was right after that show that I talked to Dave.”
Despite proposing initially not to participate in the September shows, Kiko’s circumstances, coupled with his desire to be with family, solidified the decision. “My proposal was not to do the September shows and help them find a replacement, which turned out to be Teemu [Mäntysaari]. But then I had some situations with my kids and had to go to the doctor, and I felt like I wanted to be home.”
Addressing the inevitability of MEGADETH moving forward, Kiko acknowledged the need for the band to continue its journey, stating, “And I get it — MEGADETH must go on, right? Being able to pick and choose where and when I play is not going to be a thing. I mean, I guess it could be, but that’s not the way it turned out.”
In navigating the delicate balance between personal and professional responsibilities, Kiko recounted the conversation with the band, “Maybe they felt like, ‘Well, Kiko might come out on the next tour and say the same thing,’ which I understand. So I told them, ‘I understand if you guys feel that I’m unreliable.’ They kept asking me, ‘Are you sure?’ Ultimately, I had to take control because I knew I needed and wanted to be home.”
The poignant revelation concluded with an acknowledgment of the unique perspective parenthood brings, with Kiko expressing, “People who don’t have kids won’t understand, while if you do, you will.” This nuanced and personal narrative sheds light on the intricate decisions faced by musicians balancing familial commitments with the demands of a dynamic and relentless music career.