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Interview: MEGADETH’s Chris Broderick – From noodling to embellishing, he may be MEGADETH’s strongest guitarist to date

by on Aug.21, 2011, under interviews

Away-Team: Alright so I’m here with Chris Broderick the guitarist for Megadeth. Hello Chris, thank you for taking the time to do the interview with us today. Appreciate it. So you were in Jag Panzer before Megadeth

Chris Broderick: Yup!

Away-Team: And you played live with Nevermore for a couple of years?

Chris Broderick: Correct.

Away-Team: Didn’t actually record anything with them just kinda filled in, is that correct?

Chris Broderick: Right! Right, I did do Year of the Voyager the DVD with them.

Away-Team: Ok so Jag Panzer very intricate very tough stuff to do guitar wise very impressive work, Nevermore was no slouch musically there either doing the two of them at the same time, you just a glutton for punishment?

Chris Broderick: No! (laughs) I mean you know it’s just part of the reason why I do what I do. I love to play music and I love to play out. With Jag Panzer all the guys are awesome but they couldn’t always get the amount of time they needed to tour quite often and so I had always wanted to play out as much as possible and the opportunity arose to tour with Nevermore as well so I took that. And then there were cases where I had to pull double duty and play with both bands at the same festivals!

Away-Team: Nice (laughs). Makes for a long day no?

Chris Broderick: Definitely(laughs)!

Away-Team: So how did you end up with Megadeth coming off of Jag Panzer?

Chris Broderick: Well it was really Glen Drover, you know the guy that I replaced, him and his brother Shawn had recommended me to Dave who had also seen some of my YouTube clips online as well and so that’s how I got the call I guess a fairly short casting call for that. Then from there we just talked about what each other expected, what the roles would be, and stuff like that. And I just got to work because there was a tour coming up and I had 22 songs to learn in less than a month! So I didn’t even have time to consider that I was joining such a great iconic band it was just ‘let’s get to work’ you know.

Away-Team: For the readers that don’t know, YouTube Chris and check out some of his work online. You’ve got some amazing videos out there… some great, great guitar work… just blows people away. So you recorded parts of the Endgame, were you actually part of the writing process or was it pretty much complete when you came in?

Chris Broderick: No. No, we all submitted material and at the end of the day it’s just the process of going through and making sure it fits the Megadeth sound. I did get a small writing credit on Endgame and it was awesome to be able to get that on the record. And then of course also a lot of things that we do that don’t necessarily…you know there’s only two things that generally warrant writing credit on a CD – there’s the lyrics and there’s the main rhythmic component the music side of the song and then everything else is just considered I guess ‘embellishment’ over the top. But I think all of us have a lot to do with that embellishment whether it’s the melodies or counter melodies or guitar solos all kinds of things that you can do to add a lot of character to a song.

Away-Team: From Endgame to TH1RT3EN which is coming out reportedly November? Is there actually a street date yet?

Chris Broderick: Not that I know of…what they’ve told me as the tentative date is November 1st, so that’s…

Away-Team: What you’re going with for now?

Chris Broderick: Exactly, you know my guess is as good as yours beyond that.

Away-Team: So did you get more as you call it ‘embellishment‘ on TH1RT3EN? Was it more interactive between you guys because you had a little more history together now a little more comfortable with them?

Chris Broderick: You know this CD came together completely differently than Endgame did. It came together really fast. It’s the fastest CD I’ve ever been a part of to tell you the truth. From concept to finished product it was really just a lot of riffs that were written in the last two years and stuff like that brought togethe. Put it on the table right away and then we started looking at how you develop it, choruses, the bridges, the pre choruses all of that stuff, and the arrangement. And then from there we went onto our roles as individuals writing. For me it’s writing the melodies and counter melodies on the guitar and solos of course.

Away-Team: So Dave being no slouch on the guitar himself, getting the two of you in a room together must get pretty nuts at times? Pushing each other, trying to come up with a better riff a faster riff?

Chris Broderick: I don’t know if there’s ever a competition like that (laughs) but it is one of those things where we will play off of each other a little bit. If I present a riff he’ll be like ‘oh yeah, yeah that’s really cool but maybe you could straighten that part out.’ So it’s very back and forth I think sometimes when we play together that’s the cool part about it.

Away-Team: Absolutely! Dave also stated for the sound for the new album that it’s something completely un-Megadeth, it’s a sound Megadeth has never done before the guitars are completely different sounding. He actually hearkens back to, I think it was… I forget what album he kinda compared it to, but he said sound wise it was something that Megadeth had never done before.

Chris Broderick: I would agree with that as far as the mix and the mastering component absolutely this album sounds huge and just very raw in a way because we did put it together so quickly I think it’s got a raw component to it. But also with Johnny K producing I think it just has a much bigger sound to it so in that concept I agree. But I’ve always likened TH1RT3EN to almost like a cut in time from each CD of the past Megadeth discography so you know it’s got stuff that hearkens back to Peace Sells all the way up to Countdown to Extinction to Endgame so you kind of hear aspects of the whole timeline and that’s why I like it so much.

Away-Team: Speaking of Peace Sells, the band is celebrating the 25th anniversary of that. Which would have put you at 15 years old maybe? You’re the youngest guy in the band now right?

Chris Broderick: What was that ’84 right?

Away-Team: Yeah…

Chris Broderick: So I would have been 14.

Away-Team: 14. So do you count that as one of your inspirations as one of your…?

Chris Broderick: You know what’s funny I always heard the title track from MTV and stuff like that.

Away-Team: When they played videos?

Chris Broderick: Yeah back when they actually played videos (laughs). But I didn’t really start getting into Megadeth until Rust In Peace which is when Marty came in and that’s the whole reason why you know I’ve always kind of come from the guitar shredder root kind of thing. I was huge fan of Jason Becker and Paul Gilbert and all those guitar noodlers and still am to this day so when I followed Marty Friedman into Megadeth I was like ‘oh well what’s this all about’ and that’s when I got into the rest of the CDs.

Away-Team: So how’s Mayhem treating you guys? Dave had posted towards the beginning of the tour that there was a lot of problems, he had never contemplated walking off a tour before and then he posted a couple of days later thanks to whoever, whatever problems there were, were fixed…

Chris Broderick: There were some issues; they were mainly technical issues and stuff like that. I think once we got the right people notified they handled it really well and things were taken care of like that. So it was I think a minor glitch but once the right people were notified it was good.

Away-Team: You guys recently toured in support of the 20th anniversary also of Rust In Peace you guys were playing it in its entirety you’re now on the 25th like I said for Peace Sells. Do you guys have plans of possibly doing the same thing with Peace Sells that you did with Rust?

Chris Broderick: We had talked about it but I think because we’re coming off with TH1RT3EN that it may not happen because we’re definitely going to want to support TH1RT3EN in its…

Away-Team: Do a true cycle for that album?

Chris Broderick: Yes exactly, but you never know we might do something in tandem. I think that’s a really good idea we kinda did that with Rust In Peace and Endgame a little bit.

Away-Team: Did the first leg supported the album second leg you did that plus like a greatest hits afterwards type of thing at least knock out a DVD for the fans of you guys playing it live. So you talked about Rust In Peace was kind of your intro to Megadeth, what do you cite as your main influences?

Chris Broderick: Well it definitely it started with Eddie Van Halen of course! And then from there it quickly went to Yngwie and then onward to Jason Becker, Greg Howe, Paul Gilbert, you know all of those guys… Richie Kotzen, I mean I could go on and on and on. But as far as bands go during that time it was also like Queensryche and King Diamond.

Away-Team: So you’ve always had that kind of progressive lean towards at least what you like, what inspired you…

Chris Broderick: Exactly yes!
Away-Team: And with Jag Panzer and even Nevermore you still had that progressive lean, do you feel you’re getting that, you’re bringing that to Megadeth?

Chris Broderick: I don’t know if I would turn the ship that far that’s for sure. There are things I’ll want to try sometimes where they’re like ‘mmm nah that’s a little too progressive’ you know, but that’s ok. (laughs)

Away-Team:Save that for the solo album in a year or two‘ …

Chris Broderick: I’m fine with that. And you know for me this is all a learning experience as well. And I love trying to be able to acquire new styles and new genres and thrash is definitely one of those!

Away-Team: So what was the worst name of a band you were in?

Chris Broderick: The worst name?

Away-Team: The worst name of a band you were in…

Chris Broderick: Oh, the first band I ever joined with my best friend was a band called Slaymaker and I have no idea what it meant…

Away-Team: Funny usually when I ask that question everybody always says it’s the first band they were in …

Chris Broderick: Well, you know, you’re young.

Away-Team: Because that’s your garage band you throw on some stupid name that you think sounds cool and gets attention and 20 years later you’re like what the hell does that mean?

Chris Broderick: Right (laughs).

Away-Team: So after Mayhem you guys are doing the Big Four in New York, Yankee Stadium a month or two after that in theory TH1RT3EN comes out what’s next for Megadeth tour-wise?

Chris Broderick: Then we’re going to do like a three week maybe a little over a three week tour down in South America which is will be the first tour where we actually support TH1RT3EN. So I’m really looking forward to that! And then we’ll probably take the holiday season off and then come the new year we’re going to look at gearing up for the whole tour cycle on TH1RT3EN.

Away-Team: Ok sounds good well I appreciate it Chris. I appreciate your time Chris and good luck with the show I haven’t seen you perform with Megadeth yet so I’m really looking forward to catching it tonight. And for everybody out there stand by because TH1RT3EN is coming soon pick it up when it does!

Chris Broderick: Thanks man!

Away-Team: Thank you Chris, appreciate it.

There is a long list of people to thank for making this and all of our Mayhem Fest interviews happen, so, forgive me if I forgot anyone, but thanks to Lilly at Roadrunner, Bill at eOne Music, Rikki, Natalie, and Jessica at Adrenaline, and Laura Jean with Mayhem.

For more MEGADETH click here.

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