December 1, 2023

Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro already shocked the world with his leave of absence from Megadeth’s live performances, and now he has decided to extend that leave.

Back in September Lourero shared that he would shit out the Crush The World Tour and instead spend time with his family in Finland. Today, he shared further plans on social media:

“Dear Megadeth fans,

“I want to share with you a decision that hasn’t been easy for me.
In September, I had to step away from the U.S. leg of the tour for family reasons. Looking ahead, during 2024, we anticipate an even heavier touring schedule for Megadeth. After thorough reflection and discussions with Dave Mustaine and Megadeth’s management, we have collectively agreed that it is the right move to extend my absence. I don’t want to hinder any of the band’s plans or the hard work of all the incredible people involved in the tour.

“My nine years with Megadeth have been an unbelievable journey, filled with countless ‘pinch-me’ moments. Unforgettable tours, a Grammy Award for ‘Dystopia’, a Grammy nomination, and various accolades for ‘The Sick, The Dying, And The Dead’ are just a few of the highlights. It is hard to put into words the magnitude of these experiences. I am sure any heavy metal fan can appreciate how incredible it is to play and create music in a band you grew up listening to, and to share the stage with a guitar legend like Dave Mustaine, along with phenomenal musicians like James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren, not to mention our incredible crew. However, the most cherished aspect of these nine years has been getting to know the incredible army of devoted Megadeth fans around the world. Your dedication is inspiring, and I have immense admiration and respect for all of you.

“Much love, see you soon!”

Back in September after the initial leave of absence, Megadeth got new touring guitarist Teemu Mäntysaari of Wintersun and Smackbound fame to fill in for Loureiro.

In October, in an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Dave Mustaine shared some of his personal thoughts on the leave of absence:

“I love [Kiko] and I want him to get whatever he’s going through worked out. And fortunately, he had mentioned the name of a guy, Teemu Mäntysaari. Teemu came out, and he was prepared.

“I don’t know when Kiko is coming back. He won’t be back for this run [of tour dates]. He’s at home, and he’s soldiering on—for lack of a better term—and working through whatever it is he needs to get through. Out of respect for him, I didn’t pry and ask what exactly it was—because it’s really none of my business unless he tells me. But I think for any of the fans that are going to say, ‘How’s it going to sound? What’s it going to be like?’ Don’t worry. I’ve picked good guitar players in the past, and I train them well. Teemu is very capable of playing these songs. In fact, we’re adding new songs to the set. That is really exciting, too.”

“I wish Kiko the very best. I love him, and I hope to get some good news from him soon.”

Based on that take, it doesn’t look like this extended leave of absence is a big shock to Mustaine and the rest of the crew. And even though Mustaine is a bit prone to drama, it sounds like this particular temporary or permanent parting of ways is being handled gracefully by all parties. And Mäntysaari definitely rips, so for now, the band are in good hands.

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