Kiko Loureiro explains Megadeth absence: I’m someone who “needs freedom”

Kiko Loureiro onstage with Megadeth in 2023
(Image credit: Elsie Roymans/Getty Images)

Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro has explained his decision to step back from the band for the foreseeable future.

It was announced in September that the Brazilian musician, 51, would miss the band’s remaining 2023 Crush The World dates to spend time with his family and be replaced by Wintersun’s Teemu Mäntysaari. Megadeth then revealed on November 19 that Loureiro would also miss their 2024 dates, with the guitarist taking what band leader Dave Mustaine called an “extended leave of absence”.

“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,” Loureiro said in a statement.

“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.”

In a new interview with the Amplifica podcast, Loureiro elaborated on his reasons for taking a hiatus from Megadeth.

Describing himself as someone who “needs freedom”, Loureiro said (as transcribed by Confere Rock and translated by Blabbermouth): “Due to circumstances in my life, I have taken the liberty of choosing not to be in Megadeth. Because it’s my option. Because freedom is having the choice between two viable options; that is freedom.”

Loureiro reiterated his commitment to spending time with family, according to Blabbermouth, and revealed that he almost missed the birth of his daughter, Livia, in 2011 because he was on tour with his former band Angra. Similarly, in 2016, the guitarist returned to touring with Megadeth just 10 days after his wife, Finnish pianist Maria Ilmoniemi, gave birth to twins.

Loureiro said that he had been talking about his absence from Megadeth with Mustaine since June, and that he was responsible for Mäntysaari joining the band as a fill-in guitarist. Loureiro even met up with Mäntysaari in the lead-up to Megadeth’s late 2023 tour dates to help with the transition between members.

Loureiro’s future in Megadeth remains unclear. While he has officially been described as taking an “extended leave of absence”, Blabbermouth reports that he has left the band.

Loureiro joined Megadeth in 2015, replacing current In Flames player Chris Broderick, and has appeared on two studio albums: 2016’s Dystopia and 2022’s The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.