Mark Morton of Examiner.com recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH guitarist Chris Broderick. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Examiner.com: When you were approached to come into MEGADETH, did you have any apprehension about coming into the band after all of the public drama that has surrounded Dave Mustaine and the revolving door of band lineups over recent years?
Chris: No, not really. To tell you the truth, I don't really keep up with the public opinion. I was never ever really in touch with the media behind it. So I didn't really know anything good or bad going around. As far as the members coming and going, I didn't really know anything about that, either. I just knew that it was a great opportunity, and to play in a band like MEGADETH for a lead guitarist, you really couldn't ask for anything better.
Examiner.com: It seemed like being in a band like JAG PANZER, which didn't tour very frequently, from a certain perspective, looked like it would have only been a part-time gig anyway.
Chris: You know, I still love all those guys. I actually just got done talking to Rikard [Stjernquist; drums] about two minutes ago. So I talk to them all all of the time; they're a bunch of really great guys. But yeah, it really was their inability to tour that kept me looking for other avenues to be able to tour out.
Examiner.com: Do you think your stint with NEVERMORE helped prepare you for the road rigors of MEGADETH, because as long as the band has been around, MEGADETH is still a monster of a touring machine.
Chris: Yeah, I think so. In many ways, a lot of the different experiences that I've had have helped me move a little bit further. It seems like every experience takes me to that next level. When you step up to MEGADETH, there's obviously going to be a lot more press attention, the way you present yourself in image, there's obviously more production involved. I think that everything has helped prepare me to where I am now.
Examiner.com: Did you have to go through any kind of equivalent of a media-approachable finishing school to be able to conduct yourself in the professional manner that MEGADETH seems to exude with the press?
Chris: No, but I think there are things that you learn over time. It's kind of unfortunate, but you really have to watch your "p's and q's." It seems like people are very touchy these days. It seems like even things got away with ten years ago, you have to be very mindful of today. So yeah, you keep all that in mind and then say what you want to say without inadvertently offending anybody.
Examiner.com: So, with a band that has such a memorable and extensive history, and an amazing ability to create unpredictable set lists, did you have any problems playing catch up to learn MEGADETH's catalogue?
Chris: Yeah, a little bit. Like now, I think I know about 30-32 songs, but when we get closer to rehearsing for the tour, I think I will have about 40 of them down. Luckily, when I first stepped in, I had a month to learn 20 songs, so that became my primary focus. When that first tour came along, we knew we were going to play a set number of songs, so it wasn't that overwhelming at that time.
Examiner.com: It really seems like ["Endgame"] is the most energetic and inspired MEGADETH album I've heard in years. There's no filler on it, and everything just seemed to connect. Do you feel your participation in making this album helped it turn out the way it did?
Chris: Uh, yeah, for my part, yeah. I think we all had contributing factors. Whether it was the great bass lines from James [Lomenzo] — I'm still flabbergasted by him. I remember listening into the studio and hearing one of the songs he hadn't yet played his part on, and it really sounded like something huge was missing. And Shawn [Drover] does a great job carrying the rhythm and tearing it up on the drums. I think we all did our own parts, but I think where I contributed was more in the melodic continuity. Drumming up some of the lead melodies and harmonies over the top was where I think my major contribution was.
Examiner.com: Where there any particular songs that took longer to come together than others, based on complexity or things that weren't clicking?
Chris: I think they all kinda formed in their own way. It wasn't like any one song was at a point where we didn't know what to do with it. We'd work with part of a song and then move on, try something else, and then listen back and rearrange it or whatever we thought it needed. It was kinda cool, because I've never been able to record in that manner. I became so used to having such a tight budget and such a tight time frame that everything had to be completely written and ready before we went into the studio. Whereas, in this case, we were able to go in and just record a riff, think about it and explore how it could develop. I think that was really cool.
Examiner.com: When the album was being written, did you look to the band's past for any inspiration? The way "Endgame" sounds, it comes across as the culmination of every era of MEGADETH. There are little hints and echoes here and there that sound like the flavors from the various points in the band's history.
Chris: I think that stems partially from the way it was created. It was created a little bit with that in mind. Dave has this catalogue of riffs that he's held onto forever and ever, and some of them came out to generate the songs you hear. But some of those were also of the mindset of today where we had to use them as starting points to develop into full songs. So I think you kinda hit the nail on the head that it really does emphasize different moments in the MEGADETH catalogue, but again, it was also due to the way the songs were written.
Read the entire interview from Examiner.com.