Former MEGADETH guitarist Chris Poland recently spoke to Ricky Garcia of Jemfest Radio about his guest appearance on the new MEGADETH album, tentatively due later in the year through Sanctuary Records. The following are some of the highlights of that interview:
On how he came to be involved with the new MEGADETH album:
Chris Poland: "Dave [Mustaine] gave me a call and asked me if I would be interested in coming down and doing the solos on his latest MEGADETH record, and I was more than happy to do it. So we drove down to Tempe, Arizona and went to Phase Four studios (web site) and I think I recorded nine solos — eight of them were electric distortion — heavy, heavy guitar — and then one was a nylon-string, acoustic kind of solo section. But it was all really fun. They had the best gear there — they had a 50-watt Plexi Marshall head with vintage speakers, there was like 50 different vintage guitar pedals to pick from. So I was very excited about the whole thing. And working with Dave, I swear, it was just like I had never left the band. We worked a certain way when I was in the band — he described what he needed here and there. Some of the solos, he let me just do exactly what I wanted, which I had a lot of fun doing, other solos, he basically directed me — like with his finger. While I was soloing, he would move his hand up and down the neck, and I would just follow his hand. It was like a Ouija board or something. I would just follow him and try to emulate where he was going with his hand. We've done solos like that before when I was with MEGADETH. It was like I had never left the band as far as our working situation in the studio. It was great working with him. We're both sober, so it's like, all that added baggage and baloney that was going on with us before wasn't there — it was just the music — and he's actually a really pretty funny guy."
On whether he had kept in contact with Dave Mustaine during his time away from the band:
Chris Poland: "[We kept in contact] on and off, between doing the remixes and the 'Behind the Music' stuff, we'd talk once in a while. It's not like we're gonna start the band up again, but it's great being friends with Dave. He's a good guy."
On whether Dave Mustaine is able to play guitar again in light of the hand injury that caused MEGADETH's split in early 2002:
Chris Poland: "Oh, he's gotten over that. He went for physical therapy, and his guitar playing is as good as it's ever been, if not better. Probably because he's been practicing trying to get it back and didn't realize where he left off and he's probably a better player than he's ever been right now."
On his work on the new MEGADETH album:
Chris Poland: "A couple of my favorite solos was… One of the songs was called 'When Robots Rule', which the engineer at Phase Four broke out this old Foxx tone machine — it's a wah-wah with an Octafuzz built into it — and the sounds that thing made were just amazing, man. I was just blown away. It was a lot of fun. A lot of the playing I felt really good about. The guy that was engineering and kind of co-producing it with Dave was a great guy, so it just all worked out really good."
On whether the album will be released as a MEGADETH album or as a Dave Mustaine solo CD:
Chris Poland: "You know, I don't know myself. I don't know what Dave's intentions are with the record, but I know that, out of the 10 songs I heard, I thought every one of them were great, and I was actually disappointed on a couple that I didn't get to play on, because one of them's a really heavy Bonham/ZEP vibe, and I really wanted to play on that song, but I knew Dave was saving that one for himself."
Chris Poland's interview with Jemfest Radio can be downloaded in its entirety as 13-MB MP3 file at this location.
In other news, Chris Poland will be hitting the road next month with his prog-rock outfit OHM. Also appearing on the bill will be former CHICK COREA'S ELEKTRIC BAND guitarist Frank Gambale. Confirmed dates are as follows:
Mar. 30 - Chicago, IL @ Cubby Bear
Mar. 31 - Indianapolis, IN @ Rehearsal Room Studio Pro.
Apr. 01 - Cleveland, OH @ The Winchester
Apr. 02 - Rochester, NY @ Montage Grille
Apr. 03 - Schenectady, NY @ The Van Dyck
Apr. 04 - Buffalo, NY @ Broadway Joe's
Apr. 06 - Boston, MA @ Yamaha Guitar Clinic
Apr. 07 - Somerville, MA @ Johnny D's
Apr. 08 - New York, NY @ S.O.B.'s
Apr. 10 - Plains, PA @ Grico's River St. Jazz Café
Apr. 12 - Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
Apr. 13 - Charlotte, NC @ Visulite Theater
Apr. 16 - St. Augustine, FL @ Café Eleven
Apr. 17 - Tampa, FL @ Brass Mug