The situation with Megadeth and guitarist Kiko Loureiro has been a confusing one. It all started in September 2023 when Loureiro announced he wouldn't be going on tour with Megadeth and that Teemu Mäntysaari of Wintersun would replace him. At the time, the situation seemed temporary, as even Dave Mustaine said he wasn't sure when Loureiro would return to the band.
Then in November 2023, Loureiro revealed he'd extend his leave of absence into 2024. At the time, Loureiro said in part that he and the band "have collectively agreed that it is the right move to extend my absence," which certainly felt like he was coming back – a leave of absence implies a return at some point.
A few weeks after that, Loureiro said in a separate interview that "due to circumstances in my life, I have taken the liberty of choosing not to be in Megadeth." Keep in mind that neither Loureiro nor Megadeth have ever issued a statement saying that Loureiro is permanently out and that Mäntysaari is permanently in. It's all been passive statements thus far implying that Loureiro is only out dealing with some family stuff.
Now in an interview with Guitar World, Loureiro certainly speaks like he's out of the band for good. The second question in the interview is "What led to your departure being a permanent situation rather than just a temporary thing?"
Lourerio replied: "My proposal was not to do the September shows and help them find a replacement, which turned out to be Teemu. But then I had some situations with my kids and had to go to the doctor, and I felt like I wanted to be home.
"And I get it – Megadeth must go on, right? Being able to pick and choose where and when I play is not going to be a thing. I mean, I guess it could be, but that's not the way it turned out.
"Maybe they felt like, 'Well, Kiko might come out on the next tour and say the same thing,' which I understand. So I told them, 'I understand if you guys feel that I'm unreliable,' They kept asking me, 'Are you sure?'
"Ultimately, I had to take control because I knew I needed and wanted to be home. People who don't have kids won't understand, while if you do, you will."
Loureiro is then asked if the "idea of going from being in Megadeth to unemployment" scares him. He replied: "No. I was playing a lot with Megadeth, and I could have kept doing tours, you know? But if I did that, I felt my home life would be worse. And look, everyone survives in this scenario. I had the option of not being in Megadeth – even if you never know the future – and I chose that option so I could be home.
"I don't want to regret my choices about my kids in 10 years because I wasn't there. The type of freedom I was talking about was deciding what you want to do with your life. Not specifically freedom from Megadeth.
"I totally understand that having the freedom to decide like this is a luxury. It's not like in the past, when I had to worry about my next meal or bill; I could decide. It took courage to decide to be with my kids, but I knew they needed me to do that."
So… stay tuned, but it sounds like Loureiro is permanently out and Mäntysaari is in? That, or Marty Friedman is coming back. Which feels very unlikely.