Is Kiko Loureiro Returning to Megadeth? Here’s What Dave Mustaine Says

Megadeth frontman and leader Dave Mustaine addressed Kiko Loureiro’s temporary absence from the band. Both Megadeth and Kiko shared a statement in early September, revealing that the guitarist is heading home due to family matters. As a replacement, the band brought in Finnish virtuoso Teemu Mäntysaari, known for his work in Wintersun.

In a recently published interview with Ultimate Guitar, Dave Mustaine addressed the situation, claiming that he doesn’t know the exact reason why Kiko had to temporarily leave the band’s current tour but added that he respects his privacy and that he hopes the guitarist will soon be back. The talk about the issue came up when the interviewer asked Mustaine whether he’d do anything with Marty Friedman again, including potentially doing a whole tour with him. Dave replied:

“I don’t know. It’s a very interesting idea. Marty is a really talented person. I don’t know for sure, but I think this is an area where I need to just talk with my partner and see how he feels about having another guitar player come up there and jam.”

Megadeth at Wacken 2023 feat. Marty Friedman

Having two amazing lead guitar players, however, can potentially be a double-edged sword. He continued:

“Because sometimes guys get their feelings hurt, and I don’t know that that’s possible between Kiko and Marty – because I think they both have a really high admiration of each other.”

However, as of this moment, Dave believes there are other priorities, including getting Kiko back on the road with Megadeth:

“But more importantly than what I would do with Marty right now is what I’m going to do with Kiko – because I love the guy and I want him to get whatever he’s going through worked out.”

Playing in a Roman Theatre in France from the 1st century

When Kiko announced his temporary leave in early September, he revealed that he recommended Teemu Mäntysaari as a replacement. Dave now reflected on Teemu’s work, saying:

“And fortunately, he had mentioned the name of a guy, Teemu Mäntysaari. Teemu came out, and he was prepared.”

“Like I said, 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.”

Megadeth - Tornado Of Souls Live 9/23/2023 Plymouth Speedway, IN Teemu Mäntysaari

“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.”

Kiko has been with Megadeth for a while now, and even the most die-hard Megadeth fans have accepted him, even calling him one of the best guitar players that passed through the lineup (and they were all top-notch so that’s some tough competition to have). But to anyone worrying whether the show with Teemu filling in for Loureiro will be any good, Dave says that you shouldn’t worry:

“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.”

Megadeth - Angry Again guitar solo (Teemu Mäntysaari) - 09/17/23

“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.”

The news of Kiko temporarily leaving the band was shared through Megadeth’s social media on September 5 this year. The statement included Mustaine’s words, claiming that the band’s lead guitarist has some important stuff to share. Kiko’s statement read:

“Our new record ‘The Sick, The Dying, and The Dead’ and our ‘Crush The World’ tour have been great. The worldwide chart positions have been our best yet! We want to really thank you for that.”

Megadeth "A Tout le Monde" Sept. 6, 2023, Albuquerque, N.M., Revel

“I have something that is difficult to share, but we always like to keep you informed with the truth. I have to leave the tour for now, to be home with my children, and to help them face the difficult challenges that arise from us being ‘Dads that work away from home.”

“I found a guitarist, Teemu Mäntysaari, to fill in for me during the fall, and I think you’ll be very happy. He’s an amazing, incredible player.”

“I have shared this with my partner in shred, Dave Mustaine, and to no surprise, he said, ‘Go! Go be there for your family and keep us posted!'”

Megadeth "Hangar 18 w/ intro" Sept. 6, 2023, Albuquerque, NM, Revel

“To my bandmates and all of our fans around the world, see you all very soon, back out on the Killing Road!”

On top of this, Mustaine added that the band is absolutely not canceling or postponing the tour. Teemu’s first show with the band took place on September 6 at the Revel Arena in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As of this moment, Teemu is still handling all the lead guitar duties for Megadeth’s live shows.

Photos: Tilly Antoine (Kiko Loureiro au Hellfest 2022 (cropped)), Selbymay (HF2022Megadeth 2)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.