I remember that day. May 19, 2007. Standing in front of him, the first member of the band that lay at the other side of the table, I handed him the photograph so that he could autograph it. Kindly, he did that, a serious expression on his face. Before going to the next musician, I held out my right hand to say thanks: he held out his left one and we shook them. Later on, I would find out that he was left handed.
I have followed Angra and Kiko Loureiro since the day a friend I had met at that time told me that a Brazilian band with that name would come to offer a concert at the Maestros del Rock Sudamericano from that year (May 20, the day after the Rafael Bittencourt clinic and the autographs session). Thought it was well received, it was the only time the festival took place in the city. Even the year before, the Monstruos del Rock Sudamericano, of notorious reception, had also taken place, but it didn’t go further than one edition.
It is several months ago that Kiko went to be a member of another of my favourite bands, Megadeth. From an exploratory progressive power metal, he walked into a fine classic thrash metal. Since a while back, Kiko Loureiro has become not only my favorite guitar player, but a great inspiration for the lifestyle I want to lead. I really consider him a great influence due to all the energy he invests in the organisation of his own life and his constant pursuit of personal growth with high dynamism and high camaraderie with his peers. He has revolutionised Megadeth, he has rejuvenated the band, he has provided it with such momentum that was not going to be got with any other musician.
Needless is to say that his performance on his first album with his new band is overflowing with compositional greatness, versatility, adaptability, and technique. Megadeth is at such a high point (so superior in the genre, and of this I will talk in the future), that one of the expressions of this is that the band does not stop publishing new videos for the songs from the last album, Dystopia, one of the band’s bests along with Rust in Peace, Endgame, Countdown to Extinction, Peace Sells and United Abominations (yes, United Abominations, as you read).
In this scenery, recently (September 24, 2016, to be exact) I went to YouTube to see new material and the first thing onto which my eyes rested was the video of the song “Conquer or die!”. Masterpiece. Obviously, I had already heard it. However, a video is a whole different experience. Without doubt, Kiko delivers a display of skills that can not be compared. Not even Dave himself could have imagined that classical guitar intro, so deep and melancholic.
Obsessional lovers of the past will continue saying that other (great, of course) ex-guitar player was the best and Megadeth will never be better than that of a time already elapsed. I understand, it happens with all the bands. The fact is that many fans are unwilling to accept that the world is constantly changing and in every measure. Modernity crushes postmodernity in every area. The latter is just a trend that extols the whims of people who did not want to face the difficulties of the modern. Those followers cling to their generation, one in which they experienced the first major development of their beloved bands, because that gives them emotional security, a non-admitted security against a weakness (even less admitted) of the unconscious. It is the fear of stepping into emptiness, to be phased out, to be, as Bauman would say,
… taken unawares, to not be able to keep pace with events which move very quickly, to fall behind, to not realise the «expiration» dates, to have to carry goods no longer desirable for us, to overlook when it is necessary to change focus if we do not want to exceed a point of no return. (2013, p. 10, own translation)
So you get attached to that which was once yours, figuratively speaking. The world is so huge right now that it can not be taken in one hand, and you know it. Even so, it doesn’t matter who you prefer, but that what is certain is that Kiko is one of the best guitar players the world has nowadays, and he is absolutely self-sufficient among the best in history. Enjoy. Free your mind and enjoy. Here, “Conquer or die!”.
Bauman, Z. (2013). Vida líquida (A. Santos, trad.). México, D. F.: Paidós.
Cover photo taken from Dystopia’s booklet.