“Andres Segovia on steroids.” Shred metal guitarist and Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine’s own words, when asked to describe bandmate Kiko Loureiro. That would have been back in 2015, following the announcement that Loureiro had joined Megadeth, one of thrash metal’s Big Four along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer. The ex-San Diegan told a reporter that Loureiro’s guitar skills intimidated him.
Here’s why: Loureiro’s been a best-of cover story for industry magazines such as Young Guitar, Guitar Player, and Guitar World. Prior to Megadeth, his work in the band Angra dazzled metalheads around the planet. In the big arenas, the Grammy Award winner is at the top of his game, a hard rock shredder par excellence. Which makes Loureiro a singular choice to head up a workshop at the San Diego Guitar Festival, an annual gathering of classical guitarists taking place April 20 through 29 at various locales.
Megadeth: "Conquer or Die"
Festival artistic director Kevin Hernandez explains: “I am a self-taught guitarist. I listened to Megadeth and Kiko’s previous band, Angra, before I became interested in classical guitar. My friends and colleagues all tell a similar story about their own experience. Many of us got into classical guitar because we were listening to all kinds of metal bands, and then picked up an electric guitar first. Coming from this background, it made sense to invite Loureiro to the guitar festival.”
Loureiro’s part in the festival starts at 11 am on Sunday. “He will talk about the music business and career development,” Hernandez says. A live performance follows at 4 pm. featuring both acoustic and electric guitar. “Kiko will be playing guitar and talking between pieces. The audience will be allowed to ask questions.” He may prove a game-changer. “Over the past two years,” Hernandez says, “we have invited strictly classical guitarists to our festival. But if all goes well this year with the introduction of electric guitar, we may bring some other high-caliber electric guitar shredders. I already have a few in mind.”
Kiko Loureiro: Sunday, April 22, San Diego Guitar Festival, SDSU School of Music and Dance, Rhapsody Hall, 4 pm, $15 student/$20 general