Chris Broderick: 'If You're Not Onstage Playing Your Own Music, Why Are You Here?'

"Shawn and I could have stayed in Megadeth, but..."

Ultimate Guitar

Discussing his departure from Megadeth, Act of Defiance guitar master Chris Broderick touched on the very essence of playing guitar, stressing that in his book, original music is where it's at.

He tells Thunder Underground: "The whole reason for the formation of [Act of Defiance] was so that we could have our own say and be our own musicians and be our own people. Obviously, we're coming out here, we're grinding it out, we're building it again, and that's fine, because it's all about the music.

"Because, at the end of the day, Shawn [Drover, former Megadeth and current Act of Defiance drummer] and I could have stayed where we were at, but if you're not on the stage playing your own music, then at some point it's like, why are you here?"

Chris added: "The main consideration that Shawn and I had when we wrote the music was that we wanted it to be heavier. And that was it. Anything else was fair game. So any of my little classical interludes that I wanted to put in there, Shawn was, like, 'Cool. Whatever.' And any of Shawn's guitar work that he wanted that was slightly off center was fine, you know. The only thing we would ever have is little suggestions for each other every once in a while, and that was it."

During the rest of the chat, Broderick talked about being stuck the "former Megadeth guitarist" label, saying it's going to take a while before he gets rid of it.

He said: "Based on what I've seen with other past members, it's gonna take a little bit. I was actually talking with Marty Friedman about that. He's like, 'Man, I've been working so hard to get away from that stigma, and I finally feel like it's happening now.'

"And I have to agree with him - it's been much harder than I thought it would be to break away from that labeling. People still come up to me and they're, like, 'Hey, you're Chris Broderick of Megadeth, right?' And I'm, like, 'Oh, not anymore.' I mean, you think when you release information on the internet that instantly everybody knows, but it's not the case."

You can check out the man's "Disastrophe" playthrough video - exclusively premiered on UG - in the player below.

YouTube preview picture

62 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The "former guitarist of Megadeth" title bay get old for him, but it's also the primary reason anyone knows who he is.
    This. You think Act of Defiance would get all these UG articles if Broderick wasn't in Megadeth? I get being 'labeled' sucks but that 'label' has and will make him more money than anything he could have did on his own without Megadeth.
    Don't be ridiculous. He played in Jag Panzer for many years, and toured as Nevermore's live guitarist. While it's not exactly Megadeth, I'll give you that, those are still bands known by most people in the metal genre.
    yes, but the mainstream public knows him because of megadeth. I discovered his early work thanks to that and I bet many people discovered jag panzer and nevermore thanks to his time in megadeth as well. I personally woudn't be bothered by the 'former megadeth' label.
    I agree that doing your own is as important as keeping a legacy alive Buy hey, who the heck gets tired of playing HOLY WARS!!?!?
    Actually me and my old banmates did, well on top that we got bored of playing covers, we changed holy wars for Ashes in Your Mouth instead.
    Well that was quite a sharp move to tell, I do believe Megadeth could do the same, there are plenty of songs worth to be listen aside the same hits setlist. But anyway Its been over 10 years or more and I could play/listen to Tornado of souls without any complain for 10 more years
    Caught Act Of Defiance in Sudbury not too long ago. They put on a pretty killer show, and Chris was super nice and chill in person. 10/10 experience, that.
    Suds, Ontario? I'm not a native of this city. Mind telling me where to keep my eye on for bands coming to town? I saw Fogerty was playing the arena last year... and The Sheepdogs played the Caruso Club... Where else is there? Seems like nobody really comes here... Unless you're in Sudbury, England? If that's the case, disregard.
    Yep, Ontario. If you're into metal, The Asylum, on Regent Street, has just recently opened up and they're starting to host a lot of shows, check them out on Facebook. Truth is, we don't get a lot of big-name acts (Act Of Defiance might as well have been Megadeth for all anyone was concerned here, probably the biggest names that have played that venue so far), but Sudbury's metal scene has a lot of spirit. There are also lots of great local acts for fans of all types of metal and rock. We also have a couple of festivals for people who are not as into metal (check out Up Here festival and Northern Lights Festival Boreal for more indie/folk/rock stuff). And then there are performances of mixed genre (mostly rock, a bit of blues, and even a little metal) at some of the local bars like The Townehouse Tavern and Little Montreal. Once in a while, we get a few bigger names playing at the Arena, but if you're on UG, it's safe to say they're probably not the kind of bands/artists you'd probably want to pay to see a show by, but check out their schedule too. Our local concert scene is kind of hidden, but it's there. Mostly just have to dig around on Facebook and find out who's going to shows. Anyway, nice to see some fellow Sudburians around here! Edit: Should mention, The Townehouse is having a Pink Floyd night on August 5th at 6PM, and the band they've assembled will be closing down Grey Street and performing "The Wall" in its entirety. That's kind of a sure bet no matter what style of music you're into.
    Wow, thanks for info, dude! Had no idea about The Asylum. South End, I'm guessing? Yeah, I'm a rock man, m'self, but this'll all come in handy (hopefully this summer)! Looking forward to that Floyd gig. Reeeaaalllyyy hope I can find some dope for it! HA! Seriously, it's dry for that now... Ugh! Anywho, look out for those crazies downtown! LOL! Fuckin' Sudbury, eh? Sheesh.
    Nah, closer to Elm Street, almost across from Gus's Restaurant. I spend upwards of a few hours a day dicking around downtown waiting for buses. Not my idea of a good time!
    Jeeezus! That's my stompin' grounds! West End! You mean like, that photography sorta place that might be shuttered? Okay, I'm going for a walk tomorrow. Fuckin' buses, eh?! What a small world! (Also, don't know why these innocuous comments of yours keep getting downvoted, ) Stay Safe!
    I'm also in Sudbury (originally North Bay)... cheers!
    Friedman thinks just now he got over that label? To be honest I believe Friedman earned his own ground in music a long time ago, and just now the stigma is resurging because of the almost Rust In Peace reunion and the new rumors of probably him doing something with Dave in honor to Nick or something like that.
    when i think of marty i think of former cacophony guitarist
    I just think Dragon's Kiss. Without a doubt my favourite album in the "shred/neoclassical" genre
    His solo albums such as Scenes and Introduction helped with that even when he was in Megadeth really. Hell, I'd take Loudspeaker, his Tokyo Jukebox albums and Inferno over anything Megadeth has done after his departure.
    "During the rest of the chat, Broderick talked about being stuck the "former Megadeth guitarist" label, saying it's going to take a while before he gets rid of it." You're never going to get rid of it - that's why just about anyone who knows his name knows it at all. Personally, I'd kill to have the "former megadeth guitarist" label.
    Reading it out of context as a title makes him sound like a twat, which couldn't be further from the truth. One of the nicest guys I've ever met In the article he's referring more to himself than other bands though really
    UG's presentation of this article on their Facebook page could not have been more mis-freaking-leading. UG made it seem like Chris is asking us, the UG users, why the fuck those of us who do not play live do on a tab site. Now the article makes it clear that it was a question that Chris was asking not us but himself, and not about being on a tab site but about being a professional musician, and not about playing on stage but about releasing own-written material (and playing it on stage, but that's secondary). Unbelievable!
    I do think that's a very important distinction. He's not giving an opinion on what other people do, and he's not telling people what they should and should not do. He's only describing how he felt about himself and why he wanted to change the direction of his career.
    about the whole "former megadeth" label, that is completely meaningless, dave changes bandmates every 20 minutes, it might as well just be his solo project because of how often he changes members
    I should mention too, to add on to my comment above and kind of reply to yours, but Chris was actually quite gracious in person talking about Megadeth to fans. But I dunno, that's been more of a problem with Megadeth over the last decade or so. They had a pretty damn solid lineup through the 90s, and it ran long enough that they have at least one lineup that can be considered "classic".
    I-Am-The-Man · Jun 28, 2016 11:26 AM
    I can see why he'd get frustrated playing other people's stuff for so many years- but as much of a virtuoso he is in both classical and metal playing I find his original stuff kind of boring with no memorable hooks or melodies for the most part- but that's just me. Really liked the Broderick/Loomis combo and think they could make an awesome album together.
    Honestly if Nevermore gets back together I want nothing more than them to do an album with Loomis/Broderick. I would really LOVE to see that happen!
    Irwin Navarro
    Act of Defiance is a great band in their own right. Gotta respect Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover for making such decision
    You left Megadeth to play cookie monster music? That's not original, ground breaking, or unique.
    Vicryl 2.0
    neither is playing with megadeth where he has no creative input. atleast now they can at least try in their own merits.
    Maybe he doesn't want to be original, groundbreaking or unique. Maybe he wants to play his own music.
    He left Megadeth to form a new band and play what he wants. Even if I didn't care for the music, I would rather Chris be happy with his projects than him make exactly what I want. The whole point was to play what he wanted, not appeal to everyone else.
    Well, that depends on what you do. Personally, i dig creating stuff and all that artsy stuff, so i'm all about making my own stuff. But not everyone is into that. Most of the very best players i know, are hardcore instrumentalists, usually hired guns, playing music is not just an artistic thing. It's also craftsmanship, when it comes to playing instruments, singing and what not. And really, those people who are just pro's at their shit, and don't mess around too much creatively make the damn world go around. I mean, hell, imagine if everyone was a self-appointed artist, with their bloody vision and yadayada. You'd never get anything done. Those people are often realists too. Look at that Phil X guy - amazing player, but none of his own music has really taken off, he gets paid nice bucks to go play with Rihanna(or however you spell it) on stage. Those are the guys who are actually really worth something in the music industry everyone can be an "artist". So myea, i get his point, i feel the same way, but it seems narrowminded to assume that his position is the only correct one to have.
    Says the guy who's been a glorified session guitarist for most of his career.
    Making a living? Earning extra cash playing weekend gigs at bars? This guy DOES know that the overwhelming majority of professional musicians are playing music someone else wrote, right?
    Imagine being on that level when you don't want to be labeled as a former member of Megadeth. (or anything closely that big)
    To learn how to play with other musicians in front of an audience.
    I don't think he meant that as a jab at people who play covers. He was talking about his own experience in Megadeth, playing "original" music, which he didn't actually write himself, and had very little input.
    If I could be a professional player of stuff I like written by other people, I would totally. The reason being is that being able to play the stuff that's moved me, moves me. If people are there watching, I'd assume they'd enjoy a cover artist enough to be moved too. Sure, seeing Zed Leppelin might not make your life, but, it'll make you go home and listen to and re-appreciate the real deal. Same with Arrowsmythe. Or The Rolling Stoned. Or... Fink Plloyd... I think I worked for MAD Magazine in a past life... which explains why none of these are funny...
    Hey Chris, tell that to the local, independent musicians who still have to feed themselves and their loved ones. Sure I'm working on an original project, but if I really wanted to make money off of music, I'd have to join a cover band. Maybe it's just here in Wisconsin, but I have a feeling it's not.
    He wasn't talking about local, low level musicians in cover bands. He was talking about himself playing in Megadeth, doing music he didn't write. Also, it's definitely not just Wisconsin. Anywhere in this country, you have to hit a certain level (regional touring, with a following, at the least) before you'll make any money off original music. At any level below that, original bands play for gas/beer money at best, and "exposure" at worst, while cover bands play casinos and medium sized theaters, and get paid. Which is why I play at least one or two times a week with two different cover bands, and my original group is in a constant "transitional period", and hasn't been on a stage in like two years.