By Bob Zerull
And now for the stunning conclusion of the Megadeth interview with James LoMenzo. See part one here: "Megadeth’s James LoMenzo has played with rock’s greats. - Part one."
Zoiks! - When I was eight-years-old the first album I bought, I swear to God was White Lion’s “Pride.” Jason Tanamor, who runs our website, his favorite guitar player is Vito Bratta. He talks about White Lion to this day all the time. You see a lot of bands from the ‘80’s getting back together and doing very well, is there any chance of the four of you getting together for a reunion tour next time Megadeth takes some time off?
James LoMenzo - Very cool, I don’t think I would ever - you know what? It’s funny, I said it in another interview and it was taken out of context that I would do that. Certainly if Megadeth wasn’t doing any business I’d be there in a heartbeat. The thing is you’ve got to understand from my perspective now it’s really for the fans. Yeah sure there’s some money involved in it but I think it’d really be special if that band could come back and people could see them. It was a good musical band. It was a pop band more than a metal band, but you know it was still a good band. Having said that, I really don’t think it could happen after speaking with Mike (Tramp) and Vito after all these years. They don’t really have, especially Vito, the fire to get back into it. It’s a shame because he’s a great guitar player. But you have to respect a person’s decision to live their life as they do. I know I certainly do.
Z - Definitely, I read somewhere that Jimi Hendrix was actually the one that inspired you to play bass. Is this true?
J – Yeah, in a very negative way. I was playing guitar at the time. I was probably 11 or 12-years-old and I was just trying to get through some chord changes, and figure out how to start playing leads. I was always singing and strumming though. I saw Jimi Hendrix’s “Woodstock” footage and (laughs) I had no idea what he was doing. I thought, God I’ll never be that good at this. I’ll just keep singing and I’ll play bass to back myself up. Little did I know that once I got to the bass I’d be listening to all these great bass players and I was like, “Oh shit!” But I stuck with the bass.
Z - Do you have a favorite bass player that inspired you?
J – There are so many but I keep going back to Johnny Entwistle from The Who; he died a bunch of years ago. I just loved the tone he had and the power he played with. They kind of crossed a lot of different genres. He’s a stand out for me. Everybody else, man, I listened to Stanley Clarke and Charlie Mingus, Ron Carter and those jazz guys. Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, I could go down the list. All the great bass players make themselves obvious and I love them all.
Z - Do you have a moment in your career that stands above the rest?
J - (Laughs) I’ll tell you what, everyday I get on stage is the best moment, it really is. I can’t believe I’m still doing it after all these years. It’s all gravy at this point. I could say, yeah the day I played Madison Square Garden or the day we played the festival out in Seattle to 48,000 people. All that stuff kind of stands out, but the reality is it’s a privilege just to keep doing this stuff.
Z - What are you listening to right now?
J - Actually (laughs) I’ve abandoned listening to everything for about a week now because I’ve saturated myself. Of all things I’ve been listening to what my daughter’s been listening to. Which is a lot of that Paramore band and new bands like that, just because I’m interested in seeing what she’s in on. You know it’s cute, it’s cool, it rocks. Other than that I’ll still put on most of David’s (Mustaine) CD’s. It keeps me calm. And my James Brown.
Z - Any embarrassing stage moments you’d care to share with our readers?
J - I’ve got one and I might have talked about it before. I fell off of the stage at Madison Square Garden in 1986 or ‘87. AC/DC, they had this enormous stage. It was built up a little higher because they had a rocket that came up from under it. I took a step forward and I could not see because my hair was in my eyes and the spot lights were blinding me. I just started falling to the ground. I landed on my feet, but I felt the bass kind of creak down my back. I tried to climb up, but there was no way back. I threw the bass back on the stage just like it was an M16 rifle. I had one of the security guys come over and he wouldn’t help lift me up. So I pretended to kick him in the groin and he instinctively went to protect himself and then I used his hands to jump up real quick and get back on the stage. So I ran up there, finished up the set. Head back, everybody was high fiving after the show and I said, “I can’t believe I fell off the stage.” The other three guys in the band looked at me and said, “You fell off the stage?”
Z - How is touring different now that you’ve been around the block for the past 25 years or so?
J - Oh man, you know what, a lot of us guys have been doing it forever, and we just take it a little easier. We’ll have a party night every here or there but we don’t do it at the propensity we used to and that seems pretty good at this point. I’d seen Rush on “That Metal Show” on VH-1 (Classic). Alex Lifeson had said that we’re still doing drugs, it’s just that now it’s called Ibuprofen. I’m starting to relate to that, you know?
Z - What do you do to pass the time while you’re touring?
J - You know what dude, we hang out with my friends at the bar. I usually take lots of walks. I love to explore the towns, especially when we’re overseas. Seeing how the local stuff goes. Sometimes I’ll stop into a museum and see what they have. Sometimes I’ll grab my camera and just do a little photo exposition. I got to hobbyize, I have to take it all in and enjoy it. I’m a real low key guy. I save all the craziness for the stage and back stage. Anyway man, I have to get off the phone because I have another interview coming in. Do you have enough?
Z - Definitely, thank you very much and I look forward to seeing you in Iowa.
J - Looking forward to it, take care.
There you have it, James LoMenzo from Megadeth. He seemed like a real cool guy, and I can’t wait to see them December 7th in Davenport, Iowa. Pick up “Endgame,” I promise you will not be disappointed.
See the review of Megadeth’s “Endgame” here:
Bob Zerull is a frequent movie and concert goer who talks about his ventures to arenas and theaters more than any person should be allowed to do. Now, he puts them down on paper. Visit: www.cadaverchristmas.com. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bob Zerull