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Master of the Guitar Craft

Chris Poland
Author
Chris Poland
Master of the Guitar Craft

Of Megadeth, former lead guitarist Chris Poland has said, “It was in our contract to basically, you know, break all the laws of God and man, I guess… so that’s what we did.” A correct assessment; for anyone who knows the hairpin turn filled road of Megadeth, that description is ded (sic.) on. But what of Poland? What says Poland of Poland’s career? With Megadeth and before? And beyond, beyond and beyond?

Because actually, ask a Poland fan and they’ll tell you, Chris’ career, as far as rules broken, is more law breaking than Megadeth – a thrash metal band is supposed to run roughshod over normal. But, both with Megadeth and on 45 releases – that’s right, that’s not a misprint, that’s 45 live and studio LPs, EPs, CDs, tapes … and counting, – Chris’ singularly smooth phrased passages and unique wide intervallic leaps can be heard, which adds up to the FACT that Poland has done something remarkable… he’s broken the laws of God and man and music careers that dictate, to become a Legend***: find your genre and STAY the fuck PUT! No, no, no and no to that: Chris’ clean, overdriven tone, and legato phrasing make him instantly recognizable WHEREVER.

And, hence he’s been the core of/essential to:

1. 1977 – 1982: Fusion band “The New Yorkers.” (They never recorded… arrrgggggghhhh… Search attics, flea markets for demos, recorded rehearsals. Really… do it!)

Master of the Guitar Craft

Chris Poland in Megadeth, 1980's

2. Then, in 1984, he joins Megadeth. Essential to the guitar attacks of early Megadeths’s trash metal classics “Killing is My Business… and Business is Good!” and “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?” sliding side by side with Dave Mustaine.

Master of the Guitar Craft

Chris playing bass guitar in Circle Jerks, 1990

3. Next, as a bass player with the Circle Jerks. 1990: First solo release – the brilliant, guitar masterpiece “Return to Metalopolis” on soon to fold Enigma Records – its heavy metal+fusion, and Chris – aside from his brother Mark on drums – plays all the instruments.

Master of the Guitar Craft

Damn the Machine Self Titled Album, 1993

4. Next, with brother Mark, progressive group Damn the Machine with self-titled debut album on A&M Records that has power political lyrics and spectacular musical arrangements. 

5. Then, Mumbo’s Brain, featuring vocalist John Skipp.

6. AND NOW – since early 2000s – OHM, with former New Yorkers bass player & band mate, Robertino “Pag” Pagliari, and drummer Nick Menza (also formerly of Megadeth) considered to be the SUPER GROUP of fusion. AND THAT’S ONLY PART OF THE RESUME/SET-LIST/RECORD BIN!

Oh, and very IMPORTANT***: “Legend”/”singular”/”remarkable” are not Poland’s words. Poland is more comfortable with self-promotion humility. Much more comfortable. If Chris is inducted (Fan’s opinion:#WhenInducted) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… or maybe inducted into the Jazz/Fusion (Or Speed Fusion) Hall of Fame, or Thrash or Speed Metal or Progressive or Punk Hall of Fame… could be Blues … maybe Funk?… Hall of Fame… (or Fan‘s Opinion: #AllHallofFames!) Poland will be the guy who ambles on stage and first thanks his guitar forebearers who he credits with inspiring his playing: John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck, Allan Holdsworth, Jimmy Page and Leslie West. Then, he’d thank the roadies, the tour manager, then the fans, and then he’d say, “If it wasn’t for the fact that I fucked up a finger, I wouldn’t be here today.” (Poland Fun Fact: An injury to his index finger kinda immobilized the digit and demanded developing the sliding across the frets moves he pulls off – so they say... but it’s titanic talent, not deformity, that explains Poland – so, advisory Warning: you green guitarists out there looking for greatness, don’t go spraying your fingers with Freon.)

So back to Megadeth but only to demo once again Poland’s humility… and only to see if we can get around it for the sake of accuracy: Of ‘Peace Sells . . . but Who’s Buying,’ Poland said, “Even 10 years after we made it, I never realized exactly what we had done. Maybe five, six years ago it dawned on me that this record’s gonna be around forever.” “Never realized?” Maybe this is why not ten years after his career, but 39 years INTO his career, Poland is so humble. He’s just… ahhh, slow to realize shit! Okay, so then, (FANS Opinion and not just fans, any rock, fusion, speedmetal etc [See above] aficionado who owns a turntable a CD player or has sufficient memory intact to hum a guitar solo, or has ever seen Chris in a stadium or the Baked Potato) you CHRIS POLAND are gonna be remembered forever, but even better news: Looks like you’re built not just for speed, but for longevity, and so it looks like you’ll be staying around forever, and for that, the fans all say, not #, I mean we say it… LOUD: “Amen!”