Chris Poland

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Chris Poland
Birth name Christopher Poland
Born (1957-12-01) December 1, 1957 (age 57)
Dunkirk, New York, United States
Genres Thrash metal, instrumental rock, jazz fusion, progressive metal, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Guitar, bass guitar
Years active 1977–present
Labels Combat, Enigma, Grooveyard
Associated acts Megadeth, The Circle Jerks, Damn the Machine, Mumbo's Brain, OHM, OHMphrey, Dave Reffett

Chris Poland (born December 1, 1957) is an American guitarist, best known for being a former member of thrash metal band Megadeth. He is currently the guitarist of jazz fusion band OHM, and is known for having appeared on several projects and albums from a variety of different genres.


Early career[edit]

Poland began playing the guitar in high school in Dunkirk, New York. He later replaced a former guitar instructor, "Max" Maxfield, in the Cambridge, NY based rock/jazz band Welkin. He moved to Los Angeles in 1977, where from 1977 to 1982 he was the lead guitarist in the New Yorkers, a Jazz/Rock fusion band, with Robert Pagliari on fretless bass, Gar Samuelson on drums, Stu Samuelson on guitar, and Don Roper on saxophone. He says that he learned timing playing with Gar and also that playing with him made him a better player.


In 1984, Poland's bandmate from the New Yorkers, Gar Samuelson, became the drummer of thrash metal band Megadeth. Megadeth had been formed the previous year by Dave Mustaine, the original lead guitarist of fellow thrash metal band Metallica. After seeing Samuelson perform live with Megadeth, Poland went backstage and suggested an impromptu audition as a lead guitarist. Poland thereafter became a full member of the band, along with Samuelson, Mustaine, and bass player David Ellefson.

In 1985, Megadeth released their first album Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!, which showcased Poland's dynamic style of playing. However, he was arrested by police for trying to score heroin, Poland left the band during the tour to support the album, and was replaced temporarily by guitarist Mike Albert. Poland later rejoined the band to record their second album Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? in 1986. The album was highly acclaimed critically for both its instrumental and lyrical complexity, and is today considered widely to be one of the defining records of thrash metal. Allmusic referred to Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? as "One of the most influential metal albums of its decade, and certainly one of the few truly definitive thrash albums".[1]

Mustaine later referred to Poland as "an amazing guitar player—he can play circles around me".[2] However, Poland and Samuelson's relations with Mustaine and Ellefson worsened, due in part to the former's increasing drug dependencies which led to the pair pawning the band's equipment to fund their drug habits.

In July 1987, a conflict arose between Mustaine and Poland regarding a t-shirt contract that Poland claimed to have been left out of. Poland quit the band in protest leading to an ongoing feud between the two musicians. For Megadeth's third album So Far, So Good... So What! Mustaine wrote a song called "Liar" about Poland's drug use and lifestyle. Mustaine would regularly dedicate it to Poland during live performances.


After leaving Megadeth, Poland was treated successfully for substance abuse, and joined punk rock legends The Circle Jerks as a bass player. In 1990, he released Return to Metalopolis a solo heavy metal/jazz fusion album. Shortly beforehand, he agreed to record demos for Megadeth's fourth album, Rust in Peace, but declined what would be the first of two offers to re-join the band permanently (in this instance partly because of his concentration on his solo album, and the fact that, since most of the album's music and arrangements had already been written, Poland felt that the scope for his input would be limited). Guitarist Marty Friedman joined Megadeth later that year, and adapted some of Poland's guitar solos for the release version of Rust in Peace, which would go on to be one of Megadeth's most critically praised albums.

In the mid to late 1990s, Poland worked on other collaborative musical projects, including the progressive rock band Damn the Machine, with David Randi on bass, and David Judson Clemmons as vocalist and co-guitarist. In 1993, the band released their eponymous debut album (on A&M Records), with strongly political lyrical content. They also released a promotional record, Silence, featuring covers of "I'd Love to Change the World" by blues-rock band Ten Years After, and "Cat Food" by progressive rock/jazz fusion band King Crimson.

Upon Dave Clemmons' departure from the band, the remaining members recruited a new vocalist, John Skipp, and re-formed as Mumbo's Brain, recording Excerpts From The Book of Mumbo in 1995. The band disbanded following the departures of David Randi, and John Skipp.


In 2000, ten years after the release of Return to Metalopolis, Poland released his second solo album, Chasing the Sun, as well as a solo compilation album Rare Trax. In 2007, he released Return to Metalopolis – Live, featuring a live performance of the titular album.

Poland is currently a member of the primarily jazz fusion band OHM, formed in 2002, with Poland on guitar, Kofi Baker on drums and Robertino Pagliari on bass guitar. They released their self-titled debut album in 2003, followed by Amino Acid Flashback in 2005, and Circus of Sound in 2008. The band also released a live album in 2004, and a DVD, Live at the New Brookland Tavern, in 2006.

In 2003, Poland performed a solo on Purified from the Lamb of God album As The Palaces Burn. The following year, he contributed to Lamb of God's next album, Ashes of the Wake, with a guitar solo on the album's instrumental title-track (beginning at 3:45 and ending at 4:15).

In a surprise turn in 2004, Dave Mustaine requested Poland to record guitar solos for the Megadeth record The System Has Failed, the first Megadeth album not to feature original bass player and founding member David Ellefson. Poland recorded the solos on a contractual basis, but did not re-join the band. Poland and Mustaine subsequently came into dispute with one another over payments relating to the album, however, they appear to have made amends once more as Poland began posting on the official Megadeth online message board.

In 2008, Poland appeared on Misty Mountain Hop: A Millennium Tribute to Led Zeppelin by heavy metal/hard rock band Harry Slash & The Slashtones. The following year, he recorded a track for the compilation record Guitars That Ate My Brain (which also includes a track by Guns N' Roses' guitarist Bumblefoot).

In 2009, Poland formed OHMphrey, a side-project with Robby Pagliari of OHM, and Jake Cinninger, Kris Myers, and Joel Cummins of progressive rock band Umphrey's McGee.[3] OHMphrey's debut album, OHMphrey, was released through Magna Carta Records on May 19, 2009.

In 2013, Ted Kirkpatrick Tourniquet announced that Chris Poland would record a guitar solo for his album "Onward to Freedom".

Playing style[edit]

Poland has a severed tendon on the index finger on his fret hand, which allows him to stretch unusually far with his finger. He has partially attributed the greater flexibility that this affords him to the evolution of his signature guitar playing style, defined by smoothly phrased passages and wide intervallic leaps.[citation needed] He is well known for his highly complex and innovative playing style.


Solo albums[edit]

With Megadeth[edit]

With Damn the Machine[edit]

With Mumbo's Brain[edit]

With Lamb of God[edit]

With OHM[edit]

  • 2003: OHM
  • 2004: "Live" On KPFK 90.7 FM, Lion Music
  • 2005: Amino Acid Flashback
  • 2006: Live at the New Brookland Tavern(DVD)
  • 2008: Circus of Sound

With OHMphrey[edit]

With Polcat[edit]

  • 2012: Polcat, Ashro Records

Other album appearances[edit]

  • 2001: Warmth in the Wilderness: A Tribute to Jason Becker, Lion Music
  • 2002: Squadrophenia, Cosmosquad, Marmaduke Records
  • 2004: "Ashes of The Wake"- Lamb of God (3rd solo on the track "Ashes of the Wake")
  • 2004: Give Us Moore! – Gary Moore Tribute, Lion Music
  • 2006: Double Heart Project – Human Nature's Fight, Brennus
  • 2006: Jimi Hendrix Tribute – The Spirit Lives On Vol. 1 & 2, Lion Music
  • 2007: Long Live Me, THE SCREAMIN' LORDS, Brannick Records
  • 2008: Innervisions, Tadashi Goto, Progrock
  • 2009: Guitars That Ate My Brain
  • 2009: Misty Mountain Hop: A Millennium Tribute to Led Zeppelin
  • 2009: The Call of the Flames, Shredding the Envelope, Standstill And Scream Music
  • 2011: Metalusion, Glen Drover, Magna Carta
  • 2012: Plains of Oblivion – Jeff Loomis
  • 2012: Two Minutes to Midnight: A Millennium Tribute to Iron Maiden, Versailles Records
  • 2013: Virtue and Vices, Robot Lords of Tokyo, RLoT Records
  • 2013: Frequency Unknown (guest appearance), Cleopatra
  • 2013: Belt Buckles and Brass Knuckles, Moccasin Creek, Moccasin Creek Music
  • 2014: Will to Power – Lord Volture, Mausoleum Records
  • 2014: Onward To Freedom – Tourniquet




  • Bogner Fish Pre Amp
  • Mosvalve 500 x 4
  • Mesa/Boogie 395
  • Mesa/Boogie Strategy 400
  • Demeter Inverter
  • Eminence Speakers
  • Carvin Steve Vai 2x12 cabinets
  • Earcandy Buzzbomb 2x12 cabinets


  1. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?" Remastered version AMG Review, at Allmusic. Retrieved November 23, 2006.
  2. ^ VH1: Megadeth – Behind the Music DVD – October 2001.
  3. ^ "2009 interview on Outsight Radio Hours". Retrieved May 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Greg Handevidt
Megadeth lead guitarist (two separate periods)
Succeeded by
Jeff Young
Glen Drover