Chris Poland

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Chris Poland
Born (1957-12-01) December 1, 1957 (age 61)
Dunkirk, New York, U.S.
GenresThrash metal, instrumental rock, jazz fusion, progressive metal, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsGuitar, bass guitar
Years active1977–present
LabelsCombat, Enigma, A&M Records, Grooveyard, Tone Center, Mascot, Sanctuary
Associated actsMegadeth, The Circle Jerks, Damn the Machine, Mumbo's Brain, OHM, OHMphrey, Dave Reffett, Redemption

Chris Poland (born December 1, 1957) is an American musician, best known for being the former guitarist for American thrash metal band Megadeth from 1984 to 1987 and again for some session work in 2004. During this time, he recorded the albums Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! (1985), Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? (1986) and The System Has Failed (2004). He is currently the guitarist of the instrumental rock/jazz fusion band OHM, and is known for having appeared on several projects and albums from a variety of different genres. Recently, he has been associated with the progressive metal band Redemption, with whom he has recorded two albums and made a live guest appearance.


Early career[edit]

Poland began playing the guitar in high school in Dunkirk, New York. He later replaced a former guitar instructor, Richard "Max" Maxfield, in the Cambridge, NY-based rock/jazz power trio, 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, also featuring Robert Pagliari on fretless bass, Gar Samuelson on drums, Stu Samuelson on guitar, and Don Roper on saxophone; James Pollack (sax) and Luis Vaskin (trumpet) were in later versions of The New Yorkers, who recorded 2 studio demos. He says that he learned timing, rhythm and feel from playing with Gar while adding that playing with him made him a better player. Even before The New Yorkers, Poland and Samuelson jammed together in various bands in the Dunkirk, NY-area.


In 1984, Poland's bandmate from the New Yorkers, Gar Samuelson, became the drummer of thrash metal band Megadeth. Megadeth had been co-founded the previous year by Dave Mustaine (who previously played for fellow thrash metal band Metallica) and David Ellefson. After seeing Samuelson perform live with Megadeth, Poland went backstage and suggested an impromptu audition as a lead guitarist. Poland thereafter became a full-time member of the band, along with Samuelson (drums), Mustaine (lead vocals, guitar), and Ellefson (bass).

In 1985, Megadeth released their first album Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!, which showcased Poland's dynamic style of playing. However, Poland left the band during the tour to support the album due to a business dispute and was temporarily-replaced 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. Poland has often commented in interviews that the fact that the band had been playing the songs from the "Peace Sells.." record live long before the record was even recorded; this helped make the studio record so strong performance-wise 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 whole band's increasing drug dependencies and disputes over the band's finances.

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 successfully treated for substance abuse, and joined punk rock legends The Circle Jerks as a bass player. Although he did not record with the group there are several bootlegs and videos on YouTube featuring Poland on bass with The Circle Jerks. Written mostly while on the road with The Circle Jerks, in 1990, Poland released Return to Metalopolis, his first recorded musical output post-Megadeth. Return to Metalopolis is best described as a heavy metal/jazz fusion album which Poland has often described as energy/ideas he had that he was not able to explore with Megadeth. Shortly before recording Return to Metalopolis, Poland agreed to record demos for Megadeth's fourth album, which was to be entitled, 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. The demos recorded for the "Rust In Peace" record can be found as bonus tracks on the remastered version of "Rust In Peace," which were released by Mustaine without Poland's permission, in 2004.

In the mid to late 1990s, Poland worked on other collaborative musical projects, including the progressive rock/progressive metal 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. Damn the Machine toured Europe with Dream Theater in 1993 and in the US with bands such as Voivod and Flotsam and Jetsam. There is about an album's worth of B-sides from the debut recording as well as rehearsals of several songs the band was working on for their sophomore effort that have never been released.

Upon Dave Clemmons' departure from the band, the remaining members recruited a new vocalist, John Skipp (also a well-known horror novel and film scriptwriter), 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. Although many original tracks were written, professionally recorded, or just demoed as rehearsals, only less than 10 of them have been officially released via the aforementioned "Excerpts From the Book of Mumbo" cassette and as part of Chris Poland's 1999 release on Grooveyard Records, "Rare Trax."


In 1999, less than 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. "Chasing the Sun" were tunes that were originally written to shop for a record deal, while "Rare Trax" is a collection of various projects Poland headed in the 90s - Mumbo's Brain and the female-fronted, Nothing If Not. In 2007, Poland released Return to Metalopolis – Live, featuring the only known live performance on tape of selected tracks from the titular album; RTM-Live also included an enhanced video of Poland's OHM: performing an updated version of the Metalopolis classic, "Alexandria."

Poland is currently a member of the primarily rock/jazz fusion band OHM, formed in 1997, with Poland on guitar, Koko Bermejo on drums and Robertino Pagliari on fretless bass guitar. They released their self-titled debut album in 2003 (with David Eagle on drums), followed by Amino Acid Flashback in 2005 (with Kofi Baker on drums), and Circus of Sound in 2008 (with Kofi Baker, Frank Briggs, and Joel Taylor contributing the drums). The band also released a live album in 2004 (Live at KPFK), and a DVD, Live at the New Brookland Tavern, in 2006. In 2012 they released "Tsunami Jams" a collection of live in the studio jams to hold over fans awaiting a new studio recording.

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 bassist 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 "Rust in Peace" re-release, on which appeared demos of Poland playing solos for some tracks that were to eventually appear on "Rust In Peace" - the dispute was due to Mustaine not asking Poland's permission to use the recordings on the release.

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 2012, OHMPhrey released a follow-up effort, "Posthaste," which was a more songwriting-focused effort. Each OHMPhrey record was followed by a string of live dates in the Midwest or West Coast. There are current talks about the ensemble getting together to record a third effort when schedules align.

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

In 2016, Poland played numerous lead guitar parts on the Redemption album The Art of Loss, and in 2018 he played on their follow-up Long Night's Journey into Day. He appeared on stage with Redemption on September 7, 2018 at the 19th annual ProgPower festival in Atlanta, GA where he performed two songs with the band: Indulge in Color and a cover of Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?


Solo albums[edit]

With Megadeth[edit]

With Damn the Machine[edit]

With Mumbo's Brain[edit]

  • 1995: Excerpts from the Book of Mumbo
  • 1999: Rare Trax

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
  • 2012: Tsunami Jams

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: 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: Intermezzo, Michael Angelo Batio
  • 2013: Virtue and Vices, Robot Lords of Tokyo, RLoT Records
  • 2013: Frequency Unknown Queensryche(guest appearance), Cleopatra
  • 2013: Belt Buckles and Brass Knuckles, Moccasin Creek, Moccasin Creek Music
  • 2014: Will to Power – Lord Vulture, Mausoleum Records
  • 2014: Onward to FreedomTourniquet
  • 2016: The Art of Loss - Redemption (band)
  • 2018: Gazing at Medusa – Tourniquet




  • Bogner Fish Pre Amp
  • Mosvalve 500 x 4
  • Mesa/Boogie 395
  • Mesa/Boogie Strategy 400
  • Peavey 120/120 tube power amp
  • 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]

Greg Handevidt
Megadeth lead guitarist
Jeff Young
Al Pitrelli
Megadeth lead guitarist
Glen Drover