It took only a year of severe practicing before Jeff Loomis won Wisconsin’s Guitar Wars contest at the age of 16. Although Loomis got his first guitar when he was around nine years old, he only started practicing with it passionately at 15.
Today, Loomis is an American guitarist who has become famous globally for his skills as a former lead guitarist for Nevermore -a progressive metal band that he was a part of from 1992 to 2011.
As a young teen, Loomis took inspiration from great artists like Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Brian May. Before finding a career in music, he drifted from one cover band to another and played with two death metal bands before joining more established groups.
After his victory in Wisconsin, Loomis took the plunge and auditioned to be the lead guitarist for the iconic thrash metal band, Megadeth. To his disappointment, he was told that one day he would make a great guitarist, however, was far too young for the group as a sixteen-year-old. In 2008, the prediction came true in a surreal manner when Megadeth invited Loomis to temporarily join them as a lead guitarist when then guitarist Glen Drover decided to exit the band. However, Jeff declined to continue working on his first solo album as it was already fast underway.
His path to success was not direct. After playing with numerous unknown bands and being rejected by Megadeth at 16, he refused to accept rejection and joined Sanctuary in 1991. To his disappointment, Sanctuary broke up two months later due to musical differences with individual band members. Starting in late 1991, He, Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard (ex-Sanctuary) spent three years conceptualizing a new band called Nevermore.
Not only was Loomis one of the primary songwriters for Nevermore, but he also set the precedence for the Nevermore signature sound using seven-string guitars. On April 21, 2011, he and Van Williams left Nevermore, citing personal and musical differences with Warrel Dane and Jim Sheppard.
During his time with Nevermore, Loomis often focused on personal growth. For example, Loomis took some time off in 2007 during which he decided to record a solo album, stating, “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time…”It will be similar to the instrumental sound of some of my greatest inspirations such as Marty Friedman and Jason Becker.”
The solo album, titled Zero Order Phase was released in 2008, featuring guest solos from Ron Jarzombek and Pat O’Brien amongst other artists and also the album Plains Of Oblivion in 2012.
Since leaving Nevermore and dabbling shortly in a solo and guitar clinic career, it was announced that Loomis joined melodic death metal band – Arch Enemy – on November 17th, 2014. Jeff Loomis is arguably one of the best metal guitarists of the decade. That’s why he’s in the All That Shreds Magazines Hall Of Fame.