Chris Poland is probably best known as the former lead guitarist for Megadeth, but Chris had been a well known L.A. area fusion player prior to his stint with Mustaine's group. He has since continued to solidify his reputation as an exceptional musician and guitar player, leading such projects as his solo debut, Return to Metalopolis , and as the leader of the now defunct progressive band, Damn the Machine.
Chris' clean, overdriven tone, and legato phrasing make him instantly recognizable. His unique style can be partially attributed to an injury to his index finger on his fret hand. This injury forced him to develop a style that includes smoothly phrased passages and wide intervallic leaps.
From 1977 to 1982, Chris was in a fusion band called the New Yorkers with Robby Pagliari on bass, Gar Samuelson on drums, and Gar's brother Stu playing guitar, along with various horn players. Their music has been described as being in the same vein as Return to Forever, Mahavishnu, Brand X. Although the New Yorkers never recorded, demos and recorded rehearsals do exist.
Megadeth hired Chris in 1984, replacing Kerry King of Slayer, who was temporarily filling in as lead guitarist. In 1985, Megadeth released their debut album, Killing Is My Business...And Business is Good! , on a small independent label, Combat Records. Though much of the lead guitar work was shared equally by both Dave Mustaine and Chris, it was obvious that Chris had easily incorporated his style into this genre of music. In 1986, the rights for Peace Sells...But Who's Buying? were bought from Combat Records by Capitol Records and was released with the support only a major record label could provide. The success of Peace Sells found Chris and Megadeth among the metal heavyweights of the day: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica. Chris' playing can be heard on such metal classics as "Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?" ,"Devils Island" and "Good Mourning/Black Friday" . In 1987, after completing the Wake Up Dead tour, Chris was fired from Megadeth for problems with substance abuse. Asked to rejoin the band several times, Poland refused, opting to pursue his solo career.