Megadeth mainman Dave Mustaine says bringing back ex-members Marty Friedman and Nick Menza would be like "putting a rotten tooth back in your mouth."
He admits he still receives requests to have the fired pair rejoin the band – but insists there's no chance of it ever happening.
Drummer Menza was behind the kit between 1989 and 1998 while guitarist Friedman spent a decade with Mustaine from 1990. Both first appeared on fourth studio album Rust In Peace while Menza departed after Cryptic Writings and Friedman was gone following eighth outing Risk.
Asked whether fans still demand their return, Mustaine tells Loaded Radio: "Yeah – but that makes as much sense as somebody saying, 'Put a rotten tooth back in your mouth.' I've seen stuff that Menza's been saying and it's unfortunate. I know Marty's happy doing what he's doing.
"If I wanted to get them back I would have worked it out – but I don't."
He says he's happy with the current Megadeth lineup, featuring original bassist David Ellefson plus guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover, describing them as "way more what I want in my life and my band."
He admits: "I'm strange by definition – but that's what makes us unique and awesome. I like the fact that you never know what you're going to get with these guys. They're funny and they love the fans. There's no 'I'm in it for myself' bullcrap, or 'I can't wait to do my solo albums' stuff that'll tear bands apart."
Megadeth are working on the follow-up to last year's album Super Collider, but Mustaine says they're "taking their time," adding: "The albums we've got most enjoyment is the ones that took the longest to write."
The band headline this year's Bloodstock festival in August. Meanwhile, Menza – who last week released a video of a UFO – has joined forces with ex-Megadeth bassist James LoMenzo, and the pair recently released a Metallica cover as their first track.