Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman was interviewed for a recent episode of the “Metal Brainiac” podcast. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.
On whether his disillusionment with the American rock scene and his appreciation of the Japanese pop sounds coincided with his desire to leave MEGADETH:
Marty: “[They] absolutely [coincided], and it was definitely a big catalyst to leaving MEGADETH. Not that I disliked MEGADETH — I absolutely loved every second of it. We had done some great things, especially, I would say, in the first half of my ten years of being in the band. Then, after that, our popularity was still really good, but I found the music that we were making wasn’t exciting me as much as the stuff I was listening to. And that’s kind of dangerous, as an artist — you find yourself not excited about what you’re doing, but excited about what you’re listening to and what you’re going out and buying. You feel like you’re lying — you’re going on stage and you’re making money playing this stuff, but meanwhile, you’re really excited about the stuff that these other artists are doing and these other artists are playing, and kind of wishing that you were in these other situations, regardless of whether you’re gonna make more money or less money, or whatever — more fame or less fame. Just strictly on a basis of what you like. And you have to be honest with yourself as an artist and take risks. And so, I just thought, I’d rather be playing music I really, really enjoy than just collecting a paycheck.”
On whether he had conversations with MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine about this before he left the band:
Marty: “Well, sadly, I didn’t really talk about it much until I had already decided that I’m gonna go. Not that I was gonna go to Japan. I decided that I was gonna quit the band and, all of a sudden, I’m, like, ‘I can’t take it anymore,’ and I politely explained that ‘I’m just not being used here of my potential,’ and, ‘I really need to leave the band and reconsider what it is I wanna do musically.’ Possibly had I explained things to them prior… No, I don’t think it would have changed anything, come to think of it.”
On whether he ever really considered returning to MEGADETH:
Marty: “Well, you know, for the longest time, it was just the farthest thing from my mind ever. Ever since I did [my latest solo album] ‘Inferno’, I’ve done so much stuff in America than I’d never done before, and then I started to really get a grip on what people think of MEGADETH‘s stuff that I did. And I hadn’t forgotten about it, but I really had no idea the kind of impact and the enthusiasm that the fans of that era actually have. I’d never really seen it with my eyes, because I kind of got sidetracked so deeply in Japan… I was kind of oblivious about the long-lasting effect, and the record company [Prosthetic Records] definitely told me… Of course, it sounds like they’re blowing sunshine up my skirt. But they really said, ‘Look, some of the stuff that you did with them is really legendary, and people really have embraced it.’ So doing promotion for ‘Inferno’, when that came out, I got to kind of feel firsthand that people really, really love it. And as much as I don’t really like to think nostalgically and go back and redo something that I’ve already done, I considered it, and I would still consider something — like an event with MEGADETH — because the fans would love it; for no other reason than that. But the main ‘but’ is it has to be done absolutely right. It has to be done really cool, really special, really well, well organized. Everybody has to be on their shit. They have to look great, play great. The thing has to be conceptually great, the staff has to be really fantastic, and management, and it has to be done a thousand percent proper in every possible way, or it just is not gonna be done. When that day happens, I’ll be happy to listen to an offer. And I’m still in great friendship with everybody in the band. So it could happen. But it’s certainly not at the top of the list of anything that I would do. I would never consider it before, but I would consider it now, only because I’m hearing firsthand what people think in America of it.”
Friedman has announced his first tour of North America since 2003 — a 21-date headlining run that will kick off September 9. The trek marks the latest leg of Friedman‘s ongoing world tour in support of “Inferno”, his solo album that so far has seen him complete a record-breaking tour across South America; perform extensively in Europe with acts such as Gus G. (FIREWIND, OZZY OSBOURNE), ARCH ENEMY and KREATOR; and play multiple high-profile gigs in his current home country of Japan, including a set at the country’s largest heavy metal festival, Loud Park.