In a brand new interview with Wondering Sound, former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman explained his decision to leave the band in 1999 in order to make the kind of music that he was passionate about: Japanese pop music, or J-Pop, which Friedman calls "embarrassingly happy."
"I found myself touring with MEGADETH, and in my hotel room I'd be blasting this Japanese music all the time. What's wrong with this picture?" he said.
As his interest in J-pop grew, Friedman started enjoying MEGADETH less. "I thought I was doing myself a disservice just playing the same old stuff and not really enjoying it," he told Wondering Sound. "Making money from fans who want to see you play when you're not into it didn't really sit right with me."
According to Marty, he simply outgrew metal, explaining that MEGADETH's music began to bore him, and he singled out the band's popular ballad "A Tout Le Monde" as an example.
"The melody's like duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh. It's kind of the same thing over and over again," he told NPR in a separate interview. "I'd go play the show at night with MEGADETH. And I'd be like, you know, what what I'm listening to is just so much more exciting than what I'm playing as my gig."
Friedman told his MEGADETH bandmates that he would leave the group at the conclusion of a 16-month-long tour, but "only stayed three more months." He explained to Wondering Sound: "It was just too much. I'm the kind of guy who can't fake it that well. It wasn't very nice, but I just couldn't go on anymore."
Focusing on the J-Pop genre, Friedman noted that going for the opposite of metal was the whole point.
"There's not a whole lot of happy music going on," he told NPR. "Especially in the heavy metal world, where everybody's just trying to out-lame each other, you know, with darkness and monsters and crap like that."
Marty's new solo album, "Inferno", sold around 2,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 186 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was released on May 26 via Prosthetic Records (except in Japan, where the album was made available through Universal Music).
"Hyper Doom" video:
In the June 2014 issue of Decibel magazine, former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman was asked to explain why he chose to release a mostly instrumental album in this year's "Inferno" after advising aspiring musicians in a recent interview that they should avoid instrumental music because it's a dead-end street. "Yeah, I'm a hypocrite," Marty said. "The funny thing about artists is that they often contradict themselves, and I'm certainly guilty of that. But I really do think instrumental music is a dead-end street if you're an aspiring musician.
"I've been playing for a long time, and I've got a certain fan base. And the good thing about my fan base is that it's not just one set of people. In Japan, most people know me from a particular television program — they don't even know that I do music. Some people only know me from my solo albums. Other people only know me from my past career, which is certainly the case in America. So, people know me from many different things, which affords me the luxury of doing whatever I want, be it instrumental or vocal. But if you're just starting out, instrumental music is tough to make a career out of. And to be honest with you, l'm not really a fan of instrumental music. I don't listen to much of it. Usually when I hear it, I get pissed off because I'd do it differently. That's an honest answer. The music I listen to is 100 percent music with vocals, and that's how I set out to make my instrumental music. It's hard to explain, but it's a different mentality than someone who is immersed in instrumental music. But yeah, you can pretty much say I'm a hypocrite."
Friedman told GuitarMessenger.com at this year's NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show, which took place in January at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California: "Instrumental music is a tough genre. It's the funnest thing to play, because you don't have to deal with any singers. But in reality, it's a very limited amount of people who can stand it.
"It sounds hypocritical for someone who's released so many instrumental albums, but I think that's the standard to which I make my instrumental music. It's like for someone who can't stand instrumental music; it has to be at this level of stuff. It's far beyond showing your chops and showing what you can do. And the worst thing is how versatile you are, because I don't want to hear a country song, a blues song, a metal song, a rap song all on the same album. A lot of instrumental guys tend to do that because it's like a résumé, which is fine for a résumé, but not for a listening album.
"There are four songs on my new album, 'Inferno', with vocals, so it's a band vibe on some of it. It's almost like CACOPHONY, [which] had some vocal songs and some instrumental songs. Sort of like that, but there are more instrumentals on 'Inferno'.
"Instrumental music is kind of a dead-end street… The reality is, the more you can fit yourself into a band context the better you will be for the long run, and the better you will be for the more experiences you'll have.
"If I was only doing instrumental music, I think I would pull my hair out. There's a time and place for it. When I do it, you can bet that there's no stone unturned. It's going to be the rad stuff and it's definitely not a show-off type of thing and it's not an arrogant type of thing.
"My advice is, collaborate with as many people as you can. Play in a band.
"Being by yourself, doing everything by yourself… unless you're someone like Prince, who's a god, I wouldn't want to put all that work on you. Be part of something great."
Friedman's new solo album, "Inferno", was released in May via Prosthetic Records. The CD containa several collaborations with players influenced by Friedman, including Alexi Laiho (CHILDREN OF BODOM), REVOCATION guitar whiz David Davidson and the flamenco/metal acoustic duo RODRIGO Y GABRIELA. In addition, the album includes Friedman's first songwriting collaboration with Jason Becker since the pair played together in the pioneering duo of guitar mayhem CACOPHONY.
"Sociopaths" lyric video:
Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman was interviewed by Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal on the fourth episode of the "Metal Assault" radio show on the Los Angeles-based station Razor KXRZ.
On what he is currently doing:
Friedman: "I'm actually here in L.A. recording my new album, which is gonna come out around January. I'll be working on this album for the next month and a half or so, and then it will be done. And I can't wait for everybody to hear it."
On the musical direction of his upcoming solo CD:
Friedman: "[This is] by far the most intense and the most heavy and the most… How do you say this…? It's the most… If you like any of my stuff, this would be the most 'Marty' of anything. So if you hate my stuff, you're gonna really hate this record a lot. It's very uncommercial.
"I wanted to make a record that, there's no dispute that, when people say they're a fan of my music, or they like my music, that this is the representative of my whole musical sound.
"I rarely listen to my previous stuff, but sometimes I listen back to it and see what was going on. And a song called 'Forbidden City' kind of made me think, 'I'm really still happy with this song, even though it was recorded a long, long time ago. I wanted to do something, not along the lines of 'Forbidden City', but much more intense, because that was a long time ago, and I've come so far since then, and I can do so much more, and I know how to do that kind of thing so much better than I did back then. So I wanted to do kind of like the 2014 version of just the deeper, heavier, more intense version of that kind of 'Forbidden City' kind of mood. And I remember, that type of mood was very, very uncommercial at that time, so it's probably way more uncommercial now, but it's just like, the hell with it, I'm just doing it my way. So that's kind of the theme of whole album — just all abandon, all bets off, just go crazy.