GUITARIST MARTY FRIEDMAN DISCUSSES LIVING IN JAPAN AND HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH JASON BECKER
Greg Prato for Heavy Consequence spoke with guitarist Marty Friedman, some highlights from the interview appear below.
Heavy Consequence: Is it exciting to be returning to the States to tour with Queensrÿche?
Marty Friedman: The focus of myself and my band at this time and putting that Megadeth/Budokan thing in the middle of it just kind of added to the excitement. So, I’m just very high off seeing the people’s faces at Budokan and the tears and screaming. Fans put a lot into a certain moment like that, and us and the band, we know that’s there, but we’re just trying to put on a good performance. But the fans have their own individual experiences that go with listening to Megadeth for so many years. So, they get that, and to watch that unfold, it really is a big adrenaline rush for me. Adding that to my solo tour that starts [March 3rd] in America, it’s just fantastic.
And my band, they’re all Megadeth fans, so they’re just totally pumped and we’re excited about that. We’re really excited about bringing what we’ve been doing in Japan to America for the first time since the pandemic. And this time, my band is all Japanese, and we’re doing a lot of the stuff we did on our Japanese tour. We just did the biggest tour that I’ve ever done in Japan – 17 shows, which is unheard of in Japan, really. And the band is just so on fire to play in America together. To get out of the country … I’ve toured three times in Japan since the pandemic started, and haven’t left the country since then. Nobody has really toured outside of Japan much. On one album doing three tours, that’s kind of stretching it.
So finally, we get to tour America for Tokyo Jukebox 3. People in America are finally going to hear those songs live — as well as a lot of my catalog stuff that I haven’t done. We’re just completely pumped. And Queensrÿche is a super band — I look forward to being on the same stage with them. Their music is so different from ours. Fans of our music and fans of their music are going to discover something new. It’s going to be a great time for all.
HC: What is it about Japan that drew you there in the first place?
MF: It was definitely the music. I wanted to make Japanese music, and the only way to do that is to be here and be completely immersed in it. When I came here, I got very lucky and I joined the band of one of my favorite Japanese singers, Aikawa Nanase. So, I was doing exactly what I wanted to do, pretty much as soon as I got here – six or eight months or something. And that just put my foot right where I wanted to be in J-pop music. I started to work with all of my favorite artists and all of my favorite producers playing live and recording and writing music. And then once I branched into doing television, the whole world really opened.
HC: Are you still in contact with Jason Becker?
MF: Oh yeah. Jason is my total inspiration for everything I do. Growing up together and making our musical mark, so to speak, together, that has a very big personal influence. And seeing how he’s dealt with the situations that he’s had to deal with, it just kind of grounds me as a person — how to deal with situations and how to be a person and how to approach every single thing. It’s just made me better. Just thinking about how he thinks about things really helps me.
Of course, we’re still as good friends as we ever were and email each other all the time. Constantly bombarding each other with what we’re doing, and if there’s something that he’s doing that he wants me to check out, I’ll be the first to hear about it. And likewise for me. Over here, I played a bunch of Dvořák music with the Kyoto Symphony, and I was just really proud of that — because I know that Jason is really into classical music. For me, I have to work double hard to play that stuff. I knew the first thing I was going to do when I did it was send Jason the video from that or my recordings it. I wanted him to hear it first. He’s got that kind of presence in my mind.
Read more at Heavy Consequence.
To read more about Friedman’s latest release, Tokyo Jukebox 3, and to listen to songs, Makenaide and The Perfect World, please go here.