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Guitar Drama: An Exclusive Interview With Guitarist MARTY FRIEDMAN

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Monday, June 10, 2024 @ 8:25 AM

"I couldn't write a lyric to save my life...[Dave Mustaine] said maybe you should stick to playing the guitar."

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Photo Credit: Takaaki Henmi

MARTY FRIEDMAN began making a name for himself in the Heavy Metal world as part of the twin guitar shredding duo CACOPHONY. With fellow virtuoso Jason Becker by his side, they released two studio albums, Speed Metal Symphony (1987) and Go Off! (1988). Friedman released his first solo album Dragon's Kiss in 1988. It was that album that caught the ear of MEGADETH frontman Dave Mustaine when he was in need of a new axeman.

In 1990, Friedman joined Thrash Metal legends MEGADETH, appearing for the first time on what is considered their most revered album Rust In Peace. From there, Marty would go on to appear on four more MEGADETH studio albums before departing the band in 1999 to focus on his solo career. Friedman was still releasing solo material while a member of MEGADETH. 1992's Scenes is considered a landmark album for the guitarist. Friedman released Introduction in 1994 and True Obsession in 1996.

In 2003, MARTY FRIEDMAN relocated to Japan where his solo career really took off. Since then he has released 14 albums, appeared on over 900 Japanese TV shows, motion pictures, and commercials, was recently appointed an Ambassador of Japan Heritage by the Japanese Government, and has played numerous sporting, government, and ceremonial events within the country.

In 2023, MARTY FRIEDMAN returned to the United States for a tour with QUEENSRYCHE & TYRANT and a mini-tour in 2024 with JOHN 5. On May 17, 2024 Friedman released his fifteenth solo album Drama through Frontiers Music.

I had the chance to catch up with MARTY FRIEDMAN to discuss the new album, as well as, the importance of melody, the time taken to craft the album, trying to pick the right first single, working with Chris Brooks (LIKE A STORM), casting the right players for the album, returning to the US in 2023, tour plans in support of the new album, signing with Frontiers Music, living in Japan for 20 years, instrumental music being part of the culture, how living there influenced his playing, his upcoming autobiography Dreaming Japanese, what he plans to reveal in it, and much, much more.


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