Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Interview: Marty Friedman

I had the honor of speaking to one of the most accomplished guitarists to roam the earth. The former Cacophony and Megadeth member - the man is Marty Friedman, he holds his axe with pride and has just about the same amount of fame in Japan as the Queen does in Britain. I missed him with Gus G a while back, so I ask if he were to tour the UK. He gives us an insight of what he has been up to and answers questions that have been popping around my head for a while. 
~Matthew Clewley

Music Review Database: How much trouble did you go through to record Inferno, if there was any?

Marty Friedman: Are you kidding? This was the most troublesome album I ever made! Every step had drama, blood, sweat and tears. Basically a pain in the ass. But I knew to make a great album I had to get out of my comfort zone and really dig deep. 

How was songwriting with Jason Becker? Was this the first time you both wrote a song since your time with Cacophony?

Yes and it was wonderful to have our imprint together on the same song after quite some time. It was actually sort of similar to how we worked before, we would both have separate ideas and I would arrange and produce them.  

Would you ever reunite with the members of Cacophony? 

The four of us were together at Jason`s Not Dead Yet event in San Francisco. It was fantastic to hang again. 

The Marty Friedman Official Website (dated back to December 2013) says that Alexi Laiho, David Davidson and Rodrigo y Gabriela are influenced by your playing, how did you know this and how did you approach them to play on Inferno? 

My label compiled a list of people who said nice things about me in the media. I researched them and had the label contact the ones I liked best. 

Who was the main influence for you as a guitarist?
Elvis and Phil Spector. 

Your album has had a great effect as it has charted not only in Japan, but also the U.S, are you expected to perform live shows there? 

Yes, in both places. Hopefully another run in Europe as well. 

Where else are you going to tour? Would you ever tour the UK? 

I just played two UK shows in May, I will likely be back once again before Inferno touring ends.

Do you enjoy producing as much as you do performing? 

Almost, but not quite. 

How much has Japan and their great culture had an effect on you not only musically, but as a person?

I`m way more well mannered now! I think I`m healthier now than before as well. 

Did you ever anticipate you would reach celebrity status in Japan? 

No. It is a double edged sword, because I would rather be known for music rather than just because I can make interesting conversation sometimes. It`s all good because it gives me freedom to do anything I want musically, though. 

Is it true that Dave Mustaine originally didn't want you in Megadeth because you had multi coloured hair? If so, how did you take that rejection before you joined them? 

You`d have to ask him. I don`t know anything about that. 

It seems after the Megadeth album, Risk, you were not happy with the direction of Megadeth. Do you rate Risk as a bad point in your recording career? 

Not at all. Certainly not the highest point, but not bad by any means. At the time, we all believed in it, or else it would not have come out. 

Back to the hair question, how many colours did you have in your hair at that time?

I`ve never had more than two. 

You're a member of Sound Horizon, who do soundtracks to anime and video games, how many of their projects have you collaborated with? 

I`m not a member of SH, but I have played on tons of their singles and performed live with them a bunch. Couldn`t even count how many songs. 

And finally, even if you wouldn't consider reuniting with bands, do you think you can keep a sustainable solo career overseas? Considering you're already a big name in Japan.

I`m not interested in reuniting with old bands, I`m way more interested in being a part of a new band that is fresh and exciting, I would jump on it. My solo career is on its 12th album, and is at its peak so far so I won`t be halting that anytime soon, but I would certainly consider it if something amazing came along.