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20 Questions with Marty Friedman, 8/26/03



Ex-Megadeth Guitarist Marty Friedman

A few weeks back we got the following email sent to us:

Metal Sludge-

Your site is an absolute riot!
Feel free to send me 20 Questions anytime.

Marty Friedman

Now in case you’re a jackass and don’t know better, Marty was the guitarist in Megadeth for about 10 years or so and now he has his own solo CD out, or something. So since Marty asked, we sent him out our 20 Questions! Enjoy!

1. What are you currently up to? This is your only chance to promote whatever it is you have going on.
Too much to list everything really, but here is a short version. I’m recording and touring in Japan with Aikawa Nanase, who is a pop star. Her music is modern uptempo "J-pop" but there is a lot more rock guitar in it than most other J-pop artists have. The producer is a genius. She is drop dead gorgeous and the band is unbelievably tight. Way fun. I just finished all the guitar tracks for her newest single yesterday.

I’m also playing with Masanori Sera, whose first single sold 7 million copies in Japan alone. He is a legend in Japan and we will be playing Budokan in October as well as other shows live and on TV. I arranged and played guitar on 4 songs on his new album. Straight-up Japanese rock.

In September I will be doing a short tour of the US to promote my solo album, "Music For Speeding" which recently came out on Favored Nations. Mostly west coast dates this time. I have never done a solo tour anywhere before so it’s gonna be fresh for sure. My solo band has some amazing players, I can’t wait to hear them tear into my solo stuff. Check www.martyfriedman.com for info on the US solo tour and everything else.

2. It’s pretty well known that you are fluent in Japanese. When and why did you begin learning the language?
When I first came to Japan with Cacophony (my band before Megadeth) I thought Japan was such a bitchin’ place, I couldn’t get enough about everything about it. The music, the food, let’s not forget the gorgeous women, the overall pace of Tokyo was like New York on speed. It’s like living in the Jetsons world, way futuristic. I mean, my bathtub friggin’ talks to me! I immediately dug it in a big way. I studied like a maniac, any free time like airplane flights and bus rides, I devoted to reading and writing the language. Speaking came relatively naturally and I started
doing my interviews in Japanese right about the time of the Youthanasia tour. From doing press and dealing with day to day music stuff, I eventually found myself pretty fluent.

3. It was reported that the reason Megadeth called it a day was because Dave Mustaine damaged the nerves in his hand and was unable to play the guitar. Do you know that to be true or did you hear another story?
I left a year or so before the band split up, so anything I could say would only be speculation at best. My guess is that the hand situation may have been one of several factors in their decision. My only concern is that all the guys are healthy and happy doing whatever it is they wanna do.

4. What hard rock/heavy metal band should give it up and call it a day?
Anyone who still uses that dreadful "double bass triplet" kick drum pattern!

5. Rank the following guitar players on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a hack, and 10 being a virtuoso.
Sorry, but I reserve the 1 to 10 ranking for females.
Zakk Wylde = Godlike. Brother in Frank Marino worship.
Al Pitrelli = Great sport, true pro, super guitarist. I like him a lot.
Yngwie Malmsteen = With the amount of ability I believe he has, I was always surprised that he repeats himself as much as he does. But then I haven’t heard his playing in years, maybe he has changed somewhat?
Ace Frehley = The reason we are all here
Kirk Hammet = Great player.
Angus Young = He and Malcom are the best guitar team ever. Period.
Chris Poland = Hated playing his finger twisting licks in Megadeth. Amazing player. Gonna pick his brain for guitar licks when we do our mini tour together in Sept.
Paul Gilbert = We have really similar tastes in what we like to listen to but what we play could not be more different.
Steve Vai = Amazing. Raised the bar for a lot of players, I’m sure.
C.C. DeVille = I love the first album!

6. What’s your 3 best and 3 worst memories of Megadeth?
Best- 1.Rock in Rio in front of 160,000. 2. Countdown to Extinction goes double platinum and hits number two on Billboard 3. Basically being one of the tightest bands on the planet and kicking ass every single night
Worst- 1.Having to cancel a tour of Japan including a sold out Budokan show. 2.Megadeth/Aerosmith tour not being the biggest raging party tour of all time, but turning out to
be nannies, baby strollers, families and AA counselors. 3. Can’t really think of any other bad stuff

7. Among the following, which do you prefer and why?
Sushi or Korean BBQ = Depends on who I’m out with. They are both great but Korean BBQ has so much garlic in it, you gotta be careful. I could live on both of them, though.
Manowar or Raven = RAVEN ARE THE BEST BY FAR! They did it ALL before EVERYBODY ELSE! Hold Back the Fire! Tyrant of the Airways!
Kitaro or Yanni = OK, you finally got me to badmouth somebody! This is like comparing the nectar of the Gods to a porta-potty at the county fair. I may be wrong, and it’s only my opinion, but I feel that Yanni is the fakest, most self absorbed, most uninteresting musician I have ever
heard. His music to me seems like the most bland, passionless junk this side of Vangelis. This is boring housewife music at best. Makes me wanna heave. Kitaro on the other hand is the real deal. Listen to the "Heaven and Earth" soundtrack. Absolutely gorgeous. Stunning piece of
music. He is a genius, and he lives for his music. He could give a shit about making those goofy ‘deep feeling’ faces Yanni makes when he plays those boring melodies. The two should never be compared, but unfortunately they do.

Ibanez or Jackson = Definitely Ibanez overall but Jackson is great too, no question.
Scottsdale or Tokyo = Tokyo !!!!
Countdown To Extinction or Risk = Countdown
Poison or Warrant = Poison! Their singer did one arm push ups at a gig and I was forever impressed. Plus their music is fun.
Britney Spears or Jewel = I’ve said this on national radio and I’ll say it again. Everybody please take note: Any guy who doesn’t like Britney is gay. Period. No exceptions. Jewel gets some points for shooting a video while going to the bathroom, but Britney still wins hands down!
Growing Pains or Mr. Belvedere = Who?
Max Norman or Dann Huff = I learned a lot from both, so how can I choose? Maybe Max for being stricter in the studio. I like that.

8. Your new CD, "Music For Speeding" is on Steve Vai’s label Favored Nations. Do you know that Steve once pissed into a fan along with David Lee Roth and the piss blew back onto them? Does the concern you since your CD is on his label?
I am happy to hear that he has a healthy sense of humor. Now if only Britney was the one pissing into the fan…

9. Give us a good story about Dave Mustaine doing something crazy while being all fucked up.
He can give you better stories, I’m sure, but one I remember him telling was one of him sifting through his own and possibly someone else’s puke to try to get cocaine out of it.

Marty Friedman Exposed!

10. Yes or no, has Marty Friedman ever done the following:
Shot bottle rockets at a family member = no
Been groped in an elevator = the other day
Caught an armadillo with your bare hands = trick question?
Played a gig in a bowling alley = Bronco Bowl in Dallas is connected to a bowling alley
Wanted to play for Sugar Ray or the Goo Goo Dolls = Dig them both, would have no problem with it whatsoever.
Stuck pins in a voodoo doll = no
Had a threesome in the back of the bus = and then some
Purchased a Megadeth bootleg = no, but Kiss and Ramones plenty
Gotten a massage with a happy ending = another trick question?
Seen a ninja = no

11. During the time you were in Megadeth, how receptive was Dave Mustaine to your ideas, solos, and general shit like that, and when you would argue, who’s idea would generally come out on top?
Believe it or not, up until "Risk" we very rarely argued. Dave really encouraged me to come up with ideas and he was good at bringing out the ability in not only myself, but others in the band too.

Once Dave encouraged me to write some lyrics so I thought, "Hey, this is Megadeth" so I wrote a song about someone getting stabbed to death. Then Dave told me I should stick to playing guitar.

12. What rock star deserves a smack in the mouth and why?
Ace Frehley. Straighten up! Don’t be such a fuck-up. Join the world’s ultimate rock and roll band, do a REAL farewell tour and end it with dignity! Then do whatever you want. How can you turn something like that down??

13. Give us your fondest touring memory of the following cities:
Chicago = Great fans, cute chicks, great food, what else is there?
San Francisco = Sold out Cow Palace, brutal heavy metal show on Clash of the Titans.
Dallas = Same as Chicago with better weather
Budapest = Cool show with Metallica. Great friendly people, awful food.
New York City = Anna
Atlanta = My sis lives there so we hung out a lot
Minneapolis = Cacophony tour there ruled! Some girl there told me I look like I’m having sex with my guitar. Staying at Mo’s party house.
Rio de Janeiro = Rock in Rio was the ultimate!
Nagasaki = Never been there, Hiroshima has great food and people though
Omaha = Getting stuck in the airport there for a week one day

14. Who’s the most overrated band today and why?
White Stripes? I mean they are pretty cool and what they do is kind of interesting, and I dig their colors and I really wanted to get into their tunes, but their songs aren’t good enough for me to put up with that annoying sound they have for more than 5 minutes. For cool garage stuff go directly to the Donnas first album, or anything by Shonen Knife.

15. The Last of Marty Friedman:
Last book you read = Sex Money Kiss by Gene Simmons
Last museum you visited = Going to one next week
Last CD you purchased = Aya Matsuura "Two"
Last concert you watched from the audience = Godsmack at the Liquid Room in Tokyo. They jammed hard.
Last rock star you shook hands with = Naoko from Shonen Knife
Last animal you plowed over while driving = didn’t notice
Last time you broke a string on stage = never break ‘em
Last time you missed a bus call = first on, first off
Last time you listened to a Cacophony album = a couple years ago
Last time you talked to Dave Mustaine = pretty recently

16. What do you have against dairy products? We heard you hate milk, eggs, and the like. What’s the deal?
They’re just lame. No taste.

17. In your opinion, do you believe Jimi Hendrix was overrated?
Yes. He was a good guitarist, but I can only name 2 or 3 of his songs. He influenced most of my favorite players though so go figure. I believe that if everybody in the audience wasn’t tripping on hallucinogenic drugs, Hendrix and Greatful Dead and all those other hippies would have
never gone anywhere.

18. Did you ever laugh when Nick Menza would start talking about UFO’s and shit?
Yes. It is very funny to hear those kind of things come from the mouth of an intelligent person.

19. Is the reason you’re in Japan because it’s the only place where you’re actually taller than most of the population?
That is definitely a consideration. Thanks for pointing that out.

20. Time for Metal Sludge’s Word Association. We mention a name, and you give us your thoughts.
Gene Simmons = Smarter even than we think, plus he’s the God of Thunder
Terry Bozzio = Probably doing something interesting, but I’m not really a fan of interesting drumming.
Andrew W.K. = This guy is the only thing that is truly great and fresh in American rock music today. My favorite album. If you don’t like him, you are dead.
Jimmy DeGrasso = Solid as a rock. Awesome. On tour with me in Sept.!
Scott Ian = Up there with Mustaine and Hetfield as top notch metal guitar players.
Dave Ellefson = A huge reason Megadeth lasted so long. A true diplomat and friend
Bud Prager = Lots of experience in the music biz.
Lars Ulrich = Best metal drummer ever. Period. Best sense of "what’s cool for the fans" of anyone in rock.
Jason Becker = Genius. My constant inspiration. He is a role model not just as a musician, but as a human being.
Dave Mustaine = Uniquely talented heavy metal visionary. Metal fans should (and do) hail him. Without Dave, heavy metal would be a sad place.

Thanks guys-your site is great, keep up the good work!

And thank you! Good to see Marty can hang and that he has a healthy obsession with Britney Spears!

For more info on Marty, you can visit his website at www.MartyFriedman.com!

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