Jay Nanda of San Antonio Metal Music Examiner recently conducted an interview with former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he keeps up with what MEGADETH is doing musically:
Marty: “They don’t really fall under my radar too much over here in Japan [where Marty has lived since 2003]. I’m quite involved in the current Japanese domestic music scene, so I really don’t go out of my way to follow it, which is what you would have to do to really keep up with what’s going on outside of Japan. But I’m definitely good friends with all those guys and I’m sure whatever they put out is fantastic. And I know [new MEGADETH guitarist] Kiko’s [Loureiro] a wonderful guy and a wonderful guitarist, and so I’m sure the [new MEGADETH] record [‘Dystopia’] is just smoking, big time.”
On how much creative control he had over the songwriting for MEGADETH’s 1990 album “Rust In Peace”, which marked his recording debut with the band:
Marty: “I can just tell you that, as far as having any say, the only say that I wanted to have was with my own guitar playing. So as far as that’s concerned, I had complete control over what I played. And I wasn’t interested in changing anything up that anybody else was doing, as long as I could do what I wanted to do. Of course, everybody else had to like what I did, so I wanted to make sure everybody liked what I did. But it was completely up to me what I wanted to play. So that’s all I wanted; I didn’t wanna come in and start changing things around, band-wise, politics-wise or anything like that, or even in songwriting. I just wanted to, you know, have my guitar playing [come out] my way, which is really the only way that I ever play guitar. I’m not really good at adapting to anyone saying they want me to play one way or another way; I’ve never been in that situation, so I wouldn’t be the type of guy that you could say [to], ‘Play this like whatever.’ So as far as I was concerned, I had all the freedom that I wanted ever in that band. It was fantastic.”
In a 2008 interview with Revolver magazine, MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine stated about the musical chemistry of the band’s “Rust In Peace” lineup: “I sang almost every single note of Marty Friedman’s guitar solos, and I wrote the majority of Nick’s [Menza] drum parts, and I wrote almost every bass note that [David] Ellefson played.” He doubled down on those claims in a 2009 interview with Guitar World, where he said: “You know, people have heard me say that I ‘sang’ solos to Marty in the studio, and I did. I did it to [former guitarists] Jeff [Young], Chris [Poland] and Al [Pitrelli], too. But [then-MEGADETH guitarist] Chris Broderick? I only did it two times [on MEGADETH’s 2009 album ‘Endgame’], and there are literally hundreds of thousands of notes on ‘Endgame’. Now that is a testimony to a guy who has studied his partner.”
Mustaine said in a recent interview that a planned reunion of the band’s “Rust In Peace” lineup in early 2015 failed to materialize for a number of reasons, including a difference in vision for the group’s new music. He said: “Marty had sent some e-mails saying, ‘Oh, man, you know, the fans have this self-inflated importance of ‘Rust In Peace’ beyond what it really is. And I was, like, ‘Huh?’ So I didn’t know if that was a backhand to the face of the fans or not, but he had basically said that if we were gonna do anything, it had to be better than ‘Rust In Peace’. And he sent me over some links to some songs that he thought should be the direction that we were going in, and one of it was this J-Pop band with some Japanese girl singing, and I was, like, ‘Uh-uh. This ain’t gonna work.’ More power to [Marty for being into that stuff]. Do what you want, Marty. He’s a great guitar player. But I’m not gonna sing like a Japanese girl.”