Bob Suehs of Rock N Roll Experience conducted an interview with former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman on September 9 in Baltimore, Maryland. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked about his recent controversial comment that he would “rather chew glass than listen to Jimi Hendrix,” Marty said: “I’m not a fan of his music — I don’t care for his music — but I certainly respect him extremely deeply. I admire him greatly. It’s just not my thing. I’ll tell you why. When I was a kid, I grew up really loving Frank Marino, Uli Roth and Robin Trower. I heard these three guys, and all of my friends and all the good guitar players in the neighborhood said, ‘You know those three guys you listen to? They’re just copying Hendrix, dude. You really need to listen to Hendrix.’ And I was, like, ‘Wow! I’ll check this guy out.’ So I listened to Hendrix and I didn’t get it. To me, it just sounded primitive compared to what those three guys were doing. I guess, to put it in a simpler way, I guess it was like I was playing an Xbox and when I listened to Hendrix, it was like Atari Pong or something… ‘Space Invaders’, you know. And that’s how kids think when they’re, like, 14 or 15. So I was, like, ‘This Hendrix guy is all right, but, I mean, this Frank Marino guy’s got this and this and this and this, and Uli Jon Roth’s got this and this and this, and Robin Trower… oh my God!’ But then, all the press and the whole world… Rolling Stone [magazine] loves Jimi Hendrix. And you never see one word about those three guys. So I just never got it. It doesn’t mean that I don’t respect his music or respect him. I think he’s fantastic… He changed guitar forever; no question.”
Friedman previously stated about Hendrix in an Ultimate Guitar interview: “I’d rather chew glass than listen to Hendrix. I never got Hendrix. When I think of Hendrix, an image comes in my mind about a lot of hippies rolling around in mud tripping on acid and it just doesn’t turn me on at all. And all that noise and feedback, and I’m like, ‘Play in tune.’ I’m a big tuning guy and that’s probably why I don’t like [Bob] Dylan, because things go out of tune and it kills me.”
He continued: “But then again, all of my favorite guitarists hail Hendrix: I’m a big Uli Jon Roth fan, and he’s the most beautiful guitarist. He probably loves Hendrix as much as Hendrix’s own mother does. All the guys I respect love Hendrix, so I know there’s something there. It’s just that I never got it, because it never fit into my experiences.”
Marty later elaborated on his comments, writing on his Facebook page: “When I was a beginning guitarist, all the good players in town would tell me I should listen to this guy or learn from this album, and check out this guitar master or that one. Of course I wanted to impress my friends as well as ‘learn from the best,’ so I diligently checked out all the most respected players. I soon realized that although the artists that were suggested to me were certainly brilliant masters, I found little joy in analyzing their music, because I just plain didn’t understand it or even like much of it. It meant nothing to me, like homework from a teacher in school.”
He continued: “When I dug into the music that I did actually like, even though much of it was a bit obscure and not ‘approved by the local big-shot guitarists,’ I really enjoyed the process of learning and as a result, I wound up easily and subliminally able to decide what I want to play in my own music.”
Friedman’s first tour of North America since 2003 — a 21-date headlining run — kicked off September 9. The trek marks the latest leg of Friedman’s ongoing world tour in support of “Inferno”, his solo album that so far has seen him complete a record-breaking tour across South America; perform extensively in Europe with acts such as Gus G. (FIREWIND, OZZY OSBOURNE), ARCH ENEMY and KREATOR; and play multiple high-profile gigs in his current home country of Japan, including a set at the country’s largest heavy metal festival, Loud Park.