I had the pleasure of catching up with Marty Friedman before he took to the stage at The Village in Dublin.
What has it been like being back on tour again?
Great, it’s been so busy because all three bands are together. I’m used to being by myself so there’s like sixteen people on a huge double decker bus; it’s a lot of chaos and a lot of fun. There so many cultures happening on the same bus, it’s like an experiment in sociology.
You have a new album out now Tokyo Jukebox 2/ Bad DNA, they came out together, can you tell us a bit about the approach you took to writing them?
On Tokyo Jukebox it was basically re-arranging cover songs. Taking Japanese pop sings that everybody in Japan knows and totally destroying them and warping them in my own way. For bad DNA it’s all original, it’s sort of an experimental record.
While you’re promoting your new material on the tour it’s not solely about the new music, it’s also broadening musical horizons for people by showing them different takes on guitar playing, was that always the intention of this tour?
Yes, the purpose of it was some kind of cultural difference between the artist and between the bands. Yossi is definitely the representative of the Middle-East. I don’t really know anybody else who plays like that. I have my own kind of metal mix flavour and Stephan is definitely the European representative so it kind of gives something more than just three guitarists. Personally, I would have a hard time watching any three guitar players unless there was some kind of little twist, there gotta be something very different between the three if they’re all the same but all great that’s still a lot of guitar.
Do you find that touring now is any different to when you were touring in a band?
I toured with my own band a lot last year and it’s not that different. My drummer is from Japan but I’m using two of Yossi’s guys so it’s all kinds of cultures going on in my band.
So, You’re in Japan now, can you tell us a bit more about what you’ve been doing over there?
Well I’ve played the Tokyo Dome twice his year. I played my own music one time and the other time I had written a song for one of the biggest bands in Japan and there was a duet between me and the singer, he had asked me to come and play with them at the Tokyo Dome. It was the biggest thrill. I’ve been working on TV shows and then also the new record. I’ve done nearly five hundred TV shows. It’s so mainstream over there that a majority of people know me but they don’t know that I’m in the music circle; they know me as the guy off the TV. That’s actually another reason for the tour – to get out and play outside of Japan so that people in Japan know I do other stuff. Mainstream people see me on TV but they might not know about my past or what I’m doing musically now. It’s a great way to introduce them to what I’m doing now because some don’t know about it. To be touring in Europe is a good reminder that ‘hey, this is my real gig’.
Coming from a metal influence and background, is that something that you’ve tried to move away from or have you stayed firm to your roots?
The show now is probably more metal than ever, more metal than in my whole career, in any of my other bands.
Could you ever see yourself back in a band situation similar to when you played in Megadeth or even Cacophony?
I would love to be in a band. If the right band, situation and time and it was the perfect thing, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Most fans know you from you days in Megadeth, is it the case where you want them to associate you more with what you’re doing currently or are you happy to be remembered for what you did in Megadeth?
Of Course I’d rather people know me for what I’m doing now but I’m also very happy they know me for what I did before. The last time I came to Ireland was with Megadeth, so I’m thankful. I have absolutely no bad feelings about that whatsoever. I’m very proud Megadeth got me here in the first place. Hopefully tonight they’ll see what I’ve been doing since then, since I’ve been here last because it’s been quite a while.
With your huge collection of work, what you would say your proudest achievement is?
It’s gotta be the most recent record, if it wasn’t then I’d be doing something wrong. I believe what I’m doing now is better than what I did even six months ago and I’m lucky that I truly believe that. I’m writing better, playing better and creating better and working with better people.
Finally, is there any advice that you would give to guitarists both up and coming and for those who are struggling to get anywhere?
Just to take and make every opportunity to play in front of people. Always, always try and play in front of people. Your favourite music is preferable but sometimes you gotta take a detour maybe play the kinda music you don’t want to. It’s just getting in front of people get the process of playing music. If you play in a band and hate their music it sucks for awhile but at least you’ve got the process of it.
Photogrpahs by Marc Leach : http://www.marcleachphotography.com