MARTY FRIEDMAN Discusses Japanese TV Career, New Solo Album

Blasting-Zone.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman. Several excerpts follow:

Blasting-Zone.com: What can you tell us about the [Japanese] television show your involved with?

Marty: "Actually, I'm on five weekly TV shows, if you can believe that. It's out of control. The main one that people in the States might have heard of possibly is called 'Rock Fujiyama'. There's nothing like it anywhere else. It's kinda hard to explain in English. Basically, I'm a regular on that every week and there's two more hosts on the show along with me. Every week there's a guest and the guest is either an actor, model or singer, writer or a rock band kind of thing. The idea is to basically get people who aren't normally associated with rock into the coolness of rock music. A lot of times, the guest might be a television actor or something and you get those people to expose their rock tastes, their rock fantasies and all sorts of fun stuff. It's like a variety show with games, music and a lot of goofing off and a lot of very strange mixtures of music that I play on guitar. I'll play a well-known Japanese song but morph it with a well known American song and we'll just play off of that. It's not really an all-music show. It's closer to a variety show…almost a comedy, but with a lot of music. A lot of Japanese stars come on it and sometimes foreign musicians come on there like when they're on tour from America. We had (guitarist) Kerry King from SLAYER come on [watch video clip at YouTube — Ed.], we've has Andrew W.K., Steve Lukather came on there, KISS came on once. We have a lot of foreign guests, but it's mostly Japanese guests. …Inside everybody, there's a little bit that wants to rock out and that's what this show's about, really. There's nothing like it here or over there."

Blasting-Zone.com: What was the inspiration behind the cover art for [your new solo album] "Loudspeaker"?

Marty: "Well, that's a funny story. I've had a lot of sorta hellish covers over the course of my career. There aren't a whole lot of covers from my entire career that I actually like. A lot of 'em just plain suck. This time, I wanted to make damn sure that the cover would be something that I would be like happy to show people (laughs). I just wanted to have something bitchin', really, so I got together with the best graphic designer that I know at the record company, the best photographer that I know in Tokyo and the best all around staff and we just basically threw around ideas. We had a lot of meetings and a lot of discussions with a lot of ideas and shapes. I knew that I wanted to have a logo, but there's more to making a logo than just a logo…there's so much into it, ya know? I've always been into makin' music and letting the album jacket be just whatever, but this time, I was like, 'I'm gonna have a good cover even if it kills me…' I went through a lot of different options and many versions of the same cover and it came out really cool. I wanted to have a logo mark that, the first time you looked at it, you don't realize that it's my initials. If you look at it quite a while, you can probably figure it out pretty easily, ya know? And I think they pegged that exactly right. I think if you could read it right away, that would be pretty lame and if you couldn't read it at all, it would be pretty lames, so it was hard to find that exact balance, ya know?"

Blasting-Zone.com: Did you have a particular favorite prior to this?

Marty: "I basically think they all suck with the exception of maybe 'Youthanasia' by MEGADETH…that was pretty cool and the cover for my last album 'Music for Speeding'. I liked the cover although a lot of people thought it was too simple. Maybe it was, but I thought it was pretty good. Aside from those two, and 'Loudspeaker', (laughs), I'm not a fan of any of the covers. The MEGADETH, CACOPHONY, and HAWAII stuff…the HAWAII stuff is hella embarrassing. I have to say 'Loudspeaker' by far is my favorite followed by 'Youthanasia'. The rest…I'm not really very happy with (laughs), but I'm never gonna have a shitty cover again (laughs). But there's no accounting for taste, ya know? One person might like one thing and hate another one, so basically, as long as I'm happy with it, it doesn't really matter. With this record, I finally have the people around me that I need to get what I want done. Finally, I've got an overall product that I'm very happy with.”

Blasting-Zone.com: Do you currently have any plans to tour the United States?

Marty: "Not at this point. I'm touring Europe at the end of March and then I'll do some stuff in Japan. I don't have any immediate plans for the U.S. other than the actual release… I'd love to do it, but it's really hard for me to get away from Japan for any period of time due to all the obligations that I have here. I get offers to do shows and tours from promoters in the U.S. and one of these days, I'm gonna take 'em up on it. But as of right now, I just can't get away long enough to make a decent size tour. It's hard because I do a lot of weekly television shows. We tape a couple of weeks at a time, but I can't really get away for so long because you can't really miss anything like that. TV goes on, ya know? You can only tape so many weeks ahead of time and you gotta keep going. It's really hard when you have weekly commitments like that to get away for any extended period of time. But I love playing in America and I'd love to do it again. It was very nice. I'd do it again in a heartbeat…probably within the next few years because I already have a ton of material written for my solo albums that would fit in nicely with a symphony. And I'll probably write a few more for the event, too because it's gotta be done right."

Read the entire interview at Blasting-Zone.com.

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