Jon Wilks of Japanzine recently conducted an interview with former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman. An excerpt from the article follows:
As lead guitarist with MEGADETH, Friedman would record five platinum albums and tour the world many times over. It was during one of his many promotional stops in Japan that his musical allegiances were first put to the test.
"When I got here, I was like, 'what is this music that I'm hearing everywhere?'" he explains. "So I'd buy bucketloads of CDs and get it home and just really get into it. I started listening to it much more than anything else, and started thinking I'd rather be doing this than what was going on in America." In 1999 he left MEGADETH, provoking outspoken frontman Dave Mustaine to criticize him for, "wearing a kimono and Japanese thongs, and playing in a pop band for some chick."
The chick in question was Nanase Aikawa, whose band Friedman was invited to join shortly after a permanent move to his newly adopted country. "I was a big fan of Aikawa since the mid-'90s," he tells us, adding with typical humility that he got the job out of good fortune rather than talent. "I left MEGADETH because I wanted to do something more musical. MEGADETH was an amazing band, but we pretty much had only one sound — an amazing sound, but I needed more. I felt like I was being wasted."
If the shift seemed natural to Friedman, it jarred with much of his fan-base, many of whom felt J-Pop too synthetic to test the abilities of a true musician. "In Japanese music, pretty much anything goes," he argues. "You can have the most extreme metal to the most tender ballads, and that can all come from the same artist. I love that about Japanese music."
Read the entire article at Japanzine.