Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman Metalholic.com that he is a huge supporter of BABYMETAL, the offshoot of the Japanese pop idol group SAKURA GAKUIN that performs a distinctly Japanese mix of schoolgirl J-pop and heavy metal.
Takayoshi Ohmura, the guitarist in Friedman's own solo band, is also the guitarist in BABYMETAL, whose members wear gothy schoolgirl costumes, do choreographed dance routines and bang their heads violently.
"I think the best thing about BABYMETAL is the fact that it's very polarizing: you have to either absolutely love 'em or you totally hate 'em," Marty said (hear audio below). "And I think that's the mark of great things. Of course, I love them and have supported them since the beginning. The guitarist in my solo band over [in Japan] is also the guitarist in BABYMETAL. So I definitely… I'm a huge supporter of them, and I think they are a fantastic, fantastic unit. But I could totally see a metal purist go, 'Hey, this is not right. This is not what metal is supposed to be. I can't stand it. It's just not… No. No way. No fucking way.' I totally get it. But that's what I also love about them. I mean, it breaks a lot of rules, and I'm all about breaking rules."
He continued: "If you've seen some of the stuff I've done in Japan, I have injected my own metal into very, very pop situations, where metal shouldn't go, but because it's me, and because it's the way I did it, it worked, and it happened, and it existed. So I kind of forced it. And I think that spirit is very metal. But there are a lot of purists out there, especially in America, who look at that and just go, 'No fucking way!' And I totally get it; I don't have a single thing against these people. But that's what I love about BABYMETAL: it's very polarizing. And I think that my whole musical concept is also very polarizing. But I can tell you that it's just the way that I am as an artist, and you really can't go out there trying to please anyone other than yourself. If people wanna join the party, it's great, and you love 'em when they do, but I certainly don't think any less of people who disagree with my opinion."
As previously reported, BABYMETAL has signed with RAL/Sony Music Entertainment for the U.S. release of the band's 2014 critically acclaimed self-titled debut album. The CD features two bonus tracks and was made available digitally on May 12 and physically on June 16.
"Babymetal" was released via earMUSIC in Germany, Sweden, Finland and Spain on May 29, in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Switzerland, Norway and Denmark on June 1, and in Italy on June 2
The European release was made available as the standard edition as well as a deluxe edition that includes a bonus DVD compiling six music videos from BABYMETAL.
Since forming in 2010, BABYMETAL — the young trio of 17-year-old Su-Metal (vocal, dance) and 15-year-olds Yuimetal (scream, dance)and Moametal (scream, dance), backed by a four-piece band packing a heavy metal arsenal — has already achieved two major debut singles — "Ijime, Dame, Zetta!" and "Megistune", both of which ranked in the Top 10 Oricon Chart in Japan. Their first studio album, "Babymetal", also earned the #1 spot on Japan's album chart and Billboard's World Album Chart. The official live music video for their debut album's lead single, "Gimme Chocolate!!", has garnered over 24.5 million views on YouTube.
2014 saw BABYMETAL headline numerous sold-out shows from New York to London, including the 20,000-capacity Saitama Super Arena in Japan. They performed at major festivals in multiple countries such as the U.K.'s massive Sonisphere in front of 65,000 festival goers and supported Lady Gaga on her "Artrave: The Artpop Ball" tour.
Friedman has announced his first tour of North America since 2003 — a 21-date headlining run that will kick 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.
The upcoming North American leg of the "Inferno" tour will start in Friedman's former hometown of Baltimore and wrap up on the West Coast on October 3. Support will be provided by the Los Angeles-based extreme shred outfit EXMORTUS.