Martin Adam "Marty" Friedman (born December 8, 1962) is an American guitarist, known for his tenure as the lead guitarist for heavy metal band Megadeth which spanned nearly the full decade of the 1990s. Friedman has resided in Tokyo, Japan since 2003, where he has hosted Japanese television programs such as Rock Fujiyama and Jukebox English.
Early Career (1982–1989)
At the age of 14, after attending a KISS concert, Friedman took up the guitar, and is largely self-taught. He rushed to form a band and started playing original songs, the reason being that originals are easier to play than covers. "Because," he says, "even if you screw up, you just claim that the song is written like that and no one can challenge you." The mother of one of Marty's friends ran an event center with a two-level stage, and Marty and his friends used it as a rehearsal space. Soon word spread about their band, and, since they were in a rural area, people would come from miles around to socialize and listen to music. "Rehearsals" very quickly became live shows. Friedman formed and played lead guitar in several other bands, including Deuce, Hawaii (which had previously been called Vixen), and notably Cacophony. Cacophony featured neoclassical metal elements and synchronized twin guitar harmonies and counterpoints shared with guitarist Jason Becker. He played guitar on the 1987 album "It Won't Be Long" by Christian rock band Shout. In 1988, he recorded demos for Jet Red that eventually were released as bonus tracks on the 2009 Jet Red release "Flight Plan". In August 1988, he released his first solo album, Dragon's Kiss.
When Cacophony disbanded in 1989, Friedman auditioned for the thrash metal band Megadeth after a tip from fellow guitarist Jeff Loomis. Friedman was initially rejected by Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine for having multicolored hair. However, after undergoing what Mustaine called "Rock School 101", Friedman officially joined Megadeth in February 1990. Friedman's audition can be seen on the Megadeth DVD Arsenal of Megadeth. The first album he recorded with them was Rust in Peace which was released on September 24, 1990. Rust in Peace was certified platinum by the RIAA in 1994 and was nominated for the Best Metal Performance Grammy at the 33rd Grammy Awards. Friedman further developed his style of playing exotic scale solos from the Cacophony era, and integrated it into the music of Megadeth. In July 1992, Megadeth released Countdown to Extinction, which was a more commercial album, aimed at a wider audience, and sold double platinum. Friedman played on Megadeth's further releases Youthanasia (1994), Cryptic Writings (1997), and Risk (1999). After a total of five studio albums with Megadeth, in December 1999 Friedman announced his departure from Megadeth. His last show with them was on January 14, 2000. Friedman later stated that he got tired of playing metal music and felt that he could not evolve as a musician. In an interview with Ultimate-Guitar.com in March 2007, Friedman claimed that he wanted Megadeth to move towards a more aggressive sound and that he'd rather have been playing straight pop music than the pop-influenced metal Megadeth was playing at the time. During Friedman's time in the band, they sold over ten million albums worldwide.
During his time in Megadeth, Friedman released three solo albums between 1992 and 1996, which featured Megadeth bandmate Nick Menza on drums.
Most recently Friedman has been doing concert tours for the Bravely Default original soundtrack in 2013 as well as the Budokan concert tours among others. In combination with these tours he has also released his new album Inferno which he is now touring across Europe with going to places such as Norway, Poland, Netherlands and Germany. Friedman recorded with Daniel Tompkins from Tesseract in Tompkins' band Sky Harbour's debut album, Blinding White Noise.
Friedman is known for his improvisation and for fusing Eastern musical with Western music and other styles, such as neo-classical, thrash metal and later progressive rock. When playing, he often uses arpeggiated chords and various customized scales and arpeggios, some of which relate to Asian (Chinese and Japanese), Middle Eastern and other exotic scales, which are different from the typical minor/major pentatonic and 7 modes based on the Major scale. He also occasionally uses sweep picking, displayed in his famous "Tornado of Souls" solo.
Friedman, a right-handed guitar player, has an unorthodox picking technique; the angle in which his hand is clenched goes against the conventional palm mute frequently used in Metal music. He also frequently uses the upstroke as opposed to the down stroke, especially on the high strings (strings B and E). His solos tend to target certain notes that relate to the rhythm chords played underneath his leads. He utilizes vocal-like bending techniques and Asian influenced note-bends(including rapid pre-bend, double bend,slow release and bending from an 'outside note'), rather than just hitting the target note itself. These qualities make Friedman's solos unique and hard to duplicate using an alternate picking approach. Friedman often approaches fast licks with an upstroke and rather than strictly pick from the elbow or wrist, he'll also pick moving his fingers.
Amps and effects
- Fractal Audio Axe-FX II processor (current)
- Engl Special Edition (current)
- Engl Powerball (2011 tour)
- Custom Audio Electronics CAE 3+ preamp ( Countdown, Youthanasia, albums and tours)(former)
- Soldano SLO-100- custom rackmount with slave out and effects loop circa 1992, used in studio for both guitar and bass tracks
- Bogner Triple Giant #11/25 ( Rust in Peace) album and tour (former)
- Rocktron/ Bradshaw RSB 11 controller
- Crate Blue Voodoo (as power amp, former)
- VHT 2150 power amp (former)
- Maxon AF-9 Auto Wah
Friedman is also a member of the Japanese musical group Sound Horizon which has contributed soundtracks to various anime and video games. He also launched a record label under Avex Group, Gokukara Records. In February 2010, during CJ Ramone's Japan tour, he made a guest appearance on guitar for the Ramones' song "California Sun".
In 2011, Friedman collaborated with Japanese idol group Momoiro Clover Z, providing guitar for their song "Mōretsu Uchū Kōkyōkyoku Dai 7 Gakushō "Mugen no Ai"", which would become a hit in 2012. Also in 2011 Friedman worked with Ayanocozey from Japanese Band FANTA, to make the song SAMURAI STRONG STYLE, theme of the Tokusatsu movie Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Fourze & OOO: Movie War Mega Max The catchphrase for the movie is "In Winter 2011, Movie War Will Evolve" (2011年冬、MOVIE大戦が〈進化〉する, Nisenjūichinen Fuyu, Mūbī Taisen ga Shinka Suru).
At the end of 2012, a full album containing heavy metal covers of Momoiro Clover Z's songs was also released by a band named "Metal Clone X". Although band members remained anonymous, Friedman was cited as label producer and arranger.
In 2013, Friedman released his first library of guitar loops on LoopArtists. Friedman recorded collections of clean-tone, high gain lead and rhythm guitar loops that are intended for use in a production and remix environment.
In 2014 Friedman collaborated again with Momoiro Clover Z, providing the guitar track for their single Moon Pride. The song was also used as the opening theme music for the television series Sailor Moon Crystal, which premiered in July that year.
Marty Friedman appears on Japanese television and is also a contributing columnist to Japanese music magazines and national newspapers. Speaking Japanese, he became a regular member of the cast of TXN's musical TV program Hebimeta-san (ヘビメタさん) (anglicized as "Mr. Heavy-Metal") with Japanese idol Yoko Kumada until the show came to an end in 2005. Friedman had his own heavy metal TV program called Rock Fujiyama alongside Shelly, Ken Ayugai (Kenny Guy), Yorimasa Hisatake (Rock Ninja Yorimasa) and ex-Scanch member Rolly Teranishi from April 2006 until March 2007. In November~December 2005 he toured with singer Ami Suzuki on her "Suzuki Ami Around the World" live house tour, which took place in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Friedman was featured on Jukebox, a television program in which Marty and two Japanese people translate the lyrics of various English songs into understandable Japanese. He has also made guest appearances on the television programs Eigo de Shabera Night and Tamori Club. In 2008 Friedman played the role of Paul Weinberg, an English language teacher, in Isshin Inudou's Gou-Gou Datte Neko de Aru. In 2009, Friedman appeared on The Quiz Show, a Japanese TV drama starring Sho Sakurai as a guest professor. On January 4, 2014, Friedman took part in New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome event, playing Hiroshi Tanahashi to the arena.
Marty Friedman is of Jewish heritage. He lives in the Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo, Japan.
Shortly after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Friedman began auctioning off a great variety of his musical equipment and paraphernalia that he used as a member of Megadeth, including some of the earliest productions of Jackson Kelly.
In December 2012, Friedman announced his marriage to a Japanese cellist, via a city hall ceremony, at his birthday party.