Marty Friedman (musician)

Marty Friedman (musician)
Marty Friedman

Gods of Metal 2009
Background information
Birth name Martin Adam Friedman
Born December 8, 1962 (1962-12-08) (age 48)
Origin Laurel, Maryland,
United States
Genres Pop, gagaku, enka, instrumental rock, hard rock, heavy metal, thrash metal
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, bass
Years active 1982–present
Labels Avex Trax/Gokukara, Shrapnel
Associated acts Megadeth, Cacophony, Hawaii
Notable instruments
Jackson Kelly
Marty Friedman Signature Ibanez MFM1

Marty Friedman (born Martin Adam Friedman, December 8, 1962) is a guitarist, well known for his tenure as the lead/rhythm guitarist for thrash metal band Megadeth, which lasted almost a decade. He has resided in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan since 2003, and has[1] hosted his own television programs, Rock Fujiyama and Jukebox English on Japanese television.


Early career (1982–1989)

Friedman is a largely self-taught guitarist [2] known for his improvisation and for fusing Eastern musical with Western music other styles, such as neo-classical, thrash metal and later progressive rock. When playing, Friedman often uses arpeggiated chords and various customized scales. He also occasionally uses sweep picking.

He has a very unorthodox right hand picking technique, namely the angle in which his hand is clenched goes against the conventional palm mute. He also frequently uses the upstroke as opposed to the down stroke, especially on the high strings (strings B and E). These qualities make Friedman's solos unique and hard to duplicate using an alternate picking approach.

During his early years as a musician, he formed and played lead guitar in several 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.[3] In 1988, he recorded demos for Jet Red that eventually were released as bonus tracks on the 2009 Jet Red release "Flight Plan".

Megadeth (1990–2000)

When Cacophony broke up in 1989, Friedman auditioned for the thrash metal band Megadeth after a tip from fellow guitarist Jeff Young. 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.[4] Friedman's audition can be seen as an Easter egg on the Megadeth DVD Arsenal of Megadeth. The first album he recorded with them was Rust in Peace, now considered a classic thrash metal album, and sold platinum in the US.[citation needed] He 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.[citation needed] Friedman played on Megadeth's further releases Youthanasia (1994), Cryptic Writings (1997), Risk (1999). After a total of five studio albums with Megadeth, in December 1999 Friedman announced his departure from Megadeth.[4] His last show with them was on January 14, 2000. Later, he stated that he got tired of playing metal music and felt that he couldn't develop as a musician.[citation needed] In an interview with in March 2007, he claimed that Megadeth was not aggressive enough.[5] During Friedman's time in the band, they sold over ten million albums worldwide.[6]

Solo Career and Collaborations (2001–present)

Friedman appeared on the track "Born of Anger" on the album All That Remains by Fozzy. Friedman is a big fan of The Ramones (to whom he briefly paid tribute in the Arizona based cover band Rocket to Russia [7]), Black Sabbath, Kiss and Queen (during their early years). He also included the track 'Peace' from the fifth Weezer studio album Make Believe on a list of his 'most listened to' songs on his official website. He has also appeared on Where Moth and Rust Destroy, the latest album of the Christian thrash metal band Tourniquet where he performed all guitar solos except two (which were performed by Bruce Franklin). He has also appeared as a guest on the Firewind album Forged by Fire.

In 2004 Friedman joined psychedelic trance musician Takeomi Matsuura (known by the alias Zeta) as a guitarist. Their full-length debut album was released January 4, 2007, also titled Zeta, and included remixes by psychedelic trance musicians such as Astrix.

In 2005, Friedman appeared on the soundtrack of the video game Heavy Metal Thunder adapted from the Hebimeta-san TV show.

Friedman's album, Loudspeaker, was released in Japan on June 26, 2006. It entered the Japanese national chart at #33. This marks the first Top 40 chart position for any of his solo albums.

Friedman's "Exhibit A-Live in Europe" CD and "Exhibit B-Live" in Tokyo DVD were released simultaneously in Japan on 8/22 by Avex. The CD and DVD feature different set lists, but with the same band members, Jeremy Colson (Steve Vai, ex-Dali's Dilemma), Ron Jarzombek (Blotted Science, Watchtower, Spastic Ink) and Chris Catero (Razer, ex-Wardog). The artwork was designed by legendary graphic artist Noritaka Sakai, who is responsible for Queen's most successful Japanese editions.

Friedman was interview in the 2008 documentary film Global Metal, in which he showed his perspectives on heavy metal in Japan..

Friedman has collaborated with Mutsuhiko Izumi, a video game composer known for his contributions to Konami's Guitar Freaks & DrumMania series to produce "Model DD8", and "Liverty", two songs featured on Izumi's album Heaven Inside. A shorter version of "Model DD8" has appeared as the "Premium Encore" stage of the latest installment of the Guitar Freaks & DrumMania series, Guitar Freaks V4 & DrumMania V4 Rock×Rock as of October 28, 2007 in the e-Amusement network.

Friedman also has contributed his voice to a character on the Cartoon Network Adult Swim show Metalocalypse.[8]

Friedman contributed to a tribute album to Luna Sea, entitled Luna Sea Memorial Cover Album -Re:birth-, covering their song "Shine".

Friedman has composed the song "Kirei na Senritsu", for the anime Maria-sama ga Miteru, which was sung by Kotoko in 2007.

Also in 2007, Friedman appeared on the title track of Living A Sick Dream, the debut album from Age of Evil.

On March 12, 2008, his eighth solo album, Future Addict, was released in Japan. The album features reworked, reconstructed, and remade versions of some of Friedman's past songs from his career, as well as three new songs.

Friedman has launched a new rock band entitled Lovefixer, with Shinichiro Suzuki on vocals. Lovefixer's first music video is for their song "Luminous" (夜光).

Friedman has worked with Nana Kitade on some of her recent releases. Kitade is pop punk "Gothic Lolita" artist, and he has worked with her on a cover of Daisy Chainsaw's "Love Your Money", and he has reworked two of her songs with a heavier sound: "Alice: Smashed Berry Ver." and "Indelible Sin: I Scream Tenpura Ver." all of which come from her Berry Berry Singles release in November 2007. He has also worked on a Nana Kitade side project in April 2008: Ruby Gloom, and the first single's two tracks: "Siren" and "My Treasure".

Friedman has worked with Nami Tamaki, a technopop singer/dancer. He worked on track #5 "HitchHiker" from her most recent album Don't Stay, released in April 2008.

Friedman collaborated with Nanase Aikawa to perform as part of Crimson-Fang for the Kamen Rider Kiva: King of the Castle in the Demon World theme song "Circle of Life".

Friedman contributed to the 2009 video game Sonic and the Black Knight, playing lead guitar on the final boss theme, "With Me".

Friedman joined the band Sound Horizon for their new single "Ido e Itaru Mori e Itaru Ido" (イドへ至る森へ至るイド) released on June 16, 2010.

Friedman released his brand new solo album Bad D.N.A. in Japan on August 25, 2010

The recording of Marty`s upcoming album, Tokyo Jukebox 2 is now complete and will be released on September 14, 2011

Japanese life

Friedman currently lives in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan.[9] He also appears on Japanese television and as a columnist for a major Japanese music magazine and a national daily newspaper.[10]

Friedman speaks Japanese fluently.[6] 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 before the show came to an end in 2005. He 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.

He 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.[11]

In February 2010, he made a guest appearance on guitar for the Ramones' song "California Sun" when CJ Ramone toured Japan.

He also launched a record label under Avex Group, Gokukara Records.[12]

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. A message attached to each Ebay item stated that all proceeds would go to the GlobalGiving foundation, in an effort to help those whose livelihood had been wiped out by the disaster.


Friedman has played a variety of guitars throughout his career. In his days with Cacophony, Friedman played Hurricane guitars, then Carvin guitars, primarily a V220M model. He also used Hurricane and Carvin on his first solo recording, Dragon's Kiss.

When Marty joined Megadeth in 1989, he switched over from Carvin to Jackson Guitars. Primarily, he was responsible for popularizing the now highly acclaimed Jackson Kelly guitar, a sleeker and faster version of the Gibson Explorer Z style shape. The first line of KE1s, which were his signature models, had poplar bodies with maple neck through construction and a single Seymour Duncan JB pickup as well as a Kahler Fine-tuning fixed bridge. Later versions of the KE1 would have a Floyd Rose double locking tremolo in place of the Kahler. He also used other Jacksons, such as the Rhoads and the Roswell Rhoads.

Marty used Gibson and Fender guitars on the Risk tours as well. He used Jackson guitars up until 2000, when he started endorsing Ibanez guitars. He has produced a signature model with Ibanez (based on the Ibanez SZ line of guitars), but this model is as of now only available in Japan and not in the US. He currently has his own signature Ibanez in two colors (red and blue) named as the MFM1Ibanez.[13]


  • Fractal Audio Axe-FX Ultra
  • Boss GS-10
  • Boss GT-6
  • Boss GT-8
  • MAXON Auto Filter
  • Tech 21 SansAmp GT-2
  • Boss MT-2 Metal Zone
  • Boss AC-2 Acoustic Simulator
  • Boss DD-5 Digital Delay






Date of Release Title Label
September 24, 1990 Rust in Peace Capitol Records
July 14, 1992 Countdown to Extinction Capitol Records
October 31, 1994 Youthanasia Capitol Records
June 17, 1997 Cryptic Writings Capitol Records
August 31, 1999 Risk Capitol Records


Date of Release Title Label
1988 Dragon's Kiss Shrapnel Records
1992 Scenes Shrapnel Records
1994 Introduction Shrapnel Records
1996 True Obsessions Shrapnel Records
2002 Music For Speeding MF Music
2006 Loudspeaker Avex Trax
2008 Future Addict Avex Trax
2009 Tokyo Jukebox Avex Trax
2010 Bad D.N.A. Avex Trax
2011 Tokyo Jukebox 2 Avex Trax


  1. ^ 蔵出しここだけクロニクル | マーティ・フリードマン (Japanese)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b, - History at; last accessed December 29, 2007.
  5. ^, Marty Friedman: 'I Didn't Think Megadeth Were Aggressive Enough!' at; last accessed May 5, 2007.
  6. ^ a b, Biography of Marty Friedman at; last accessed May 5, 2007.
  7. ^ BLABBERMOUTH.NET - MARTY FRIEDMAN: Video Footage Of 2002 Ramones Tribute Gig Available
  8. ^ ::Marty Friedman Official Website::
  9. ^ Ex-Megadeath Guitarist is now a Japanophile
  10. ^ J-POPメタル斬り He writes columns about J-pop music in Japanese monthly magazine Nikkei Entertainment (日経エンタテインメント!)
  11. ^
  12. ^ MARTY FRIEDMAN Launches Record Label
  13. ^

External links

Preceded by
Jeff Young
Megadeth lead guitarist
Succeeded by
Al Pitrelli

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