Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman, who was named Japan Heritage ambassador in 2016, will speak and perform at the Japan Heritage Symposium on Monday, February 13.
On Saturday (February 11),Marty took to his social media to write: “It’s a great honor to be an Ambassador of Japan Heritage. Occasionally I will be requested to speak or perform at events related to Japan Heritage. I’ll be doing both of those things at the Japan Heritage Symposium on Feb. 13.
“The date, ‘February 13’, if you translate it to numeric Japanese, would be ni (2) I (1) san (3). This becomes a play on words as ‘ni’ is short for ‘Nihon’ which is the Japanese word for Japan and ‘isan’ which is the Japanese word for heritage, hence the Japan Heritage event taking place on that day each year.
“Of all the places I get to play guitar, this has got to be the farthest from what I envisioned as a little kid!”
In July 1999, Friedman was onstage performing at Woodstock ’99 in front of a sea of fans as the lead guitarist for MEGADETH. Since joining the band in 1990, Marty played a crucial role in their rise to stardom with his unorthodox style of virtuoso guitar playing, selling millions of records worldwide, and being nominated for multiple Grammy Awards. Just six months after Woodstock, in an unexpected move that shocked his friends, family, and especially his bandmates, despite platinum albums and sold-out tours, for reasons unknown, he suddenly quit the band and walked away from it all. Unbeknownst to his U.S. fans, Marty moved to Tokyo to pursue his love of Japanese pop music, and in the process, reinvented himself as a wildly successful Japanese TV celebrity! Marty has appeared on 700-plus television programs, commercials and motion pictures since then, and become was dubbed “the Ryan Seacrest of Japan” by Billboard magazine in the USA.
Friedman in 2014 spoke to Wondering Sound about his decision to leave MEGADETH in order to make the kind of music that he was passionate about: Japanese pop music, or J-Pop, which Friedman calls “embarrassingly happy.”
“I found myself touring with MEGADETH, and in my hotel room I’d be blasting this Japanese music all the time. What’s wrong with this picture?” he said.
As his interest in J-pop grew, Friedman started enjoying MEGADETH less. “I thought I was doing myself a disservice just playing the same old stuff and not really enjoying it,” he told Wondering Sound. “Making money from fans who want to see you play when you’re not into it didn’t really sit right with me.”
According to Marty, he simply outgrew metal, explaining that MEGADETH‘s music began to bore him, and he singled out the band’s popular ballad “A Tout Le Monde” as an example.
“The melody’s like duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh. It’s kind of the same thing over and over again,” he told NPR in a separate interview. “I’d go play the show at night with MEGADETH. And I’d be like, you know, what what I’m listening to is just so much more exciting than what I’m playing as my gig.”
Friedman told his MEGADETH bandmates that he would leave the group at the conclusion of a 16-month-long tour, but “only stayed three more months.” He explained to Wondering Sound: “It was just too much. I’m the kind of guy who can’t fake it that well. It wasn’t very nice, but I just couldn’t go on anymore.”
Focusing on the J-Pop genre, Friedman noted that going for the opposite of metal was the whole point.
“There’s not a whole lot of happy music going on,” he told NPR. “Especially in the heavy metal world, where everybody’s just trying to out-lame each other, you know, with darkness and monsters and crap like that.”
Marty was recently announced as direct support on the upcoming QUEENSRŸCHE tour. Marty is confirmed to perform on 31 dates with QUEENSRŸCHE, kicking off on March 3 in Orlando, Florida and running through April 16, where is wraps up in St. Petersburg, Florida. Along the way, the tour will make stops in Dallas, Texas (March 11); Anaheim, California (March 19); Chicago, Illinois (March 31),New York City (April 10) and Nashville, Tennessee (April 14),to name a few. Also, Marty recently announced two headline shows on his own: March 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada at Counts Vampd and March 18 in Los Angeles, California at the Whisky A Go Go. The tour marks Marty‘s first time performing in the U.S. since 2019.
Marty‘s latest album, “Tokyo Jukebox 3”, came out in April 2021 via The Players Club/Mascot Label Group. The record, which was made available in Japan in October 2020, is the third in a series that began with “Tokyo Jukebox” in 2009, and then “Tokyo Jukebox 2” following in 2011. The trilogy presents Friedman‘s inspired performances to Japanese repertoire he’s chosen to cover.
It`s a great honor to be an Ambassador of Japan Heritage. Occasionally I will be requested to speak or perform at events…
Posted by Marty Friedman on Saturday, February 11, 2023