Marty Friedman

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Marty Friedman
Marty Friedman in Tokyo--2009-03.jpg
Background information
Birth nameMartin Adam Friedman
Born (1962-12-08) December 8, 1962 (age 56)
Washington, D.C. [1]
Origin Laurel, Maryland
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, bass guitar, vocals, keyboards, shamisen
Years active1981–present
Labels Avex Trax/Gokukara, Shrapnel, Prosthetic, Universal, EMI
Associated acts Megadeth, Racer X, Cacophony, Hawaii, Tourniquet
Marty Friedman live in the USA with his Jackson signature guitar in 2016 Marty Friedman - 01.jpg
Marty Friedman live in the USA with his Jackson signature guitar in 2016
Marty Friedman live in Los Angeles in 2017 Marty Friedman - 04.jpg
Marty Friedman live in Los Angeles in 2017
Marty Friedman at Gods of Metal in 2009 Marty Friedman 21.jpg
Marty Friedman at Gods of Metal in 2009
Marty Friedman in Tokyo Marty Friedman - 03.jpg
Marty Friedman in Tokyo

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. He is also known for playing alongside Jason Becker in Cacophony until 1989, as well as his 13 solo albums and tours. Friedman has resided in Tokyo, Japan since 2003, where he has appeared on over 700 Japanese television programs such as Rock Fujiyama , Hebimeta-san, Kouhaku uta gassen [2] and Jukebox English. [3] He has released albums with several record labels, including Avex Trax, Universal, EMI, Prosthetic and Shrapnel Records.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Megadeth American heavy metal band

Megadeth is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson formed the band in 1983 shortly after Mustaine's dismissal from Metallica. Along with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, Megadeth is one of the "big four" of American thrash metal, responsible for its development and popularization. Their music features complex arrangements and fast rhythm sections, and lyrical themes of death, war, politics, and religion.

Jason Eli Becker is an American musician, songwriter and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up in 1989 and Becker began doing solo work, having released his first album Perpetual Burn in 1988, also through Shrapnel. He later joined David Lee Roth's band and recorded one album with him, A Little Ain't Enough.


Early career (1982–1989)

At the age of 14, after attending a KISS concert, Friedman took up the guitar,and is largely self-taught. [4] 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." [5] 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. [6] 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 .

Kiss (band) American band

Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons the only remaining original members. The original and best-known lineup consisted of Stanley, Simmons, Frehley, and Criss.

Hawaii was a heavy metal band formed in 1981 by former Deuce guitarist Marty Friedman, originally called Vixen. Vixen recorded several demos and appeared on the U.S. Metal Vol. II (1982) compilation before releasing the Made In Hawaii EP in 1983. Another early recording appeared on Metal Massacre II (1982) under the name Aloha, with Lisa Ruiz taking over lead vocals from Kim La Chance.

Cacophony was an American heavy metal band formed in 1986 by guitarists Marty Friedman and Jason Becker, and signed to Shrapnel Records. They remained active until 1989, after which both guitarists forged their own solo careers and joined other bands.

Megadeth (1990–2000)

When Cacophony disbanded in 1989, Friedman auditioned for the thrash metal band Megadeth after a tip from his friend Bob Nalbandian, Friedman officially joined Megadeth in February 1990. [7] 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. [8] 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. [8] [9]

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

<i>Arsenal of Megadeth</i> 2006 video by Megadeth

Arsenal of Megadeth is an anthology of Megadeth's first 20 years. The 2-disc DVD set contains music videos, live performances, interviews, home videos and special appearances. Arsenal of Megadeth is an EMI/Capitol release. Arsenal of Megadeth is certified gold in the United States and platinum in Canada and Argentina.

<i>Rust in Peace</i> 1990 studio album by Megadeth

Rust in Peace is the fourth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released on September 24, 1990 by Capitol Records. Following the departure of band members Jeff Young and Chuck Behler in 1989, Rust in Peace was the first album to feature guitarist Marty Friedman and drummer Nick Menza. Rust in Peace received universal acclaim from fans and critics, and was responsible for bringing Megadeth to the attention of a mainstream metal audience. It has been cited as one of the best thrash metal records of all time by publications such as Decibel and Kerrang!, and listed as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance at the 33rd Grammy Awards. At the 1991 Foundations Forum, it won a Concrete Foundations Award for Top Radio Album and the single Hangar 18 won Top Radio Cut.

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. [8] 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. [7] His last show with them was on January 14, 2000. Friedman later stated that he got tired of "holding the flag" for traditional metal and felt that he could not evolve as a musician. [10] In an interview with 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. [11] During Friedman's time in the band, they sold over ten million albums worldwide. [12]

<i>Countdown to Extinction</i> 1992 studio album by Megadeth

Countdown to Extinction is the fifth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released on July 14, 1992, through Capitol Records. It was the group's second studio release to feature the "classic" lineup of Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, David Ellefson and Nick Menza, with all of them contributing to songwriting on the album. The album features some of the band's best known songs such as "Symphony of Destruction", "Sweating Bullets", and "Skin o' My Teeth", which enjoyed significant chart success and made a great musical impact.

<i>Youthanasia</i> 1994 studio album by Megadeth

Youthanasia is the sixth studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth, released on 1 November 1994 through Capitol Records. The album is not a large stylistic departure from the band's earlier recordings; however it marked the continuing evolution of Megadeth, following the footsteps of the previous album Countdown to Extinction (1992). The album's title is a play on words, implying that society is euthanizing its youth. The cover art features an elderly woman hanging babies by their feet on a seemingly endless clothesline; the artwork concept was directly inspired from a line of the title track.

<i>Cryptic Writings</i> 1997 studio album by Megadeth

Cryptic Writings is the seventh studio album by American thrash metal band Megadeth. Released on June 17, 1997 through Capitol Records, it was the band's last studio album to feature drummer Nick Menza. His departure would mark the end of the band's longest lasting lineup to date, having recorded four studio albums. Megadeth decided to produce the record with Dann Huff in Nashville, Tennessee, because they were not satisfied with their previous producer Max Norman. The album features 12 tracks with accessible song structures, specifically aimed for radio airplay. The lyrics were also altered, in order to make the music more inclusive for wider audience. These changes were met with mixed opinions from music critics, who noted the band moving away from their thrash metal roots.

During his time in Megadeth, Friedman released three solo albums between 1992 and 1996, which featured Megadeth bandmate Nick Menza on drums.

Nick Menza American musician

Nicholas Menza was an American musician best known as the former drummer for American thrash metal band Megadeth from 1989-1998 and again in 2004 as well as one final return in 2014. He recorded drums on four of Megadeth's albums: Rust in Peace (1990), Countdown to Extinction (1992), Youthanasia (1994) and Cryptic Writings (1997).

In Japan and recent work

Friedman appeared on the Tourniquet albums Where Moth and Rust Destroy (2003) and Antiseptic Bloodbath (2012), and Tourniquet drummer Ted Kirkpatrick's solo album Onward to Freedom

Tourniquet (band) American metal band

Tourniquet is a Christian metal band that was formed in 1989 by Ted Kirkpatrick, Guy Ritter and Gary Lenaire in Los Angeles, California, United States. The band primarily performs a mixture of thrash, neoclassical and progressive metal, and is influenced by additional, non-rock forms of music such as classical and world music. It has earned six GMA Dove Award nominations and won multiple recognitions from the readers of HM Magazine, including "Favorite Band of the 1990s" and "Favorite Album of the 1990s" for Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance. It has released seven studio albums, one compilation album, one EP, one acoustic album, five video releases and three DVDs, and sold more than 300,000 albums. In addition to its use of classical music, the band is known for frequently using medical terminology in its album and song titles and lyrics.

<i>Where Moth and Rust Destroy</i> 2003 studio album by Tourniquet

Where Moth and Rust Destroy is an album by Tourniquet. The title is a reference to Matthew 6:19. All guitar solos on this album were performed by former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman except tracks 4 and 7 which were done by Bruce Franklin.

<i>Antiseptic Bloodbath</i> 2012 studio album by Tourniquet

Antiseptic Bloodbath is the eighth full studio album released on July 19, 2012 by Tourniquet, a Christian metal band formed in 1989 in Los Angeles, California. It is the band's first release since 2003's Where Moth and Rust Destroy, However It was long-time vocalist Luke Easter's last studio album before he left in 2015 though he guested on one track of the First album of Tourniquet under the name The Tourniquet Ark.

In 2009, Friedman collaborated with Ema Gelotte and Tinna Karlsdotter from "All Ends" as the lead guitarist for the song "With Me" which was featured in the game, Sonic and the Black Knight. In 2010, Friedman launched a record label under Avex Group, called Gokukara Records. [13] In February 2010, during C.J. Ramone's Japan tour, he made a guest appearance on guitar for "California Sun", a cover song previously released by The Ramones on their 1977 album, Leave Home .

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. [14] [15]

In 2011, Friedman also worked with Ayanocozey Show to make the song SAMURAI STRONG STYLE, theme of the Tokusatsu movie Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Fourze & OOO: Movie War Mega Max [16] 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). [17] Friedman and Ayanocozey had previously worked together when they joined the Japanese promotional super-group FANTA, releasing the 2010 single "Fantastic Love". Friedman stood for the "F" in FANTA, Ayanocozey stood for the first "A", and the other members of the group made up the other letters.

Friedman recorded with Daniel Tompkins of Tesseract in Tompkins' band Skyharbor's debut album, Blinding White Noise. 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. [18]

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. [19] 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 in 2014 which he is now touring across Europe going to places such as Norway, Poland, Netherlands and Germany.

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. [20]

In 2018 he collaborated with MAN WITH A MISSION's Jean-Ken Johnny, KenKen, and Kōji Fujimoto for the song "The Perfect World" which was used as main theme for Netflix Original anime series "B: The Beginning".


Marty Friedman appears on Japanese television and is also a contributing columnist to Japanese music magazines and national newspapers. [21] 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. [22]

Friedman was a guest star in the Adult Swim original Metalocalypse by playing driving teacher Mr. Gojira.

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. [23]

Personal life

Marty Friedman is of Jewish heritage. [24] He lives in the Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo, Japan. [25]

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 and Cacophony, including some of the earliest productions of Jackson Kelly guitars and his signature Carvin V220.

In December 2012, Friedman married Japanese cellist Hiyori Okuda in Yokohama, Japan. [26] [27] [28]

Guitar technique

Friedman is known for his improvisation and for fusing Eastern musical with Western music and other styles, such as neoclassical, 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 seven modes based on the Major scale. He also occasionally uses sweep picking, as displayed in his famous solo on Megadeth's "Tornado of Souls".

As a right-handed guitarist, Friedman has an unorthodox picking technique; the angle in which his hand is clenched goes against the conventional palm mute frequently used by right-handed players in metal music. He also frequently utilizes upstrokes as opposed to downstrokes, especially on the B and high E strings. Rather than strictly picking from his elbow or wrist, Friedman will also pick moving his fingers—a technique known as "circle picking".

Friedman is critical of being called a shredder. He opined that the term is "a guy who plays fast meaningless shit all the time. Shredders are the guys in your friend’s basement who play insanely fast, and it just looks so mind-blowing and amazingly cool with their fingers flying all around the neck, but if you close your eyes and actually listen, what you hear is a pile of shit. You all know what I’m talking about." [29]

Amps and effects





Date of releaseTitleLabel
1987 Speed Metal Symphony Shrapnel Records
1988 Go Off! Shrapnel Records


Date of releaseTitleLabel
September 24, 1990 Rust in Peace Capitol Records
July 14, 1992 Countdown to Extinction Capitol Records
October 31, 1994 Youthanasia Capitol Records
July 18, 1995 Hidden Treasures (EP) Capitol Records
June 17, 1997 Cryptic Writings Capitol Records
August 31, 1999 Risk Capitol Records


Date of releaseTitleLabel
2003 Where Moth and Rust Destroy Metal Blade Records
2012 Antiseptic Bloodbath Pathogenic Records
2014 Onward to Freedom Pathogenic Records

Enzo and the Glory Ensemble

Date of releaseTitleLabel
2015In the Name of the FatherUnderground Symphony Records
2017In the Name of the SonRockshots Records


Date of releaseTitleLabel
1988 Dragon's Kiss Shrapnel Records
1992 Scenes Shrapnel Records
1994 Introduction Shrapnel Records
1996 True Obsessions Shrapnel Records
2003 Music for Speeding MF Music
2006 Loudspeaker Avex Trax
2008 Future Addict Avex Trax
2009 Tokyo Jukebox Avex Trax
2010Bad D.N.A. Avex Trax
2011 Tokyo Jukebox 2 Avex Trax
2012Metal Clone X [31] (with Freddy Lim) Avex Trax
2014Metal Clone X [32] (with Freddy Lim) - Louder Than Your Mother Avex Trax
2014 Inferno Prosthetic
2017 Wall of Sound Prosthetic
2018One Bad M.F. Live!! Prosthetic

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  31. zh:鐵色克隆X
  32. zh:鐵色克隆X
Preceded by
Jeff Young
Megadeth lead guitarist
Succeeded by
Al Pitrelli