Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman sat down for an interview with Cassius Morris on WatchMojo's brand new music podcast "Innersleeve" to discuss details of his upcoming New Year's Day livestream concert, his latest album, "Tokyo Jukebox 3", life in Japan, and many other topics. You can now watch the chat below.
Asked to name the one thing in Japan that was hardest for him to get used to when he first moved there, Marty — who has lived in Tokyo since 2003 — said: "It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, because I'd been to Japan so many times and I kind of knew the rules, and there's a lot of rules. The only one that I really had trouble with, and it wasn't a big deal, was the separating of garbage. Garbage and recycling is a definite thing over here. If you go to any place where trash is thrown out, like in your apartment building or in your housing complex or wherever you are, the trash is clean — you clean the actual trash before you throw it out. So, say you have a cardboard box, and there's a lot of tape and labels and stuff on it, you've gotta take all that sticky stuff off and all that garbage off, so the box is pristine and can be recycled. If you have a soda bottle that you drink, you have to wash the thing out and then take the label off, which is also recyclable, and separate that and put it in a different recyclable column, and then separate [it]. And all these things took a lot of time for me."
He continued: "In my very first [Japanese] apartment, I remember I threw something out wrong and got caught by the landlady there. 'Cause I put this bag down of trash, and you could hear the 'clink' of a bottle. And that bottle was not supposed to be in that trash bag; you can't [mix] bottles and paper and all that stuff. So she heard the clink — she happened to be there, and her head turned around. And I'm, like, 'Oh my God.' Here I am, another foreigner making us all look bad. But I quickly adjusted to that. It's a very clean place."
Marty will host a special livestream experience on New Year's Day (January 1, 2021) at 9:00 p.m. local time from Tokyo. The live concert will take place in a new multi-dimensional visual atmosphere designed specifically for this show by cutting-edge Japanese motion graphics creator Nobuyuki Hanabusa. Friedman will be joined by his Japanese band — which consists of drummer Chargeee, bassist Toshiki Oomomo and up-and-coming guitar wunderkind Naoki Morioka. Tickets are on sale now at this location.
Marty's latest solo album, Tokyo Jukebox 3", was released in October in Japan. According to Billboard, the LP features Marty's cover versions of a wide variety of pop songs, including such contemporary numbers as LiSA's "Gurenge" and OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM's "Shukumei", along with DA PUMP's dance track "U.S.A.", END OF THE WORLD's ballad "Sazanka", and the vocaloid hit "Senbonzakura Feat. Hatsune Miku". Some throwback J-pop hits from the '90s are included on the set as well, such as ZARD's "Makenaide" and EVERY LITTLE THING's "Time Goes By".
Released in Japan in 2009 and 2011, respectively, "Tokyo Jukebox" and "Tokyo Jukebox 2" — the ninth and eleventh chapters in Friedman's influential solo discography — featured energetic instrumental covers of Japanese pop (J-Pop) songs that can be enjoyed by anyone with a sweet tooth for melody, and captured Friedman's passion for the music of his adopted home country — although, as he warned in the liner notes, "I took the liberty of destroying and reconstructing them my own way."
Featuring Jeremy Colson (STEVE VAI, BILLY IDOL) on drums, "Tokyo Jukebox" featured reconstructed covers of J-Pop and J-Rock hits selected by readers of Japan's top entertainment magazine. "Tokyo Jukebox 2", meanwhile, was recorded in Los Angeles at The Village (AEROSMITH, KISS), and featured guest performances by Jason Bittner (OVERKILL, SHADOWS FALL) and Keshav Dhar (SKYHARBOR). The albums featured tracks originally performed by acclaimed Japanese acts such as MR. CHILDREN, SMAP, PERFUME and MAXIMUM THE HORMONE.
As previously reported, Marty's long-awaited documentary, titled "Spacefox", will tentatively arrive in 2021. The film, which is being directed by Jeremy Frindel, the founder of Substratum Films, follows Friedman's reinvention from lead guitarist in MEGADETH to one of the most famous TV personalities in Japan.
This past June, Friedman released a "Home Jams" version of his song "Self Pollution", which originally appeared on "Wall Of Sound". The new rendition of the song features Friedman, along with his longtime bandmates Kiyoshi (bass) and Jordan Ziff (guitar), plus Anup Sastry (drums). The split-screen video was filmed in Tokyo, Osaka, Phoenix and Baltimore, with each musician separated in his or her home.
Friedman's "One Bad M.F. Live!!" came out in October 2018. The album was recorded in Mexico City on April 14, 2018 during the final concert of Friedman's world tour in support of "Wall Of Sound".
"Wall Of Sound" was released in August 2017 via Prosthetic Records.