MARTY FRIEDMAN On His 'Eclectic' Career Path: 'I've Pretty Much Just Done Whatever The Hell I Want To Do'

MARTY FRIEDMAN On His 'Eclectic' Career Path: 'I've Pretty Much Just Done Whatever The Hell I Want To Do'

Guitarist Marty Friedman (MEGADETH, CACOPHONY) recently spoke with Andrew McKaysmith of the "Scars And Guitars" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On his reaction when people call him the greatest lead guitarist in thrash metal history:

Marty: "You never get tired of hearing that people are enjoying what you're doing. I'm nothing but flattered. Of course, I know what all of my weaknesses are, and I know all the things that I lack and all the things that need to be addressed. No one else needs to know them, but as long as I don't let what people say give me a big head, I think I'm in good shape. I always appreciate hearing that people enjoy it. There's nothing better than that... I don't like to dwell on it too much either way. If someone's really enjoying what I do, I don't want to get a big head about it, and if someone doesn't like what I do, I don't want that to shape the way I try to create what I do next. Fortunately, up until now, I've pretty much just done whatever the hell it is I want to do, and whoever wants to come along for the ride, it's been great. It's kind of eclectic — my music is not straight down the mainstream alley or anything — but it's been exactly what I want it to be, and I've never really taken anyone's opinion too terribly serious when it comes to what I do next."

On performing with his current solo band:

Marty: "I've been touring with this band for years and years... It's one big show — it's not just featuring this single or featuring this song or featuring that. You've got to think in terms of a two-hour show, and how to bring people on your trip. You've got to start them off and lead them somewhere and make them feel like they're leaving with something really positive, and leaving with a lot of energy. The way I like to feel when I go to a concert and I really enjoy it, it's not an accident how the artist chooses that setlist. It comes from a lot of judging the way people respond to certain kinds of songs, and also having a pretty decent amount of sense when it comes to where to bring things down and where to bring it to a warp-speed and where to let people chill out... For me, my stuff is instrumental, so I don't have the lyrics to let people think about, so I have to be the singer out there on guitar. That's the biggest challenge, or the biggest goal that I have. The biggest compliment that I get that I enjoy the most when people see us live is that they say, 'I didn't miss a singer at all. I never knew an instrumental show could be this wild or this fun or this crazy.' That's pretty much the goal. Even the words 'instrumental concert' kind of brings a cringing factor. There's nothing wrong with it, but for my taste in concert-going, for my own personal taste, that name of that genre doesn't particularly make me want to run out and go to a concert. Bearing that in mind, I have to make my own concert not fit that genre title. I think when you'll see us live, you'll know what I mean... it's really not just about a recital of playing our songs for you. It's more about getting the people actually involved in the show."

On his band mates:

Marty: "There actually aren't a lot of people who can play what's required for my music. The ones who can, then they have to have to kind of go to a more important requirement — they can't look like they work in a bank. They can't look like they sell storm windows for a living. Believe it or not, there are a lot of really, really super musicians out there, but they just don't look the part and don't have that killer instinct in their bodies. That's a deal-breaker. It's very, very hard to find the right people for my band, and since I've found them, I really don't want to mess with the formula."

On his "greatest challenge":

Marty: "Always doing something new without repeating myself. That's the biggest challenge and the hardest challenge, but it's been the same exact challenge ever since I started making records, so I'm so completely used to it that it's very natural. I'm just very happy that I'm able to continue doing that. It's kind of the reason why I've taken a break since my 'Wall Of Sound' album. 'Inferno' was an extreme piece of work, and I was extremely happy with it. I thought that I could never, ever top it, and then I had to make another record. There were time constraints and tours coming up, and I thought I couldn't do it, but I actually did it. I really, really busted my ass. I worked so hard on 'Wall Of Sound', and I'm so incredibly pleased with that. I've taken my time touring with that over the last year and a half, almost two years... I think the key to being able to meet that challenge of not repeating myself is to understand that when something's ready to be done, it's ready, and not before that. I knew when I finished 'Wall Of Sound' that I'm not working on a new solo studio album for quite some time, and that's why I released the live album ['One Bad M.F. Live!!']. I'm still completely in awe of 'Wall Of Sound' as much as you can be in awe of your own work. A lot of that awe comes from performances by other people that I got on there. I'm just very, very proud of that record, and I know that when I go back into the studio to do the next record, I'm going to have to beat that. Frankly, I'm not looking forward to the challenge."

Friedman is continuing to tour in support of "One Bad M.F. Live!!", which was released last October. 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".

Joining Friedman on "One Bad M.F. Live!!" are his bandmates Kiyoshi on bass, Jordan Ziff (RATT) on guitar and Chargeeee on drums.

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