Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman recently spoke with Sam Ash Music. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he practices:
Marty: "I've never considered anything that I've done practicing. I was never one of those wood-shedding in a bedroom with a metronome type. [I've] always been playing out, since I was 14. Playing one two-hour show is worth probably 2,000 hours of practice, and a rehearsal's maybe worth 1,000 hours of practice... There's nothing like the real thing. It's kind of like sex — there's only so much you can do by yourself. What counts is your experience with someone else... A lot of people think, 'Before I get out there and play, I've got to be good, because if I don't play really good in front of people, I'm going to be embarrassed.' I think young guitarists and young musicians should stop thinking that way, because you know what? No one can tell. If you just strum a chord and it's in tune, they think you're good, so take that out your mind and just automatically start playing in front of people from the beginning, whether it be your sister, your family, your friends. Just start. The sooner you get used to playing in front of people, you'll realize that you don't have to be this virtuoso to play in front of people. No one's expecting that. They're just expecting something that's relatively in tune, and you'll be fine."
On the advice he'd give aspiring guitarists:
Marty: "Comparing yourself to other people is not really a good thing. My level for me, it's great, but if you asked me to play like Jeff Beck or Eric Johnson, you wouldn't believe how terrible it was. But I can do myself pretty damn good. What that means is, instead of comparing yourself to what you can't do that other guys can do, develop the things that you can do yourself and get it to the point where other people will admire what you're doing, and they won't expect to do, 'Oh, play me a Steve Vai solo. Play me this. Play me that.' That's really important. There's a lot of people that think they have to be all things to all people — they have to be able to play everything — and I was guilty of that too as a kid. A new thing would come out, and I'd be like, 'Oh, now I've got to learn this shit too?' VAN HALEN came out, and I'm like, 'Now I've got to learn this shit too?' But it's more important to figure out your own thing and really go into that rabbit hole rather than trying to be a little bit of everybody else... Once you get over the fact that you don't have to be like anybody else, it's very liberating on your instrument, because then you start to really dial in [and ask], 'What am I trying to say on this thing?' If your goal is you just want to be a good guitarist, that's pretty weak. You've got to have something that you want to say... things that matter to you personally that you want to get out of your instrument. The closer you get to those things, the more you develop your own style. If you just say, 'I just want to get better,' it's really too vague, and you're going to get eaten up. If you want to think about 'good' and 'better,' there's always somebody better. You'll never be satisfied. But the sooner you decide what you want to say on the instrument, the sooner you'll find more satisfaction with your playing, and you won't feel that pressure to be like this guy or that guy."
On his signature Jackson MF-1 guitar, which recalls the shape of a Gibson Les Paul:
Marty: "That shape looks good on everybody. My Kelly, I lucked out because I looked okay with that guitar. It had a lot of points and stuff, but there's a lot of really awesome-looking pointy, crazy guitars that look fantastic in the case, but when you put them on, you kind of look like a dork. There's one guy who could pull that off — Dimebag Darrell. He had this insane-looking, pointy guitar, but it looked so good on him. [The MF-1] shape makes everybody look so much cooler, myself included."
On recording guitar solos:
Marty: "Sometimes when you're in the studio, you get inspired to do things that are literally impossible [and] that can only be done with the help of studio things. It's just right for the song. At that point when you're in the studio, a lot of guys think, 'Well, we're going to have to play this live, so I've got to make sure it's something I can reproduce.' Fuck that. It's all about that piece of art. If I can make it better at that second, I don't care if I have to play the guitar with a hammer. I want that recorded thing to be perfect. Live, you might not get it, but at least on the record, every time you play that thing, it's exactly the best it could be. Sometimes, it requires doing a little bit of the impossible."
On nearly auditioning for KISS:
Marty: "When they were changing guitar players a long time ago, I got a call from somebody from KISS's people. They said, 'Do you think you might be interested in auditioning for KISS?' I'm like, 'Tell me when and where.' They go, 'We've got a couple of questions for you. First of all, you don't have any facial hair, do you? You've got long hair, right? You're skinny, right? You're over six feet tall?' I'm like, 'What? I'm, like, five [foot], seven and a- alf [inches], but I'll have an operation. I'll do something.' 'I'm sorry, it's not going to work out.' I was so bummed... Gene [Simmons] and Paul [Stanley], how many Jewish guys are six feet tall without boots? Why did it have to be that way? I totally get it, though."
Friedman's 14th solo record, "One Bad M.F. Live!!", was released in October. The album was recorded in Mexico City on April 14, 2018 during the final concert of Friedman's world tour in support of his 2017 album "Wall Of Sound", which debuted on Billboard's Heatseekers chart at No. 12.
Joining Friedman on "One Bad M.F. Live!!" are his bandmates Kiyoshi on bass, Jordan Ziff (RATT) on guitar and Chargeeee on drums.