Marty Friedman

This article is about the musician. For the basketball player, see Marty Friedman (basketball).
Marty Friedman

Marty Friedman in 2015
Background information
Birth name Martin Adam Friedman
Born (1962-12-08) December 8, 1962
Washington, D.C.[1]
Origin Laurel, Maryland, United States
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards, shamisen
Years active 1981–present
Labels Avex Trax/Gokukara, Shrapnel, Prosthetic
Associated acts Megadeth, Cacophony, Hawaii, Tourniquet
Notable instruments
Jackson Kelly
Marty Friedman Signature Ibanez MFM1
PRS 245
Carvin V220

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, as well as Cacophony alongside Jason Becker until 1989. Friedman has resided in Tokyo, Japan since 2003, where he has hosted Japanese television programs such as Rock Fujiyama and Jukebox English.[2] He has released albums with several record labels, including Avex Trax and Shrapnel Records.

Early career (1982–1989)

At the age of 14, after attending a KISS concert, Friedman took up the guitar, and is largely self-taught.[3] 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."[4] 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.[5] 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.

Megadeth (1990–2000)

When Cacophony disbanded in 1989, Friedman auditioned for the thrash metal band Megadeth after a tip from fellow guitarist Jeff Loomis. Friedman was initially rejected by Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine for having multicolored hair. However, after undergoing what Mustaine called "Rock School 101", Friedman officially joined Megadeth in February 1990.[6] 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.[7] 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.[7][8]

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.[7] 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.[6] His last show with them was on January 14, 2000. Friedman later stated that he got tired of playing metal music and felt that he could not evolve as a musician.[9] 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.[10] During Friedman's time in the band, they sold over ten million albums worldwide.[11]

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

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

In 2010, Friedman launched a record label under Avex Group, called Gokukara Records.[12] 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.[13][14]

Also in 2011 Friedman 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[15] 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).[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19]


Marty Friedman appears on Japanese television and is also a contributing columnist to Japanese music magazines and national newspapers.[20] 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.[21]

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.[22]

Personal life

Marty Friedman is of Jewish heritage.[23] He lives in the Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo, Japan.[24]

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 announced his marriage to Japanese cellist Hiyori Okuda, via a city hall ceremony, at his birthday party.[25]

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 7 modes based on the Major scale. He also occasionally uses sweep picking, displayed in his famous "Tornado of Souls" solo.

Friedman, a right-handed guitar player, has an unorthodox picking technique; the angle in which his hand is clenched goes against the conventional palm mute frequently used in Metal music. He also frequently uses the upstroke as opposed to the down stroke, especially on the high strings (strings B and E). Rather than strictly picking from the elbow or wrist, he'll also pick moving his fingers -- a technique called "circle picking".

Amps and effects



Main article: Hawaii (band)


Main article: Shout (band)


Main article: Cacophony (band)
Date of release Title Label
1987 Speed Metal Symphony Shrapnel Records
1988 Go Off! Shrapnel Records


Main article: Megadeth
Date of release Title Label
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 release Title Label
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 release Title Label
2015 In the Name of the Father Underground Symphony Records


Date of release Title Label
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
2010 Bad D.N.A. Avex Trax
2011 Tokyo Jukebox 2 Avex Trax
2012 Metal Clone X[27] (with Freddy Lim) Avex Trax
2014 Inferno Prosthetic


  1. "How Megadeth's Marty Friedman Became a Japanese Superstar"
  2. 蔵出しここだけクロニクル | マーティ・フリードマン (Japanese)
  3. "Marty Friedman official website". Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  4. "SweetJam". YouTube. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  5. "No Life 'til Metal – CD Gallery – Shout". Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  6. 1 2, – History at; last accessed December 29, 2007.
  7. 1 2 3 "RIAA Gold and Platinum Database Search". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
  8. Morse, Steve (January 11, 1991). "Grammys focus on fresh faces, jilt Madonna" (fee required). The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  9. "Marty Freidman Interview: 2003". Rom. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  10., Marty Friedman: 'I Didn't Think Megadeth Were Aggressive Enough!' at; last accessed May 5, 2007.
  11., Biography of Marty Friedman at; last accessed May 5, 2007.
  12. "MARTY FRIEDMAN Launches Record Label". BlabberMouth.
  13. "ももクロ「モーレツ宇宙海賊」主題歌で壮大スペースオペラ". Natalie. December 22, 2011. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  14. "ももクロ、新曲は新アニメ『モーレツ宇宙海賊』OP&ED主題歌" (in Japanese). Oricon. December 22, 2011. Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  15. "東映、12月10日から「仮面ライダー」公開". Retrieved 2011-07-24.
  16. "メガ盛りのMOVIE大戦、キター--ッ!!『仮面ライダーフォーゼ&オーズ MOVIE大戦』 OCNアニメ・特撮公式ブログ OCNアニメニュース". October 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
  17. "ももクロの名曲がメタル化!謎の集団「鉄色クローンX」登場" (in Japanese). Natalie. December 3, 2012.
  18. "Marty Friedman Releases 'Exotic Guitar,' His First Guitar Loop Library". GuitarWorld.
  19. "Marty Friedman Twitter".
  20. J-POPメタル斬り He writes columns about J-pop music in Japanese monthly magazine Nikkei Entertainment (日経エンタテインメント!)
  21. Gou-Gou datte neko de aru at the Internet Movie Database
  22. "バディファイトPresents Wrestle Kingdom 8 in 東京ドーム". New Japan Pro Wrestling (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  23. "Marty so full of Mega pride from spine-chilling Israel performance".
  24. "Ex-Megadeath Guitarist is now a Japanophile". September 5, 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  26. "Godlyke Distributing". Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  27. zh:鐵色克隆X

External links

Preceded by
Jeff Young
Megadeth lead guitarist
Succeeded by
Al Pitrelli
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