Marty Friedman: 'Why I Left Megadeth for 'Embarrassingly Happy' J-Pop'

"In metal, everyone's trying to out-lame each other, with darkness, monsters and crap like that," the guitarist says.

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Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman recently detailed his departure from the band, sharing an explanation for leaving one of the biggest metal acts of all time for "embarrassingly happy" J-Pop.

As NPR reports, Marty claims he simply outgrew metal, saying how Megadeth tunes began to bore him, further singling out ballad "A Tout Le Monde" as a specific example.

"The melody's like duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh. It's kind of the same thing over and over again," he said. "I'd go play the show at night with Megadeth. And I'd be like, you know, what what I'm listening to is just so much more exciting than what I'm playing as my gig."

Focusing on the J-Pop genre, Friedman noted that going for the opposite of metal was the whole point.

"There's not a whole lot of happy music going on," he said. "Especially in the heavy metal world, where everybody's just trying to out-lame each other, you know, with darkness and monsters and crap like that."

The other thing drawing the axeman to J-Pop was the hidden complexity. Marty pointed out that the best J-Pop tunes are far more daring than Megadeth in terms of chord choices, song structure and key changes.

"If you want to hear difficult stuff, just listen to any jazz music," he said. "But to do that and make it palatable for anyone - that's the challenge. That's what I love about this."

Following a 2003 move to Japan, Friedman had fully focused himself on J-Pop, even writing a weekly opinion column on the genre and appearing in over 600 TV shows, movies and ads.

However, after 14 years away from Megadeth, the guitarist released "Inferno," branding it "by far the most intense, sickest album I've ever done." Check out the title track video below.

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49 comments sorted by best / new / date

    'instrumental music is a dead-end street', 'I've outgrown metal'. Proceeds to make an instrumental metal album.
    Each to their own as far as J-Pop and Metal and so on, but the slating of Megadeth wasn't really necessary, could have simply said "I enjoyed J-pop more and so went and did that", he didn't have to slate Megadeth (which I know is ironic since Mustaine is known for slating everyone else). Very narrow minded approach to metal as well: "Especially in the heavy metal world, where everybody's just trying to out-lame each other, you know, with darkness and monsters and crap like that" - surprised and disappointed to hear Friedman speak like that! And then to go back to metal and look like a total hypocrite!
    Kind of sums up my thoughts on Metal. I want to word this carefully so I don't offend anybody but it's sort of a gateway genre in that it can get kids into all sorts of music, but sooner or later you're gonna want to expand your pallete with more sounds and ideas.
    Calling anything a "gateway genre" is appallingly ignorant. Metal doesn't have any more or less artistic merit than any other type of music.
    Von II
    I don't think Josh100_3 is denying that metal is a genre with more or less artistic merit, but I believe he means to say that it's also a genre that's pretty diverse in itself and that it allows/learns its listeners to appreciate more than just metal itself.
    NO but it is limited especially being a newer genre (I mean any genre is limited, metal a bit more so than say jazz or blues which have been around for ~ 100 and 150 years respectivel whereas metal is like 50 years)
    Mr. Skull
    i would argue that most genres have varying degrees of artistic merit. jazz vs rap for instance
    Well, metal is not just a genre on it's own. I (and most people) started with bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, ect... But after that i discovered all kind of sub-genres within metal. Neo-classical stuff, progressive, mathcore... It's still metal, but within it's sub-genre's you can really find lots of new sounds and ideas you haven't seen or heard before.
    whatever the reason you left megadeth marty,megadeth's music is better than this crap. there's no soul sounds like youre just playing scales super fast for the first 3 mins with a drum machine.. megadeth is more than music
    I'm alright with both genres honestly. People can complain about Metal all they want but there's always going to be a million bands that prove everybody wrong. Mr Bungle, Between the Buried and Me, Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan, Atheist, Cynic, etc. As for Jpop... I dunno I don't think anything out there really gets to "Rust in Peace" levels of complexity but I'm not looking for complexity in Jpop anyways. But I'm really really sick of the macho attitude of Metal and Jpop is a very nice break from that.
    Yeah thats it. A guitarist who makes Kirk seem like a newborn holding a uke, is jealous..... You loser Metallica fans just cant get your lips off their nuts.
    Mr. Skull
    tbh what you say makes the original comment seem more valid. he is 100X better than kirk yet his is not the household name. why keep running a race you can't win? i feel he went to carve out his own name and did so in japanese art.
    Marty should just be the guitarist for Baby Metal. With his track record, there would be no one better to fit the bill.
    The guitarist for Baby Metal is actually his rhythm guitarist for his solo touring. And he ****ing shreds btw
    Quoting related article: "Instrumental music is a dead-end street" - Marty But i'd be bored too, if I had popped up Megadeth, like he did.
    Marty is right. He is a sick guitar player and cant be attached to heavy metal all his life. He was wasting his potential. But dont get me wrong i love Megadeth and sure Rust In Peace is their better album ( techincally at least) My point is that if you are such a talented musician you cant be trapped the rest of your life into just one thing.
    Power metal is happy enough for me, sometimes even too happy. Progressive stuff can be complex enough for me. But i think i have the same thing as Marty, i can't commit myself to just playing only one genre. However i'm not a professional musician, so for me it's not really a problem. A professional musician has to 'milk' his music. You have to repeat your songs (mostly written in the same genre) over and over just to suit the audience.
    There's some serious diversity in the J-pop scene. Any album by Aya Hirano for example features at least 3 different mudic styles. Doesn't hurt that Aya Hirano is sexy as hell, too.
    Every time this guy opens his mouth I respect him a bit less(as a person, as a musician I could not respect him more), it's like an attention ***** with an scary hypocritical edge. Weird
    For speaking his opinion and being right?
    He is right because he has the same opinion as yours? Well, Let's be fair, Jpop is a souless product, as well as mainstream metal, rock, pop etc etc. I consider myself a metal fan and I think there is no song in my catalogue that deals with monsters. But yeah,he is right, it's actually better to deal with kawaii mangas & squids (real life problems) than playing in megadeth
    Ozzy Osbourne - Bark at the Moon, Mastodon - Seabeast, Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast, Dio - Killing the Dragon, Rob Zombie - Werewolf Baby, Alice Cooper - Feed my Frankenstein, there are absolutely tons of heavy metal songs about monsters you twat!
    Black Sabbath took inspiration from horror movies and books about black magic. That in itself destroys your "anti-fantasy" stance in heavy metal.
    I'm not sure what crap you're referencing, but none of the J-pop I listen to has kawaii mangas and squids. As for being soulless, well... some of it is very much a commercial product. But there are some very talented musicians involved. Listen to what you like, I guess.
    But what if I put my heart and soul into a pop song that changes how people perceive life?
    I don't think belittling Megadeth was necessary. Hell, this entire spiel reminds me of Viv Campbell's comments on Dio. I think, however, that if had he not left, he would not shine like he did on the first 3 90s Megadeth albums. He was already bored and weary. He saw that the grass was greener on the other side and migrated there. IMO, I think Marty's best was on Scenes instead of RIP.
    I disagree. I actually blame Marty to influencing Mustaine to go that popier route and is the main reason for the style of Risk. I'm glad he left when he did. Ive always like Poland's style better for Megadeth anyway.
    True, but regardless of which, can any of the newer albums be compared to their first five? Even The System Has Failed (which has Poland) failed (pardon the pun) to meet the standards set by KIMB and Peace Sells. An Endgame or Thirteen with Marty instead of Chris would not be significantly better. It would be full of okay songs and interesting solos.
    I think the last two mins of that song are amazing...I can't say the same for the first three though
    Dude can still shred that's for sure, but that video looks like someone high school multi-media final project.
    i don't really listen to a lot of metal so it's "darkness" doesn't really bother me. It's pretty much BLS, Megadeth, and Machine Head. I definitely see what he means though. The happiest metal I can think of is maybe Andrew WK
    He is right you know, there aren't many metal songs with happy melodies or lyrics, it has to be dark and gruesome lyrics with low and melancolic riffs.
    Man should do what makes him happy. I entered a lame band once and I quit after it became boring. But I play like shit and nobody ever paid me a dime.
    I've been a metalhead my entire life. Sure I'll listen to other genres such as J-Pop and K-Pop but nothing gets me the way metal does. And there are so many subgenres like power metal, symphonic black metal, gypsy metal, etc.. As for Marty, his most popular shows in Japan were his metal shows. He still lives off of Megadeth. And honestly, he bores me as a guitarist. He is so repetitive and he lacks melody a lot. He plays random scales and hopes it works for the song and it doesn't a lot of the times. Even when he was in Megadeth you could hear that.
    Friedman is a pathetic hypocrite. Slandering metal and Megadeth, saying how much he's ¨outgrown¨ the genre, then proceeding to do a metal album like Inferno which sounds a lot like Megadeth and calling it his ¨sickest album¨ ever. I guess making kawai jpop crap doesn't pay the bills huh? he's a traitor to metal who can't even stick to his word. He's also the culprit of ¨Risk¨ and Cryptic Writings¨ sucking so much, he wanted Megadeth to do POP! he tried to muscle the band into doing pop like Metallica in their Load-Reload phase, and when Dave told him to stop with his bs he left the band. He's an hypocrite sellout with no credibility, he deserves to be hated and reviled by Megadeth and metal fans alike.