Marty Friedman
Marty 1
Background Information
Birth name Martin Adam Friedman
Born December 8, 1962
Washington, DC, USA
Genres Thrash Metal
Neo-classical Shred Metal
J-Rock / J-Pop
Instrument Guitar
Years active 1982 - present
Associated acts Megadeth
Jason Becker
Aikawa Nanase
Suzuki Ami
Kitade Nana
Rolly Teranishi and the Rock Fujiyama band

Marty Friedman[1] (born Martin Adam Friedman, on December 8, 1962) is a Jewish-American[2] guitarist best known as the lead guitarist for the thrash metal band Megadeth from 1990 to 1999. He now resides in Japan[3], where he hosts a number of TV shows, including Heavy Metal-san (ヘビメタさん, Hebimeta-san), Rock Fujiyama (ロックフジヤマ, Rokku Fujiyama), and Jukebox English School(ジュークボックス英会話, Juukubokkusu Eikaiwa).

Music CareerEdit

Friedman is a largely self-taught guitarist, with no formal training in music theory[4]. Despite this, he is esteemed for his improvisational skills and his unique ability to fuse a wide variety of unorthodox world music styles with metal, which conventionally took its inspirations from Western Classical music, such as that of Bach, Haydn, and Paganini. On stage, Friedman is known for his energetic, passionate playing style[5]. In contrast to the sweep picking of his neo-classical contemporaries and the alternate picking method favored in thrash, Friedman uses the picking style traditionally used on a Shamisen (三味線), a banjo-like instrument from Japan. Friedman is instantly recognizable for his vast arsenal of exotic scales, though he says he never studied scales and plays everything by ear[6].


Maati 2

Marty Friedman and Jason Becker during Cacophony's Japan Tour, in 1989.

While in high school, Friedman teamed up with Tom Gattis to form the band Deuce, which played music inspired by KISS, Rush, The Ramones, and The Scorpions[7]. In 1982, Friedman formed the band Vixen, which put out an album before realizing "Vixen" is a girl band name. The band reformed as Hawaii and put out three more albums before it broke up in 1985[8].

In 1986, Friedman was approached by Jason Becker, a young guitar prodigy in search of a new teacher. Together, they formed the band Cacophony, renowned for its technically challenging, complexly harmonized guitar solos (duets) and ridiculous lyrics. Cacophony put out two albums, Speed Metal Symphony and Go Off!, and toured the United States and Japan, before Friedman and Becker went their separate ways in 1989[9]. The Japan tour was especially fun for Marty, who had a growing interest in Japanese music and Visual Kei, especially the band X Japan.


Marty 2

Megadeth's 1990-1998 lineup: Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Nick Menza, and David Ellefson.

After the 1989 release of So Far, So Good... So What!, Megadeth band leader Dave Mustaine once again fired half his lineup and set about rebuilding the band. As per tradition, he replaced drummer Chuck Behler with his own drum tech, Nick Menza[10]; The search for a new lead guitarist was not as easy, with many auditions held over the course of over seven months[11]. Friedman was eventually selected for being exactly unlike his predecessor, Jeff Young, who had extensive music theory training and was known for wearing his guitar high and concentrating intently on his playing.

In 1990, Megadeth released its first album with the new lineup. Rust In Peace was hailed as "awesome" and "heavy" and "really difficult to play" by fans and citics alike, and to this day is acclaimed as a definitive thrash metal album. The album went on to sell over a million copies in the US, and was nominated twice for the Best Metal Performance Grammy; it lost both times to Metallica[12].

Countdown to Extinction, Megadeth's 1992 album, was a stylistic departure from the band's previous releases. While still driven by fast technical riffs, the songs were shorter and more radio-friendly. The change was motivated by trends in thrash metal at the time, Mustaine's desire to reach a wider audience, and Friedman's love of popular rock music. The move paid off and the album was Megadeth's most successful release. The trend continuted with Youthanasia, the band's 1994 album.

The late 90s saw Megadeth complete its transformation from thrash metal to mainstream radio rock. Cryptic Writings (1996) and Risk (1999) together produced six top 20 singles, inclusing Megadeth's first #1 hit song, Trust. However, Mustaine began to feel pressure from long-time fans to return to the band's former thrash sound. He informed the band of his decision during the Risk tour, and Friedman, who felt the band should only move forward, left the band[13].

While Friedman was in Megadeth, the band sold a total of over ten million albums worldwide[14].


In 2004, Marty joined forces with Matsuura "TAKEOMI" Takeomi (松浦 "TAKEOMI" 武臣) to form ZETA, a group that combined psytrance with rock guitar. Together, they performed many live shows around Japan, and in 2007, released their self-titled album, Zeta.

Aikawa Nanase

In 2005, Marty joined the backing band for j-rock starlet Aikawa Nanase (相川 七瀬). The band also featured Guitarist PATA of X Japan, and drummer Shinya of Luna Sea. Together, they recorded and toured in support of the R.U.O.K?! EP. Marty continutes to work with Nanase. She is currently in the studio working on a new album.


In 2005, Marty toured with former PIERROT vocalist KIRITO (キリト). Also supporting KIRITO on this tour was bassist Mick Karn, of Japan (the band, not the country.) Both KIRITO and Karn would later go on to contribute to Marty's album Loudspeaker.

Suzuki Ami

In 2005, Marty joined Suzuki Ami (鈴木 亜美) for her tour in support of her album Around the World. Their live performance can be seen on the DVD SUZUKI AMI AROUND THE WORLD~LIVE HOUSE TOUR 2005~.


In 2006, Marty, with vocalist and lyricist Clair (クレア), composed and recorded an ending theme song for the show Rockman.EXE Beast (ロックマン エグゼ BEAST) (known in the US as MegaMan NT Warrior BEAST). Clair is really cool and worked with Jackie Chan on landmine reform.


In early 2007, Marty colaborated with j-pop artist KOTOKO (ことこ) on the single Kirei na Senritsu. Marty wrote the music and played guitar on the track. The song is the new ending theme for the shōjo anime Maria-sama ga Miteru (マリア様がみてる), by mangaka Konno Oyuki (今野 緒雪), who also wrote the song's lyrics. The song will appear on the Maria-sama ga Miteru 3rd Season OVA Soundtrack (マリア様がみてる3rdシーズンOVA サウンドトラック).

Kitade Nana

In 2007, Marty went to work on Kitade Nana's (北出 菜奈's) album BERRY BERRY SINGLES. The album is a collection of Nana's hit singles, but also features a few new tracks, which Marty produced in addition to playing guitar on.

Career on Japanese televisionEdit


Heavy Metal-san means "Mr. Heavy Metal" in English.


Marty guest stars on the late night variety / cooking show Chubaw Desuyo.

In 2005, Friedman co-hosted the show "Heavy Metal-san" alongside gravure idol Kumada Yōko (熊田曜子), Ayugai Ken (鮎貝健), and Hisatake Yorimasa (久武頼正). The show, a music variety show that aired at 25:00 Tuesday nights, featured actors and models talking about music, and guest musicians (including foreigners touring Japan) who would be pitted against the hosts in metal-centric games. Marty was originally the first episode's guest star, but after the producers saw his chemistry with the other hosts and his popularity with the viewers, he was asked to stay on.

The show was astonishingly successful, and after the show's original six-month contract was up, the station decided to revive the show in a form that could represent a wider variety of music and run for longer. This new show, "ROCK FUJIYAMA", was a more colorful, more upbeat version of its predecessor, and featured, in addition to the old hosts, guitarist Rolly Teranishi. Notable guests on the show include Paul Gilbert, Kerry King, Andrew W. K., Dragonforce, The BEAT CRUSADERS, and Aikawa Nanase.

In addition to these two shows, Marty hosts a number of other weekly television shows. Here is a partial list:

Marty is also a regular special guest on many shows, including:

And he is featured in advertising campaigns for Mitsubishi, cell phone company AU, beverage company Suntory, and the Japan Iron and Steel Federation (because he is associated with metal).

Marty has also been cast in the upcoming film グーグーだって猫である (which means "because the cat snores") alongside Koizumi Kyôko (小泉今日子), Ueno Juri (上野樹里), Kase Ryō (加瀬亮), Matsubara Chieko (松原智恵子), and Hayashi Naojirou (林直次郎).


  1. For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Marty "Maati" Friedman.
  2. His name is Marty Friedman. That sounds like a reliable source to me.
  3. "Visit Japan in the fourth year. Broadly active in Tokyo." -Marty's official website.
  4. I am scales and so can you!
  5. Energetic and passionate
  6. "The misconception about me is that I know technical stuff." -Marty
  8. From the bastions, in the deepest fathoms of the sea, came spewing forth in a cloud of volcanic ash and raining fire, a structure of molten rock forming ONE NATION UNDERGROUND
  9. There were fears that this talented virtuoso would land in a pop rock band wasting his talent.
  10. "I'm not saying that we will have another guitar tech there who is going to take over Marty's gig..." -Dave Mustaine
  12. It's an honor just to be nominated seven times
  13. "Remember the reason that Marty is not in Megadeth anymore: he wanted to be in a pop band with a female singer in Japan. He quit." - Dave Mustaine
  14. But would you trust a source that lists his fifth solo album as his debut?