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Interview of Marty Friedman by Space
05 June 2003
Interview of Marty Friedman by Space

Q01: Marty, when is the first time you picked up a guitar and played? Who is the person influenced you most? Why?
A: I saw Kiss in concert and I thought they were so cool! I knew that I had to play a guitar so I went out and got one right away.

Q02: Do you remember your first guitar? Do you still keep this guitar?
A: A black Les Paul copy, cheap! I gave it to a friend.

Q03: Since your first band Deuce, then Hawaii, Cacophony, Megadeth, "Red Dye #2", which is your favorite band that you have been in?
A: They all have great things that make them unique so I could not possibly choose one. Deuce was the most 'rock and roll', Hawaii was the most experimental, Cacophony was like being on tour in a glam band, Megadeth was very professional, Red Dye #2 had the best songs of all.

Q04: Sometime your music combines a lot of special scales on the melody and the riff, what influence you to compose music with the oriental and exotic culture?
A: I love the sound of Asian music, maybe because it is exotic to me as I grew up in America where music has little history and is very 'disposable'.

Q05: I remember the Song "Ninja" form Cacophony's first album "Speed Metal symphony", its intro is Japanese music style, I can understand it describes the spirit of Ninja, and another song "Black Cat" from Cacophony's second album "Go Off!", It makes reminds me of a Chinese traditional folk song, why you describe a cat with the Chinese pentatonic scale?
A: I don't know anything about scales, but that melody sure does sound Chinese. I was learning a lot of Chinese music at the time. Chances are I borrowed a bit of what I was learning.

Q06: One Song called "Forbidden City" from your first solo album "Dragon Kiss", does it describe the emperor temple of Chin dynasty?
A: Let's say yes!

Q07: "Thunder March" appears on your 3 solo albums with 3 different versions ,is this song your favorite?
A: No. I like it though. The reason it has been recorded so many times is that I still don't think I have got it right yet. It is a good piece of music and it deserves a good interpretation. Maybe someday.

Q08: The Greek Keyboard player Yanni has played a live concert in the Forbidden City, if you do have a chance, would you like to play concert in the same place?
A: Sure!! Sounds like fun!

Q09: In China and Taiwan, the most famous metal band is "Tang Dynasty" and the most technical guitarist is "Powell Young", they used to combine Chinese Koto and Erhu in the heavy metal music, do you think it is weird?
A: I would like to hear it. I love the erhu, I think that is the instrument that I copied the most on the guitar.

Q10: The Japanese new age master Kitaro produced your second solo album "Scenes" and third album "Introduction", that astounded many people, how do you have this amazing idea and have the chance to work with him?
A: He only produced "Scenes". He is a good friend of mine and we share a unique respect for each other. I would love to work with him again. His "Heaven And Earth" soundtrack is wonderful.

Q11: Why didn't you keep on working with Kitaro on your fourth album "True Obsession"?
A: Different style of music. TO was a hard rock album.

Q12: It is almost been 7 years since you released a solo album,
why it takes so long to release the new album?
A: Doing other things. I only want to make music when it feels right. I am not on a time schedule.

Q13: " Music For Speeding" is your 5th solo instrumental album, is there any difference among the other 4 albums on music style?
A: For better or worse, they are all different. " Music For Speeding" is by far the most adventurous.

Q14: What is your best performance in your music career? And what is the best and unforgettable concert you have seen?
A: I have yet to give my best performance. The most impressive concert I have seen was the Kiss '96 reunion show in NYC. It was like an old friend had risen from the dead to come back and entertain me. Wonderful.

Q15: You used to endorse for Jackson before, but you are endorsed for Ibanez right now, why do you change the endorsement?
A: Jackson is possibly the world's best heavy metal guitar. I needed a guitar with a little more versatility. It's that simple.

Q16: Which brand and what kind of guitar strings you like to use? How about the guitar pick you use? Is any specification?
A: D'Addario 010-052 or 010-046 my pick is a pickboy, fender heavy style.

Q17: After you left Megadeth, you have a new band,"Red Dye #2", Is there any update information of this band?
A: This band disbanded in 2001, but it was a lot of fun and I am still in contact with the members.

Q18: Is any new schedule to release a band album with vocal?
A: Not right now.

Q19: If you want to form a new band, and God give you the power to pick up the musicians as your request, who is your ideal player?
A: Vocal- Joey Ramone
Keyboard- none
Bass- Gene Simmons
Drums- Phil Rudd
Rhythm Guitar- Johnny Ramone/Malcom Young/Keith Scott
Producer- Butch Vig

Q20: You speak and write good Japanese, when you begin to learn the Japanese language? How long?
A: I have been speaking Japanese since Cacophony days.

Q21: Is there any guitarist you think great in this decade?
A: Many, Many, Many!!! The list is too long here, so check out and look up 'marty's faves'. All my fave guitarists are in there!

Q22: There is an Austria guitarist Lanvall from the band Edenbridge, he has 3 solo instrumental albums and the style is similar as your style, Metal meets New Age, and must be influence from you, do you have any comment?
A: I know him. He is a good guy. I met him in Vienna.

Q23: Do you teach guitar in MI Japan? Paul Gilbert is also staying in Tokyo, How often you meet him?
A: I don't teach guitar there, but I do guest seminars in 8 cities every 2 months. I just answer questions, play some guitar and sign autographs. I see Paul every once in a while.

Q24: You are resident in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and you have a TV program in Japan, why you feel so interesting in the Japanese culture?
A: What TV program?? I have always been fascinated with all of Asia. I am in Japan because I can speak the language. I think it would be hard to survive in any country in Asia without a solid understanding of the language.

Q25: Please say something to your fans in Taiwan and China.
A: I hope to see you all soon!!! Enjoy the record!

Thanks so much for your time and the interview, we wish to see you playing soon in Taiwan!