DAVE MUSTAINE: MARTY FRIEDMAN Is 'The Only' Ex-MEGADETH Member Who Has 'Ever Done Anything Significant'

June 23, 2023

In a new interview with Oran O'Beirne of Bloodstock TV, Dave Mustaine reflected on MEGADETH's special performance four months ago when he and his bandmates were joined by ex-MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman during the group's first-ever gig at Tokyo, Japan's famed Budokan. Friedman came up on stage for three songs toward the end of the main set on February 27: "Countdown To Extinction", "Tornado Of Souls" and "Symphony Of Destruction".

Asked if Marty's appearance with MEGADETH at Budokan felt like no time had passed since Friedman's departure 23 years ago, Dave said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It did have a lot of those emotions. It did feel like it was the good old days. Also, Marty has made quite a name for himself on his own since then. Of all of the ex-bandmembers of MEGADETH, Marty seems to be the only one that's ever amounted to anything. No offense to the other guys — that's how the facts are. If you look at their sales and stuff, Marty's the only one that's ever done anything significant. And to be able to go over and visit him in his world… It was neat to see him out of his environment. Plus, when he came in, he was very suggestive on some things to make the show really smooth. And he wanted to go over all the songs that we were playing several times to make sure everything was just really shit-hot. And, of course, Marty being in Marty fashion, he got out there and he mesmerized us all, me included. I found it kind of hard to watch him and do my job at the same time, but I very much wanted to just sit there and watch Kiko [Loureiro, current MEGADETH guitarist] and Marty play together, because they two are some of the greatest guitar players in hard rock and heavy metal right now, and to watch the two of them play together was remarkable."

Last month, Marty told "The Jasta Show" that the three songs that were chosen for him to perform with MEGADETH at Budokan were selected in an "organic" way. "It was like two buds in high school talking about, 'Let's go jam.' It was so incredibly casual. And I think that's the way it should be, really," he said. "And we just talked about a couple of songs. I wanted to do two songs, and then Dave says, 'Why don't we do another song?' And I'm, like, 'Okay. That's great.' Yeah, so we did the songs that we did, and there was no real rhyme and reason to which songs we did. But it turned out just fine and we enjoyed the hell out of it."

Friedman also shot down speculation that there was bad blood between him and Mustaine in the two decades since they parted ways. "The funny thing is there was really nothing between us ever in the time that we weren't playing together," he said. "And if there was, it was kind of like things that media kind of like… You know how they do these days — they'll take something that could possibly look negative out of, like, a two-hour interview, and that'll be the headline. There was never anything between us in the first place. If either of us e-mailed each other, it would be totally casual. So it wasn't unusual to hear from Dave and say, 'Dude, we're playing Budokan. You wanna jam?' It was just completely casual. So there really never was anything — definitely nothing that I know of that was of any kind of juicy, newsworthy arguments between us in the first place. It's boring. But it is what it is."

In April, Friedman told Michael Christopher of Metal Edge magazine that he had no regrets or disappointments about the fact that a proposed reunion of MEGADETH's "Rust In Peace" lineup failed to materialize nearly a decade ago, before the passing of drummer Nick Menza. "I never even thought about that," he said. "I don't even know how to answer the question. In the music business, projects are constantly being pitched and ideas are constantly happening. 'And what about this collaboration? What about that and what about this and what about that?' In Japan as well. There's just so many things that I'm doing.

"The 'Rust In Peace' thing was very interesting, the idea," he continued. "Whatever it took to make that happen wasn't there at the time, so it just didn't happen. But I don't have any regrets at all.

"I don't regret anything that I did in the band," Friedman added. "And I think that what they've done in my absence has been very, very good. I'm their biggest fan and proud of them for continuing to be a force in the kind of music that MEGADETH's set out to make. I mean, that's not easy to do for decades, so I'm proud of them."

Three years ago, Friedman admitted that money was a major motivator for him when he was approached about taking part in a reunion of MEGADETH's "Rust In Peace" lineup.

Friedman had met with guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine and then-bassist David Ellefson at the 2015 NAMM show in Anaheim, California to discuss the reunion, which would have seen him and Menza back in the mix.

Friedman opened up about his reasons for turning down the MEGADETH reunion in Mustaine's latest book, "Rust In Peace: The Inside Story Of The Megadeth Masterpiece", which details the making of the iconic record "Rust In Peace".

"My main thing was I'd be happy to do it, but I'm not going to take less money than I'm already making to do it," Marty said in part.

"I'd been in Japan for more than ten years cultivating a career with solid rewards. I was making money not only for myself but also for my management and staff. My manager has been with me fifteen years.

"Everything was sound and solid professionally, and when the offer came up to all of a sudden join MEGADETH again, as long as I would not be making less money, I was ready to go," he said. "But I was certainly not going to take a loss to join a band that, frankly, at that point, didn't seem like they had too much to offer musically. A couple of members of the band had recently quit, and musically I hadn't heard anything that they've done in a long time. I didn't know about how relevant they continued to be in the music business. It wasn't like MEGADETH was on the tip of people's tongues, at least not in Japan. I had reached the point where people stopped immediately connecting me to MEGADETH and were talking about the things that I had done in Japan."

According to Friedman, part of the reason he turned down the MEGADETH reunion is the fact that the group is largely seen as Mustaine's solo project, with members coming and going every couple of albums.

"Had it been more of a band situation and not such a one-man, Dave Mustaine-main-man party, I might have considered doing it for a little less," Marty said. "But, at the end of the day, MEGADETH is so much Mustaine because that's the way he engineered it. I didn't feel that kind of camaraderie, the four-man diamond, THE BEATLES, KISS, METALLICA. I felt like I would be going out there and tour and it was going to be Mustaine's big success. If I'm going to do that, I'm certainly not going to lose money to do that; I was doing great on my own in Japan."

Mustaine told Loudwire that he was put off by Friedman's financial demands when the topic of a "Rust In Peace" reunion was broached.

"Marty has a really successful career in Japan where he makes quite a lot of money," Dave said. "And this is the part where I thought it was a little weird, where he said he said that he has to pay all his team while he's gone instead of just himself. 'Cause I thought we'll pay you what you're making so that's switching horses in the middle of the river — it's no big deal unless you fall off. And then when we found out that he wanted to sell his merch, his this, his that, his this, his that, then he wanted this crazy amount of money and he wanted to fly first class everywhere. I said to our management, 'I can't deal with this.'"

In a 2016 interview with the "Eddie Trunk Podcast", Mustaine confirmed that MEGADETH didn't hold any rehearsals with Friedman while attempting a reunion of the "Rust In Peace" lineup.

"Marty had sent some e-mails saying, 'Oh, man, you know, the fans have this self-inflated importance of 'Rust In Peace' beyond what it really is. And I was, like, 'Huh?'" Dave said. 'So I didn't know if that was a backhand to the face of the fans or not, but he had basically said that if we were gonna do anything, it had to be better than 'Rust In Peace'. And he sent me over some links to some songs that he thought should be the direction that we were going in, and one of it was this J-Pop band with some Japanese girl singing, and I was, like, 'Uh-uh. This ain't gonna work.' More power to [Marty for being into that stuff]. Do what you want, Marty. He's a great guitar player. But I'm not gonna sing like a Japanese girl."

Photo credit: Gibson

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