MARTY FRIEDMAN Denies Saying He Hoped 'Traditional Guitar Solos' Die 'A Slow And Painful Death': 'I Was Completely Misquoted'

May 6, 2024

Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman has once again clarified his recent comments in which he said that hoped the traditional guitar solo would die "a slow and painful death".

In an interview that was originally conducted in October 2023 and then published in the March 2024 print issue of Guitar World, Marty stated about his approach to soloing: "Usually, the lead guitarist comes in, gets an eight-bar solo, plays a bunch of stupid licks, maybe adds something hot and fancy that will impress, and then they get out. But I'm replacing the vocalist when I'm soloing, meaning I sing with my guitar. So, rather than saying, 'Here's the obligatory eight-bar solo,' if necessary, I'll be selfish because that's exactly what I want instead of a boring old solo."

He added: "I hope the traditional guitar solo dies a slow and painful death. Guitar solos need to be inventive. They need something to keep listeners involved, especially those who are not learning to play and only listen. Because when you're learning to play, you tend to be impressed with anything you can't do, right? And if you're young and just catching the guitar bug, that excitement can be magical. It's, like, 'How do they do that!?' That element is awesome… but it means less than zero in everyone else's eyes."

After the Guitar World interview came out, Friedman claimed that his words were misconstrued, leading him to disavow the original feature via X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and the accompanying news article. In response, Guitar World sought to clear the air by conducting a follow-up interview in which he discussed in depth his feelings about what a guitar solo should be in the 21st century, along with a host of other topics.

Now in a new interview with Guitar Interactive magazine, Friedman clarified his views further, saying that: "Guitar World was very, very gentlemanly in clearing the whole entire thing up.

"As you know, what happens in this crazy world is you could be doing an interview about something that's very important to you, a project that you worked really hard on — I don't remember what the interview was; it might've been talking about this album — and in just absolutely a random comment taken completely out of context, that's the headline.

"If the subject was just talking about guitar solos, I wouldn't have taken the time out of the day to do the interview in the first place," he explained. "It's not a topic.

"Stuff getting taken out of context is one thing — there's nothing to do about that — but in this case, I was completely misquoted. I did not say those things that you're talking about. And we got down to the bottom of the issue, and it was apparently whatever I said was recorded and transcribed electronically, not by hand, and all kinds of things that I didn't say, a couple words were twisted, making the meanings exactly the opposite of what I said. I usually don't care about that stuff, but in this case, it made me look like a very negative person. So I actually took the energy to call them out, call Guitar World out on this, and they were very, very cool about, doing something to clear it up for everybody. So I was impressed by them. Everybody was cool. Everything is cool.

"To clear up the whole thing, I've always been — I'm a walking freaking guitar solo, so I definitely don't want it to die any kind of death," Marty added. "The closest thing to that comment is I always want to see a new and unique presentation and interpretation of guitar solos — different structures, different melodic motifs, different placements in the songs, different tonalities, different sounds, stuff that's gonna keep the guitar solo fresh.

"Guitars are gonna live forever for the main reason is 'cause they're just so damn fun to play. Whether they're trendy in the top 10 of the chart or not, it doesn't matter because people are gonna always wanna play this thing that's so fun. And you can feel the progress and you can feel yourself expressing yourself through this instrument. It's never gonna go away. But it is gonna go in and out of fashion in the charts, but it's never gonna go away. So the point is, for it to come back into fashion, more innovative things have to keep happening. And I just hope that that happens because the more that guitar solos are in fashion, the more us players of guitar solos will be faced with having to do more innovative things, and the whole thing will just be better and better. So that's what I was trying to say, but it was probably just a two-, three-line comment in a whole other interview about something completely unrelated. So that's the end of that, really."

Marty's new solo album, "Drama", will be released on May 17 via Frontiers Music Srl.

Friedman's presence in the world of music, the world of guitar and Japanese pop culture is mystifying, bizarre, and nothing short of inspiring. His first major impact in music was in the game-changing guitar duo CACOPHONY, which he founded with equally enigmatic and now-legendary guitarist Jason Becker. He then spent 10 years as lead guitarist in the genre-defining thrash metal act MEGADETH before moving to Tokyo due to his love for Japanese music, language, and culture.

Following his move, he landed a starring role for a new TV comedy "Hebimeta-san" ("Mr. Heavy Metal") and its spinoff, "Rock Fujiyama", which ran for six seasons and propelled him into the living rooms of Japan's mainstream. He has since appeared in over 800 TV shows, movies and commercials, including a two-year campaign with Coca-Cola for Fanta, authored two best-selling novels and was the first-ever foreigner to be appointed as an ambassador of Japan heritage and perform at the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Marathon in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022.

At the same time, Marty has continued his career in music with several solo albums in addition to writing and performing with the top artists in Japanese music, racking up countless chart hits, including a No. 1 with SMAP, two No. 2 songs with MOMOIRO CLOVER, a No. 2 with SOUND HORIZON — just to name a few.

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