MARTY FRIEDMAN Explains Why He 'Failed Miserably' During His OZZY OSBOURNE Audition

November 25, 2023

During the question-and-answer portion of this month's Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp's "Metalmania III" in Los Angeles, Marty Friedman reflected on his audition for Ozzy Osbourne's band back in the late 1980s. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET; video by TheSilverdude): "I failed miserably. I think it was probably because of the way I looked.

"I actually got a call from Sharon Osbourne way, way back, and I was living in San Francisco, and they said, 'We'd like to fly you down to audition for Ozzy,'" he continued. "And I'm, like, 'Oh my god. This is great.' I was practically homeless at the time, living with my then-girlfriend and dealing with the rent and all that stuff, as California rock musicians do. And I was so happy to get the call. So I learned the music, went down to L.A. — they flew me down to L. A. to play with the band. And it was, I guess, the guys who were in the band at the time. And I thought I played everything absolutely just fine, and I thought it sounded great. Everybody was friendly enough. But our images were very different. Those guys in the band were, like — it was just like a rehearsal, and they were totally decked out in 1980s Sunset Strip — what do you call it? — skull t-shirts with handcuffs and long necklaces. And they were just ready to go out on the Strip, and I was just in jeans and a t-shirt, totally normal. I just thought that… It was just a different air. It wasn't like these three guys are gonna get together and jell, even though it sounded fine, I thought. I mean, I thought I played everything correctly."

Marty added: "Being in a band is so much more than the playing. And, actually, the playing is kind of down on the list. If you have the same kind of vibe with the people, you can just kind of smell it: 'This is the guy I wanna hang out with.' And it was different on that level… They smelled like L.A. and I smelled like San Francisco, which was a different smell. Neither of us smelled very good. But they were cool. Everybody played everything great. They were auditioning thousands of guys. So I didn't get it.

"A band is just… it's like more of the personalities between the people. Because there's so many great players who can play every gig, you know what I mean? It's really about who do you wanna hang out with? I would have loved to have got the gig, but they were probably just getting ready to go back out drinking, and I'm not a very big drinker, so it wouldn't have jelled so well. But at the time I was, like, 'Oh, I played it perfectly. Why didn't they call me back?' But I get it [now]."

The 60-year-old Friedman, who has lived in Japan since 2003, played his first U.S. show in four years on March 3 at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida as support act for QUEENSRŸCHE. Marty performed on more than two dozen dates with QUEENSRŸCHE, running through April 16, where the tour wrapped up in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Marty's "Tokyo Jukebox 3" album received a North American release in April 2021 via The Players Club/Mascot Label Group. The record, which was made available in Japan in October 2020, was the third in a series that began with "Tokyo Jukebox" in 2009, and then "Tokyo Jukebox 2" following in 2011. The trilogy presents Friedman's inspired performances to Japanese repertoire he's chosen to cover.

Marty'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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