MARTY FRIEDMAN Loved METALLICA From Moment He Heard 'No Life 'Til Leather' Demo

January 1, 2021

Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman was recently interviewed on "Speak N' Destroy", a podcast about all things METALLICA, hosted by longtime journalist and METALLICA fan Ryan J. Downey. During the lengthy chat, Friedman talks about discovering KISS, his formative bands in Hawaii, hearing the METALLICA demo "No Life 'Til Leather", the albums "Kill 'Em All", "Ride The Lightning" and "Master Of Puppets", the behind-the-scenes similarities between MEGADETH and METALLICA, what makes "Enter Sandman" and "Through The Never" so hilarious to the Japanese public.

"When I heard the METALLICA demo, [I thought], 'This is it. These are the guys. It sounds like punk rock, but it sounds like metal, and it just kills. This is it,'" Friedman recalled. "I remember I just loved that demo a lot. I don't remember if I heard the demo before I got involved with [the] 'Metal Massacre [II]' [compilation with my band ALOHA in 1982] or not, but it was probably right around that time. And I just thought they were the shit."

"Nothing was more underground than METALLICA at that time, and they were just doing underground better than anybody else at the time, or at least more in my particular taste," he continued. "So I was just blown away [when METALLICA got a record deal and released 'Kill 'Em All']. I was shocked, I was happy, I was a bit jealous. Because up until that point, we were kind of in the same circles. We'd be in the same little Xeroxed fanzines and stuff, and there'd be a review of a METALLICA demo and then there'd be a review of a VIXEN demo [Marty's pre-ALOHA band] and kind of in the same thing. I did know that I thought they were just so much cooler than the bands I was making, but I didn't see it coming that they were gonna get a record [deal] and have the record sound that good and look that good and just be that cool right at that point. So I was blown away and just stoked that the world was ready to start accepting some heavy metal music, for better or for worse."

Speaking about the differences between "No Life 'Til Leather" and "Kill 'Em All", Marty said: "I just remember sonically, the record sounded a little better, but I thought that I liked the demo a little bit better, for whatever reason. These are intangible things. You live with something, and then you hear a different version. And I was, like, 'Well, I'll go back to the original.' 'Cause I just loved the demo. I thought the album did it justice, and if I had not heard the demo before I heard the album, I would have loved the album just as much. But I wasn't disappointed. I thought it was a great version of it."

Friedman also talked about METALLICA's musical evolution between "Kill 'Em All" and "Ride The Lightning", saying: "[I was] really, really extremely impressed that the album, first of all, a second album came out, third of all, it was on a major label, and fourth of all, it was fucking heavier than 'Kill 'Em All' — let's just fucking call a spade a spade. I mean, the album opens with 'Fight Fire With Fire'. There was nothing heavier than that at the time, so you've gotta allow them a ballad somewhere in there. It was by far the heaviest thing Elektra had ever considered releasing. It was a major, major cool thing. A couple of people were saying, yeah, they sold out, but whatever. The album was fantastic. It was just, like, wow, metal is gonna be in the mainstream, and it's not gonna be shitty metal; it's gonna be great metal. So it was very, very inspiring."

Marty's latest solo album, Tokyo Jukebox 3", was released in October in Japan. According to Billboard, the LP features Marty's cover versions of a wide variety of pop songs, including such contemporary numbers as LiSA's "Gurenge" and OFFICIAL HIGE DANDISM's "Shukumei", along with DA PUMP's dance track "U.S.A.", END OF THE WORLD's ballad "Sazanka", and the vocaloid hit "Senbonzakura Feat. Hatsune Miku". Some throwback J-pop hits from the '90s are included on the set as well, such as ZARD's "Makenaide" and EVERY LITTLE THING's "Time Goes By".

As previously reported, Marty's long-awaited documentary, titled "Spacefox", will tentatively arrive in 2021. The film, which is being directed by Jeremy Frindel, the founder of Substratum Films, follows Friedman's reinvention from lead guitarist in MEGADETH to one of the most famous TV personalities in Japan.

Friedman's latest live record, "One Bad M.F. Live!!", came out in October 2018. The album was recorded in Mexico City on April 14, 2018 during the final concert of Friedman's world tour in support of "Wall Of Sound".

"Wall Of Sound" was released in August 2017 via Prosthetic Records.

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