MARTY FRIEDMAN On The Possibility Of Him Rejoining MEGADETH: 'I Don't Think That's Realistic'

May 1, 2024

In a new interview with Finland's Chaoszine, ex-MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman was asked what it was like to rejoin his former band twice on stage in six months last year — first in February 2023 at Tokyo, Japan's famed Budokan and then in early August 2023 at the Wacken Open Air festival in Wacken, Germany. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Oh, it was fantastic. Budokan was the one thing that was kind of like unfinished business within the relationship between me and Dave [Mustaine, MEGADETH leader], which has always been fantastic and still is. But there was just that one little thing that was there that was just kind of left hanging there. And Dave was so gracious to invite me to play at the Budokan in Japan, and it was just a great, great way to tie things up — wonderful for me, wonderful for the band. But the fans, watching the fans who were there that night, it was just really something special, something unusual. The look of the fans was different from a normal show. People were in disbelief, and people were laughing and crying and big smiles and it was just kind of a really special event and I'm really glad that it happened."

As for the Wacken show, Marty said: "That was kind of more coincidental because MEGADETH was playing there and I was playing there on — I forgot who [played the festival] first, [if I played] the day before the day after — but we were both in the same place, and [we said], 'Let's do it again.' And it was a thrill there as well."

He added: "I'm just the biggest fan of those guys, ans anytime they ask me to play, I'm happy to do it. And I just wish them all the best with their lineup that they've got now and I'm glad to see them kicking ass."

The interviewer then noted that former MEGADETH guitarist Kiko Loureiro suggested in an interview that he would have liked Friedman to rejoin MEGADETH after Kiko exited the group last fall. Asked if he was actually approached about coming back to MEGADETH when Kiko decided to leave the band, Marty said: "No, and I don't think that's realistic. I don't know anything about it. I don't think Dave would think that I would be a candidate to join the band, or rejoin the band, and it's certainly not something that I thought of. I think they're absolutely doing just fine the way they are."

On the topic of MEGADETH's current guitarist Teemu Mäntysaari, who officially joined the band in November, Friedman said: "I met him for a moment at Wacken. [He] seemed like a very cool guy, and I wish him nothing but the best. He's gonna have a good time with those guys."

When the interviewer asked for more details about Friedman's meeting with Mäntysaari, pointing out that Marty is one of Teemu's "biggest influences", Marty said: "I really didn't have too much time to chat with him very much, because at the time Kiko was still in the band and he was there just kind of watching everything and just kind of being a fly on the wall and watching how the band does its business. He was a very polite, cool guy. And, unfortunately, I didn't get to see him play there. Yeah, I didn't really know what was going on in the band, but I just was there to do my show and hooked up with them for a show and he was there. And next thing you know, he's in the band. So all the best to him."

He continued: "I'm glad to hear he's a fan of mine because that's gonna help in MEGADETH. One of the things I remember about being in the band was it was really difficult for me to play the other guitar players' guitar work. Luckily, when I was in the band, they only had like three albums out before I joined the band. But it was very, very difficult for me to even try to play Chris Poland's stuff, and I was not suited for that at all. So, if the new guy is familiar with my stuff, it's gonna make his life a lot easier, and hopefully he'll put his own stamp on things and he'll make a whole lot of new fans too."

Mäntysaari was welcomed into MEGADETH after first temporarily filling in for Loureiro.

Earlier this year, Kiko told Guitar World magazine about whom he wanted as his replacement in MEGADETH: "Actually, I even mentioned to management and Dave that I thought bringing Marty Friedman back would be amazing. I have no idea if they're talking about it or talking to him, but I did say that. But again, I have no idea beyond that, and I don't want to make anything more complicated."

Loureiro went on to say that he was warmly embraced by MEGADETH fans during his nine-year stint with the group.

"The fans never said anything bad about me or complained, which was amazing," he said. "But I'm a fan, and I always understood that Marty was a part of those iconic albums like 'Rust In Peace' and 'Countdown To Extinction'. I understood that Marty was the guy who helped create that sound and style, you know? From the moment I joined MEGADETH, I knew the fans could show me love, but I would never win their hearts over Marty."

The 37-year-old Mäntysaari, who was scouted and selected by Loureiro for MEGADETH, was born in Tampere, Finland and began playing guitar at the age of 12. In 2004, he joined the band WINTERSUN. He has also been a member of SMACKBOUND since 2015.

Loureiro officially joined MEGADETH in April 2015, about five months after Chris Broderick's exit from the group.

At last year's Wacken Open Air, Marty performed four songs with MEGADETH: "Trust", "Tornado Of Souls", "Symphony Of Destruction" and "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due".

At Budokan, Friedman came up on stage for three songs toward the end of MEGADETH's main set: "Countdown To Extinction", "Tornado Of Souls" and "Symphony Of Destruction".

Four 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 Mustaine and then-bassist David Ellefson at the 2015 NAMM show in Anaheim, California to discuss the reunion, which would have seen him and drummer Nick 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."

Find more on Megadeth
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).