MARTY FRIEDMAN: Why I Never Wear Rings When I Play Guitar
September 14, 2023
In a new interview with Monsters, Madness And Magic, former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman was asked if there is a music teacher that comes to his mind that gave him maybe a specific piece of "aha" advice early on. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I only really had one teacher. But he gave me some pretty funky advice that I still remember… My teacher once said… I came to my lesson wearing a ring. 'What the fuck you wearing a ring for? That looks like you've just been raiding your mother's jewelry box.' I never forgot that. And because of that, I never wore rings when I played. You know why? Because he was right. I took it out of my mom's jewelry box. I saw all these rock musicians with rings and shit. And I'm, like, 'Wow, I'm gonna show up to my lesson with a ring.' And so I never forgot that [and] never wore rings after that. And then another thing he said, which, thankfully, I didn't take this advice, he says, 'Every time you complete an exercise properly, reward yourself with a bong hit.' And I'm, like, 'Yeah, that's a great idea.' And I did it for a while. I'm, like, you get a lot done, but you don't remember anything that you got done."
Friedman, who has been living and recording music 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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