Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman has admitted that money was a major motivator for him when he was approached about taking part in a reunion of the band's "Rust In Peace" lineup more than five years ago.
The opportunity for MEGADETH's most celebrated lineup to regroup arose following the departures of guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover in 2014.
Friedman had met with mainman Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson at the 2015 NAMM show in Anaheim, California to discuss a reunion of the "Rust In Peace" lineup, which would have seen him and drummer Nick Menza back in the mix.
Friedman, who moved from America to Japan in 2003, opened up about about his reasons for turning down the MEGADETH reunion in Mustaine's new 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."
Menza was approached by Mustaine and Ellefson to replace Drover at the end of 2014, and he started working out new tracks with the band. But the plan collapsed after he was offered a contract he described as "very unfair." A year and a half later, in May 2016, Nick died after suffering a heart attack during a concert with OHM: at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California.
"Rust In Peace: The Inside Story Of The Megadeth Masterpiece" was released on September 8 via Hachette Books.