Ex-MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman took part in a soundcheck with his former band ahead of the Dave Mustaine-fronted outfit's first-ever gig at Tokyo, Japan's famed Budokan. Friedman will come up on stage for three songs during the show's encore. Check out photos below.
Asked how he was approached to play with MEGADETH at Budokan, Marty told Jonathan Montenegro's "My 3 Questions To": "Really about as simple as any approach could possibly be. Dave said, 'We're playing in Japan in February. You wanna jam?' And I'm, like, 'Sure.' And that was really it. I mean, it's really something that simple. So, I wish I had a more detailed answer for you, but that's about it."
Asked if he as a favorite MEGADETH album from his time with the band, Marty said: "If you would have asked me at the time that I was in MEGADETH, I would have definitely whatever album we were working on at the time, because I can tell you with a hundred percent certainty that anything that we did when I was in the band was a complete effort to do our absolute best, and when it was finished and we all thought it was done, we signed off on it and we knew it was the best album that we could make and it was really what represented us at that period of time. Now, looking back over all these years, I haven't really heard everything in the details that I've listened to it when I was in the band, but I would probably say that my favorite record is somewhere between 'Rust In Peace' and 'Countdown [To Extinction]'. But my favorite period of time in the band was probably 'Youthanasia' and 'Cryptic Writings'.
"With this MEGADETH thing coming up, it's really kind of forced me to think about MEGADETH stuff, and it's been a while, and it's kind of fun looking back through all this stuff," Friedman added.
The Budokan concert, which will be livestreamed on February 27 and available on demand for a couple of days after, will mark the first time in more than two decades Friedman has shared a stage with the group.
On February 14, Friedman released a video message in which he said: "What's up, everybody? This is Marty Friedman here. Just a quick announcement to let you all know that I'm gonna be joining my good friends in MEGADETH on stage at the Budokan in Tokyo on February 27th.
"It's been a real long time since I've been on the same stage with Dave Mustaine making music, and we've both taken severely different paths in our life since then," he continued. "But that doesn't change the fact that I'm so extremely proud of the part that I played in MEGADETH's history and MEGADETH's legacy, and I'm also very, very proud of the achievements that the band has done in my absence. But for right now, at this moment, I just feel immense joy and serious adrenaline to look forward to playing together at this very, very cool place. So I just really wish you could be there, and I hope to see you soon."
Mustaine told Rolling Stone about reuniting with Friedman at the Tokyo cpncert: "When Marty said, 'Hey, I can play at this gig,' I thought, 'This is so magnificent.' It's gonna be so much fun to get Kiko [Loureiro, current MEGADETH guitarist] and Marty together, because they're both geniuses on guitar. So this is like a gigantic birthday and Christmas present for me."
Mustaine continued: "We haven't been to Japan in a long time. I thought that inviting Marty was just a very thoughtful thing to do. MEGADETH has not been a band has had a lot of guest appearances from other players. We are not a jam band. I asked Kiko how he felt about this, and Kiko is completely confident in his guitar playing.
"This is not like when THE POLICE handed their instruments to U2 to pass the torch," he added. "This is doing something really grateful to the Japanese audience. We want it to be a gift. So everybody who bought that ticket before today, you're welcome. … I'm really looking forward to this moment. It's gonna be great."
Three 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."