Former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman has completed recording his new solo album.
On Sunday (December 10),Marty took to his social media to share a photo of him laying down a solo at a studio in Italy, and he included the following message: “I just finished all the tracking for my new album. This time I did my normal guitar recording in Japan, and then came here to Italy for two weeks to record with all vintage guitars and amps. Can’t wait to share this music with you.”
During the question-and-answer portion of last month’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp‘s “Metalmania III” in Los Angeles, Friedman spoke about his upcoming solo album. He said: “I’ve got 15 solo albums now, and each time I try to do something new and something I’ve never done before. I don’t want ever to be heard as one of those guys, ‘Ah, his early albums were great.’ You know what I mean? I used to say that about my favorite guitarists — sadly — and I never wanted that to be said about me. So I’m always challenging myself on new stuff. On this new album that I’m about 70 percent done with, the closest thing I can relate it to is an album I had called ‘Scenes’ , which I released quite a while ago. It was very dramatic and orchestral, and there was a lot of other type of instruments — violins, cellos and all that type of stuff. So it’s more of a dramatic, orchestral concept. But everything that I’ve learned since that ‘Scenes’ album has just exponentially grown, so it’s a much bigger scale. So if you like that ‘Scenes’ album at all, I think this one will be right up your alley.”
Marty previously talked about his next solo LP in October in an interview with Chris Akin Presents. At the time, he said: “I’ve been recording my upcoming album for almost a year now. And it’s gonna be finished by the end of the year, and it’s gonna come out in the spring of 2024. And boy, it’s an ambitious one. But, of course, I say that every time. But every time I have to top the one that was before it, so the task keeps getting more and more insane. And right now I would say I’m about 75 percent done with that.”
As for some of the other projects he is currently involved with, Marty said: “I’m editing my autobiography, which will come out also next year. And also, I just did the most exhaustive instructional video series for TrueFire — the most exhaustive one they’ve ever done and the most exhaustive one I’ve ever done by far. It’s the deepest dive into just the way I see music, which apparently is not the same as how others see it. Not that it’s better or worse, but it’s just completely different. So for the first time ever, including any of my other instructional things, for the first time ever, I’ve really actually worked hard on it and created this thing. And I did it at the end of the tour, the U.S. tour that I did earlier this year, and now it’s just about finished. [We’re] just putting the last edits on and just about done with that. So, it’s kind of a lot of post-production work at this point.”
Asked what challenges and motivates him to keep pushing forward with his music, Marty said: “I’m not really so much into trying something that I haven’t done for the sake of trying something I haven’t done. I’m trying to impress me with something that I’ve never done before. It’s not like I’m gonna suddenly wake up one day and say, ‘Okay, I’m gonna be a rapper’ or something. I do what I do and I have my musical vision and sound. I just try to do deeper things with it. I try to make more complex emotions, deeper emotions in the music, more interesting, melodic twists and turns, more adventurous things, things that I wasn’t deep enough to do last year or two years ago, or five years ago, things that I couldn’t hear back then, things that I can only hear because life has given me more experiences since then, and, of course, more musical experiences, and just to consciously be aware of stuff that I’ve already done and not repeat it. It’s a natural challenge that I’ve been doing forever, and the hardest part is that blank sheet when I just start from zero. It’s, like, ‘How am I going to top that last thing that I just did? I worked my ass off. I’m completely done. I have nothing left. I’ve got zero.’ And so that’s the challenge. But now that I’m about 70, 80 percent done with this new record, I’m pretty confident with it. And I really am looking forward to letting everybody hear it.”
This past April, Friedman told Justin Hunt of The Entertainment Outlet he “recorded about half” of his upcoming album in the summer of 2022. “I went over to Italy and I recorded about half of an album.”
Regarding what fans can expect from his upcoming LP, Marty said: “I think it’s gonna please a lot of people who liked my album ‘Scenes’, one of my earlier albums. It’s kind of in that vein, but much more modern. And it’s got all the things that I’ve added to my musical — I don’t know how to say it — palette, or what I’m trying to do musically. It’s basically a grown-up version of ‘Scenes’, really, so far. But I haven’t finished it. It’s taking a long time, but, you know, tender love and care. And it’s coming along great.”
Friedman went on to say that his recent U.S. tour as the support act for QUEENSRŸCHE was a “perfect” way to inspire him to complete his new album. He explained: “This tour I’m playing really my most aggressive music with my most aggressive band. And that is perfect for my mentality for writing stuff like ‘Scenes’. That’s how ‘Scenes’ happened in the first place, because I was touring with MEGADETH like a maniac, and I was playing all this really, really heavy stuff every single night, and now I’m doing the exact same thing with my band. And so what I write is the complete opposite. So it’s kind of like a really good creative time. And things are moving along really nice.”
Marty‘s latest album, “Tokyo Jukebox 3”, came out in April 2021 via The Players Club/Mascot Label Group. The record, which was made available in Japan in October 2020, is 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.
I just finished all the tracking for my new album. This time I did my normal guitar recording in Japan, and then came here to Italy for two weeks to record with all vintage guitars and amps. Can’t wait to share this music with you. pic.twitter.com/LUYppSOaoz
— Marty Friedman (@marty_friedman) December 10, 2023
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