Everyone's Replaceable

Marty Friedman on Possibly Re-Joining Megadeth in the Future: “I Would Consider it Now.”


Marty_Friedman_13As I’ve talked about in this space plenty of times since, last summer MetalGF and I took a trip to Japan where we spent a day with Marty Friedman, the end result of which was a piece I wrote about the experience for Rolling Stone.

That piece’s focus was Marty’s musical work in Japan — where he’s been living for over a decade — and his latest solo album Inferno. We chatted briefly about Megadeth, but Marty seemed thoroughly uninterested in talking about his past, and even more uninterested in re-living it via any kind of nostalgic reunion. It was a non-starter. His career in Japan as a musician and national celebrity was going beyond well; why take a step back?

Which is why I was pretty surprised to see the following quote this morning from Marty’s appearance on the Metal Brainiac Podcast [transcribed by Blabbermouth] on whether or not he’d ever consider returning to Megadeth:

Well, you know, for the longest time, it was just the farthest thing from my mind ever. Ever since I did Inferno, I’ve done so much stuff in America than I’d never done before, and then I started to really get a grip on what people think of Megadeth’s stuff that I did. And I hadn’t forgotten about it, but I really had no idea the kind of impact and the enthusiasm that the fans of that era actually have. I’d never really seen it with my eyes, because I kind of got sidetracked so deeply in Japan… I was kind of oblivious about the long-lasting effect, and the record company [Prosthetic Records] definitely told me… Of course, it sounds like they’re blowing sunshine up my skirt. But they really said, ‘Look, some of the stuff that you did with them is really legendary, and people really have embraced it.’ So doing promotion for Inferno, when that came out, I got to kind of feel firsthand that people really, really love it. And as much as I don’t really like to think nostalgically and go back and redo something that I’ve already done, I considered it, and I would still consider something — like an event with Megadeth — because the fans would love it; for no other reason than that. But the main ‘but’ is it has to be done absolutely right. It has to be done really cool, really special, really well, well organized. Everybody has to be on their shit. They have to look great, play great. The thing has to be conceptually great, the staff has to be really fantastic, and management, and it has to be done a thousand percent proper in every possible way, or it just is not gonna be done. When that day happens, I’ll be happy to listen to an offer. And I’m still in great friendship with everybody in the band. So it could happen. But it’s certainly not at the top of the list of anything that I would do. I would never consider it before, but I would consider it now, only because I’m hearing firsthand what people think in America of it.

That’s a markedly different tone than he’s struck over the past year ever since the Inferno promo cycle started. But here’s the thing: when Marty says he didn’t realize the kind of impact his work in Megadeth had on American audiences he’s telling the truth. He’s been so ensconced in Japan’s own music industry — which he told me accounts for roughly 80% of all music consumed by the Japanese — and so little time paying attention to anything in America at all, that it’s not a stretch to see how he would be completely oblivious to Megadeth’s lasting legacy and relevance. Now, having seen it first hand after the release of Inferno, he’s got a different perspective: he sees that Megadeth aren’t a lumbering, old, nostalgic beast (for the most part), but still a vital part of the American metal scene. And that people appreciate his work with the band not just as nostalgia but on its own merit.

So does that mean a reunion with Friedman is gonna happen? Not likely, or at least not any time soon. Dave Mustaine’s got Kiko Loureiro filling the guitar slot now, an album’s in the can, and a two-year promo and touring cycle is just about to kick off. It’s hard to see Mustaine booting Loureiro right now, even for Friedman. And the likelihood of a one-off “live event” like Friedman is describing seems pretty low. PLUS I still don’t see Friedman leaving his career in Japan behind.

Still, it’s fun to think about. It really is what the fans want. Maybe someday it’ll happen.

Marty Friedman is touring America for the first time in over a decade this fall. Get dates here.

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