Marty Friedman Shares Honest Opinion on Kiko Loureiro, Names Most Challenging Thing About Recent Megadeth Reunion

Guitar legend Marty Friedman recently got into the spotlight once again after getting back together with Dave Mustaine and Megadeth for one performance in Japan. Taking place at the Budokan Arena in Tokyo on February 27, the concert featured Friedman joining Megadeth for three songs, “Countdown to Extinction”, “Tornado of Souls”, and “Symphony of Destruction.”

In a new interview with Guitar World, Marty Friedman looked back at this performance, explaining what it was like to be back with Dave in Megadeth once again. Asked about what was the most challenging thing about this performance, he replied:

“It was less challenging and more like that innocent and pleasant anxious feeling you might get when getting ready to go out with a drop-dead stunner. If there was any challenge at all, I guess it would be playing the solos the way the fans remember them, which is something I wanted to do.

MEGADETH & Marty Friedman Live at Budokan Tokyo Japan 2023

“My playing has evolved so much since those songs came out, and there are so many nuances I would naturally do differently now. I had to resist the urge to play it like I would in 2023 and stick to the original way.”

“For example, in a couple of those songs, I entered the solo on the downbeat, with the first note being the root of the chord. I would definitely avoid both of those things now, but apparently, I was fine with it back then!

Of course, Megadeth now features Kiko Loureiro who’s widely accepted as one of the most proficient guitar players in metal music today. With Friedman and Kiko sharing the stage, the audience witnessed quite a spectacle.

Asked about how he approached his lead parts knowing that Megadeth’s current lead guitar player was on the stage as well, Marty replied:

“Kiko was kind enough to mirror Dave’s parts, so for me, it was very much like it was when I was in the band, only with the rhythms in stereo. He did come up with some neat harmonies to some of my lines in ‘Countdown to Extinction.'”

And it’s only obvious that Marty was going to weigh in on Kiko’s skills. When asked about how he compares to Kiko, Friedman replied that he can’t exactly compare guitar players but he did share a few thoughts on his colleague’s musicianship:

“I’m not so great at comparing guitarists, but I can tell you that Kiko is a wonderful player with a wide variety of brilliant techniques and an incredibly versatile musical sense under his belt. I think he brings something fantastic and important to the band. I think we both have an interest in ‘gypsy’ motifs in common, but we construct melodies in a different way. I like his playing a lot.”

We'll Be Back Megadeth - Practicing at Home

Recently, Marty Friedman got the chance to kick off his US tour, the first one about four years. He opened for Queensrÿche and also shared the stage with Trauma. Asked to compare playing in the US and Japan, he replied:

“The main thing that comes to mind is the fact that there are a lot more places to play. Most of the time, when bands come to Japan, they’ll do three cities: Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. And then maybe they’ll do two more cities like Sendai, Fukuoka, and maybe one other city or something, but rarely more than six shows.

“I’ve been lucky. I did a 25-show tour a while ago, and we just did 17 cities a couple of months ago, so we’ve been fortunate to play in some out-of-the-way areas and the big cities. But there are so many more places to play in America, so we’ll be there for something like 45 days.”

MARTY FRIEDMAN - MIRACLE (Official Video)

Asked whether he feels pressure to play more metal-oriented stuff with his band while sharing the bill with these two bands, Marty replied:

“For that style of music, I feel like no matter who we play with it really has zero influence on what we do. I feel more of a personal connection to those people because Queensrÿche came up around the same time I did.”

“We started with the same roots and were in the same fanzines during a time when heavy metal was still not very popular. They came into their own, and I carved out my own path, so I would assume it would be more of a personal connection than a musical one. What we’re doing now is kind of unrelated.”

In another recent interview, Marty Friedman also discussed playing with Megadeth this February. Reflecting on the performance, he said:

“It was just like a perfect exclamation point on everything that we had done together up until this point. You couldn’t have written a better way for the whole thing to play out. It was just perfect timing, just a very natural and organic way to do it.”

“Dave just said, ‘Hey, we’re playing Budokan. Do you want to play?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah!’ And it was one day before I go to tour America – which I’m leaving today [Friedman will be supporting Queensrÿche and headlining his own shows].”

Marty Friedman - Tornado Of Souls (Warchest DVDRIP).flv

“The timing was perfect. Budokan is like 20 minutes from where I live and everything has been good between me and Dave for as long as I can remember. When he brought it up to me, it just seemed like such a perfect ‘Yes. Let’s just do it. Let’s destroy it.’ It was great.”

“They had one show at a different venue — kind of on the outskirts of Tokyo. So, I went to that venue and rehearsed with them at the soundcheck for that show.“

“It was interesting, because when Dave and I talked about the songs that we were going to do, we both agreed that ‘Countdown’ would be great – because the intro has got a bass solo in the introduction, and that would be great time to introduce me. And I thought, ‘That’s a great idea.’”

Countdown To Extinction (Remastered/2012)

“But I sort of forgot we never really played that song when I was in the band. It was kind of like… a sleeper track — even though it was the title track of an album.“

“I tried to find something online, and apparently, we did play it when I was in the band — there was some footage of us playing it in Osaka. So, I guess we played it, but it definitely wasn’t a staple setlist song. I learned it from the video – from the mid-‘90s.”

“But then when I got to rehearse with the band now, none of the guys [in addition to Mustaine, the current Megadeth lineup includes guitarist Kiko Loureiro, bassist James LoMenzo, and drummer Dirk Verbeuren] in the band had played this song before!“

Can Marty Friedman still play his own solo? Megadeth Reunion

“Despite that, it sounded like they’d been playing it for years. The band is just so tight, and they’re firing on all cylinders, and so talented. So, you’d never know it was not a ‘normal setlist song.’ It was just for the Budokan show. So, I was impressed with how well the band adapted to playing a brand new song.”

Photos: Shadowgate (Marty Friedman 25), Ralph Arvesen (Megadeth performing in San Antonio, Texas (27457597146))

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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