Metal Assault: First of all, let’s talk about the North American release of three of your albums, out of which “Future Addict” and “Bad D.N.A.” are being released Stateside for the first time ever. Why did it take you so long to decide on a North America release for these albums? Were you just waiting for the right record deal?
Marty: As much as I wanted everyone in the U.S. to hear my latest music, I was in no rush to release them just for the sake of releasing them. It had to be done by a company who understands my music and sees potential in it that I might not see myself. The fine people at Prosthetic blew me away with their enthusiasm towards these records, so I was happy to have them do the releases.
Metal Assault: Of late, the general opinion amongst your fans has been, “MARTY FRIEDMAN cares only about his Japanese fan base. He doesn’t think about other fans anymore.” Do you hope that these releases would finally put an end to this misconception?
Marty: That would be nice. I have the same amount of love for any fan of my music, wherever they are. When I came to Japan, things went a whole lot better for me than I ever would have expected. I got year-long TV commitments and some big projects, so there wound up being no time left over to make the rest of the world a priority anymore. I would make an effort once in a while and do short tours and events outside of Japan, and the fans there were just fantastic. I had an awesome time. Those shows planted the seed for me to seriously do more stuff outside of Japan.
Metal Assault: It’s well known that you’re a mainstream musician in Japan. But when you first moved there, how much time did it take you to achieve that level of recognition?
Marty: I was very lucky to start touring and recording almost immediately with a J-Pop legend, Aikawa Nanase. That opened some doors to a lot of new things musically, but doing TV really took me into the mainstream more than anything. I hadn’t planned on that.
Metal Assault: Musicians in metal bands mostly stay away from the mainstream styles of music, but you’re an exception to that, as you are getting to experience the mainstream in Japan. When that first happened, did it change your perception about music and make you relatively open-minded as compared to the average metal guitarist?
Marty: If I’m anything at all, I’m open minded, even to a fault, if that is possible. Sometimes in the metal world, people pride themselves on being underground, I get it, and that’s fine, but I’m not like that at all, and I don’t care about any movement. My goal is to make music I love, as best as I can, and to have as many people enjoy it as possible.
Read the entire interview from Metal Assault.