Marty Friedman on the ‘Magic’ of Babymetal + Being a TV Star in Japan
You’d think the term “big in Japan” was tailor made for Marty Friedman. Despite being recognized as a guitar god around the world, Friedman transcends his musical achievements in Japan, thanks to more than 700 appearances on Japanese TV and hosting the popular show Rock Fujiyama.
Almost immediately after moving to Japan in 2003, Friedman was asked to make his first TV appearance in his new home country; an idea that didn’t initially appeal to him: “[TV] did not interest me at first. They said [Rock Fujiyama] is all about making fun and having fun with American and non-Japanese music — heavy metal and stuff. I’m like, ‘I’ve been doing heavy metal for the last 20 years. I love it. I don’t really want to make fun of it.’”
He continues, “They said, ‘Look, just try it once, see what you think.’ I did, and it was just a wonderful atmosphere. This was just really a big stimulating thing and I love doing it.”
Having written two books about Japanese music, we asked Marty Friedman about Japan’s biggest modern metal export, Babymetal, and if the group represents the type of Japanese culture Marty loves. “Contrast is very common in Japan, not only in music, but in food and all kinds of cultural things,” Friedman explains. “Sometimes by trying these weird things that, normally, you wouldn’t think they’d ever work… sometimes it’s absolute magic. I like to be a part of trying to make that magic, and that’s what Babymetal is.”
Check out our interview with Marty Friedman in the clip above and be sure to pick up his new live album, One Bad M.F. Live!!
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