Marty Friedman and J-pop


It is rare for a professional athlete or an entertainer to retire when they are on the top. Too often, the best retire when they are forced to, when they can no longer perform before sold out crowds or hit a fastball. It is even rarer for someone to switch professions or change direction when they have reached the pinnacle in their field. Neither of these apply for American guitarist Marty Friedman. During the 90’s Friedman was the lead guitarist for the socially conscious Heavy Metal band Megadeth, but he left at their peak to pursue his love of J-pop. J-pop is the international term for Japanese pop music which shares traits of traditional Japanese music and modern international pop music. According to Friedman, the appeal of J-pop is that “in Japan you can have sickeningly sweet pop music chock full of very cool guitar. I love that. In America, if there’s ever guitar in pop music it’s usually [a] throwaway…” Essentially, Friedman is expressing that in Japan, there can be pop songs with great musicianship, something that is increasingly rare within the US. For people who are not familiar with J-pop, Friedman recommends groups such as Perfume, AKB48, or Momoiro Clover Z, for whom he played guitar on their single Mōretsu Uchū Kōkyōkyoku Nana Gakushō. However, even though Friedman now performs J-pop, he has not lost the social consciousness that allowed him to help create anti-cage hunt and antiwar songs while a part of Megadeth. After the tsunami hit Japan in 2011, Friedman auctioned all of his musical gear from his Megadeth days for the relief effort. Friedman also does numerous Japanese television shows. Attached is a link to a youtube clip of Friedman performing “Fantastic Love” with the Fanta Band which was formed from one of his television appearances.

All quotes from


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