Given the regularity that members come and go from Megadeth, you’d assume Dave Mustaine would have better things to do then ensure each new recruit’s first performance was videoed for prosperity. Luckily for us however, that’s just what happened when the band’s third guitarist, Marty Friedman first played with the band in 1990, with the three-decade old footage giving a rare glimpse into the annals of history. Maybe Dave knew that it would be the beginning of something truly special.
The video, taken from the band’s 2006 Arsenal Of Megadeth anthology, shows the former Cacophony shredder playing Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying? single Wake Up Dead – albeit without vocals – alongside Mustaine, David Ellefson and Nick Menza, after successfully passing his audition to replace previous guitarist Jeff Young. Having fired both Young and drummer Chuck Behler during one of the band’s most tumultuous periods, Mustaine’s search for a fellow sing-stringer included an audition from Annihilator’s Jeff Waters and an offer to a young Texan guitarist named Darrell Abbott, who turned down the role, as he was unable to bring his drumming brother, Vinnie Paul Abbott, along with him. What became of the pair is anyone’s guess…
Moving on from the latter disappointment and after being berated by his manager, Mustaine got around to listening to a tape featuring Friedman. Blown away and jealous of the skills on display, the frontman quickly enlisted him, completing the final piece of what most fans agree is the classic Megadeth line up that would last until Menza departed in 1998.
Just a few months after joining, Friedman’s fret board wizardry was heard for the first time on the band’s fourth album, Rust In Peace, which featured the likes of Hangar 18, Tornado Of Souls and Megadeth’s most famous anthem, Holy Wars… The Punishment Due. A major leap forward in its ambition and outlandish precision, the album remains not only the band’s finest hour, but one of metal’s all-time great records that sounds as forward-thinking and vital 30 years on.
Friedman would enjoy a successful tenure with the band, contributing to four more albums including the excellent Countdown To Extinction and Youthanasia. But it’s his debut on 1990’s landmark work where his and Megadeth’s star shone brightest.