“People were crying and screaming and smiling from ear to ear”: Marty Friedman revisits Megadeth reunion at Budokan

Marty Friedman playing guitar onstage
(Image credit: Jun Sato/WireImage)

Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman has looked back on the night he rejoined the thrashers at Japan’s legendary Budokan venue.

The guitarist and solo artist, who performed with Megadeth from 1989 to 2000 and now resides in Japan, talks about the lead-up to the one-night-only reunion in a new interview with The Guardian.

“[Singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine and I] love each other but it was time for me to leave the band when I did,” says Friedman.

“The only piece of unfinished business that we had was Budokan. It was equally important for both of us because we’re both rock fans at heart – growing up with Cheap Trick at Budokan, and all our heroes who played there, we both wanted to play it together.

“Dave got hold of me and said ‘Dude, have you ever played Budokan?’ I said yeah, and he said: ‘Do you wanna play it again?’ It was the sweetest exchange.”

Of the night itself, Friedman reflects: “People were crying and screaming and smiling from ear to ear. It was just a different kind of night!

“The show couldn’t have been any better, and to be completely honest, the band sounded better than when I was in it.”

Friedman also talks about his upcoming autobiography, Dreaming Japanese, which will be released later this year. The book will focus on the guitarist’s transition from the US to Japan, but will also touch on his days in Megadeth.

“I was the only one in Megadeth who was completely sober throughout my time in the band,” explains Friedman, “so I have an outlook that’s accurate and from a different standpoint.”

He adds that, to write a compelling memoir, you don’t need “the tragic, near-death experiences or drug overdoses. I think a lot of people wanna do crazy shit, take risks and leave a comfortable situation to chase a dream – it sounds cliche but it’s exactly what I did, and hopefully that part is inspiring.”

Friedman will release his new solo album, Drama, this Friday (May 17).

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.