Megadeth to reunite with Marty Friedman for the first time in 23 years at Tokyo concert

Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman
(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns via Getty)

Megadeth have announced they’re set to reunite with their former electric guitar player Marty Friedman for the first time in over two decades for a concert at Tokyo’s Budokan arena.

Friedman has not performed with Dave Mustaine and co for 23 years, after playing an integral role on some of Megadeth’s best-selling albums, such as 1990’s Rust in Peace and 1992’s Countdown to Extinction.

The upcoming concert – which will therefore mark a fairly significant footnote in heavy metal history – will take place on February 27, and will be both livestreamed on the night and available on demand for two days after the event.

Not only will the concert mark the reunion between Megadeth and their long-estranged guitarist, who left the band in 2000, it will also be the band’s first-ever headlining show at the prestigious Japanese venue.

On the band’s social media, Mustaine broke the news by saying, “Marty and I have remained friends over 23 years, since we last played together. However, I hear his music every night, and he still is among the top guitar players I’ve ever heard.

“This is an amazing treat for the fans, as well as myself,” he continued. “I am going to enjoy this as much as the fans are, and I’m sure many of you will catch me sneaking a peek during Marty’s appearance.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Mustaine further revealed that it was Friedman who originally approached the band over a potential cameo, but it was a suggestion that Mustaine thought to be “magnificent”.

It was also confirmed that Friedman will join the band, including current lead guitarist Kiko Loureiro, for a three-song encore.

“It’s gonna be so much fun to get Kiko and Marty together, because they’re both geniuses on guitar,” he went on. So this is like a gigantic birthday and Christmas present for me.”

Of his upcoming cameo, Friedman commented, “It has been a long time. 23 years to be exact since I've been on the same stage with Dave Mustaine making music. We’ve both taken drastically different paths since then. 

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“That doesn't change the fact that I'm extremely proud of the part that I played in Megadeth`s history and legacy,” Friedman added. “I'm also very, very proud of the band's many great achievements and continued success in my absence. For right now, I just feel immense joy and some serious adrenaline. I am looking forward to playing with Megadeth at this very cool place, The Budokan.”

After contributing to Rust in Peace (1990), Countdown to Extinction (1992), Youthanasia (1994) and Cryptic Writings (1997), Friedman’s last Megadeth album arrived in the form of 1999’s Risk. His exit from the group came soon after, due to tensions over a guitar solo on the record.

In a recent conversation with Guitar World, Mustaine reflected on Friedman’s departure, and conceded that “what happened to Marty was definitely not okay”.

According to the Megadeth frontman, Friedman recorded a solo for Breadline, though the band’s management deemed it surplus to requirements as they wanted the track to be a single. As such, Mustaine issued them an ultimatum.

He recalled, “I said [to management], ‘Well, you have three choices. Either you mute the solo completely, have Marty come back and redo it, or I do it.’ And then I said, ‘If I do it, you’d better tell him.’ Well, I redid it and nobody told Marty. 

“So we’re in there listening to the finished album and the solo comes on. It’s my solo, not Marty’s… I looked at him as tears ran down his face and I knew right away that nobody had told him. I knew that was probably going to be the end of Marty Friedman.

“What happened to Marty was definitely not okay. Our management was supposed to tell him and, for whatever reason, they didn’t do it. I think that was a terrible thing to do to him.”

Following his exit, Friedman moved to Tokyo in 2003, and quickly became an influential figure there, starring in TV shows such as Mr. Heavy Metal and Rock Fujiyama.

For tickets for Megadeth's upcoming livestream, head over to Dreamstage.

In other related news, Friedman recently shared the video for a new instrumental track – titled Japan Heritage Official Theme Song – which celebrates Japanese history and culture.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.