interview_matyThe questions will be a little bit different from the typical. I will just do the trivial stuff first and then we will go on to just guitars.

You rock it!

Thank you very much for taking this interview. I wanted to ask you first how are you feeling right now? Do you like it here? Do you like this hotel?

It's great! I love the hotel, I love the restaurant across the street. You know that one, right there.

Did you have anything traditional to eat here?

What did I have? I had like pizza and pasta and like something must have been traditional kinda chicken. It was awesome!

It was really bad that we caught this awful weather here.

Oh, it was gorgeous today this morning. I was out, I took a walk. I walked all around the neighborhood and it was absolutely gorgeous.

That's really nice to hear. Actually in Belgrade the concert was canceled there. Did you actually end up going to the stage or did you just pass through?

No, not at all. They cancelled it before we arrived, while we were still in Budapest. Before we did the show in Budapest is when we found out about it. It's really sad cause I really wanted to go, I've never been to Belgrade before. Never been to Sofia either so I really like going to new places. So I was really looking forward to going to Belgrade, but I didn't get to go so I'm kinda pissed off.

I know that you are really fond of going to different places, eating at different restaurants at foreign places. So this must be very interesting for you.

I love it yeah! Cause I've been so many places on tour, it's rare to go to a new country. Very rare so today is very special.

In regards to the newest album. What's happening there, what caught the idea for this new Bad D.N.A.?

People are asking me about Bad D.N.A. like it's released here, but it's not released here.

Yeah, but the word is all around actually.

I wish it was released in Europe, but it's not. It's actually just Japan and Asia release. Yeah, that's why I'm not really gonna play much off of that at all tonight.

I see. I really wanted to hear some songs from that album.

Sadly, very sadly. But it's a long boring story. I won't bore you with it.

The good thing is that there's Tokyo Jukebox. Are you going to play songs from that album?

Yes, for sure.

Is there going to be someone singing at the songs?

Not off Tokyo Jukebox, but if you're going to the concert tonight, you'll see.

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I wanted to ask a couple of questions about the beginning of your career. How did you end up being a guitarist and what lead you to actually become one? Was it something that you always wanted or you just ended up like that?

I really like wanted to play sports like football and baseball, but I mean I was too small and too skinny to do anything like that.

Yeah, I know what are you talking about

You're not so bad, but I sucked at everything. I love sports, but I sucked!

But then I went to see KISS and I said "I can do that! What those guys are doing, I can do that! I can't play football, but I can do what those guys are doing."

How old were you when you first caught the guitar?

I was 14.

And what were the first things that you played?

It must be KISS, RAMONES.

One thing that fascinates ме and most of my friends, who are also guitar players is your picking technique (picking technique - се превежда техника при свирене с перце). The right hand and the posture.

It looks very stupid I know. (laughs)

I didn't mean to say stupid. It's very interesting and the sound is very unique. How did you end up playing like that and what lead you to development of this technique.

There's no developing, it just happened. I never consciously decided to do anything. I think subconsciously I don't like the sound of notes being muted, you know what I mean (does muted note solo impression)? I like that (sings a solo line without muting). You know how normal guitar players they mute the notes when they play. I think, because I don't like the sound of muted notes, my right hand automatically goes like that.


And this is the way you started playing guitar in the beginning?

Yeah, cause I saw this old video like when I was in junior high school and I was doing it already. I don't know. It looks terrible, I hate it. I don't think it really matters that much to be honest with you. I don't think it really affects the sound as much as the interpretation of what I'm playing.

It does actually. The up strokes (up strokes – се превежда удари нагоре с перцето) and the fact that you're using mostly up strokes when you play.

I never thought about that, you know. Using more ups than downs, I mean I never think about it.

The actual attenuation of the note is very different from the normal. When somebody plays slow motion notes they usually use only down strokes (down strokes – това в случая е обратното или удари надолу с перцето) because it's more prominent. But when you do it with up strokes it's a very different style.

I don't know. You're probably able to tell when you see the concert. There's no technique involved. I might play the same melody one day, completely different picking the next day – same melody. There's absolutely no process that I do. You know, one day it might be up, one day it might be down or I use my finger, one day I use my pick, one day I use my dick, I don't know. I never think about it.

What I wanted to ask also about is your friendship with Jason Becker. You're early career is with him. Cacophony, that's an amazing band. Are you still friends with him, do you communicate with him?

Of course yeah. I just saw him in March. I played at the even in San Francisco for him. All these guitar players got together and played music for him. It was great. Satriani was there, Lukather was there and we all played a big benefit show for Jason.

I was told that there's something like that happening in November right now too.

Yeah, it's a different one. I don't know anything about that. I just did one in San Francisco.

So are you doing those on a regular basis?

That's the only one I've ever done. But I want more of them to happen because we love Jason.

It's really good that you are still with him and you did some amazing stuff together. One question that actually wonders most guitar players in regards to Jason and you, playing together as a duo. That is how actually influenced the other? You really have some similarities in the playing style, but there really no way to tell who influenced the other if that happened at all. it's a hard question. But the way I can answer it is when we met he was very young, but had amazing....he was very natural good at guitar. But I had more experience and I had a deeper melodic sense. So I think when we joined up Jason was influenced by my melodic sense, but Jason's technique was always much better and much more proper than mine. So like watching him play it made me wanna work harder to make sure that what I was playing was heard properly. So we both kind of...He had like this great technical ability and I had this deep really warped perverted musical ability and I think both of those kind of rubbed off on each other.

So this is what actually became the duo. He really took something from you as well. That's the main thing that...

Yeah. The reason why we even made a band is cause when I first saw him I'm like "Hey, he's a great player. So what?". But then I played some of my stuff and my stuff is very weird as you know. Most people can't pick it up very quickly. Jason picked it right up and I'm like "Oh my god, he can play my shit right away! And he's playing it cleaner than me! What's up with that? This sucks!". And I though "Wait a minute, if we have a band we can do this stuff live!". And that's how it worked.

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Not only this. Personally you're very good with each other I mean.

Well that's the main thing, because like he was such a nice guy. I just wanted to hang around with him you know, because he's so cool. Most guitar players have a ego. I have a little ego and he has a very even smaller ego. So it's kind of strange to see both of us – non ego guitar players in the same band.

I just wanted to ask a couple of questions in regards to the albums that you were doing in between the time that you were with Megadeth. So that's the 90s, you actually did 3 albums there Introduction, Scenes and True Obsessions. What actually lead to those albums? Was it something that you were trying to do when you were with Megadeth? You were playing very thrash metal music with them and those albums are very different from what you were playing with Megadeth. What actually lead to that specific sound in the albums?

I can answer that. Before I joined Megadeth I played Dragon's Kiss right? You know, it's pretty heavy, intense music. And then when I joined Megadeth I was doing that every single night so there was no reason to release more albums like that, because I was already releasing Rust In Peace, Countdown to Extinction and Youthanasia all that stuff. So I had to do something different otherwise there's no meaning to do it. So like if I didn't join Megadeth I think all of my solo albums would've been kinda like Dragon's Kiss.

I was doing it every night with Megadeth so I'm like you know, I have more things that I want to do musically than just this really heavy stuff. Plus I'm enjoying playing Megadeth heavy stuff every single night so I go to the studio, I don't wanna hear one more riff.

What I was most interested in was your love and how fond you are of the Japanese culture as well. So you live in Japan right now, when did you actually get that passion towards Japan and also implementing it in your music, stylishly. You actually have some traditional Enka style as well, which is very different.

When I was a teenager I lived in Hawaii and I heard a lot of Japanese, Chinese and Asian music in Hawaii. So I was like 17 or 18 and most guitar players at that age, when they become pretty good, they start to learn jazz or they start to listen to these good guitar players, you know like Jeff Beck or who are the good guys – Al Di Meola. Those kinda good guys. I didn't like that stuff. I didn't like jazz you know, short hair and I didn't like that stuff. So I'm like "Fuck what am I gonna learn? I'm already like a pretty good rock guitar player. But everybody's learning fusion, progressive rock and all this hard stuff. This is boring man!" So I heard this Asian music and I'm like "This is a unique phrasing, this unique voicing." I heard like Persian music, you know music from this area of the world – Eastern European music, Gipsy music. "This is so much cooler than that jazz stuff those guys are playing!". So I learned that in Hawaii along with like Japanese and Chinese stuff so I think that's where I picked up on the interest in Japan.

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And you actually turned into your musical style.

Yeah, because especially when you're 17 or 18 after you can play can play all your favorite songs you wanna learn something else right?

Yeah. And you actually turned around everything. So your style becomes very different because you were looking for something totally different from what you've been doing.

Well I wasn't looking for it, I just found it. I was lucky because I was like "Ok, now what do I do?". All the other guys are playing and Van Halen was out there and everybody's playing like Van Halen. I was like "Shit that's so hard, I could never do that." And then here's something different, I just happened to like the foreign music, the melodies seemed deeper and Middle Eastern music, it's with odd times and stuff.

Alright. Final question of course is what are your plans for the future? What do you think you'll be in a couple of years from now? You already started rocking from the year 2000 with Music For Speeding etc., everything became more rocking. Do you plan on doing it the same way?

Yeah, actually I'm in the studio, well I'm on tour right now, but I'm actually also recording Tokyo Jukebox 2. It's almost done.

That's really good. It's one of my favorite albums actually. The arrangements are just awesome so I never heard anything like that.

Thank you very much. I appreciate it. If you like that, you're really gonna like this one. Cause that was one of the first albums I've made in a long time where I actually listened to it myself (laughs). I mean I'm too modest, I don't like listening to my stuff after it's done, but Tokyo Jukebox would drive around listening to that and "It's cool man!".

So it's done. There's only one song left to do. I'm mixing it and yeah if you get a change I could play you a song later tonight.

That will be great.. Thank you for this interview Marty.. have a great evening!

Thank you man.. you too!


Interview by: Yannis Petras
Photos by: Nikola Petras