Fri, Oct 31, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Educating our shred guitarists

STAFF WRITER

Ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman is holding guitar clinics and mini-concerts this weekend.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ROCK EMPIRE MUSIC

Local heavy metal label, Rock Empire (搖滾帝國), continues its Guitar Heroes in Taiwan series this weekend, when ex-Megadeth lead guitarist, Marty Friedman, pops into town to give shred-guitar master classes and perform mini-concerts at venues in Taipei, Taichung and Kaoshiung.

While the popular heavy metal label's previous master class -- which was hosted by Neil Zaza, a touring representative for guitar manufacturing giant Peavey -- was not as successful as organizers had hoped, tickets for Friedman's are selling well and the gigs are expected to be sellouts.

Better known for his work with thrash-metal combo, Megadeth, Friedman has, in fact, been on the cutting edge of the shred-guitar music scene since the 1980s, releasing his first solo effort, Dragon's Kiss, in 1988.

Friedman first cut his teeth in the world of shred-guitar in 1987, when, clad in tight leather pants and bedecked in a bandanna and other such kitsch 1980s attire, he teamed up with Jason Becker to form the neo-classical-metal combo, Cacophony. Following the release of the band's debut album, Speed Metal Symphony -- an album packed with warp-speed riffs and edge-of-the-seat solos -- Friedman quickly became an air-guitarists' wet dream and an icon for the speed-metal hardcore.

Cacophony imploded in 1989, and while Becker went on to replace Steve Vai in David Lee Roth's backup band, Friedman went on to join thrash-metal quartet Megadeth, where he remained for 10 years.

His 1990 debut album with the band, Rust in Peace was to prove Friedman's crowning moment. The album is still regarded by many as one of the most technically accomplished thrash-metal albums of all time. Friedman stunned heavy/thrash-metal fans in 1992 when he teamed up with Japanese star Kitaro for the dreamy, Asian-tinged instrumental album Scenes. After 10 years and six albums Friedman parted company with Megadeth in 2000 in order to pursue his solo career.

Earlier this year Friedman released his fifth and first pre-Megadeth solo effort, Music for Speeding, a fiery instrumental rock album on which Friedman shreds his guitar through what one popular UK music magazine dubbed "rock 'yer ass off straight shootin' no bullshit rock."

Shred guitarists who can't make Friedman's gigs need not worry, as Rock Empire's master classes will continue in mid-December, when Reign of Terror's Joe Stump will be bringing his own brand of neo-classical heavy metal to Taipei and Taichung.

Marty Friedman will be appearing in Taipei at 7:30pm tonight at the The Youth Cultural and Artistic Center (幼獅藝文中心), which is located at 133 Dunhua S Rd., (台北市敦化北路133). His master class moves to Taichung tomorrow evening and Friedman can be caught in the act at Nuno's Live House (老諾音樂世界),

7:30pm. On Sunday, Friedman will be performing at Blue Fantasy's Wufu branch (藍色狂想-五福店) at 3:30pm.

Tickets for all shows cost NT$500 and are available at the door. For further information call (02) 3765 1861.

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