Marty Friedman recalls playing a Jeff Beck piece in front of Eddie Van Halen and Jason Becker: “it just plain sucked”

Turns out capturing Jeff Beck’s unique sound is intimidating for all players…

Marty Friedman on Jeff Beck

Friedman image: Jun Sato/Getty
Beck image: Paul Natkin/Getty

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Marty Friedman has described his time performing a Jeff Beck piece in front of guitar icons Eddie Van Halen and Jason Becker – labelling the choice as one of “tremendous stupidity”.

The ex-Megadeth guitarist was speaking in a new interview when he explained how he came to be inspired by Jeff Beck.

According to Friedman, he only grew to appreciate the virtuoso’s work fully after being introduced to it by close friend, Jason Becker, and wanted to perform something by the artist at one of Jason Becker’s tribute concerts:

“I knew how much Jason admired Jeff, so I made the rather foolish decision to play a Jeff Beck song,” he told Guitar World.

“Doing that sounds nice on paper, but Jeff’s touch is inimitable; you would have to literally live his life and go through his experiences to play like that. And then you would need a master’s degree in unique techniques that he invented and polished over the years.”

The piece that Friedman attempted to play was Beck’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Cause We Ended As Lovers – a track which he now describes as ‘deceptively simple’.

To add to the pressure the guitarist was already feeling, the rendition was to be held in front of two of the most iconic guitarists of all time: Jason Becker and Eddie Van Halen.

Describing the moment, he said:

“The bill was full of super guitar players, including Eddie Van Halen. Imagine the tremendous stupidity […] I must have had to play a Jeff Beck song in front of Eddie Van Halen… and just before his set, no less,” he explained.

“So, I played the song and survived it; maybe it was passable at best. Most likely, it just plain sucked. I am pretty sure it was the latter.”


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