Former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman has recalled how his growing interest in Japanese culture made him feel like a "fake" in Dave Mustaine's band.

He left in 2000 and set up home in Japan three years later. Since then he's gone on to become one of the country's biggest stars, performing with a string of J-pop artists and appearing on TV panel shows.

Friedman tells Wondering Sound: “I found myself touring with Megadeth, and in my hotel room I’d be blasting this Japanese music all the time. What’s wrong with this picture? I thought I was doing myself a disservice just playing the same old stuff and not really enjoying it.

"Making money from fans who want to see you play when you’re not into it didn’t really sit right with me. I was just way more into what was happening in Japan; it’s way more uplifting.”

He told Mustaine of his decision to leave in 1999, and at first agreed to stay on for a 16-month world tour, but quit after just three months. He says: "It was just too much. I’m the kind of guy who can’t fake it that well. It wasn’t very nice – but I just couldn’t go on any more."

Despite fans' calls for him to rejoin Megadeth, Friedman is happy in Japan and says life there "couldn’t feel more comfortable and simple." His latest solo album Inferno was released earlier this year.