Yngwie Malmsteen - 3rd April 2003
Mean Fiddler, London

Interviewed by Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS, Rick Wilson and Alexandros Kotziamanis

Rick: How are you?

Yngwie: Good. We've just been to Holland. It's no rest for the wicked man, I'll be on the road like every day - different cities and countries.

Glenn: What made you re-schedule the Tour?

Yngwie: It's not me. Let me make this perfectly clear. I do not book tours. I do not have anything to do with it whatsoever at all - nothing. Nothing to do with where we go and when we go. We always use a so-called booking agent 99% of the time. We used a new booking agent called 'ATA' and they ruined everything. They f*ck*d everything up. We were supposed start the tour in Rome on January 21st, 2003. They gave me a book - different cities in and if they put me on to play, I'll go there and play. So please, everybody, trust me, I'm not responsible for not playing in France, I'm not responsible for the (booking of the) gigs - nothing like that. Nothing, I swear to god. I'm responsible for making all that noise down there (points to the Mean Fiddler stage).

We all laugh.

Alex: Good for you.

Rick: Are you just doing the one date in the UK?

Yngwie: Yes, which is another f*ck*ng sucking thing. We should play Birmingham, Nottingham, Cardiff - you know all the placed I normally play - you know Edinburgh, Glasgow, Brighton and all the others that I can't remember (laughs). They put me on the bus - I get up in the morning and (that night) do a gig. After the gig I get back on the bus and half the time I don't even know where I am. So I really hope that everybody who reads this understands that I am not the one (responsible for the lack of dates) and we have some problems in Germany right now too. I want to play everywhere - I want to play every town but there you go.

Glenn: How's the tour been so far?

Yngwie: Extremely well everywhere.

Glenn: Are there any gigs that stand out?

Yngwie: In the past I guess I used to feel a little bit uneasy maybe sometimes but it seems like either a couple of days ago I was as sick as a f*ckin' dog I was really ill - I never get sick !! I'm a f*cking Viking you know (we laugh) but for a bit anyway I said I just don't feel well and it was in Strasbourg or somewhere. Man, the lights went down and all of a sudden it was all happening so that's one of the nights I remember very clearly but of course you know in Spain and Italy they are real f*ckin' nutcases. A lot of them.

Alex: Did you play in Greece at all?

Yngwie: No.

Alex: Well that's a shame because you have many Greek fans believe me.

Yngwie: I know. Actually we are not doing Greece this time - we are doing Turkey.

It's a splendid place. I love it. We did Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Holland - we've done Holland quite a lot to where we are now (the UK).

Glenn: It's nice to see Antonio and April with you. What's involved in life in a day while on tour?

Yngwie: It depends but a standard day I would say, we roll into town early afternoon, take a shower, do a soundcheck, do a show, after the show we get on the bus.

Rick: So you aren't partying after the gig - you are moving onto somewhere else?

Yngwie: Yeah - but it'll take a while to load the gear out - it'll take like two or three hours before we leave and it's very glamorous you know!!

(We laugh)

Glenn: I'll tell you where we went yesterday, we came straight down and the first place we went to was your boozer (pub).

Yngwie: The Goat (Tavern in Kensington).

All together: The Goat.

Yngwie: Yeah!! I was gonna go there today but I didn't go.

Alex: I had to bring the guys down.

Rick: So why there (The Goat) - what do you like about it?

Yngwie: Well, I mean, you know - it's mine.

Glenn: Yeah.

We all laugh.

Yngwie: No seriously - it's because I always stay at 'The Royal Garden Hotel' (which is across the road). I always used to go to Kensington Market and buy some cool clothes down there. We are not even staying the night. We just came in on the boat from Calais and we come into town and basically I'm coming here and that's it.

Glenn: So you've told us about the Goat, what's 'The Pelican' like in Miami (that appears on the thank-you list of the Attack!! Album alongside 'The Goat, London')?

Yngwie: That's mine.

Rick: Is it on North Shores? - whereabouts is it?

Yngwie: It's in my backyard. (he says comically). There's a bar - like a Cubana, a swiiming pool, a tennis court - some nice chairs 'n' stuff - lights - a little party lighting and a well stocked fridge!!

Glenn: It's all you need isn't it?

Yngwie: Yeah. I relax.

Glenn: What do you do to escape from the Rockstar lifestyle? How do you socialise and do you have a socialise with a certain group of friends in Miami, Fl.?

Yngwie: I don't really do that. I can. I don't know - I've kinda like made myself a little centre - well I have everything I need and it's really just all there, you know. I don't have to go anywhere if I don't want to. The only reason I really wanna go out is because I wanna drive my cars.

Rick: Are you still heavily into that? Are you still heavily recognised?

Yngwie: Oh always but I'm bored of it. (being recognised all the time). When we got here I had to listen to the drum soundcheck for forty minutes or whatever so me and the keyboard player said, 'There's the pubs' so we walk out to the pub across the road and obviously a lot of people recognised me (outside the Mean Fiddler) because they were standing in line already.

Rick: And they knew you straight away and wanted an autograph?

Yngwie: And I say 'Yeah, yeah no problem' and I'm signing away. They were nice enough to just let me talk. So I went to pub and obviously somebody blew my cover and there was more and more people coming inside the pub and one of the guys had this tattoo on his arm - I'm like 'F*ck*n' hell you know'. It's like cool.

Rick: I've got your name on my arm mate.

Yngwie: Wow really (Yngwie exclaims in a surprised and flattered tone). Thank you.

Glenn: Since you live in Miami and it's Paradise - where does your influence come from as your style is a really dark metal style?

Yngwie: That's a good question because people laugh at me because of it.

I write my lyrics in the kitchen. I always sit in the kitchen overlooking the palm trees and the sun and there was a little kid running around (this being his son, Antonio) and I said, "You must die now!! (lyrics from'Attack!!' - the latest album's title track)

We all find this extremely funny.

It's really bizarre you know but I think it was like instilled in me very early on because I grew up in hell which is the way I consider it. So there's always an element of hell in Paradise I guess.

Glenn: Yeah. So you always keep that Viking (I do the well known Yngwie hand guesture with his classic roar).

Yngwie: Yeah. But the thing is, is that I don't really get influenced by the surroundings - whatever's going (in Miami) musically and stuff like that. It doesn't give a story -it's what's hard-wired inside me - it's just a different version coming out.

Glenn: What influenced the actual song title 'Attack!!'?

Yngwie: The song 'Attack!!' is kind of like a mixture of sort of a reflection of what's going on but then again when I wrote the song none of this (US air Strikes on Iraq) was going on. This wasn't happening - the war and all that.

Rick: Or the 9/11 thing.

Yngwie: Yeah. It's weird because the previous album before (The War to end all wars) I wrote a song called 'Prophet Of Doom' - the lyrics on that are exactly what f*ckin' happened (9/11) but it was before it happened so you tell me about that. I have no idea. You know it's accounting - I write just sh*t like that - it's what comes out. Lyrically I think I'm going more and more involved in lyrics because in the past I used to A) not care so much, and B) be lazy about it so I let the singer write the lyrics and they ended up sucking. Like, (starts singing) 'Come on now baby, let's f*ck tonight' appalling, f*cking hell.

(we again laugh)

The most positively shaped bullsh*t and I just can't allow that anymore. I can't do it. I gotta bring that substance to the song.

Glenn: Is there a certain person or style of person that you wrote 'Razor Eater' about?

Yngwie: That song. I had a lot of pleasure writing those lyrics. I said to myself, 'No-ones gonna figure this out. No-ones gonna figure this out".

Alex: Go on, tell us the reason.

Yngwie: It's actually from a book by Clive Barker called 'The Damnation Game' - check it out. It where it comes from - this sick motherf*ckin book - The Damnation Game' by Clive Barker.

Glenn: We were thinking, 'Is it about one of the ex-Singers?" but no, obviously not.

Yngwie: There's a song that's actually dedicated to all the previous members is the song called 'Ship of fools'.

Glenn: Do you actually play the chello as there's a picture of one in the cover of the 'Attack!' album? And have you just started playing it?

Yngwie: Yeah, I play on that one. I just bought it. I just thought I wanna play a chello so I just went out and bought it. I picked it up really quickly. The fret length of the notes are somewhere between the bass and the guitar. It's not as short as the guitar but it's not as tall as the bass. (He then sings the notes and air chello's for us). So I just put it in the Living Room and started playing the thing - no lessons, no nothing - it's just the way I am - I just played it.

Alex: The best guitar playing has got to be self taught - it comes from the heart.

Yngwie: Yeah, Yeah. (nodding in agreement)

Glenn: Do you have any ideas of what the style for the next album is going to be?

Yngwie: Well it's funny. Let me tell you something funny. After the Japanese Tour there were problems with the booking agent so I was home for like 2 months. I wrote over 40 new songs. I'd just go in the studio every day. I wrote all this new sh*t. I got some crazy f*ckin' sh*t - heavy stuff, really heavy that I sing on - I do all the vocals - so it might be that direction, I don't know because this album (Attack!!) is still in my mind - the killer new release.

Alex: Have you ever looked at the old direction - the Eclipse, the Fire and Ice era, to go back to that, maybe the AOR sort of thing?

Yngwie: No. I don't like that no.

Alex: Really, you don't like that?

Rick: How about 'The Seventh Sign' and that era?

Yngwie: It's very naff !!

Alex: What? It's amazing music.

Yngwie: Well thank you. I think that I go for the best stuff when I don't have direction like when I did 'Facing the Animal' it completely delivered the Marshall thing.

Alex: Played without direction as well.

Yngwie: Cozy Powell and all those people are involved and they were like 'Oh we should have all these little sing-alongs' and then after that I felt and also heard from other people that no, no, no this is not what Malmsteen should be doing - he should be playing instrumentals and this 'n' that and whatever. So I went 'Ok, alright - is that what you f*ckin' want? - check it out, so I gave 'em 'Alchemy'.

We laugh

Yngwie: And that's a f*ckin' madhouse. So I was deliberately going in that direction instead. But then I said, 'No - it's not right either' so 'The War to end all wars' album I decided to go all like sort of dark and heavy lesser. I didn't like that either but at the end of the day you always feel like, 'I really wanna be perfectly happy with it'. So what I did was, with this last album, the 'Attack' album- which is kinda interesting because, you know, it was written in a very different way. Normally we have a keyboard player or a drum programmer or someone like that with me in the room but on this one I didn't - I was just getting' off on it myself and doing whatever - writing lyrics on the spot like 'Stronghold' and 'Rise Up' and all those songs - they were written very spontaneously and the concept really for this last album was that there isn't. So when you are talking about catchy songs you can do it without sounding naff you know - which in respect 'Ship of Fools' even 'Stronghold' - you know, songs like that - they are catchy.

Alex: On they are very catchy.

Yngwie: They are not like.. (naff)

Alex: But also they have that classical flavour.

Yngwie: Right.

Alex: That element in it and substance to them - that's the beauty of your music and that's why a lot of people are attracted to that style of music.

Yngwie: Oh right - OK.


A big thank-you to Yngwie, Denise Love (Yngwie's PR), Roland Hyams, Patrick Johansson and all the staff at The Mean Fiddler, London