An Interview with the World’s Finest Guitarist,

'Yngwie Malmsteen'

that took place on Wednesday 4th February, 2009.

Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.

Yngwie: Hi is this Glenn?

Glenn: It is yeah, how you doin’?

Yngwie: Hey Man.

Glenn: Good to hear you.

Yngwie: Yeah.

Glenn: How are you all?

Yngwie: Everything is very groovy man.

Glenn: Excellent. How’s all the the family, they good?

Yngwie: Everything is good, everything is good. I’m ready to Rock Dude!

Glenn: So am I matey. How’s all the gigs going so far?

Yngwie: Oh they’ve been great. We just did the Summer in the UK of course and the rest of Europe and we did a quite long, quite good American leg, now going to Japan with Deep Purple – that’s gonna be awesome but then this Summer we are gonna do alot of touring here and I think Europe as well.

Glenn: Excellent. How did the Deep Purple Tour come about?

Yngwie: I really don’t know. Mr. Udo, do you know?

Glenn: Yeah.

Yngwie: We go way back since I was like 18 or 19, so I guess he thought it would be cool for (Deep) Purple and me to go out. I mean, I think it’s cool too.

Glenn: Definately.

Yngwie: It’s a lot of fun, you know.

Glenn: Yeah. How was the Sheffield gig for ya? Did you enjoy that one?

Yngwie: I loved it. I positively enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the town too. I had a little time off so I was walking around a lot there. I had a very good time over there.

Glenn: Excellent. I got some good shots of you at the front and they were placed on your website from the Metalliville website. I was really, really impressed with the gig and the pictures and everything about it. It was excellent.

How would describe the difference for you between a studio & live situation for you with regard to the vibing of your playing?

Yngwie: Live & Studio. Well obviously live it’s very on the spot, energy, you get a lot of energy from the audience. If you’re on and the audience is in, it’s hard to describe it. It’s like a f*ck*n’ religious thing all by itself. And Studio, for the longest time I wasn’t too crazy about it because I was always being so... I felt like a stupid pressure you know..?

Glenn: Yeah.

Yngwie: And I don’t feel that so much anymore. I feel much more relaxed in the studio now. What I do is, I try to find a same kind of vibe that I get on stage for the studio which is very difficult to do of course but I prefer to be in the live vibe. Some people want to recreate their album on stage. I kinda wanna do it a little bit different. I wanna take the live feeling and think that for the album.

Glenn: Do you know having Tim as opposed to Doogie. How are you finding the differences between them as performers?

Yngwie: Well Tim Ripper, you see what happened with this album, ‘Perpetual Flame’ was that I was on the road and I had a lot of the songs and I started to get accumulated very many ideas. So I just said to the drummer (Patrick Johannson), “Let’s go cut some drums”, so we went into the studio and recorded like 20 songs worth. Then I went on tour and I came back and I started putting the bass and guitars on and started to write some lyrics and went on tour again, I went and put some keyboards down. Then when the songs started taking shape like ‘Death Dealer’ and ‘Live to Fight (Another Day)’ and all that.. ‘Damnation Game’ - all these songs, I knew that Doogie wasn’t the man. I knew he was not gonna be the guy to make these songs sound because what I do I write the lyrics and the melody. In other words, the melody the singer sings, I write that too and sometimes I write are very elaborate, so Marc Boals for instance, he was very, very.. he’s like a vocal acrobat.

Glenn: Definately.

Yngwie: He can sing, you know? But the difference, let’s say Marc and Tim is that Tim’s got a lot of balls. He can sing the growling low stuff as well as the high stuff. So Tim has all those weapons which I really dig because the fact is, if you are a Director or Screenwriter, you write a screen like a movie script or whatever, you wanna cast somebody like Robert De Niro.

Glenn: Yeah, you want the best guy for the job.

Yngwie: You gotta have that guy otherwise it won’t work and it aint gonna like work because what I do it’s like, I’m like a classic composer and I compose all the parts. Like if Patrick couldn’t play some of those double-bass things that I wanted him to play then he wouldn’t be in the band – but he can. That’s why he’s been with me for a long time. So.. he’s a cool guy too, but what I’m saying, I don’t wanna sound like that.. you know harsh but the thing is, that to me the end result is what matters.

Glenn: Yeah, excellent. What would you say your favourite songs are on the album and why? Or would you say you love them all just as much?

Yngwie: The thing is that they are like my children. To me they are all beautiful. They are all beautiful children because I left a lot of songs off that I still love and I wanted to put them on some other time. I think that every song, like ‘Death Dealer’ serves a purpose of doing what that song does. Then you have ‘Magic City’ which is a song that’s dear ‘n’ near to my heart.

Glenn: It is yeah.

Yngwie: It does what that’s supposed to do. ‘Caprici Di Diablo’ does what’s supposed to do. So that’s one thing I would like to say to everybody, is this as an album, you have to hear the whole album. You can’t listen to one song because ‘Red Devil’ as good and as fun as the song is doesn’t show what the album is.

Glenn: They are all different.

Yngwie: Like ‘Live to Fight (Another Day)’ – they all have their own purpose and they all do exactly what they are supposed to do so I couldn’t just pick one, you know?

Glenn: Yeah, I know I love ‘Magic City’ because it means a lot to me, probably not as much as it means to you but I like coming across to Florida to Fort Myers, Miami and stuff and I really identify with it. It nearly brings tears to your eyes and your vocals sound incredible on that. It’s like you’ve really brought the brilliance of Florida, the warmth of the vocals, the warmth of the song – it’s all there – I think it’s just incredible.

Yngwie: Thank you man, thanks. I feel like I’m happy with that one. I like it. It did what I thought it should do. It’s not perfect or anything. It’s just that I felt it was a good.. it had a good feeling for that take and I like it.

Glenn: This is a question from Rick (Wilson): You got rid of the Black Ferrari (Black Beauty) - Was that hard to part with as it’s been such an icon with the fans?

Yngwie: It would be hard to part of if it wasn’t for the fact that I got 3 red ones now.

Glenn: Right.

Yngwie: Ha haha

(We laugh)

In that sense, I’m actually, I’m very happy. I was just tinkering with it right now before I called you, you know.

Glenn: Excellent.

(We laugh again)

Yeah, I like the picture as well when you fold out the album.

Yngwie: Yeah that’s the Red Devil. It’s pretty cool.

Glenn: It’s a lovely picture that. How does ‘Red Devil’ compare to the Black Ferrari (Black Beauty)? Is it about the same or have you noticed differences in it? (A Question from Rick Wilson)

Yngwie: Yeah, well that is the car right there, that one that’s in the picture and I suppose that’s the one.. I have 3 of them but that’s the one I kinda like dedicated that song to is amuch more like a brutal car. It has 4 double coated webbers in it, so it’s really, it’s really an animal in a car. It’s not like any sort of car that most people will be used to. It’s a very animalistic car, very stiff car action – you know, it’s very kind of brutal. It’s almost like a race car whereas the black one was a little more refined in that sense – it was stream injected and all that. It was avery nice car for the time I had it which was like 12 years or 8 – like a long time, I can’t remember.

Glenn: It is isn’t it. Yeah. Let’s take you right, right back a bit. Rick (Wilson) was asking about one of the songs on ‘The War To End All Wars’ and there was a reggae song on it. He was asking, ‘What made you put a reggae song on the War to End All Wars’ album and get someone else to sing it?

Yngwie: Oh that –Yeah it was a fun thing because what happened is that I had a friend of mine from Sweden over and he had like a Police, they call them ‘P’lice’ (as in shortened down) like ‘Please’.

I laugh.

This thing almost goes like ‘Roxanne’ – that’s his Sting, he had this like little reggae riff and I said, “Hey, come over and sing this” and it was just for fun really and why not. I mean that’s the luxury of having your own studio where you can go in and mess around and do whatever you want.

Glenn: Got ya. (I laugh). Did you ever get to hear much of the band, ‘Violent Storm’? My mate Rick was playing with those guys for a bit?

Yngwie: I didn’t really have anything to do with that. I was asked to do some guitar on some demo, which was just a demo and I guess they use it for an album, I don’t know. I have nothing to do with that. Not really, it’s kinda sh*te actually.

Glenn: Got ya. (I laugh)

Yngwie: (Laughs) Don’t waste your time with that.

Glenn: Yeah, yeah, got ya. ‘Damnation Game’ – I notice on the ‘Attack!’ album, you had a song called ‘Ship Of Fools’ and you told me in ’03 when we met you at The Mean Fiddler in London that that was like decated to ex-singers. Is that dedicated to anyone, ‘Damnation Game’?

Yngwie: Well ‘Ship Of Fools’ is a little tongue in cheek about all the people that have been in and out the door here and I think a lot of times what they’ve done is made a very big mistake and at the same time what they did by signing onto the ‘Ship Of Fools’ rather than sailing on the Grandiose Viking Dragon Ship – you know it’s a funny, it’s like a joke but at the same time it is a little bit tears as well. Now ‘Damnation Game’, is actually by Clive Barker and also on 'Attack' is actually a song inspired by that book – a character – he’s called ‘The Razor Eater’. I like to read his stuff because it’s completely f*ck*n’ crazy.

Glenn: Excellent. (I laugh). Have you got plans to possibly come back to the UK and possibly play somewhere like the ‘Download Festival’?

Yngwie: I don’t know the exact.. I don’t know what’s going on right now but I’m sure Summer we’re gonna have a busy Summer. I don’t have anything exact. The only thing I know form 100% is the Deep Purple now in Japan. At the moment that’s it but we got way more than that.

Glenn: Will you be doing some gigs in Florida?

Yngwie: I’ve done some gigs here too yeah. We’ll do gigs everywhere. You see I don't book the tours, I kind of basically say, “Whatever”, you know?

Glenn: Yeah.

Yngwie: And then I go.

Glenn: You’ve had different people in you r band over the years, if you coould put an ultimate ‘Rising Force’ line up together, who would you have in it and why? Or would it really be the current band you’ve got right now?

Yngwie: I think the current band is definately. I mean, the Jans and Anders are dear friends of mine. We go way back and I love them but I don’t look back ,‘Oh wish it was like that..’, No I’m very, very happy with the line-up I got now, especially having the singer that puts forward exactly what I hear in my head. It’s very important to me because... no offence to Doogie but I was struggling with him you know – it was kind of a comprimise a lot of times and it’s not fun.

Glenn: And you don’t need to now do you?

Yngwie: I mean, I wish him the best, you know, whatever he does, you know what I’m saying?

Glenn: Exactly.

Yngwie: I gotta go on what I hear.

Glenn: Exactly. What influenced, ‘Be careful what you wish for’ as a song.

Yngwie: It’s kind of symbolic. It’s not about one particular thing. It’s pretty much what it says, ‘Be careful what you wish for’ – sometimes you’ll get it, you know, and that’s not always good.

Glenn: Yeah. When you’ve been in London recently, did you manage to go back to ‘The Goat Tavern’?

Yngwie: Well I probably wouldn’t because I don’t drink.

Glenn: I’ve heard that.

Yngwie: I have completely and I don’t drink at all. Not nothing and I feel really good. It’s very.. for me – it’s perfect.

Glenn: Excellent.

Yngwie: Yeah.

Glenn: Here’s one for ya: If you could choose any classical composers to arrange any of your songs, which classical composer would you like it to be and what song would you like them to with?

Yngwie: Well as far as compositions go, Bach & Vivaldi are my ultimate heros and Vivaldi has more of a simple thing about what he does and Bach was more of a beautiful genius. The Counterpoint and stuff. I mean everything I just did on my acoustic, I just look up and wrote some Bach down on some council and go, “Hey, hey thanks mate”, the inspiration is so great from him and from all of them but maybe Bach first.

Glenn: Yeah?

Yngwie: Yeah.

Glenn: So are there any songs that you’d like them to have a play around with?

Yngwie: Well if they would allow me the honour I would have accepted whatever there choice would be.

Glenn: Nice one. That’s a nice answer that. Yeah.

Yngwie: Yeah.

Glenn: What made you decide to come off SPV or Eagle for April to form ‘Rising Records’ – was it so you couold have more control over things?

Yngwie: Well it’s a little bit complicated. What’s been happening the last few years is actually a really bad thing and most people, I’d say, almost all of them don’t realise the damage they do with all this file sharing and downloading and stuff. I don;t think they realise – but what’s happening when this happens is that all the people that are involved in the music business, they are not musicians and songwriters. They only do what they do to make money.

Glenn: Yeah.

Yngwie: You see the real musicians do it because they love the music.

Glenn: Yeah.

Yngwie: But at the same time they have to eat and they have to feed their families. Now what happens is this – the people that only do it for the money, when they see the money doesn’t come in anymore, they drop the bands, they mismanage, mispromote the records, they don’t sign new bands, they don’t spend money on touring, they don’t spend money on wealthy and it’s just a real disaster. This is all because of the fact that people don’t go out and buy records anymore. That’s the only reason.

But this is ultimately resulting in the fact that the person that does love music that does go out and buy records, they are gonna suffer in the end because the great bands that are around now, the great artists that are around now, they are not gonna be around forever, when these artists stop making the great music they’ve always done, there won’t be the new ones. Simply because there’s no point in being a rock star anymore because you can’t by a bl**dy Ferrari by being a rock star anymore. So there’s not gonna be anybody who wanna be a rockstar because they think it’s so much easier to make money from something else.

So, maybe that’s not the right way to put it but the thing is that, making a long story longer, the thing is that this downloading stuff has created a very bad, very bad viscous circle that resulted in the labels initially making the bad moves that the artists suffer from. I decided to take handle over this – take care of all of this because the labels that I’ve been signed to, especially in Europe are crooks. They are not bad labels - no they are thieves and lying crooks. You know, as simple as that.

Glenn: Yeah.

Yngwie: You know, and I’ve had enough of that sh*t. So that’s basically what it comes down to.

Glenn: So really you’ve got complete control which is a good thing.

Yngwie: Absolutely, of course yeah. Control – I’ve always had control over the music but I don;t know how many records they’ve pressed, I don’t know how many records they sell or where they put ‘em – I don’t know nothing. There’s no transparency. It’s a very ugly thing.

Glenn: Whereas you can say to April (Malmsteen – Yngwie’s Wife) at any time, “How’s it selling in Japan or Australia or..” and she can say what is happening, so you know what is going on which is brilliant. Yeah – it makes total sense.

Yngwie: Yeah.

Glenn: On some on the albums, you are titled as Yngwie J. Malmsteen, are there any reasons for this album that you have not put the 'J' on?

Yngwie: Ah, I don’t know. It’s a joke – Spinal Tap made a joke – ‘Yngwie J’ – it’s a good job because with ‘Yngwie J’ you don’t confuse them with all the other Yngwie Malmsteen’s.

(I laugh)

Well you know, it’s a funny thing that because I kinda like to mix it up. Sometimes use it and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s Yngwie Johann Malmsteen.

Glenn: Yeah, you did that for the Concerto album didn’t you with the Orchestra in Japan. What other songs have you got – the other 10 songs that were recorded? Can you tell me much about those and their influences – are they very similar to the songs that are on the new album?

Yngwie: They are just like.. yeah same. Same crazy Heavy Metal. They are very cool actually. We’ll release them.

Glenn: Have you got any idea what you are gonna call the next album at all or is that too far in front?

Yngwie: ‘Perpetual Flame’s’ been out for 3 months – let’s have that one live on for a bit.

(We both laugh)

Glenn: Did you burn your hands when you were doing the cover then?

Yngwie: Say again?

Glenn: Did you burn your hands because of all the flame around your hands?

(We laugh)

I’m kiddin’ – it’s a stupid Brit(ish) thing. A bit yeah Monty Python.

Yngwie: Yeah.

Glenn: How are you influenced by your surroundings now for songs because back in ’03 I remember you telling me that you had to think back about more where you came from – Are you finding you get influenced more by your surroundings for your songs these days than previously?

Yngwie: It isn’t any different. I haven;t changed the way I do it but it sounds to me that the music’s changed a little - but not terribly but I think that there’s a lot more energy going on and I feel that anyway. A lot of people are telling me there’s more energy. I mean I still the same studio and all that so it’s not changed that way.

Glenn: What would you say your hobbies and interests are outside music?

Yngwie: Well I love my Ferraris – that’s a big part of what I do and I also play tennis. I play tennis all the time and I love tennis. I collect watches, I love films – really good films and books and I have a family so my day is pretty full no matter what I do.

Glenn: Looking after Antonio and the rest of...

(Yngwie laughs)

Since you’ve got Antonio, would you say it’s like changed you as a person? Has it sort of mellowed you out with having your yound lad?

Yngwie: Well I’m sure it changes... to me, the only way it has changed – it’s changed for the better.

Glenn: Yeah.

Yngwie: I mean I really love, I love him so much it’s ridulous but the thing is – he’s my friend now – he’s like my little buddy, he’s gonna be 11 soon. He’s extremely clever. So yeah, I still do what I do and I like what I do. It’s just that this is a beautiful addition – you know what I’m saying?

Glenn: Yeah definately. What would you say the craziest rumour is that you’ve ever heard about yourself and how did it make you feel?

Yngwie: I stopped worrying about that. There’s so many things and if I let them affect me. I’m writing a book anyway so you can find out some more stuff by that.

Glenn: Oh brilliant. Is that gonna be like an ongoing autobiography as such?

Yngwie: Yeah.

Glenn: Excellent. What’s it gonna be called? Any titles yet?

Yngwie: Err I don’t have a title yet. I started a couple of years ago but I stopped for a while because I had some legal crap going on and so I’ll pick it up soon again but I’m not in a hurry.

Glenn: Yeah. What made you decide to start writing for a book?

Yngwie: I just felt like it. It was just something that came to me and said, ‘This is it, I gotta do it’, you know.

Glenn: Mmm, do you have plans of a new live album some time?

Yngwie: Yeah, yeah - of course. Yeah we have a lot of, I already have our recordings then we are recording our up and coming tour as well.

Glenn: Since there’s been so much bootleg stuff and you get all this stuff on youtibe and this and that and things you can download, would you ever consider doing a big ‘Bootleg the Bootleggers’ sort of thing and having a big boxed set that fans can officially buy or ‘Rising Records’?

Yngwie: I have boot recordings and we are gonna do all of that, trust me, but like I said, this albums been out for 3 months.

(We laugh)

There’s a lotta time to do other things so it will happen too.

Glenn: Yeah?

Yngwie: Yeah.

Glenn: What are you most looking forward to for this year?

Yngwie: Oh well sometimes I get people asking questions like, “What do you do and what do you wanna do”, and all that. Listen, I’ve never been in a better place in my life. I’m in the best place I’ve ever been as far as how I feel about things and how things are going and stuff and for me just to keep on doing what I’m doing that would be the ultimate – that would be wonderful and that’s all I wish for. I think it’s looking good, I mean, the thing is, here in the (United) States for some reason things have been picking up like crazy. I think there’ll be a lot of these video games and stuff but it’s just all the whole scene is just becoming much more guitar orientated.

Glenn: It’s about time isn’t it?

Yngwie: Well I’m just doing what I’m doing and things and things change around me so I’m pretty much the same and yes, so I just keep on doing what I’m doing.

(We laugh)

Glenn: Well you aren’t doing a bad job at it – in fact you are doing a damn good job.

Yngwie: Ahh Thank You.

Glenn: Back to the album, there’s part of a solo on ‘Caprici Di Diablo’ and it’s about 1 minute, forty in for so long and it sounds incredible..

Yngwie: Yes.

Glenn: And it’s just amazing where you get your ideas from.

Yngwie: Well that particular song actually was a complete – that was coming from, well I don’t know where the hell it came from because I kept on pulling it off the recorder because it’s so difficult to play. So there’s written parts and improvised parts. So what I did was, I said, “OK, time to go” and I ran in and it turned out I’m pretty happy with it. You know what I’m saying?

Glenn: Mmm.

Yngwie: And it was certain parts of a solo I think are pretty cool. I play a 7th (sings the riff) –I’m trying to recreate the guitar if it sounds good you know?

Glenn: Yeah.

Yngwie: But yeah – it’s all improvised.

Glenn: Well that’s brilliant and thanks a lot for a great chat.

Yngwie: Oh thanks a lot – it was good to hear from ya.

Glenn: You too mate – you take care. See you later.

Yngwie: You take care too man, okay then.

Glenn: Thanks mate.

Yngwie: OK then, bye.

Glenn: Bye

Thanks Again to Yngwie Malmsteen for a Great Interview

Special Thankyou's to my Floridian Best Buddy, Rick Wilson for his brilliant questions and to Jennifer Farhood @ Chipster PR for setting up the Interview