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Yngwie Malmsteen – Guitarist, Solo Artist/Former Guitarist for Steeler & Alcatrazz

Date: 10/01/08
Interviewed By: Rich Catino




1. After making music for over twenty years, do you ever find it hard to compose new and exciting arrangements?

YNGWIE: No not really because whenever I pick up the guitar it still feels new to me because improvisation is the genesis of composition.

2. How long were you working on the new album “Perpetual Flame”?

YNGWIE: Well this album was done in stages. I started putting all my ideas together, then I started doing the drums, then I went on tour, then I went back in the studio to do some guitars and bass, then I went back on the road, then wrote some lyrics, then back on tour. So it wasn’t really a normal process for this record.

3. So aside from obviously all the guitars, you also play all the drums and bass as well as on your albums?

YNGWIE: Ahh yes..but that depends on what record you speak of. The last ten years I have done all the lyrics but before that I did some.

4. Do you incorporate any other styles or techniques into your guitar playing aside from the blues?

YNGWIE: Well a lot of what I play is inspired by classical violin. One of my biggest influences is Niccolò Paganini, also Vivaldi, and Tchaikovsky but I like to make it in the heavy metal sound. Aside from those classical influences, maybe it’s a new way of playing when you are following those violin lines like arpeggios, stuff like that.

5. I have read that the new album “Perpetual Flame” is more aggressive than your previous albums?

YNGWIE: Yeah its much heavier and faster than anything I have done. You haven’t heard it yet? People are saying its kinda in the same vibe as “Marching Out” and “Trilogy” but harder.

6. Having Tim Owens as your new vocalist on the album did that also make these songs heavier?

YNGWIE: Absolutely. Actually when I started writing these songs I had a Doggie White still singing for me. Then as songs took shape and I wrote lyrics for like ‘Death Dealer”, “Live To Fight (Another Day)”, and ‘Damnation Game”, those songs were really heavy and the words needed a voice that could sing them aggressively but also be operatic and sung very well. So I just came to the conclusion that Doogie wasn’t right for the job this time.

7. What singers would you like to work with in the future?

YNGWIE: Well Ronnie James Dio is one of my favorites of course but I always take it day by day and go with the flow. The music I make I really don’t plan it out. Right now I am really happy with this new album and the direction it has gone.

8. What are your thoughts in regards to the fans and the critic’s opinions about your guitar playing on both albums and live? Does it bother you when feedback is negative?

YNGWIE: Well obviously everyone is always going to have an opinion. I have heard really really good to really really bad about my guitar playing. The only thing I can do is take it with a grain of salt and continue with making the music I love. I think I’m here to bring something to the table and I am pretty sure I know what that is. I stay focused and faithful to that and the people that like it God bless em and the people that don’t well too bad.

9. What type of setlist have you prepared for this tour in support of “Perpetual Flame”?

YNGWIE: Right at the beginning we are going to play what some people may call classics because I don’t want to add these new songs until the new album comes out in two weeks. As the album comes out we will throw in some new songs. Your gonna get “Far Beyond the Sun”, “You Don’t Remember”, “I’ll See The Light Tonight”, maybe some stuff from “Unleash The Fury”, maybe “Attack”, or something from “Eclipse”. You know the guys in my band pretty much know everything and I don’t like to do the same set every night. The album comes out of the 14th so after that I will throw in a couple songs at a time.

10. Are you playing any songs that haven’t been in the set for a long time or maybe never at all?

YNGWIE: No… not that I know of. There might be one or two. Basically right before the show I write out a setlist so my band has to be ready for anything Hahaha. You know, you have the printed out setlist that’s taped to the stage and I still don’t play what’s on it. Sometimes I will just start to play a song not even written down, its fun.

11. I’m gonna throw at you some songs that I would like to see in the setlist and if you would give me your thoughts? Hate it, love it, whatever comes to mind when you hear that title.

YNGWIE: Ok cool.


YNGWIE: “Fire”, from “Trilogy”. O man we haven’t played that song for many years. Its an ok song. I remember when I wrote that song I was getting into playing suspended chords. Its an ok song. Maybe I would add that in.


YNGWIE: It’s a cool one, its alright.

“Facing The Animal”:

YNGWIE: We use to do that all the time. I love the way Cozy Powell plays drums on that one. Yeah I like that one, definitely.


YNGWIE: I LIKE THAT ONE. Yeah..I forgot about that one. You know maybe we will throw that one in. There you go.



“Don’t Let It End”:

YNGWIE: That’s my drummer’s (Patrick Johansson) favorite song and I threw it in on the European tour just to shut him up, Haha. Yeah it went over well.


YNGWIE: Yeah that one is pretty cool too.


YNGWIE: The whole thing..yeah I like that instrumental. I gotta listen to that again. There is a new instrumental on the new album called 'Caprici Di Diablo', that is just the most extreme thing I have ever done and I’m gonna see if I can pull that off live Haha.

12. I have a question about the “Far Beyond The Sun” DVD that came out a couple years ago. It features two shows, “Japan 85” and “Trial By Fire/Live In Leningrad”, but there are songs omitted from both shows that were initially found on the original VHS release. Why is that?

YNGWIE: Actually I had nothing to do with that, I wasn’t happy with that at all. That particular release I had nothing to do with but I would like to see both concerts released properly with the complete setlist for both.

13. You have been making music for three decades. What are thoughts on the music from the 80s, to the 90s, and now the 2000s? Do you find it has changed, gone though a progression?

YNGWIE: Well its always been something I have been very proud of and I created something that is mine, its my sound and style. Having said that, that particular sound or style I have created is so diverse, it can be anything from “Dragonfly” to “InstruMENTAL Institution” or to even the new album and the song “Magic City” where I sing which is like Hendrix (Jimi) and then there’s 'Caprici Di Diablo' and “Death Dealer” which are unique but instantly recognizable as Yngwie Malmsteen. So I think, my music has become maybe more refined over time but the chore of the idea was something I came up with when I was like twelve or thirteen which was to play music that was heavy metal with a classical influence. That was always my way of doing it. Like this new album “Perpetual Flame” I think has so much energy and power, maybe the most I have played ever.

14. Are there any albums you would like to go back and either remix or remaster?

YNGWIE: Yes there are two. I think the album “War To End All Wars” had some really good songs but I had this guy that was into this industrial shit and at the time he almost had me going in that direction. So I really love the songs on the album but I want to go back and remix it and if I could I would like to remix the first album. You know in all due time. Right now the new album is what’s important.

15. Will you be recording any shows during this tour for DVD?

YNGWIE: Yes we will. I’m definitely doing a lot of audio recording but I don’t know where we will shooting the video.

16. Releasing any promo videos in support of “Perpetual Flame”?

YNGWIE: I haven’t seen it on the schedule but there is this song on the new album called “Red Devil” and I have always been a Ferrari freak, its about that. Its like a party rock song and its very very cool, its so catchy. I would like to do a video for that.

17. Plans for the rest of 08 into 09?

YNGWIE: A lot of touring.

18. Do you get involved in side projects often? Any coming up?

YNGWIE: O yeah I have always been involved in the past making guest appearances on other people’s albums but I have never been as busy as I am right now. So currently I don’t have the time. Sure, I love doing that kind of stuff but I don’t see it happening now.

19. Any plans to release an “Anthology” or “Best Of” set?

YNGWIE: O yeah but right now I am focused on the new album “Perpetual Flame”. That’s how I am, I stay focused on one thing and then after that project is finished then I move onto the next. But yeah, a box set, remixes, a DVD is all going to happen but in time.

Official website: www.yngwie.org

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