AN INTERVIEW WITH

 

When I set out trying to get an interview with Yngwie Malmsteen after I heard he'd be playing in Holland for the first time since November 1988, I really didn't take into consideration that it might happen. As a matter of fact I sortof counted on it not working out; I even believed that, like some years ago, all Dutch tour dates would be cancelled.

But it did and they weren't, things which succeeded in exciting me quite a bit. Had this happened two or three years ago I am quite sure I would have wet my pants or something. Now it was just very exciting and even provoking some nervousness. It is now the day before the interview May 11th 1994, just past three in the afternoon. I believe this whole thing might be worthy of a real-time article.

 

15:07

 

About two hours ago, Rough Trade (the Dutch distributors of Music For Nations, Yngwie's current label) called me to tell me I should be at the Park Hotel at 13:00 hours tomorrow, contact the tour manager (Dave Hulme) and get the whole thing going.

This actually meant the interview was quite certainly going to happen, something I had doubted up to the minute before they called.

It is going to happen. Already I feel I have to go to the toilet.

 

March 11th 1994 - The Day 09:30

 

The alarm clock switches on, and the Dutch "Arbeidsvitaminen" rouse me from my sleep. Today is the day. My bowels tell me I'm still nervous. I get out of bed. My girlfriend and me need to walk the dog (a dog called Joey that we're looking after for the duration of some of our friends' honeymoon).

I need to pack everything. Shouldn't forget to bring my guitar. And the question sheet. I had some more questions last night in bed when trying to get to sleep. Now what were they, again? Will the buses drive? No strike or anything? Shouldn't we get an earlier train, just in case? I shouldn't forget the walkman batteries. And the guitar.

 

11:14

 

My girlfriend and me enter the bus. I am still quite nervous but I suppress it by thinking of baseball. Always works.

In the bus I meet Theo-Hans, a guy that I met while waiting for Satriani to pop up at the artist entrance at last year's Vredenburg concert. I had met him again yesterday - by total coincidence - and he had asked me if he could tag along to the interview. I had told him he shouldn't count on getting in, but he was welcome to try.

 

11:25

 

We arrive at Utrecht Central Station, way too early for the 11:47 intercity train to Rotterdam. I look at all the other people walking there, who seem totally oblivious of the fact that there are some among them who are going to meet one of the leading guitar virtuosos alive today. Somehow I think this is weird (which is weird in itself).

 

12:25

 

The train arrives at Rotterdam Central. I am supposed to meet the tour manager, Dave Hulme, at Park Hotel, at ten minutes' walking from Central Station. We've got aeons of time. Nothing went wrong with either the bus or the train. Now the only thing that can go wrong is one of us breaking a leg. We take extra care when crossing the perilous Rotterdam streets.

 

12:40

 

We arrive at the hotel. It wasn't exactly a ten minutes' walk, but we're early anyway. Nobody swiped us with their cars, and on the way we even saw that Nighttown, the concert venue, still exists. I start believing that actually this thing is beginning to be real.

All in all, my nerves have inflicted on my bladder a perverse desire to unleash its fluids. I quickly find the nearest available toilet. This is rather more precarious then some of you might think. First of the Park Hotel is a really classy hotel, Hilton-ish, and I feel severely out of place in a regular T-shirt and black "Dynamo Open Air" boxer shorts. Also, they use some sort of very artistic way to indicate where the toilets are. I find them in the end, and with a genuinely pleasing smell entering my nostrils (this was the first toilet I ever been in actually smelling like a pleasure garden) and Richard Clayderman pleasing me aurally, I relieve myself.

This is the obligatory reference to my bodily fluid system that I sometimes tend to have. There won't be any more, at least not here.

 

12:53

 

"Is that Mats?" Theo-Hans says as someone with long black hair descends a flight of stairs. Indeed it is. I walk up to him and ask him if perhaps he could be bothered to sign some CD liners. Mats Olausson, keyboard player with Yngwie Malmsteen ever since "Eclipse", proves a totally friendly dude (as would the others, later). He has no problem signing all that we wish to be signed. He even told us when the soundcheck would be so that we could meet the others as well if we wanted to. After bidding us farewell he disappears again.

 

12:55

 

I walk up to the reception desk and announce my arrival. I tell them of my appointment with Dave Hulme. Two minutes later Dave is downstairs, a middle-aged man wearing a "U.F.O." T-shirt. He checks out the bar, finds a nice secluded corner and tells us to take a seat there while he's getting Yngwie. We sit down.

 

13:07

 

He walks in, and I have to admit I am suddenly getting a nerve attack of sorts. We introduce ourselves. Dave sits down at the bar and gets us a drink. I need a beer, definitely, so I ask one. Yngwie sits down, too. He's not half as fat as I had imagined he'd be, just a bit of a second chin. We chat a bit, and suddenly the nerves go and I feel perfectly at ease. He's a totally relaxed dude, not at all the person the press would have us believe. I know this is a cliché thing that I've read in the Malmsteen Militia Fanclub magazine several times before, and I even know I always frowned on those very remarks, discarding them as half-love-sick remarks of utter adoration and semi- worshipping. Not so. I believe they, like mine, could be quite true.

To the sound of muzak in the background (ever seen the scene close to the end of "The Blues Brothers" when they go up in the elevator?) I start the interview.

 

In what kind of town were you born?

Yngwie: Stockholm. I was born in Stockholm, Sweden. A big city.

What is your fondest memory of Stockholm, or Sweden?

Yngwie: Well, it depends, because I grew up sortof er...I grew up at my mother's house, of course, OK, so we lived in a house, nice house, you know, with forest and stuff, but you had to go on the subway for half an hour to go to the city, which I did every day from the point that I was about 11 I did it every day, because I had my recording studio...I started very early, you see. What I liked a lot was just being able to compose a lot of music and basically be free to do what I wanted to do. And my mother wasn't the person to tell me "OK, you gotta do this, you gotta do that, you should wear your hair like that", you know. I was very lucky that way. That's what I like about Sweden. And then eventually I moved into the city, and lived there until I was 16 and moved to America when I was 19.

When did it become obvious that you were laid out to become a guitarist?

Yngwie: I think I never had a doubt in my mind, really. I started playing about 24 years ago, and from that point on, really, I knew it. I knew this is why I'm here. This is why I'm alive. And I still feel the same way.

There's this story about the two tape decks with different speeds, hence your incredible playing speed. Is it true?

Yngwie: This is true. It's actually true. The funny thing was I was so relentless about what I was doing, I would constantly, well, record what I played. And I had this thing that if I don't play better the next day than I did the day before, something was really wrong. (With feeling) I'd fuckin' kick myself, "No, I gotta be better, I gotta be better". I was, like, totally fanatic about it, you know. Completely fanatic. My recorder in the rehearsal place was a tape machine that ran at 4...em...4.75 I think. And there's another international speed, 4.80 I believe, which is different. This was before I had perfect pitch and shit like that so I used to come home and listen to what I did and was going, "Hmmm...pretty good, pretty good", and the next morning of course I'd go ahead and play again and I thought my guitar was out of tune because it's so fuckin' cold in the subway, you know, so I'd just tune it up again, you know, to the new pitch, and I played to that. And I went like "wrrr, wrrr" (fingers flying), and go "man, that's fast" and that escalated it. Actually this is one of the really few things that are true about me. There's so many things said about me that are just complete fuckin' bullshit.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Yngwie: The first album I got I didn't buy, I got it for my birthday. It was Deep Purple's "Fireball", on my eighth birthday, and from that point on I had no doubt in my mind what I wanted to be. That album fuckin' kicked my ass, you know. You know how it starts, right? With the bass drum like that. It was, like, '71, and nobody played like that. I did listen to Jimi Hendrix before them, and my sister was a big influence on me because everything she'd listen to I'd listen to too. She was six years older than me. And she's the one who said to me, on the 18th of September 1970, she said, "come and look at the TV," and they showed Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire, the same day he died, you know, because it was on the news. And I already had a guitar, I got it on my fifth birthday, and I started playing on it the same day.

What was the first guitar you had?

Yngwie: It was an acoustic guitar, you know, a cheap acoustic guitar.

What was the first electric guitar you had?

Yngwie: That was also a cheap electric guitar. I don't remember what it's called, you know, it's one of those very cheap fuckin' things, about 50 bucks or something, no, probably not even that much, 25 or something. But it worked great, and I would customize it, you know, I'd put a tremolo bar on it, and put different pickups in it and shit like that.

Scallop?

Yngwie: I didn't do that particular one. I did that when I started working in a shop, I was about 14, as an apprentice, you know. And I saw this 16th century lute, you know, and instead of frets it had the wood carved out like this (makes a dulled "U" form with his fingers). I thought, "Hmm, that looks interesting", so I just did it and I liked it and since then I've done it.

You mentioned "Fireball" just a while ago, but which CD do you miss most now because you left it at home?

Yngwie: Em...I don't listen to music, you know. I brought some of the classical ones with me. Paganini, of course, Vivaldi. I don't really listen much to music because all I do is travel and do interviews. That's all I do, it's my job. I do 6 or 7 interviews a day.

As to your own records, which do you think is your least favourite of your own records - excepting Steeler and Alcatrazz of course?

Yngwie: (Laughs) Alcatrazz I actually liked.

Why don't you play any of the old songs then?

Yngwie: Well, that's a very good question and I will give you a very good answer. I constantly get shit about my shows being too long. They're, like, 2 hours and 20 minutes. And I still don't play all the songs I want to play, you know. On this last tour we played "Hiroshima Mon Amour", but with 7 solo studio albums it's hard to choose which ones to play. The record company tries to push me, they say, "play all the new songs", but I don't want to play only the new songs, I want to play some of the classics too, the kids want to hear them too, "Far Beyond the Sun" and shit like that, which I do.

You still like playing that?

Yngwie: Oh yeah, it's a blast every night. Because, you know, the song is really the biggest challenge every night, because it has to be so...(sniffs his nose in contemplation)...intense, and also the guitar solo which is...never the same. You see, I improvise everything, so to me nothing gets stale.

What is your favourite pre-"The Seventh Sign" song?

Yngwie: It's hard to say, you know, because I always say, when they ask me "so which one is your favourite song", I go, well, "Have you got children? Yeah, well, which one is your favourite child?" And they say "Well, no, I like them all," you know. The same thing. The music is my children. And another thing is that I don't put something on an album that I don't really like. I never had a filler song. I always like everything.

Could you hazard telling me which you like best of "The Seventh Sign" songs then, perhaps?

Yngwie: That question is definitely the hardest to answer. I think that album has such an extremely wide variety of types of songs. I mean compare "Prisoner of Your Love" with "Pyramid of Cheops" for instance, it's very very different. But they are all strong in their own sense, so I couldn't say I like either one [most]. With this album there is absolutely no way I could say I like one track more than another. There's a few songs that I do prefer to play live, for instance "Seventh Sign", "Never Die", "Crash & Burn", "Forever One" are the songs that sound best on stage. We've been trying to play "I Don't Know" - doesn't come across live. We tried to play "Meant To Be" - does not come across live. In my opinion, that is. "Pyramid of Cheops" is really good, live. Basically, if you listen to the album there's one guitar, one keyboard player, there's one bass player and there's a singer and a drummer. It's a very...it's not live, but it's an album that you could play live, you know. Which I like, 'cause I've done albums where there's been so many fuckin' overdubs that...(loses track of what he wanted to say).

You mean "Live in Leningrad"?

Yngwie: "Live in Leningrad" has a couple of small fix-ups, yeah, it does. There's a couple of fix-ups on the live album, which everybody does. However, I want to tell you something. We just did, on this last Japanese tour, well, a month ago, we filmed the whole Budo Kan show - 18 cameras, 48 track recording - and we didn't fix up one single thing. It will be released in June. Nothing, nothing is touched. It's completely like the show, every fuckin' thing. And, you know, there's a couple of little booboos, but, you know, I like it. I mean, I decided that this time I'm not gonna fix anything. Joe Lynn Turner just about resang the whole fuckin' album. He was fired, OK? I redid some of the rhythm guitars because the string broke or something like that, or it was a little bit sloppy, but the solos weren't overdubbed. On this one I did nothing, not a fuckin' thing. What I did was I took the tape and sat together with this guy - he's from here actually, Erwin...Erwin something, what was his last name, he's Dutch [Musper, .ED]... Anyway, him and me just sat down and mixed what's on there. Didn't redo any vocals, didn't redo any guitars, nothing. Not a fuckin' thing.

Will the songs you performed at the Leo Fender memorial concert ever be released commercially, on an EP for example, or as bonus tracks somewhere?

Yngwie: I thought it was a really shitty show but, then again, I mean, I didn't mean to [play]. I just had a few beers and said, "fuck, of course I'm going to contribute to this," you know, so I just went up and did it. It wasn't a serious thing at all.

It may be interesting as a collectors' item though.

Yngwie: I'll tell you what may be worth released as collectors' item, which is gonna happen too, which is my 16 tracks stuff that I recorded before I recorded this album, and one of those 16 track songs actually appears on the Japanese pressing ("Angel in Heat", ED.). I sing lead on that. And they're gonna release a song I've just recorded for a Japanese wrestler. It's gonna be a "steam song" as he walks out. He's not a Sumo Wrestler, it's called...something..."shoot wrestling" I think. It's like American professional wrestling but they do it for real. They really kick the f...you see teeth flying and shit, you know. Anyway, so, it's true. I do that, and there's gonna be one extra song, and there's gonna be two live tracks on that. That's only going to be released in Japan, and I heard there's something like 300,000 pre-sold.

You're quite a success in Japan - as opposed to Europe, you might say.

Yngwie: We should change that, shouldn't we? The Japanese are very guitar-oriented. I wanna say this, and I don't wanna come across the wrong way, you know, but this is a mere fact, not just something that I'm saying. A mere fact. From "Fire & Ice" on, no western artist, including Metallica, Guns'n'Roses, Michael Jackson, Cher, you name it, no western artist, any western artist, ever has sold more records than I have in Japan. "Fire & Ice" went straight number one, double platinum in four days, and now it's, like, triple platinum. I mean Guns'n'Roses sell like 45,000 copies there, which is good...(pauses for dramatic impact) I sell 400,000. I have no idea why that is. As to the situation in Europe, I'm doing everything I can. I'm doing every interview I can, the shows, and I think the record company is going to concentrate a bit more on promoting me, which hasn't happened before. For many fuckin' years, man, I've been working real hard on this, you know, and I still don't think I have something like proper success, really.

"Tribute to Jimi Hendrix" albums are fairly popular, for example those by Randy Hansen and Paul Gilbert. Since you're quite a fan of Jimi hendrix, too, wouldn't you like a go at such a project, too?

Yngwie: Not really, no. I think that's overdone. Everybody asks me, "do you ever wanna do an acoustic album," or "do you want to do a blues album", or an album that's only classical, or "do you wanna do an album that's only instrumental," and the answers to all these questions are the same: No. I have no desire at all to do that. I want to do albums like "The Seventh Sign", that has songs that go somewhere and that say something and that have the instrumental passages as well, the classical guitars, sitar even, you know, I like that too, and bluesier stuff like "Bad Blood" and stuff. I don't like to do one album thatís all the fuckin' same. I like to do albums that have a lot of different avenues. It's like, you know, "Hairtrigger", you know, is, like, fuckin' punching out, you know, but then you have "Forever One" that's a more delicate song. I don't like to have albums that have the same shit over and over, you know. I don't like them. Bands like Judas Priest and AC/DC and all these bands, I personally like them, but I wouldn't do an album the way they do, that is so the same, you know.

You're also quite a fan of Ritchie Blackmore (ex-ex-ex Deep Purple). Some people even say you've got a Blackmore fixation. Have you ever met him?

Yngwie: Many times. Actually, he's a fan of me. No, of course, you know, I love Deep Purple. That was, like, a huge influence on me when I was young. No question about it. I think maybe that they live at lost right now, especially with the new addition of the guitar player. I think that's a shame. I mean Joe Satriani's a good guitar player but he doesn't fit [in] Deep Purple, that's just the way it is. He doesn't fit [in] the concept of Deep Purple. First of all he's using humbucking pickups which is a fuckin' sin. If you wanna play Deep Purple music you don't use humbucking pickups, you use single coil.

Have you seen the "Rising Force '85" live video and were you content with the way the video editors have fucked it up video-wise?

Yngwie: I've seen it a long time ago. It's pathetic. But the new one won't be like that, the Budo Kan one. From what I've seen so far it's really good. A lot better, a lot better than that.

Now for a question that so far you've answered with "Well, I don't listen to guitar players that much"...

Yngwie: Well, I don't (smiles).

...the question is: Who are your favourite guitar players?

Yngwie: (Heaves a deep sigh, probably this is still a difficult question) Oh god (laughs). I like Alan Holdsworth. Al DiMeola is very good. Uli Jon Roth (ex-Scorpions, ED.) is good. Early Blackmore stuff, like from "Made in Japan", was extremely good. Em...I mean...that's about it really. I don't listen to guitar players. I used to when I was younger but I don't do it anymore.

What is your favourite guitar?

Yngwie: The Fender Stratocaster. I have one that I've had for, like, 18 years, that I don't bring on tour any more. It's the one on the cover of my first album. That one...

At this moment the background music transforms into a non-vocal version of "Lambada". The music is truly revolting, worse than Richard Clayderman actually, so I retract my earlier statement with regard to that.

Yngwie: We played that at my wedding ("Lambada", ED.). Anyway, that one's a '71 cream Strat with maple neck, then I have a '56 that I also used to use a lot. I also left that one at home. But I have 175 guitars. A lot of guitars. I try to make sure that each one I use on stage is a very good one. They wear out really quickly because I kick them around a lot.

How many guitars would you estimate become, let's say, redundant, due to excessive wear during a tour?

Yngwie: (Some sadness in his voice) I just broke a 1960 one, and sometimes I set my guitars on fire. But those are not the main ones. Beyond repair, maybe 5. Not beyond repair, maybe 10.

Is there a person in the music industry which one day you'd really like to meet? He thinks for a long while. I add "except for Jimi Hendrix" to keep things going.

Yngwie: (He grins) I do like a guy called Ian Anderson (from Jethro Tull, ED.) a lot. I've never met him. I worked with people that worked with him a lot, such as Barrymore Barlow and some of the crew people. I know him a little bit through that. But Ian Anderson is a fuckin' genius, you know. It's just the way he always does the coolest arrangements and stuff, and a lot of stage presence.

Suppose I would want to be Malmsteen II. What would I have to do? Any tips for the next generation?

Yngwie: You have to understand that when it comes to my approach to this, it's not only playing guitar, you see. It's much, much more than that. I wouldn't call it spiritual, but it's something that I don't really have control over, when it comes to my compositions and also my improvisations. It's very hard for me to give anyone advise because nobody ever gave me any advice. I did an educational video once, but that's a kindof silly one anyway because you won't learn anything from it. It's just me sitting down and saying, well, "here's this one thing," and I go "wrrt wrrt wrrt" and, "this is the same again but a bit slower", "wrrt wrrt wrrt", and, "OK, here's another one". I've never been taught anything so I don't exactly know how to teach, except for the fact that I can tell you exactly which scales to use, and which notes to use in certain chord progressions, you know, which I think is very self-explanatory anyway. You can learn that just by listening.

OK, upon us now is the "words to react to" section. Please react quickly and briefly.

MTV.

Yngwie: MTV? I don't think it should be called "Music Television" because they don't play music. I think it's really gone out of hand. Out of fuckin' control. I would like to see it change or disappear. I think what it's done is that it ruined, you know, the mystique of stuff, you know. When I was a kid I wondered what it'd be like to see a proper show, I would never see them on TV or nothing, and if there was a show I'd fuckin' put a tent outside and sleep. Nowadays kids are getting real blasé, because they see it on TV and say, "fuck, I'm not gonna pay 30 dollars to see a show, not to see a show, no way man".

Ron Keel (the singer of the first bigger band Yngwie was in, Steeler).

Yngwie: Wrong key. That's my answer.

Upplands Vasby (which is where the earliest known bootleg live recording of Yngwie was done - just personal curiosity really).

Yngwie: It was an interesting area of people living there. I had a girlfriend there so I was there quite often. It's kindof a suburb, but it's kinda far away from Stockholm. It had its own little shopping mall and pub, whatever. That was about '79, '80.

The Malmsteen Militia (the official fan club).

Yngwie: I love it. I think it's exceptional. I think the fans are wonderful and I think that the whole way it's put together is great. It's very informative, and I know them, and they're also good friends of my wife (Amber, ED.) and stuff.

Silver Mountain (a band Yngwie was in, sortof, in Sweden).

Yngwie: That was interesting because that's how I found out...em...I met this guy in Stockholm and he heard me playing in a music store and said, "I know this guy that sortof plays like you" and I say, "yeah?" (something like contempt on his face there). So he says it was Jonas Hansson, and I must be honest with you, I don't think he plays like me, nowhere near like me. Well, anyway, he was the guitar player in Silver Mountain, and he played me a tape and I said, "Fuck, what a great keyboard player!", and that was Jens (Jens Johansson, keyboard player on the first four Yngwie solo albums, ED.). And that's how I got hooked up with Jens. This was just, like, a month before I left for America. I went down and recorded something with them and then I went up to the States and then a few years later I called Jens up and asked him if he wanted to do the gig.

Graham Bonnet (singer of the second bigger band he was in, Alcatrazz).

Yngwie: I saw him for the first time in 11 years at the L.A. show. And we were, like, hanging and stuff (laughs). He's one funny guy, very strange.

You don't hate him? I mean there's this story going around about this last Alcatrazz gig where he disconnected your guitar cord in the middle of a solo. Did you forgive him?

Yngwie: Yeah. I didn't forgive him then, though.

Steve Vai.

Yngwie: He is a cool guy. I like him. We speak sometimes, and stuff like that, but I just don't like his choice of notes, and his tremolo bar all over the place. I just don't like it. But I'm sure he's very good, maybe he just doesn't want to play any other way, you know.

Joe Lynn Turner (the singer on "Odyssey").

Yngwie: Joe's another funny guy. Joe is a great singer, no question about it, a real good singer. Actually we're on friendly terms now, but I don't think we can work together because we have this...we've got way too different tastes and we're both kinda like...a little too passionate and stuff like that so we could get into a conflict.

On stage, you mean?

Yngwie: No, off stage.

I sense a delicate subject, so I go on to the next word.

Joe Satriani.

Yngwie: Joe Satriani is a good player. I think he is very good, but he doesn't seem to play with a lot of passion, he doesn't come across like someone who (with feeling) really, really plays. He sounds very well-rehearsed, and very sortof, like, it sounds as if he is sitting down, you know.

Mike Varney.

Yngwie: He did me a good favour when I was 19 years old. He did not pay for my ticket, though, though he claims he did. Ron Keel didn't pay for it either, my mother paid for the fuckin' ticket to get to the States. Mike Varney inflicted a great deal of harm on me, when I sortof left his so-called 'stable', by manipulating every guitar player in the fuckin' world to play like me, and sign every guitar player in the fuckin' world that played like me. Because the whole market is now saturated with neoclassical guitar players and took away from the impact that my style could have had, because my style was that style. And now a million others do the same. I mean you know Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Joey Tafolla, you name it, did complete blatant rip-offs. That's what it was, and all thanks to him, which I think was a bad thing to do.

Bill Clinton.

Yngwie: I think he's a fuckin' clown.

Religion.

Yngwie: It could be a very good thing for some people, but religion could also be a very bad thing. I think that religion is very [much] commercialized, especially Christian religion in America, with the TV preachers and stuff, which is totally wrong. "Send us money so I can buy a gold Rolex!" But I mean I don't believe in a specific religion, even though (moves some the assorted chains and stuff on his arms and neck) I have something like fifty crosses on. I believe there is something, definitely something. Before I went to the States some of the recordings I did were some of the heaviest blackest shit. I mean devil- worshipping fuckin' lyrics and the heaviest, darkest riffs, and fast riffs, like death and thrash and all together, but with classical influences also. That's the way I used to do things, then. "Lucifer's Friend" and "Voodoo Nights", I had songs like that. I actually think that influenced some of the bands that do it today. I never heard someone do that before I did it. [Black] Sabbath did it, you know, but not to that same sound.

Entombed.

Yngwie: The band? I never heard of them. I know they're from Sweden but I haven't lived there for, like, 11 years. I've heard of the name, but I've never heard them play.

Polygram.

Yngwie: I think they fucked me around a lot. I think that they could have probably made me a lot bigger success if they would have wanted to. I wasn't Def Leppard, I wasn't Bon Jovi, you know, I was Yngwie Malmsteen and I was on the same label and they made so much fuckin' money with those other bands that they really didn't care about me. So I moved on to Electrica... electric... (stumbles over the word, unscrews his tongue) Elektra. And that was even worse. They were even worse. I could not believe it, this just had to be a fuckin' joke, you know. They completely ignored me. Most people didn't even know the album was out.

The Seventh Sign.

Yngwie: I know this is a cliché thing that everybody says when they come out with a new album but I believe, strongly believe, that this is the best album I've done. I really believe that. I mean I would almost always say that, although I didn't say it when I made "Odyssey", and I didn't say it when I made "Fire & Ice", you know. But I do say it with this one, I really do. Because I think it has the most complete songwriting, the most complete playing, and singing, and it's all properly mashed together. "Eclipse" I thought was a good album but the singer was just somewhere else. He wasn't singing what he wanted to sing. He sang what I told him to sing but he didn't sing with conviction. Whereas with Michael Vescera (the current singer, ED.), even though I tell him what to sing - I give him word for word what I want him to sing, each note - (sings "Never Dieeeeee") but he really means it even though he didn't write it. And I think that's really put the cap on the whole thing, made it stronger.

Your image.

Yngwie: My image is what people think of me, not what I make myself to look like, or seem like. My image is up to everybody's individual ideas. I don't really have an image, I just am what I am.

Criticism.

Yngwie: Good criticism is good, criticism that doesn't have any substance whatsoever, just basically trying to cut your part, I think I could live without it. But, then again, I don't give a fuck. Because I know what I do, I know what I want, I know what I can do, and I know where I'm going. I am a very determined person.

Donuts.

Yngwie: Donuts?! I fuckin' hate donuts! Is that the Pantera thing? I've never seen that. What the fuck is that thing?

I explain what I've heard of the "Cowboys From Hell" Pantera home video, where they accidentally stumble into him at a hotel and he is offered an impromptu donut which he rather explicitly refuses, after which he moves into the elevator with some babes and Pantera scratches a message - something along the lines of "fuck off Malmshit poser fag" - on the back of his tour van.

Yngwie: (Frowns, but sees the humour - I think) Hmm... that's interesting.

And with that I reached the end of the interview, at around 13:45, which means we had taken rather longer than the alotted time. For the last twenty minutes I had already seen a journalist standing around (of "Watt!", a Dutch rock music magazine). After having Yngwie sign my guitar, we went off in a state damn near to being spaced out.

RK

Written March 1994

 

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