Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: October 2008
Yngwie Malmsteen: Hi, this is Mr. Malmsteen. how’s it going today?
Brian Rademacher: Great, how about you?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Great, it’s really crazy going on the road and it’s real hectic (right now).
Brian Rademacher: When you first heard Paganini was any of your thoughts to play violin instead of guitar?
Yngwie Malmsteen: A lot of times I try to explain to people my approach to writing songs and composing them. I write the drum parts myself, I do the bass parts myself, and the guitar. I arrange all the strings and keyboard parts and the vocals I do that too. I’m very particular the way--the exact way--I want them. I got my first guitar when I was five and started playing. When I heard Paganini I didn’t really have the urge to play violin. I am just inspired by his sound, that is what I heard in my head and I wanted to play that on the guitar.
Brian Rademacher: Through the years and many reviews of other guitarists, you are mentioned all the time in context of “this guy sounds like Yngwie”, what is that feeling like that others are always compared to you?
Yngwie Malmsteen: (laughing) The thing is I hear it too and to me that’s an honor. It’s very flattering. When I was a little kid about ten or eleven years old I could play Ritchie Blackmore’s solos on lead guitar and it sounded exactly the same. That was a lot of fun but it came to a point where I said I can do that, but that’s not me, that’s him. I understand how you can be inspired by somebody but when you start putting out your own records its time to be yourself.
Brian Rademacher: How do you keep your guitar tone so heavy, yet so crystal clear - is it the amps, the pickups, the guitar, or your own hands or some combination? (Question by Vic Rivera Poley/Rivera)
Yngwie Malmsteen: It’s actually the way I play. But also the fact I use Marshall’s which crystallizes the sound. If I pick up the SG and I play through another amp it doesn’t sound like me. That is one of the things I wanted to achieve when I heard a violin and that was the tone I was going for.
Brian Rademacher: Do you have any plans to work with Paul Gilbert, because on youtube he talks about working with you? (Question by Pat Beijers).
Yngwie Malmsteen: Why yeah, that would be fun. I have been hanging with him a lot lately. We did something in England together. He is a great guy.
Brian Rademacher: Let’s get into some of the new CD “Perpetual Flame”. “Death Dealer” starts things off on a fast track with Ripper adding his raw vocal. What do you bring differently with the guitar that you haven’t in past releases?
Yngwie Malmsteen: No I didn’t do anything different. The difference in this record is I did it in sections. I would go in the studio do the guitar or bass lines and then the CD started taking shape. I will try anything. Whatever comes naturally. If I’m focused it comes out focused, if not it’s not. The songs naturally start off with an idea and it comes out great. Once the song is started I start getting more methodical with the lyrics, which I spend a lot of time on.
Brian Rademacher: Did you ever try playing with a bow like Jimmy Page did?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Yeah I did but didn’t like the sound of it.
Brian Rademacher: Probably my favorite track is “Live To Fight”. It really starts off a lot different then any other Yngwie song I’ve ever heard, more in an Ozzy “Blizzard of Ozz” era sound. The guitars are down tuned and I really enjoyed this song? Will this track be included during your upcoming tour?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Yes, we do play it and it sounds really good.
Brian Rademacher: When you worked with Ripper for the Ozzy Tribute CD “Bat Head Soup” in 2000 and you did the song “Mr. Crowley”, did this come into play in having Ripper as the new vocalist? Or were there auditions?
Yngwie Malmsteen: That was one of the ways we got to know each other. It wasn’t the initial reason. I invited him down and we worked on some songs and the first one we did was “Live To Fight” and he dug it and so (he) did it.
Brian Rademacher: Why the 3 year wait for the new CD?
Yngwie Malmsteen: The recording wasn’t done the traditional way. I wrote some, recorded some, went on the road came back did more and we have the final product.
Brian Rademacher: Another killer tune is “Priest of the Unholy” that to me is magical. I really like when you play alongside the keyboards, I would have loved hearing this just as an instrumental song. Would there be any possibility of you releasing this track at a later date instrumentally?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Thanks, no that never came to mind.
Brian Rademacher: The last three tracks were not included for the promo release. Can you tell me about the songs “Magic City”, “Eleventh Hour” and “Heavy Heart”?
Yngwie Malmsteen: They are very special. “Magic City” I actually sing lead on. I like it; very bluesy and different from the rest of the album. “Eleventh Hour” is very majestic, heavy with a real string section. Those three are more then fifteen minutes long.
Brian Rademacher: I watched the video of them working on your custom Fender Stratocaster that is coming out as a limited edition of 100 in November. That must be an unbelievable feeling having that exact replica made? Tell me that experience?
Yngwie Malmsteen: It’s completely mind bending. I thought it was the one I had for thirty years. Amazing!
Brian Rademacher: In the New York Area there is a band called UNTIL DESTINY with guitarist Robert Katrikh that has the style of yourself but every step he takes forward it seems he takes two steps back. What would you recommend to them in trying to break into the business?
Yngwie Malmsteen: All I can tell you that you have to be relentless and always stay with what you believe in. I did what I thought was the right thing. If you believe in what you do don’t change it. That’s my motto!
Brian Rademacher: I am a big guitar pick collector and there is a network of fans. One group is called Picknet. Fans would like to know the history of your own signature picks; if you had a signature pick with STEELER and ALCATRAZZ.
Yngwie Malmsteen: No pick in STEELER. I had one in ALCATRAZZ which was tortoise shell with a gold signature and (a) pentagram.
Editors note: Yngwie signature guitar picks I own.
- Tortoise shell gold pint signature with pentagram b/w D'Agelico 1984
- Tortoise shell embossed signature with pentagram b/w D'Agelico 1984
- White with Gold Signature b/w D'Agelico (No Pentagram)
- White with black Signature with Pentagram nothing on other side
- White with black Signature with star nothing on other side
- White with black Signature with bigger star nothing on other side
- White with black Signature with star bolder print nothing on other side
- Black with gold Signature with star New Legend 2001 nothing on other side
Brian Rademacher: What is a typical day for Yngwie Malmsteen from when you first get up?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I do interviews all day! (laughing)
Brian Rademacher: Can you tell us a little about the new tour?
Yngwie Malmsteen: Well we are doing some classics and older songs; not too many new songs. I don’t like doing the new songs because I want fans to hear it from the album first then live.
Brian Rademacher: Would you like to say anything in ending?
Yngwie Malmsteen: I’m very excited about being on the road and check out the new record.