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Interview conducted November 08 2010
Interview published November 24 2010

Lars Yngwie Johann Lannerbäck Malmsteen has a new album out called 'Relentless'. This is his second attack with Tim "Ripper" Owens on high impact vocals. As above, so be it! Lo, for over 30 years this King Of Sweden has been marching out, and unleashing the fury.

Somethings you may not remember, but he'll never forget! Facing the animal in the arena of madness, I confronted the rising force of his intimidating presence, and jumped at the opportunity to speak to - Yngwie J. Malmsteen - himself a magnanimous mind odyssey.

Our conversation was a bit brief, as he was swamped with press pressures, but we did discuss the past, present, and future of his exotic alchemy, and true logic when it comes to the genius of shredding, and securing his perpetual name.

MettleAngel: Hello there, Yngwie how goes it?

  • Yngwie: Well, I am swamped with interviews, and I have been at this all day. You are now my #12.

12 is a good number, I feel so special. Honestly, I am willing to keep this short, so you can catch a breather, and get back on track. I can imagine how inundated you must feel.

  • Yngwie: You have no idea, but hey thanks Man, I really appreciate it.

MettleAngel: Honestly, I know many who would be in awe to speak with you. I do not play guitar, and I am not a radical fan, so I will not bombard you with the obvious fawning questions.

  • Yngwie: Thanks, this should be interesting.

MettleAngel: You are quite a legend, even if in your own mind. You seem to be seldom enervated, and I an not being obsequious either.

  • Yngwie: So I am told. What does enervated mean?

MettleAngel: It means languid or without fervour or vigor.

  • Yngwie: No that I am not, nor ever shall be!

MettleAngel: So on to business. You have a new album due out November 22 called 'Relentless'. I have been streaming this, and I like what I hear. It is a step up from 'Perpetual Flame', and your second with Tim "Ripper" Owens.

  • Yngwie: Have you heard the whole album yet?

MettleAngel: Yes, but only once, and it was a pain to stream from the press site. This is your 18th studio endeavour. I am amazed that you are still motivated, and feel the inspiration to write new music.

  • Yngwie: Hence the name of the album, right? Actually I love to do this, and there is no other reason for me being. I am not going to allow myself to become enervated, right.

MettleAngel: Now you got it!

  • Yngwie: I am always writing, creating, mixing, or recording in the studio, which is my second home. My wife wonders where I spend more of my time with her, or in the damn studio. The thing is if I do not keep doing this, I do not know what I else would do. After all, this is my life path. I know it sounds crazy, but constantly making music keeps me sane.

MettleAngel: I understand, and that is to be commemorated. The process of continually playing music is what keeps me sane. This is now your second attack with "Ripper" tearing it up vocally.

  • Yngwie: Yep.

MettleAngel: He is a very busy man with all his pet projects like Charred Walls Of The Damned, Hail!, and all his vocal guest appearances. I am amazed he had the time to work on a new album with you.

  • Yngwie: He was very excited to get in the studio with me.

You first met him when you did the Ozzy cover of "Mr. Crowley". I assume you love to work with him, and to tour with him.

  • Yngwie: Absolutely! Tim is the perfect vocalist for the music I am now writing. He just fits every aspect of the compositions.

MettleAngel: "Ripper" claims that working with you is the easiest job he has ever had. I know John was demanding on him when he was in Iced Earth. Apparently he has no issue with you, because when he is on stage he gets multi-breaks between songs so you can show off and solo.

  • Yngwie: (Laughs) I guess that is true. He never mentioned that to me, though. I do solo a lot, so I can see his point.

MettleAngel: I know he enjoys working with you. He made this comment last time when you played Cleveland, where he was among friends.

  • Yngwie: Well it is true, so I can relate. Tim is quite a guy, and I am always grateful to work with him.

MettleAngel: You are the genius behind your compositions. You write all the music and lyrics, and play every instrument. I got a kick out of your cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It".

  • Yngwie: Oh really?

MettleAngel: Yes, you and "Ripper" did justice to that, and paid homage to "The King Of Pop" on the 'High Impact' release. The only thing, is that when I played it for my wife, we both agreed that there were way too many added solos, that were not to be found in the original.

  • Yngwie: Well of course, what would you expect! If I am going to put my name on something, I have to make it my own, even if that means playing new solos, and making the song more Metal.

MettleAngel: The song is definitely heavy, and you add your own signature, just like with all the covers you do on the 1996 'Inspiration' album. My question is what possessed you to cover Michael Jackson, was it to honor his death and his life long achievements?

  • Yngwie: Actually, it was all my wife's idea, as she is a big fan of his. Do not get me wrong, I respect the man, and what he has accomplished, it is just that I do not really like American Pop. I am from Sweden, you know.

MettleAngel: Yeah, but now you live in the US. I suppose a cover of ABBA is more your speed?

  • Yngwie: Hmmnnn, now there is a thought! The whole "Beat It" thing was really tongue-in- cheek all the way for me and Tim.

MettleAngel: I first heard your guitar antics on "Metal Shop" in the early '80s when you played with Ron Keel, Mark Edwards, and Steeler. I was in High School when I heard "Hot On Your Heels".

  • Yngwie: Those were the L.A. Glam days, when I came over and hooked up with Mike Varney of Shrapnel.

MettleAngel: There are some great songs on that album, and your work with Alkatrazz is awesome too. Speaking of Mark Edwards, how did you hook up with 3rd Stage Alert? I still only have that on vinyl.

  • Yngwie: Wow, there is a name that I have not heard for ages!

MettleAngel: This is a highly underrated (EP) that Metal Blade released on cassette and vinyl only in 1984. You contribute to the last song "Adagio (For A Dead Soldier)". Even Ann Boleyn from Hellion and owner of New Renaissance Records plays keys on the opening track "The Stranger", and the song "Take That Jump".

  • Yngwie: I do not remember too much about that. I know my management company had something to do with it. I think Andrew Trueman also assisted, and of course I knew Mark from the Steeler days. Man, you really are going in a direction for which I was not prepared.

MettleAngel: Well wait there is more to come!

  • Yngwie: Actually, this is cool, and a refreshing break from the normal shit I am asked.

MettleAngel: This was my intention. So get ready for this one, are you familiar with the band H.O.D. (Hospital Of Death) from the UK?

  • Yngwie: Uh no, I do not think so. Did I play with them and now forget about it?

MettleAngel: Oh no, they are a newer thrash act who always make their albums free for download, like Gama Bamb did with their last album. I spoke with their guitarist Stuart Pendergast in an interview last year. He is a big fan of yours.

  • Yngwie: Well, who is not?

MettleAngel: I know, you are a guitar god! The deal is that they have a song on their last album - 'Surge Kill Steal' called "The King Of Sweden". The band has a sense of humour, so I assumed they were poking fun at you with this. As it turns out, Stu is dead serious, and in awe of your masterwork.

  • Yngwie: Seriously, the song is called "The King Of Sweden", and it is all about me? I will have to check into that one.

MettleAngel: Here is an excerpt of the lyrics if I can recall, "A lot of twats play fender strats, but he is the exception. He makes it cool because he rules, and gives us all erections!"

  • Yngwie: (Laughing), Now that is some funny shit. What did you say the band was called again?

MettleAngel: H.O.D. from Chesire, England. Go to their website and download the music free.

  • Yngwie: If I can find the time, I will.

MettleAngel: I know the band themselves will go gaga when they find out that I told you about them. Are you familiar with the band Holy Grail?

  • Yngwie: They are a newer, younger Traditional act, right?

MettleAngel: Yes, they just released their new album on Prosthetic Records called 'Crisis In Utopia'. You have the same Press and Management company, which is how I secured this interview.

  • Yngwie: That is why the name is familiar to me.

MettleAngel: They are on tour with Blind Guardian and Seven Kingdoms, and will team up with Eluveitie in the US early next year. I spoke with their guitarist Eli all about you. He is actually proud that you are a dick.

  • Yngwie: Really, he said that?

MettleAngel: I swear it. You can read my interviews with Holy Grail and H.O.D. at the very site where this will be published called Metal Covenant.

  • Yngwie: Wait a minute they are in Sweden, right? I though you were calling me from Ohio

MettleAngel: Yeah, the site is based in Sweden, but it is universal now.

  • Yngwie: Oh yeah, because of the Internet.

MettleAngel: Are you familiar with the Spinal Tap joke reference to your name?

  • Yngwie: How do you mean?

MettleAngel: After Dio died, I was playing all his music. By the way, you and him did a great cover of "Dream On", By Aerosmith.

  • Yngwie: Dio was one of a kind!

MettleAngel: I agree! I watched my 'Hear 'n Aid: The Sessions' video where you contributed guitar solos. In an interview with David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel they discussed working with you and your name being Yngwie J. Malmsteen. David claimed that the "J" was to distinguish you from all other Yngwie Malmsteens.

  • Yngwie: Oh yes, of course, and I still make that reference myself.

MettleAngel: The thing is you have used so many names over the years that it becomes difficult to distinguish. In the '80s you had albums under the "Y"s for Yngwie, and "R"s for Rising Force. This is like what John "Cougar" Mellancamp did to us.

  • Yngwie: You listen to John Mellancamp!

MettleAngel: Not really, it is just a comparison. When I was in college in the late '80s, there were these two dudes who only played John Cougar tapes, and it drove me nuts. I had to blast Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer to drown out their bullshit.

  • Yngwie: What about my albums?

MettleAngel: Yeah those too! It is a funny thing since Malmsteen is not even your birthname, but rather your Mother's maiden name, which you assumed when you were ten.

  • Yngwie: This is true I was born Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck. After hearing about the death of Jimi Hendrix when I was seven, I knew I wanted to play guitar.

MettleAngel: You come from a very musically inclined family background.

  • Yngwie: Indeed, and to set the record straight, all the Yngwie names and Rising Force are all me!

MettleAngel: I know that, but the switching of names in the '80s and '90s was very confusing.

  • Yngwie: To avoid all confusion, they are all one entity: Me! I am the maker of all the music. The name changes were all a product of the music business.

MettleAngel: I assume to sell more albums!

  • Yngwie: Today I just want everyone to know that all those albums over the years are synonymous with yours truly! Dating back to my very first band Track On Earth, when I was only ten, leading to Rising Force, up to the present. I take credit for everything.

MettleAngel: As well you should. So let me ask you, after having worked with so many talented vocalist, over these many years, who would you say is your favourite?

  • Yngwie: That is easy, Mark Boals. He is such an amazing singer in his own right, and he really helped me fashion the songs around his talent.

MettleAngel: He is one of my favourite vocalist with you as well. 'Trilogy' is my favourite album of yours. He is now working with the Master Uli John Roth, who we will see on the "70,000 Tons Of Metal" Cruise.

  • Yngwie: Mark is an exceptional singer. Honestly I am proud of all the singers who have worked with me. Tim is the right vocalist for what I am now doing. I do not think Mark would fit the newer material.

MettleAngel: Michael Vescera is incredible too. I love his work with Loudness, Killing Machine, and his own band Obsession. Doogie White has teamed up with Tank from the UK. Now the NWOBHM act who border on thrash sound more like Saxon and Deep Purple on their new album - 'War Machine'.

  • Yngwie: I have not heard that yet.

MettleAngel: It is a good album, although it does not sound so much like classic Tank. What do you think of the bands who have covered you over the years like HammerFall, Evergrey, or Powergod, the first two, also being from Sweden?

  • Yngwie: Most of the bands who have attempted to honor my work have done a fine job.

MettleAngel: I like how HammerFall also cover Chastain. He is a once local guitar god, who we worshipped back in the day. Congratulations for being named #9 out of the 10 best guitarist of all time in TIME magazine, last year. So what is on the horizon for the one man show of non-stop relentless achievements?

  • Yngwie: Well besides all my press engagements to promote the new album, and flying everywhere, I will be premiering my signature Marshall Stack Amps in January of 2011.

MettleAngel: That should be killer. Alright Man, I do not want to take up anymore of your time. Thanks for everything, and congratulations on the new album.

  • Yngwie: Yeah, it has been cool chatting with you. I did not feel the pressure, and I am glad you had some new material, even stuff for which I was not aware. I guess we will catch you in Cleveland next year sometime.

MettleAngel: That would be cool, because, believe it or not, I have never seen you live. I almost saw you in Columbus with Lizzy Borden, but I will not go there.

  • Yngwie: Yeah, not a good idea, a sore topic I should say. Anyway, water under the bridge, we will look out for yeah next time. Thanks for keeping it simple and entertaining.

MettleAngel: You bet!

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