GUITARIST YNGWIE MALMSTEEN SAYS HE WAS APPROACHED ABOUT JOINING KISS
Eamon O’Neill of eonmusic spoke with guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, excerpts from the interview appear below.
eonmusic: Has the pandemic given you a lot more time and freedom to really focus on the recordings than you would have had otherwise?
Malmsteen: Yeah, but the thing is, I learned many years ago that too much time is not good either. Too much time, it kills the spirit of the songs. I have the luxury of owning my own studio. I had it built, what, 1995; a long time ago, and I’m very proud of it. The beautiful thing with it is I can go in there when I feel inspired. So I go in there when I’m inspired to write, I go in there when I’m inspired to record, and because I was given all this time, it didn’t mean I was going to go in there if I didn’t feel inspired; it was the same thing. The difference was that [in normal times] I’d start to record something, then I’d go on the road and then I’d go back in and record something and so on, so this is more like way back in the day when you would take time off form the road just to record, which is more like in the early ‘80s. So, I think it was good in a lot of ways, because we usually fall into the trap of overanalysing things too, which I try not to do. I want to keep the pureness of things.
eonmusic: I’ve seen photos of your studio with all the guitars lying against the walls; they’re obviously tools, not relics for you.
Mlamsteen: That’s about right, yeah. I don’t really have another place to put them. I should hang them on the wall somewhere! I actually ended up just using two different guitars on this [new] album [Parabellum]. I used a Fender Yngwie Malmsteen Strat, that I call Number 7, and then one I call Number 2 that I use on stage. I used them for recording, and I used a ’59 for one little thing, and a ’55, a stupid thing that was not scalloped; it was horrible. I did it because it has different pickups, almost like a Brian May wire in there. That’s in that little break in Relentless Fury, before the verse. Other than that, I just used some old standard factory guitars.
eonmusic: Your favourite guitar, reportedly, is your 1972 Fender Strat, ‘the Duck’.
Mlamsteen: It’s ’71, actually. I forgot, but I actually used that a little bit on the album. It’s got a lot of mojo, for sure. The neck is exactly the way I like it, and so on, but I have that, and the custom shop, master built replicas too that they made me too, at Fender.
eonmusic: You’re a massive Richie Blackmore fan; do you own any of his old guitars, or any other rare ones?
Mlamsteen: Yeah! I used to have one that I know was his, but I don’t know what happened to it, but I have a sunburst I think was his too. I have Brian May’s guitar; I’ve got Uli’s [Jonh Roth] guitar that he gave to me. I gave him one of mine, too. It’s really crazy to play; it’s got seven strings and like five hundred frets. It’s totally different for me. It’s great. It’s cool.
eonmusic: With skills like yours, you must have been approached to join some big bands over the years.
Mlamsteen: Yeah, of course. Quite a lot, actually. I was offered a gig in UFO, I was offered a gig with David Lee Roth. There was some murmur about the Ozzy thing. Ronnie James Dio, he talked about it all the time. When I actually lived in Sweden, I was offered a gig in KISS. They wanted to talk to me. They called me up, and I was in Sweden, right, and the guy said; “are you hot?”, and then he asked me; “are you six feet tall?”, and I’m metric, right? I’m 6’3, I’m actually quite tall, I’m 192cm, so I said; “no, I’m 192”, and he goes; “what the f–k’s that?!”, so, they never called back, so I didn’t end up with an Ankh on my face.
eonmusic: Were you ever offered the Deep Purple gig?
Mlamsteen: There was murmurs. Me and Roger Glover always got along. I got along with Richie Blackmore too, but Ian Gillan, for some reason he… I did a show with him once, and we had the greatest time, it was a lot of fun, but then I did a tour with him a few years ago, and he didn’t seem to like me a lot, so I don’t know.
eonmusic: Finally, what’s next for you?
Malmsteen: Well, I’m touring the States. I’m gigging, basically, and I’m going to be gigging for a year in the States. I’m definitely not going back in the studio right now! I’m spent for now.
Read more at eonmusic.
Yngwie Malmsteen’s latest album Parabellum is out now, to read more details and watch a lyric video for the first single, Wolves At The Door, click here.