Interview April 5th 2002
Unedited Version


MM         Hello Yngwie how are you doing?

YM          I am doing good, thank you.

MM         Fantastic, thanks for calling

YM          No problem

MM         So you’re currently working on your new rock record right?

YM          I’m in the studio actually, been recording maybe for about ten days now.

MM         Who are you recording with now?

YM          You mean members?

MM         Yeah.

YM          It’s sort of up in the air really. What I’ve done is I’ve written a lot of songs, and the only 2 people that I’ve had locked in completely for 100% sure, actually 3 people, are the engineer, Tom Fletcher, who’s done a lot of records for me before, and the drummer Patrick Johansson from Sweden, and keyboard player Derek Sheredian.

MM         So Derek is still on board you said right?

YM          Yeah.

MM         That’s great.

MM         What kind of direction is the music going? Same as War to end all wars?

YM          I don’t know what to call it really, I mean I’m not so sure. You see what happened was my last 2 albums, I don’t know if it was a mistake or not, I’m not knocking them, I still think they were good albums, you know, but I have a certain view, a certain vision, of what I want to do, whereas this one is more, I just let it flow and so far, you know, its very difficult for me to explain it, its very melodic, very strong melodies, strong hooks, both riff and melody wise.  And the production obviously I am paying an extreme lot of attention to that.

MM         Yeah, there has been a lot of criticism over that, especially on the last album as far as production.

YM          I know, and that will never happen again, ever!  Unfortunately the reason (laughing) what happened was that you know, ah it’s a long story really, but uh…

MM         You don’t have to go into it.
MM         It’s past and basically what it comes down to is that’s one aspect that I’m paying a lot of attention to.  But the sounds going to be incredible, the songs I think are very, very strong, the players are very, very good, and I feel I’m at the top of my game.  And so all in all I am extremely excited for this record and I’m shooting to get it out sometime in the summer.

MM         Oh wow, that would be great.  You didn’t mention a vocalist.

YM          Well you know I don’t want to say anything until it for sure, you know?

MM         Ok.

YM          And I have a few guys that I am talking to, and they are all good, and good people and everything, but I don’t want to say anything now.

MM         Ok, I understand.  Are you working with a producer this time?

YM          Well you see, most people have a very distorted idea of what a producer does, ok? A producer is someone that comes in and arranges songs and this and that. It really doesn’t have much to do with the sound. The engineer is who is doing the sound.  But the producer says ‘Ok I want more bass on this ’ or whatever, you know? So yeah, no I will never use a producer perse, but ah, trust me, the last thing you guys have to worry about is the sound, and that I will make sure of.

MM         Are you planning on touring with the orchestra?

YM          Yes, there has been a lot of talk about that, but these things unfortunately take a long time to arrange.

MM         And you’re also working on the Genesis CD, which contains your early demo material?

YM          That’s finished already.

MM         So that’s almost ready for release then?

YM          Yes.

MM         Out of all your past singers, who would you like to work with again, if any.

Long pause

YM          Well, (laughing) it’s a bit of a dilemma that, you know? It’s a bit of a dilemma.  I must say, because I think they are all great, but they seem to have a bit of a problem with the fact that…

MM         You’re the boss.

YM          Yeah.  And so, songwriter as well.  So that and some other aspects that keep it becoming a bit of a dilemma to get back you know.  Even though a singer is the guy that sings the song, to me, the singer is just like the drummer or the bass payer, or the keyboard player, to me.  I don’t understand why singers have that attitude that they are, the star, you know?  They gotta get out of their fuckin’ Elvis mentality you know?  This is rock & roll baby, this is not a fuckin’, some crooner you know?  And so that’s the problem I have with that

MM         They like to be in the front, maybe that’s why they are singers. 

YM          Yeah I know, but uh…

MM         But it’s your gig and by now a singer should know play by your rules or that’s it.

YM          Exactly.

MM         I don’t want to dwell on your past singers forever, so I will move on.

MM         Are you going to do another all instrumental album like Rising Force?

YM          I have no plans to do that , no.  In fact, if you know the background story behind that album, you’d probably be surprised.  I was in a band called Alcatrazz, and you know I did a world tour with them and I went to Japan and the Japanese record company was impressed with me so they offered me a solo deal.  But they said ‘You must make an instrumental album’, and I said ‘I don’t want to make an instrumental’, I never wanted to make and instrumental album.  And funny enough, I started that whole instrumental thing, even though that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

MM         And it was nominated for a Grammy too!

YM          Yes!  And the ironic part is that I never wanted to do that.  You know what I am saying?

MM         Yeah.

YM          So, it was a weird thing, you know, that it took off like that.  And then you have your Satriani’s and Vai’s and everything coming out, wanting being instrumentalists, which wasn’t happening before that.  And it’s a very ironic thing cause I never wanted to do it.  So no, I…well except if you look at it this way, my Concerto’s, yeah their instrumentals.  OK, that’s the ultimate instrumental.

MM         I love the Concerto, I thought that was fantastic

YM          Thank you

MM         So I guess as far as singers go, your not going to work with Graham Bonnet again right?  Their was even talk about that not too long ago.

YM          They were calling me all the time and saying that they wanted to put Alcatrazz together.

MM         Who was calling?

YM          All of them.

MM         Even Graham? Interesting.

YM          All of them, and I didn’t say no.  But then it all just fizzed away, (laughing) I don’t know what happened there.  I mean I’m always busy with my own thing, but I didn’t say well ‘No way’, or anything like that.

MM         And you know what, Graham ended up getting back together with Impilliterri actually.

YM          Who?

MM         Exactly!  (Me thinking Yngwie is being funny)

YM          Who is that?

MM         Chris Impilliterri, an absolute copy cat of yours that came out in the 80’s

YM          Oh really?

MM         Around the time of Odyssey.  And Graham did his album.

YM          Oh.

MM         Are you still collecting Ferrari’s?

YM          Yeah, I wouldn’t call it collecting maybe, but I have two.

MM         How has Spitfire Records been so far?

YM          Pretty cool, pretty cool.  You know,  it’s a combination of the industry itself and you know, hitting the right people with what you do, its not an easy market, because metal perse, is still not back yet you know?  It isn’t mainstream yet, it used to me, but its not anymore.

MM         And its even tougher because even with metal coming back it’s not even such guitar metal yet, it’s all gotta grow again.

YM          I think maybe the old guys like Maiden, and Priest and those guys, their coming back and doing pretty well.  But as far as the new people, there is no instrumentalists there.  No. 

MM         What do you think needs to happen with your career, your image, your music, for things to start happening for you in the United States?  What do you see needs to happen?

Long Pause….

YM          Well I don’t, I don’t…(Laughs) I don’t know.  You know, I have a vision, I have style, I have created my own sound, and I have no intention of changing that.  Longevity is the most important thing, way, way more important than overnight success.  So, you know, I’m still here.  Still doing my thing.

MM         If you could change anything about yourself, what would you change?

YM          Nothing.

MM         What’s your guitar collection up to now?

YM          I haven’t counted in a while but it’s a hundred plus

MM         I know a few years ago it was a hundred plus!

YM          I haven’t really been getting much more, 130 or 140, I don’t know.  It’s a lot!

MM         How is the duck doing?

YM          It’s sleeping!  I used it a little bit on War, but its still hanging out.  I never really try anymore to use it, its so fucking worn out it’s ridiculous.  The guitars I do play are exactly the same year, the same color, everything.

MM         72’, right?

YM          71’..Actually between 68’ or 72’, around that era.  And the Marshall heads about that era too.

MM         You have a new amp coming out right, the YJM50, by Rhino?

YM          Yeah, they actually did a real good job.

MM         Also I have a DOD pedal out.  That’s really good, I use that one.

MM         You use it yourself?

YM          Oh yeah, it’s really good.

MM         You could listen to pretty much anything and you would be able to play it on guitar, right?

YM          More or less, yeah.

MM         And you have perfect pitch too, right?

YM          More or less (laughing).  I find it very easy to pick things up because everything is within scales and modes, And if you know those things, then, there is no guesswork really.  It’s got a lot to do with the fact that also from day one I was always improvising everything.  And by improvising you find exactly where you should be and where you shouldn’t be, and what fits and what doesn’t fit, that chord progression, that key, whatever, the mode, you know.  Then you realize more and more what you can do with it.

MM         How is your son doing?

YM          He is big!

MM         How old is he now?

YM          He is 4. 

MM         And how is he on the guitar?

YM          Oh I decided to just let him be a kid first.  Because it more important for him to be a kid, then he can become serious about something.  But he’s very musical and very intelligent.  I’m not worried about it at all

MM         Do you have a favorite album of yours?

YM          No.

MM         You love them all.

YM          No.  I have kind of lukewarm feeling about all the things I’ve done.  Because what it is, everything I do is always the best, the best I can do.  And then after that I do the next thing, and that has to be the best thing I’ve done.  And after that, I’m on to the new thing, the other ones I don’t care about.  I don’t say they are bad, I don’t think I’ve done a bad album to be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve done a bad album.  But, specifically, because every time I’ve done an album it’s always been the best I could do at the time.  So I’ve always tried to outdo myself.  Obviously the Concerto stands out by itself, it’s a different record you know.  But whatever I do I try to do has to be ultimately as good as I possibly can.  And right now all I have on my mind is the record I am working on now, I don’t think about any of the other ones. 

YM          I probably couldn’t even tell you the names of the songs.

MM         But you can tell us that the production is going to be fantastic.

YM          Oh Yeah!! That, you can take it all the way to the bank man!  Cause when I read all that shit I said no, no…There is no fucking way I am ever going to have that again!

MM         It was a good album, but unfortunately received a lot of criticism.  But you know what?  You must get that on every goddamn album?  How could you possibly please everybody?  It’s impossible, but all the albums are great, I agree with you.  Critics are rough on you.

YM          That’s ok.

MM         What are the fondest memories you have on your career? What time do like to look back on?

YM          The best time I ever had in my life is right now.  Right now.  I’m at the top of my game, I have everything in order, everything is going my way, it would be easy to tell you what my bad moments were!  Because there have been plenty of those.

MM         Yeah, right before Oddyssey right?

YM          Oh that was bad, yeah.  Ultimately…I am on fire basically.  Always go forward, and I don’t dwell too much on what happened before you know, whatever…good, bad, whatever, I don’t give a shit.  I gotta go forward.  The only way you can get somewhere is by going forward.

MM         So we can look forward to a fantastic record from you this summer?

YM          It’s a very, very energetic record, I can tell you that much.  Now when I’ve thought about it.  You asked me what its like.  My new drummer is just unbelievable.

MM         Another Swede.

YM          Yes Swede, Viking.

MM         I was actually pretty fond of the Fire and Ice lineup.

YM          Fire and Ice?

MM         Now that we’re speaking of Swedish band members.

YM          Yeah, (laughing) did you ever see that lineup live?

MM         Yeah, I saw you then at The Ritz in New York City actually.  You didn’t think they were good live?

YM          Well I mean unfortunately the singer couldn’t sing a song unless it was two steps flat. 

MM         The album was good.

YM          Yeah, I think so too.

MM         Too bad that whole Elektra deal didn’t work out.

YM          That was a fiasco!

MM         It was looking positive around then wasn’t it?

YM          Well you can thank Nirvana for that.

MM         Oh yes, 1992, what an awful time, what an awful time (For metal)

YM          (Laughing) Well, if you look at it in retrospect; I’m still standing you know?  Some of those bands that were selling millions of records one year before are now mowing lawns for a living you know?  So I can’t complain.

MM         When you first came to the states to join with Steeler, there was a huge buzz around you then, what kind of offers did you get?

YM          All sorts of weird people used to pop up, actually before I even came to America, I got phone calls from Ozzy’s management, From Kiss’s management, once I came to the states Ronnie was always at my shows, Ronnie James Dio, became friends with him and I’ve known him since then and were still friends…I admire him very much.  UFO, Phil Mogg was asking me to join him, I can’t remember now, some other bands also, but they wanted to do some super group things like me and Sheehan, stuff like that.

MM         Would you still do that?

YM          Well, I was open for everything at the time.  And I had a meeting with Phil Mogg and Graham Bonnet the same day.  The reason I joined in with Graham Bonnet’s project, which was to be his, sort of thing, but it became mine, funny enough.  Actually I took over the whole show there.

MM         He didn’t like that did he?

YM          Well no, I mean, at first he did, it was cool because he didn’t have direction, he didn’t have songs, didn’t have anything.  And I walked in there and just took care of it.  And then when, you know, some shit happened on the road, then yeah, that became kind of rough.  But that’s why I joined in with them because I felt that, especially since I’ve been a song writer all my life, and then being in Steeler playing two chord songs, and very biennial bullshit, I felt very compelled to be able to write again.  So having a chance to go in and be the songwriter for the whole thing, I felt that was the right choice.  And I think it was actually, I think if I had gone with Phil Mogg it might not have come out to be another thing. (his solo career)

YM          I did later on get an offer from David Lee Roth as well.

MM         Really?

YM          And I said ‘Thanks but no thanks.’  But that the weird thing because…(Pause) Oh maybe I should have done it, I don’t know.  This was like 85’, Sheehan’s band was my opening act, Talas.  And he came to see the shows.  And he snagged up Billy Sheehan, and he wanted to get me, and I said ‘Thanks but no thanks’, cause I thought I was on a fucking roll you know?  And in a way I was.

MM         And he went and picked up Vai.

YM          Yeah, Steve’s a good friend on mine, he’s a good guy.

MM         Thanks Yngwie, I will think of more as soon as I get off the phone I am sure, I have been a fan since the Odyssey record.  Which is another great record, by the way.  Joe Lynn Turner is a tough one for you too I guess.  A lot of people would love to see you record with Joe Lynn Turner again.  Any chance of that down the line?  I know you’re not such a big fan of that album.

YM          The thing is what’s happened the last ten years, back in the 80’s, you knew what was on the radio.  You knew what was on MTV.  And their was a format and I found it was very easy for me to just write a song, I can write a very wide array of songs, but I found it very easy then to write something that I new was going to be popular, like ‘You Don’t Remember I’ll Never Forget’, ‘Heaven Tonight’, ‘Now Is the Time’, ‘Hold On’, ‘Dreaming’, stuff like that.  I new exactly what people were going to eat up, because that’s what was on the radio, their was a format, call it commercial, call it whatever you want.  But today, there is no such thing.  Today if you were to do a ‘Heaven Tonight’ song you would be laughed out of the fucking room.  OK?  Now you gotta be tattooed, and bald, and with baggy shorts, and gotta play, kinda shitty.  I’m not prepared to take part of that.  So, basically what I am gonna do, what I have decided to do, is I’m not going to be concerned with what is quote unquote commercial, or whatever, because I’m not following anybody, I never did and I never will.  That you can take to the bank.  So what I am doing is I’m making the best music that I can.  The best songs, the best playing, the best musicians, everything to me crème de le crème, you know?  And hopefully people are going to pick up on that.  Hopefully people are gonna say well yeah this fucking guy is good, or this band is good, or this album is good.  And that’s all I have to go on.  So when you say, do you want to work with Joe Lynn Turner, well Joe and I are still on very friendly terms, I never had a problem with him, in fact he came back and sang for me on my 96’ album Inspiration, which was great fun, doing that record.  But I’m sorry, he is still stuck in that, stuff, and I can’t go with that, you know?  So that probably won’t happen.  Never say never though.

MM         That bootleg home video of you that came out of you around your house, during the recording of Seventh Sign, how did that get out?

YM          I have no idea what your talking about.

Thank you very much for calling Yngwie, good luck with the record.

Thanks very much, nice talking to you.