VikingDave recently conducted an interview with legendary Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie J. Malmsteen. You can listen to the chat in two parts below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the inspiration behind his new blues album, "Blue Lightning":
Yngwie: "It's interesting because for the last, I don't know, 30 years, people always say to me at soundcheck when I start playing the blues, 'You should do a blues album.' People only know me for the neo-classical thing. Blues has always been something I did. I never did it, then about a year ago, I got asked by Mascot Records, 'We want you to do a blues album.' I said, 'Maybe not a blues album, but something bluesy.' Then they said they wanted me to do classic songs. I like to point out one thing, I don't do covers. I don't do covers. It's very important to remember this. I call them 'variations' because the title of the songs are the same, it's not like that — I cannot change everything around, but I mean, you have to hear it. It's better than me describing it. That's what happened. I was on tour with my album, 'World On Fire', I thought I could come home for a couple of days, lay down some tracks, then go back on the road. The whole album was done like that. It wasn't one go in the studio. I play everything, I sing everything. I play all the instruments. It's an interesting record — it's just me on it."
On taking part in HEAR 'N AID, the 1985 charity project organized by Ronnie James Dio:
Yngwie: "It was great. The thing is, I was actually on the road in Europe and I flew in from Europe to do the session. I came from the airport; I was kind of jetlagged. I was sitting around and waiting with I don't know, ten guitar players who were on there, I was going, 'Whoa, what's going on?' I think it was George Lynch [DOKKEN] or Brad Gillis [NIGHT RANGER] and all those guys were in there for three hours or four hours. I said, 'Oh, whatever. Take their time.' I knew the chord progression; I knew what I was supposed to do. From the time I walked in to the time I walked out, it was 15 minutes. They asked me, 'Do you want the Marshall stack or the Mesa Boogie stack? I said, 'Duh. What do you think?' I said 'Give me the Marshall stack and I'll give you a solo,' and I said, 'Thank you.' That's how I roll. I don't like to do things more than once. As much as I can on recordings and of course, live, I try to do one take because it's going to be the take that's the most honest. If you keep doing it over and over, it doesn't necessarily get better. It could get lame. It could be a lot of things. That's the memory that comes to me. Of course, there were a lot of cool guys who were there. I can't even mention all of the people who were doing it. Plus, the guys from SPINAL TAP were there, which was really funny. That was a blast."
On whether he would ever reunite with any of the singers or bands he's previously played with:
Yngwie: "I have no desire to do that. There's a simple reason for that. I really like everything that has been done. I look back at it and I look back at it for what it is and I think it's the best thing that I could have [done at the time]. So that's how I look at it. The next thing I do is not gonna be something that goes back… Just to give you my point of view, basically, I've been on a solo trip since '84 — I've been a solo artist since '84. So, the [other] guys have been hired, basically. I like to wish all the best of luck, [even though] they like to say bad things about me. And I wish them all the best. And I'm gonna keep on doing what I'm doing, and I hope they do what they do. And that's basically what it is. I don't understand. There's a lot of bickering going back and forth about this stuff, which I don't get it."
"Blue Lightning" was released on March 29 via Mascot Label Group. On the disc, Yngwie pays homage to those from the blues world who have fueled his artistic spirit for so long. "Blue Lightning" also includes four original tunes that bring to the fore Malmsteen's love for the blues.
Among the songs Malmsteen tackles on "Blue Lightning" are classics by THE BEATLES ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps"), Jimi Hendrix ("Foxey Lady", "Purple Haze"), THE ROLLING STONES ("Paint It Black"), ZZ TOP ("Blue Jean Blues"), DEEP PURPLE ("Demon's Eye", "Smoke On The Water") and Eric Clapton ("Forever Man").