In a brand new interview with France's United Rock Nations, legendary Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen was asked if he ever thought, back when he released his debut solo album, that he would still be around and playing music 35 years later. "Well, at the time, I wasn't thinking about those things," he said (hear audio below). "But, obviously, now, I'm thinking about it. Before I came to the [United] States, I was very active. From about the time I was nine years old, I was gigging and playing in bands, so I've been doing this for a long, long, long, long time.
"I'm pretty sure I know why I'm still here," he continued. "Two reasons. The reason I still do it is because I love it. And the reason I love it is because I never do the same thing. When I go onstage, I go onstage completely unmapped. I don't have any preconceived solos; everything is improvised. So it's a total challenge, a total exciting new thing. Every time I hit the stage, I do different solos, different intros. And even the setlist is different. I will write a new setlist before the show, and I'll show [my band] this setlist, and then we'll go onstage and I still don't follow the setlist. If I would just do, 'Okay, I'm gonna [play] each song this way,' I would have stopped a long time ago. I can't do that. Now, that's the reason I'm still doing it. And I think the reason people still come to the shows is because I'm real — I'm real. I'm not faking anything. This is the real deal. What you see is what you get. And I put passion into what I do, and I don't fake it. I don't try to be fashionable. I don't try to do something because somebody said something about what I've done… I do what I like to do. That's because as an artist, as a creator, I feel it's my duty, almost, to give the best performance and the best thing I can do, whether I'm playing live or recording or whatever, because that's the only way I can do it. I can't do it because I wanna please somebody. I can't do it like that. I have to make sure I'm happy about it. And, of course, if other people love it, I'm very happy. But if they don't like it, I'm just kind of… Well, there's eight billion people on the planet; I can't make everybody happy. So I have to just make sure that I make the most honest artistic, best effort possible. That's what I'm doing."
Yngwie will release a new album, "Blue Lightning", 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. "I have always featured songs with a blues groove on albums," he said in a press release. "So, having my own material in this vein was very natural for me."
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").