Yngwie Malmsteen has denied his reputation as a temperamental egomaniac, saying that he is a "creator" who likes to control every aspect of his art.
"There are quite a few misconceptions about me," the Swedish guitarist told Music Radar in a new interview. "I think some people misunderstand what I'm doing; they believe I'm an egomaniac. The truth is, I'm a very focused person. My way of creating things is unlike rock 'n' roll musicians. I don't have a band; I'm not in a band.
"I look at it more like a painter who locks the door of the room and just paints," he added. "I do the foreground, I do the background. I frame it. Then I take it outside and say, 'Here's my painting.' I don't let anyone else put their paintbrush near it. People might think that's an egomaniac thing — no, it's an artist thing; I'm a creator."
Back in 2003, fellow guitar legend Steve Vai defended Yngwie, telling Georgia Straight that Malmsteen's reputation was misguided.
"I've known Yngwie since he came to America," Steve said, "and I think that people are intimidated by his confidence. He's so confident in what he does that maybe he comes off as cocky sometimes. I think to know Yngwie is to really, really like him, but to not know him is to think maybe he's pretty self-centered."
Yngwie recently gave an interview to Greece's Rock Hard magazine in which the legendary axeman explained why he hasn't worked with an outside singer on any of his albums following the release of 2010's "Relentless". Yngwie said that he prefers to handle the lead vocals on his albums himself nowadays because his previous "singers would always cause trouble; they would always be acting like they were special and they had something different to say or whatever… The singers always think that they're better than the keyboard player or they're better than the drummer."
Two years ago, Jeff Scott Soto, who sang on Yngwie's first two albums, 1984's "Rising Force" and 1985's "Marching Out", engaged in a war of words with the Swedish guitarist over the fact that Malmsteen claimed in an interview that he "always wrote everything," including the lyrics and melodies, and simply hired various vocalists to sing his material.
In the days after Yngwie's original interview with Metal Wani was published on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, several of the guitarist's former singers — including Soto, Tim "Ripper" Owens and Joe Lynn Turner — responded on social media, with Turner describing Malmsteen's statements as "the rantings of a megalomaniac desperately trying to justify his own insecurity."