The rock-and-roll memoir of one of the world’s greatest guitarists:
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR RELENTLESS FROM Slash, Steve Vai , Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde and more…
Slash: Yngwie literally blew my mind when he came on the LA music scene in the early 80’s. the fastest & most articulate, fluid, melodic, classical based rock guitarist I’d ever heard. Still the best at what he does all these years later.
Steve Vai: When Yngwie Malmsteen hit the scene in the early 80’s it was as if a monolith appeared. He was playing electric rock guitar in a way that seemed completely unearthly and had to be seen to be believed.
His tone was pristine and powerful, his vibrato, intonation and control was stunning, His harmonic and melodic sensibilities were unique, his emotional investment in his melodies was captivating, and his sheer speed and technical command of the instrument was utterly breathtaking to the point of frightening for some.
He absolutely set a standard of virtuosity on the instrument that has yet to be matched. He was a breath of visceral fresh air that inspired the movement of a whole new subculture of music. He was always unequivocally and unquestionably dedicated to his passions and delivered without any excuses. And since then, the bastard has just been getting better!”
I have had the good fortune of knowing him for the past 25 years and have stood next to him on stage many times. It always felt as though I was standing next to a mountain, solid, giant and forever.
A few things about Yngwie that some may not know is that he is remarkably intelligent and has a fiery sense of humor that delivers on par with his musical gifts.
Joe Satriani: Yngwie Malmsteen loves to play guitar, and he’s really good at it. I know this from personal experience.
I’ve stood right next to him on many a stage, shoulder to shoulder, trading solos, celebrating our influences, taking chances, playfully testing each others limits and putting on a great show for our fans. At the end of every performance I was sure of two things: Yngwie is an amazing guitarist, and that there is only one Yngwie Malmsteen.
Let’s face it, every guitarist wishes they could do what he does with those six strings and a pick, but what he does is not only super human, it is undeniably unique and original too. There are imitators, some with equal proficiency, but none that can match the heart and the confidence behind his virtuosity.
The last time we played together was at Marshall’s 50th Anniversary Concert at Wembley Arena in London on September 22nd, 2012, and I think it was the best I’d ever heard him play. Yes, he’s getting better!
I was on stage just behind the curtain warming up with my guitar as I listened to Yngwie enthrall the audience with his impeccable and furious technique. But it’s his passion for music that really lights everyone up in the audience up. It’s the fire burning in those hands that make every note scream. He puts all of who he is, no excuses, no apologies, into every note and every sound he makes on his guitar.
There is only one Yngwie Malmsteen.
Zakk Wylde: You have Good Guitar Players. You have Great Guitar Players. Then you have The Ones that CHANGE THE GAME….
Like Jimi Hendrix & Edward Van Halen before him,Yngwie Walks Amongst them. It’s not Just his Sheer & Utter Mastery & Command of the Instrument that makes him Amazing. The Phrasing, The Vibrato, The Tone, His FEEL & PASSION along with the Overall Musicality That he brings to The table is what makes him so Special & Unique…. Where other guitar players, play fast and say Nothing, Yngwie Speaks…. If you’ve ever wondered what Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi & Paganini would have been capable of doing if they lived in the 21st Century, Look no further…. They All Reside within one Yngwie J. Malmsteen….and They are Smiling
Richard McDonald, Fender Guitars: The most meaningful endorsements come from artists that truly believe in the products they use. Fender has never embraced a pay-to-play relationship with artists. We are always looking for the quintessential Fender players. The individuals that use our instruments to create new, captivating and inspiring music. Yngwie J. Malmsteen is exactly that artist. His compositions and playing were so fresh, his technique and sound so different. It represented a new era and a new level of musical sophistication in the heavy rock genre. Guitarists the world over were in awe. Not since Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s had the musical community witnessed such a redefinition of guitar music.
When the idea of “Signature Artist” instruments surfaced in the late 1980s we selected two players we felt earned this special acknowledgment. One was Eric Clapton and the other was Yngwie Malmsteen. If you are lucky enough to spend meaningful time with him you will quickly understand he is a Fender fanatic, collector and historian. Not only was it a privilege to design a signature model Stratocaster with him it was an incredible challenge to reproduce the unique specifications of his guitar. The instrument is still one of our most popular artist models and stands as a tribute to his longevity and popularity across a broad audience of players and enthusiasts.
Nick Bowcott, Marshall Amplification: Every once in a blue moon a rock-guitarist comes along that doesn’t just reset the bar, but turns the whole genre upside-down. Such players are few and far between. Jimi Hendrix; Jimmy Page; Eric Clapton; Jeff Beck; Edward Van Halen; Randy Rhoads; Dimebag Darrell….and a six-string supernova named, Yngwie J. Malmsteen.
Although Yngwie was first introduced to many via “Spotlight” column in Guitar Player in the early ‘80s, most didn’t actually hear him until the April 1985 issue of the magazine which contained a 7” flexi-disc (remember those now extinct items?!) featuring Yngwie performing “Black Star” from his debut solo album. Such was the explosive impact of his playing that I can tell you exactly where I was when I first heard it – just as I can recount the location of my initial encounters with Messrs. Van Halen and Rhoads. The result? A new star was born and sweep-picking and neo-classical playing became the same overnight sensation as two-handed tapping was when “Eruption” was released. And it’s all Yngwie’s fault…
Yngwie’s love for Marshall is well-known. The man literally crams as much of our gear into each-and every-venue he plays on as the size of the stage will allow. And for that we are eternally grateful. As he likes to say: “there are only two man-made objects you can see from outer-space – the Great Wall of China and my Marshall backline!” Not surprisingly, in 2011 Marshall unveiled the Yngwie J. Malmsteen signature JYM100 head…and we do not expect that to be the only project we collaborate together on.
Yngwie and the late, great Jim Marshall met in 1984, hit it off immediately due to their shared odd-ball, sense-of-humour, and remained great friends right up until Jim’s passing in 2012. During the making of the charity song “We’re Stars” one of the members of the fictional band, Spinal Tap, joked that the only reason Yngwie uses the name “Yngwie J. Malmsteen is to distinguish himself from all the other Yngwie Malmsteens out there.” If truth be told though, our friend doesn’t even need to use his last-name…”Yngwie” is enough for any guitarist on the planet to know exactly who is being referred to.
Seymour W. Duncan, Chairman Seymour Duncan Pickups: Yngwie is one of a very small handful of pioneer players who shook up the world of electric guitar and opened it up to an entirely new way of playing. And he’s got some amazing tone!
Evan Skopp, Vice President Artist Relations, Seymour Duncan Pickups: His guitar virtuosity is renowned. But one thing most people don’t know about Yngwie is what a great guy he is. Super intelligent. Funny as hell. And a family man. He’s one of the coolest artists I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Paul Youngblood, V.P. BOSS/Roland Guitar Yngwie J. Malmsteen is the father of shred guitar. His influence on the guitar and other guitar players is huge. Yngwie is always totally in control and a master. And by the way, Yngwie really rocks!
Walter Rührig, AKG Acoustics: Yngwie Malmsteen is a fantastic ambassador for AKG acoustics’ premium pro audio products. Yngwie’s outstanding musical talent and performance deserves top professional equipment support and we are extremely pleased for having been chosen by him as a partner he trusts in.
I’m personally impressed by Yngwie’s passion for his music and his incomparable, powerful style when performing life on stage. He fades away, transforms all his energy into his guitar playing and entertains his fans at a top musical and emotional level. And millions love him for that.
I will never forget in my life when I first met Yngwie in person. When Yngwie left a colleague of mine came close and asked me with full excitement, “Do you know who that was?” And I responded to him full of pride, “Yes my friend, THIS was Yngwie Malmsteen!!”
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