The official lyric video for "Blue Lightning", the title track of the new album from Yngwie Malmsteen, can be seen below. The disc will be released globally on March 29 via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group.
To call Malmsteen a "maestro" or "virtuoso" is to state the obvious. But such terms don't do sufficient justice to either his talent or impact. There are innumerable guitarists who have copied a small part of the vast musical spectrum that defines him, but nobody comes close to achieving what he has over a period of nearly four decades.
This man is an undoubted pioneer, someone whose style and creativity has inspired so many others. While he first came to everybody's notice in Los Angeles with STEELER's self-titled album (1983), followed by ALCATRAZZ's "No Parole From Rock 'N' Roll"the same year and "Live Sentence" ('84), it's been what he's done since in a distinguished and far ranging career as a solo performer and band leader that has momentously shown Malmsteen's craft and worth as one of the elite guitarists on the planet. Combining skills that span a vast spectrum of inspirations, he stands as a giant, melding melody, technique and an epic scope in a unique and inclusive fashion.
In a brand new interview with U.K.'s Total Rock, legendary Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen was asked if he always had the "self-belief" that he would one day "make it." He responded (see video below): "I think that I've always had a very, very strong vision of what I wanna do. Whether that would fit into what was considered successful, that is debatable. I never really followed trends — ever — and I always did my own thing my whole life. And the fact that it's gone as far as it has is great. But I've always been more concerned with creating something that is really real and honest and true art rather than, 'Well, this is successful.'"
Malmsteen credited his perseverance for his successful career as one of the most influential guitarists in the world. "It's sticking with what you want to do," he said. "'Cause I know I can actually play a lot of different things, but I don't really want to. I just want to play this. And I could play country and western, I could play jazz. But what I put out is what I want to do. And that's a more important thing."
During a conversation with UG's Justin Beckner, Yngwie Malmsteen talked about the importance of improvising, branding it a crucial aspect of his musical approach.
Yngwie also talked about his new, blues-driven album "Blue Lightning." You can check out a part of the interview below.
Writer's note: In case you're wondering, yes, I did ask Yngwie about blocking UG on Twitter, to which he replied, "I don't know anything about that."
There are some cool covers on the album, what made you decide on those covers?
"They're not covers." They're very much in your own style, that's for sure. "Yeah, I call them 'variations.' Like Brahms variations of Paganini. That type of thing. Mozart did variations of Bach and stuff like this. So there is some obvious framework of the song but that's where it ends, really.
"Mascot Records came to me when I was going to do a blues album and said they wanted to pick some classic songs for me to do. So I said, 'Let me pick the classic songs and if you like them, we'll use them.'
"So I picked the songs, which were songs that I had always loved, some that I had played before and some I had never played before. So it was an interesting mix."
Did you have some preconceptions, when you would listen to those songs in their classical form, what your variation would sound like?
"Hmmm, yes and no, because some of the songs I've played a hundred times before on stage like 'Purple Haze' and stuff like that. Then there were other songs that I had never played before or sang before.
"Basically, I approached them all the same way. I never approached them with the intention of making a cover or a jukebox version where you play the song as closely as possible to the original. I'm an artist already so I have to do a variation of the songs in my own manner.
"That's how I did it. I didn't even really think much about it, I just did it. It was all very natural. I wanted it to feel as live as possible as well because I like the live sound. I don't like to do a lot of takes. I like first takes."
So the solos were all improvised, I assume.
"100%. All of them, everything. Every single note. But that's how I always do it. I always improvise everything. To me, [playing something that is not improvised] doesn't feel honest.
A Swedish company called Sandvik has unveiled what was described as "the world's first smash-proof 3D printed guitar."
The electric six-string utilizes a 3D-printed titanium body, along with a neck supported by the company's hyper-duplex steel technology.
To test their smash-proof claims, Sandvik handed the guitar to Yngwie Malmsteen, challenging the guitarist to smash it.
Yngwie said (transcribed by UG):
"When I was seven, I saw Jimi Hendrix smash a guitar on TV. So I started playing guitar so I could smash it - probably smashed over 100 guitars."
After what he described as a 12-round boxing match, Yngwie failed to smash the instrument. He said (via 3D Printing Industry):
"This guitar is a beast! Sandvik is obviously on top of their game. They put the work in, they do their hours, I can relate to that. ... The result is amazing. I gave everything I had, but it was impossible to smash."
The guitar's body was manufactured with titanium powder using a Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) machine.
Yngwie Malmsteen claims that his debut album played a significant role in keeping Fender afloat when the company went through a challenging period in the mid-1980s.
One of Fender's first signature artists, Yngwie spoke about his association with the legendary musical instrument manufacturer during a recent interview with Guitar.com.
Saying that he is "very proud" of the fact that the Fender Custom Shop recently launched a 30th-anniversary version of his signature model, the Swedish axeman boasted that he was not only "the first guy to get a signature model," he was also "the first guy to ever get a guitar for free from those guys." He added: "Fender never gave guitars to anybody! They didn't give to [Ritchie] Blackmore, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Hank Marvin or whoever. So I was the first guy, and they told me why too. The story is interesting."
Yngwie continued: "In the late '70s, two things happened. Fender almost went out of business, and by '81, they were bought out by two other guys. They started over, basically, and they were trying to put all these people with all these hard-rock guitars and stuff — everyone else wanted one because of [Eddie] Van Halen, right? They had been struggling a bit, then my 'Rising Force' album came out and not only did the album turn everything upside, but what's on the cover? A Fender Strat. That fucking album saved their company! They said that when that album came out, they couldn't build guitars fast enough; before that, they were selling nothing. So they came to me."
Malmsteen said: "Before that happened, I was being offered guitars from every guitar company and every amp company in the world. You name it. Gibson, even! 'Whatever you want, we will give it to you.' I said, 'No, thanks. Fender Strats, that's it.' Every amp company, too. I said: 'No, thanks. Marshalls for me.'"