#132. I met guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen (Tampa, 1999)


The shredding Swede, Yngwie Malmsteen, remains peerless; a classical composer whose too-fast guitar playing owes more to Bach than Eddie Van Halen. His influence is hard to spot these days, because no one else can do what Malmsteen does. Also, impressive as it is, it just doesn’t sound that good.

By the time I spoke to Yngwei — who rode on a bus through Cleveland, Ohio, on tour opening for Dio — “hair metal” had become a source of parody. Dio and Yngwie stuck with their sober themes of magic, sorcery, and knights in shining armor. If RATT, Warrant and Poison were all about T&A, Dio and Malmsteen were more D&D.

Malmsteen kept the faith though. “(The fans) are ready to have it again . . . people who can play,” he told me. “People don’t want to be putting time into becoming a good musician anymore,” Malmsteen claimed in an accent unaffected by decades living in Miami. “Now they just want to bang out a few chords.”

What I am trying to say, is Yngwie Malmsteen has a superiority complex.

Michael Patrick Welch’s “132 Famous People I Have Met” series is FREE, but please consider donating to his VENMO (michael-welch-42), or to his PayPal account (paypal.me/michaelpatrickwelch2), so he can feed his kids, pay his mortgage, etc.

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