Yngwie Malmsteen is heading back to our shores in May. He first arrived in 1990 – “it should have been earlier than that, then 1992, 2006 and a 2013 clinic tour.” He’s bringing a full band, same lineup as on his new live album, but with a different drummer. He tells me, “I don’t have a band per se, when it’s time to go out I pick the best guys that are available. It’s a little different, it’s like Bach, which ones are the best of the day, you know.”
I asked him about his guitars, he’s known to have quite a collection and used to favour an early 70s strat.
“Up until 2006, when I was in Australia, for the first time I started using my signature model exclusively. Since then I’ve been using that. It’s extremely good. Fender Stratocaster being the Malmsteen signature model. I designed the pickups and the scalloped neck, etc. It is an absolutely stunning guitar. They got everything right on it, you know”.
“Before then I would use only really old guitars – 70s and 60s and 50s. And I used to smash them up a lot, you know. I have literally hundreds of them. Literally hundreds… I made the mistake many years ago to get too attached to one. And once I got too attached to one then that’s really bad because they get stolen, or they break, so I was kind like, ok, give me a bunch of guitars that look like this and I just take them.”
So what can we expect from this tour? “Expect the unexpected.”
“It will be a good mixture of old and new stuff. Similar to the live album. What I do is, even when I have a set list, I decide last thing the night before. The band and the tour manager will come into my room and I say ok, this is the set list. I put it on the stage and I go out and play something different anyway. It’s never the same.”
When your band’s that good they can follow you… “Yeah, exactly.”
So if Malmsteens music was a food, what would it be? “Oh my God. That’s a really interesting question.
Hmmm…. it wouldn’t be simple food, but it would be very good food, expensive. Probably spicy. I really don’t know. Indian food, maybe.”
I ask about a song of his that he likes the most? “Well, the one I’m writing next. Seriously they’re all like my children and I can’t tell you different. But there are some songs that tend to hang around for a longer period of time, and stuff like that. Every time I write a song it’s a total like a labour of love, I give everything I can to that one. Right now I’m in the studio recording a new album and I’m very very involved with writing at the moment. So to me everything is that now.”
Malmsteen’s had some interesting experiences in Australia. “One time, it was 2006 I think, I was approached by the family of Steve Irwin – he had just passed. I think he was great. His family came and I signed some stuff for them to auction off. So that was really interesting.”
Did he go to the theme park and meet the crocodiles? “I didn’t have time for that, but I met his family and they came to the show.”
While Malmsteen is busy completing his new album, he’s still heading out on the road. “I’m actually going to South America next week, then Europe, then I go to Australia. I decided I’m done when I’m done [on the album]. Hopefully I should be finished by the time I would arrive over there with you guys. I’m pretty far in.”
So what’s his scene?
“Obviously to create music. My family. I love driving my Ferraris. And I play tennis. Try to watch a good movie now and then. But it’s a lot of work.”
Thursday 4th June – Powerstation, Auckland, NZ
Saturday 6th June – The Astor, Perth
Monday 8th June – Wrestpoint Showroom, Hobart
Wednesday 10th June – 170 Russell, Melbourne
Thursday 11th June – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Friday 12th June – HQ, Adelaide
Saturday 13th June – The Factory, Sydney
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