Yngwie Malmsteen, is the stage name of Lars Johan Yngve Lannerbäck, (Stockholm, June 30, 1963) is a Swedish virtuoso guitarist, considered one of the best of his style.
Influenced by the baroque music of Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi, Yngwie Malmsteen is known for being one of the forerunners of the so-called Neoclassical metal, which involves Heavy metal with elements of Classical music.
Along with keyboardist Jens Johansson, he also became one of the pioneers of Power metal, with the fantastical themes of his lyrics and orchestral sounds creating the epic atmosphere of the songs.
Following these styles, he helped to popularize guitar shredding within heavy metal in general and became one of metal's most influential guitarists. Yngwie Malmsteen was once considered the fastest guitarist of his era.
Lars Johann Yngwie Lannerback was born in Stockholm, Sweden on June 30, 1963. He took piano and trumpet lessons and at the age of five he got his first guitar. Studying first with an old Mosrite guitar and later with a Stratocaster guitar, Yngwie got into Rock influenced by bands like Deep Purple. His admiration for Ritchie Blackmore's classical influences led him to meet Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart and Paganini, among other composers.
Yngwie Malmsteen holds the so-called absolute pitch, which is the ability to distinguish musical notes from whatever source, an ability that few people have in the music scene. It is estimated that 1 in 10,000 people (0.01%) have perfect pitch.
Still a child, Yngwie even took piano and trumpet lessons, but in a useless way, even, around his five years old, his mother presented him with a guitar, which, too, ended up leaning. However, on September 18, 1970, this story took a new turn, when, at the age of seven, the boy Yngwie watched a special on TV about guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
The boy was amazed at how Hendrix moved the audience with tons of feedback, offering his guitar as a sacrifice. Fatally, what caught his attention was not so much Hendrix's technique, but the moment when he set his guitar on fire after breaking it. From then on, the boy Yngwie dove headlong into the sound of bands like Deep Purple and used all his curiosity and persistence to discover the secrets of the compositions. Information shows that his mother (Rigmor) named him “Yngwie” because it was the name of an old boyfriend. When he turned ten years old, the boy Yngwie decided to adopt his mother's maiden name,
"Malmsteen". At this time, he began to devote all his energies to music and stopped going to school. He was seen as a very rebellious and problematic student, having constant fights with his colleagues, only excelling in the subjects he liked, English and art. His mother, recognizing his musical talents, allowed him to stay home with his records and guitar. So he dropped out of school entirely and worked as a luthier. He scaled the fretboard of a guitar and replaced the frets with a Dunlop 6000 super jumbo and was impressed with the results. When he was 18 years old, he recorded a demo and sent it to several people, including the founder of the Shrapnel label. He ended up being called to Los Angeles to join the band Steeler. Watching Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer perform Paganini's "24 Caprices" on TV, Yngwie was able to understand how to blend his love of Classical music with his speed, energy and theatrical presence.
When he was eighteen years old, Yngwie Malmsteen and some friends recorded a three-song demo for Swedish CBS, but it was never released. Frustrated, Malmsteen knew he had to leave Sweden to get where he wanted to go and started sending demos to record companies and contacts around the world. One of these demos reached the hands of Mike Varney, who at the time contributed to the Guitar Player magazine and who founded the record label Shrapnel Records. Yngwie Malmsteen ended up being invited to move to Los Angeles, to join the new band of Shrapnel Records, Steeler.
So, in early 1983, as soon as he moved to the US, he joined the band. Steeler had released a single, called “Cold Day Hell”, on 45 rpm vinyl, with the following line-up: Ron Keel (vocals and guitar), Michael Dunigan (lead guitar), Tim Morrison (bass) and Bobby Eva (drums). Shortly after this single, Bobby Eva, Tim Morrison and Michael Dunigan left the band and in their places Mark Edwards (drums), Rick Fox (bass) and Yngwie Malmsteen (lead guitar) entered. The new formation released, in 1983, the band's first album, Steeler. After a few concerts promoting this album, the band ended activities. In August he joined the newly formed Alcatrazz, a Rainbow-style band founded by ex-Rainbow and ex-Michael Schenker Group vocalist Graham Bonnet.
Alcatrazz, with Graham Bonnett (vocals), Yngwie Malmsteen (guitar), Gary Shea (bass), Jan Uvena (drums) and Jimmi Waldo (keyboards), recorded the great album No Parole from Rock'n'Roll, released at the end of 1983. On this album Yngwie Malmsteen already demonstrated how his future compositions would be, since it is possible to notice some incendiary solos such as "Kree Nakoorie", "Jet To Jet", and "Hiroshima Mon Amour".
However, Yngwie Malmsteen still felt limited, so the only way was to launch a solo career. But before leaving Alcatrazz, another live album was released in 1984, Live Sentence. In July 1984, after the end of the tour, he left the band. In his place, Graham Bonnet called Steve Vai.
In January 1984, after touring Japan with Alcatrazz, Malmsteen received an offer from Polydor, who were impressed with his work and offered him a contract to record a solo album. Immediately upon his return from Japan, Yngwie entered Plant Studios in Los Angeles and began recording his album. As he already had the songs ready, the process was very fast. Yngwie's first solo album, Rising Force, came out on March 15, 1984,
and the tracks feature duels between him and keyboardist Jens Johansson (later to join Stratovarius). The album was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Yngwie Malmsteen. The drummer was the experienced Barriemore Barlow who played in Jethro Tull for ten years and the vocalist was Jeff Scott Soto who recorded vocals on two tracks on the album “As above, so below” and “Now your ships are burned”. The bass was recorded by Malmsteen himself. This album is currently regarded as the bible of Neoclassical rock.
It reached number 60 on the Billboard 200 list, something very rare for an almost all-instrumental recording with no music in the media. The album was also nominated for the Grammy Awards, for the best interpretation of instrumental rock. Soon, Yngwie Malmsteen was voted in several magazines as the “best rock guitarist”, shortly after Rising Force was voted “album of the year”. In January 1985, one of the band's first concerts is recorded in full video in Japan and later released on DVD. Despite the first album being practically all instrumental, on the promotion tour the band played many lyrics that would be present on the next album, in addition to Alcatrazz covers. Already on their second album Marching Out, released in September 1985, only three tracks were instrumental. The album featured a new lineup with Anders Johansson on drums and Marcel Jacob on bass guitar.
Shortly before the tour started, Jeff and Marcel left the band and Mark Boals and Wally Voss joined respectively. In the video for the track "I See The Light Tonight" Mark Boals appears singing, but the audio was recorded by Jeff Scott Soto. The album was recorded in Los Angeles and production was again by Yngwie Malmsteen. Still in 1985, the first live video of his solo career appeared, the “Rising Force - Live 85”. In 1986, he released his album Trilogy. The bass was recorded by Yngwie Malmsteen himself, but on the tour it was played by Wally Voss. Shortly before the album's release, in late 1986, Mark Boals was fired from the band and Jeff Scott Soto was reinstated and became the touring vocalist. The album was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Yngwie Malmsteen.
This album also brought great classics from the artist such as, “You Don't Remember”, “I'll Never Forget”, “Liar”, “Queen In Love” and “Trilogy Suite Op:5”, and was also the first to not contain the name “Rising Force”. The following year, on June 22, 1987, he crashed his Jaguar into a tree, violently hitting his head against the steering wheel. This accident caused a brain clot, damaging motor nerves in his right arm. After being in a coma for nearly a week, Yngwie Malmsteen came to, discovering that his arm was "unusable". Fearful for the future of his career, but stubborn as ever, Malmsteen embarked on a very painful therapy to regenerate his nerves.
While recovering, Malmsteen received the news that his mother (the greatest inspiration of his life) had died of cancer in Sweden, and to complicate things further, a bad character manager had left him almost in ruin, with mountains of debts, doctors to pay. Even so, Malmsteen realized that his only salvation was the music. The result was Odyssey, which isn't one of Malmsteen's favorite albums but was acclaimed for its accessibility.
The album, which featured former Rainbow frontman Joe Lynn Turner, produced the single "Heaven Tonight", which had a video clip recorded. This clip gave him great projection worldwide and led him to win a gold disc. From the tour of this album came his first live album: Trial By Fire: Live in Leningrad, recorded in Russia. A video of the show was also recorded. The line-up for this era (1988-1989) was Joe Lynn Turner on vocals, Jens Johansson on keyboards, Anders Johansson on drums and Barry Dunaway on bass guitar.
After this tour, the band members went their separate ways and the name "Rising Force" fell into disuse. Starting a new phase of his career Yngwie moved to Miami, Florida, USA, and recruited a new band of Swedish friends, unknown to the general public, but extremely competent: Göran Edman (vocals, John Norum, Brazen Abbot),
Svante Henryson (bass, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Brazen Abbot, Joey Tempest), Mats Ollausson (keyboards, Ark, Kamelot, John Norum) and Michael Von Knorring (drums, Redlynx). The first album with the new lineup was Eclipse (which featured lyrics by his wife, Erica Norberg, on the song "Devil In Disguise"), recorded and mixed at the Criteria studios in Miami. Production was handled by Yngwie Malmsteen himself.
On tour, the drummer was Pete Barnacle. This album demonstrated a more commercial side, but without leaving the neoclassical style. A bad promotion by the multinational Polygram, greatly harmed sales in the United States of North America, however, in Japan and Europe this work won gold and platinum records. At the same time, Malmsteen's first collection was released, with an audio version and a video version, called The Yngwie Malmsteen Collection, which contained several of his classics, but with some differences between the CD and the DVD. In 1992, he released the album Fire & Ice, with the same lineup as the previous album, except for drummer Bo Werner (Mogg.) The album was recorded in Miami and Sweden and produced by Yngwie Malmsteen, featuring violinists and a flutist. This album was a non-commercial album with magnificent compositions. The lyrics were composed based on the events of Yngwie Malmsteen's life (he had divorced his first wife, the Swedish singer Erica Norberg) and the music was built on Baroque structures.
With this album, Yngwie Malmsteen was finally able to fulfill one of his most fervent wishes, namely to record with an orchestra. This happened in the arrangements of "Badineire", originally in the “Suite Orchestral No. 2” (by J. S. Bach), which is on “No Mercy” and the solo of “Cry No More”. Critically acclaimed, Fire & Ice peaked at number 1 in Japan and sold 100,000 copies on the day of release. The record went gold and platinum in Europe and Asia. During the composition of the new album, Hurricane Andrew passed through Miami (August 1992), his manager for the last four years, Nigel Thomas, died of a heart attack (January 1993). In March 1993, Yngwie Malmsteen realized that the Elektra label was robbing him (March 1993). In July, also 1993, he tore the ligaments in his right hand in a terrible accident, and in August, he was the victim of an arrest (August 1993). By September 1993, all charges against Yngwie had been dropped and by October his hand had fully recovered. However, the year 1993 would end well for him. On December 26, 1993, he married Amberdawn Landin, from whom he would later split in 1996.
In 1994 he released the album The Seventh Sign. In September and October 1994 the Japanese label Pony Canion released two mini-albums (I Can't Wait EP and "Power and Glory") and a video ("Live at Budokan"). The line-up had Michael Vescera on vocals, Mats Olausson on keyboards and Mike Terrana on drums. Bassist Barry Sparks was hired for the tour, who recorded the EP. The album was recorded in Lauderdale and produced by Yngwie Malmsteen. In December 1994 Yngwie started setting up his own studio and started work on his next album, Magnum Opus. This album was released in 1995.
The line-up was the same as the previous album, except for the drummer, who was Shane Gaalaas. The album was recorded in Miami and produced by Yngwie Malmsteen and Chris Tsangarides. In early January 1996, Yngwie Malmsteen started running Studio 308 and invited several friends (including Joe Lynn Turner, Jeff Scott Soto, David Rosenthal, Marcel Jacob, Jens Johansson and Mark Boals) for a project. For many years, Yngwie Malmsteen has had a desire to record some of the music he grew up listening to that has influenced him in some way; on that list were songs by Deep Purple, Rainbow, Scorpions, Rush, U.K., Kansas and of course, Jimi Hendrix.
With these friends and the Johansson brothers playing drums and some keyboard tracks, the Inspiration album began to take shape, until in mid-April the album was ready, with the cover painted by Asari Yoda. The album was recorded in Miami and Sweden, produced by Chris Tsangarides and Yngwie Malmsteen. For the tour the line-up was Mark Boals on vocals, Barry Dunaway on bass, Mats Olausson on keyboards and Tommy Aldridge on drums. In the clip for the song "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas, Mark Boals appears singing in the video, but the audio was recorded by Jeff Scott Soto, repeating what happened in the clip for "I See The Light Tonight" from 1985. In February 1997, the album Facing the Animal was released, with Mats Levén on vocals, Mats Olausson on keyboards, Cozy Powell on drums and Barry Dunaway on bass. For the tour, the drummer was Jonas Ostman, due to Cozy's passing. In April 1998, Cozy Powell pulled out of a tour with Yngwie Malmsteen after injuring his foot.
In June 1997 Yngwie flew to Prague (Czech Republic), to play with the famous Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, with more than one hundred years of existence. In three days of intensive recording, with Atlanta conductor Yoel Levi in charge of the baton, the highly anticipated album Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E flat minor Opus1 would be released in 1998. In 1998, after releasing the album with the Orchestra, Yngwie became interested in doing a Rising Force Reunion. His wish did not come true. Some musicians who had participated in the first albums (Rising Force, Marching Out, etc) were involved in different projects and others no longer had a good relationship with Yngwie.
In April 1998 came the death of Cozy Powell (in a traffic accident). Yngwie Malmsteen, even saddened by the loss of his friend, quickly went in search of a replacement for the tour and recruited the Swedish drummer, Jonas Ostman. With this new line-up, the splendid Yngwie Malmsteen Live!! was released, recorded in São Paulo during the Facing the Animal tour. This album contains songs from throughout his solo career and demonstrates his aggressiveness and speed. This album was dedicated to Cozy Powell, as was the entire world tour.
For on this album Yngwie returned to his more heavy metal themes, he again won awards from specialist guitar magazines, as well as recognitions in Europe and Japan. On all sides there was only talk of the "resurrection" and the "return of Malmsteen". On March 6, 1998, Yngwie's first child, Antonio Yngwie Johann Malmsteen, was born in Miami, the result of his third marriage. With the birth of the son, Yngwie Malmsteen matured, ignored the problems with musicians and returned to using the name "Rising Force".
In 1999, alongside Mark Boals (vocals), Barry Dunaway (bass), John Macaluso (drums) and Mats Olausson (keyboards), he released his fourteenth solo album, called Alchemy. This album has more instrumental tracks than its predecessors and the band embarked on a super and extraordinary world tour (with Randy Coven on bass).
In 2000, the compilation "Anthology 1994-1999" was released, and an unreleased album at the end of the year, War to End All Wars, which featured the presence of Mark Boals, Mats Olausson and John Macaluso. After a few shows, Mark Boals left the band (to promote his solo album Ring of Fire) and was replaced by Jørn Lande.
A fight between Yngwie Malmsteen and Jørn Lande in mid-2001 caused the vocalist to leave the tour, along with the drummer. Yngwie Malmsteen's response to this problem was to bring back Mark Boals and introduce Tim Donahue, on drums.
At the end of 2001, on the South American tour of War to End All Wars, more changes: Doogie White on vocals, Derek Sherinian on keyboards, Mick Cervino (Blackmore's Night) on bass and Patrik Johansson on drums. Also in 2001, Yngwie's concerts with the New Japan Philharmonic orchestra in Japan were recorded for release on CD and DVD. It was during one of these concerts with the New Japan Philharmonic that Yngwie Malmsteen was surprised by the arrival of some representatives of the Chinese government, who invited him to tour their country.
It is noteworthy that Yngwie Malmnsteen was a pioneer in opening the market of the former U.S.S.R. (Soviet Union), until then closed to “occidentalism” in its communist regime. Now, Malmsteen was repeating this feat in China, where Rock music was not accepted by the socialist government. In 2002 he released the album Attack !! and goes on tour, just changed the keyboard player, Joakim Svalberg (Opeth) entered Derek Sherinian's place. In the same year, he releases the album The Genesis, which consists of his first recordings from the time he lived in Sweden and was only 17 years old. Many of these tracks were reworked for album compositions throughout his career.
In October 2003 he joined Joe Satriani and Steve Vai in "G3 Tour: Rockin' in the Free World". From this union, in addition to a double live CD, the DVD G3: Live in Denver was also released in 2004.In 2004 during the final leg of the Attack!! in the US, keyboardist Michael Troy and bassist Rudy Sarzo joined the band. In 2005 Yngwie Malmsteen released the album Unleash the Fury and spent two years on a world tour. The lineup for the album featured Doogie White on vocals, Joakim Svalberg on keyboards, Patrik Johansson on drums and Mick Cervino on bass guitar. This album presented a much superior quality, being highly praised by fans and critics alike.
In 2006 keyboardist Derek Sherinian returns and stays all year round. Also in 2006, he attended the annual convention for the music industry, "NAMM", to promote his new endorsement of strings with Dean Markley. They then toured the United States of North America, Asia, Australia and Finland until the end of the year. Still in 2006, Yngwie Malmsteen had a Stratocaster model with the Fender guitar factory, his “signature”, with small, but important, changes in the neck. Yngwie Malmsteen himself confessed:
"They treat me so well that I am honored and proud to be working with them". In 2008, he was chosen by “NAMM” for their NAMM Oral History program. Started in 2000, this project documents, through interviews and videotape, some of the greatest musicians who have contributed to the music industry, including Herbie Hancock, Maynard Ferguson, Les Paul, B.B. King and now Yngwie Malmsteen. Still working on his next album, Yngwie Malmsteen also participated in the elaboration of the replica of his “Fender Stratocaster 1972”, a limited edition and that received the name of “Duck”.
Finally, in October 2008, the album Perpetual Flame is released, featuring vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth), keyboardist Michael Troy, and drummer Patrik Johansson. The tour's bassist was Bjorn Englen. It was the first release on Yngwie Malmsteen's own label, Rising Force Records. Throughout that year, Yngwie also appeared on other specialized magazine covers, including All Access, Crusher Magazine, Fuzz, Guitar Player, Roadie Crew and Vegas Rocks.
But perhaps the biggest recognition of 2008 came in October, when Yngwie Malmsteen was inducted into Hollywood's Rock of Fame on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Also in 2008, Yngwie Malmsteen contributed three tracks to the video game Rock Band, for Xbox and Play Station. He continued to promote his album, with the band playing a series of concerts in Japan alongside other icons such as Deep Purple.
In 2009, Angels of Love was released, an album completely out of the way he had been following, since it is a completely instrumental acoustic album, with ballads, containing reinterpretations of old Malmsteen classics and some unreleased tracks played on guitar, with orchestral arrangements. Some of the tracks featured keyboardist Michael Troy Abdallah. To everyone's surprise, the song “Angels Of Love” (inspired by his wife, April) reached the top of the “New Age” music list, on the site “Amazon.com”.
Recognition of Yngwie Malmsteen's place in music history continued to go on. In Time Magazine, Yngwie Malmsteen was included as one of the 10 Greatest Guitarists. Towards the end of the year, Yngwie Malmsteen and his company decided to start releasing rare footage, filmed during a series of concerts. The first was “Yngwie In Korea”, filmed during the War To End All Wars tour in Seoul, South Korea.
To finish off the end of 2009, the musician publishes another compilation with his most successful instrumental songs entitled High Impact, which features a cover by Jimi Hendrix, "Red House" and another by Michael Jackson "Beat It", originally performed by Eddie Van Halen.
In May 2010 it was the turn of the DVD "Raw Live" to be published, featuring bootleg songs from different phases of the guitarist's career. In November 23, 2010, the album Relentless was released, the second album to feature Tim "Ripper" Owens on vocals, Nick Marino on keyboards and Patrick Johansson on drums, for the tour the bassist was Bjorn Englen. The label again was Malmsteen's Rising Force. The US version featured a remake of "Arpeggios From Hell" as a bonus track. Yngwie appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on February 3, 2011 to promote his album.
On August 6, 2011, Yngwie made another appearance in the United States, playing a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. Although rarely seen in his native country of Sweden, Yngwie Malmsteen played one gig there in 2012. On July 7, he ended the Getaway Rock Festival in Gävle, which he was headlining with Nightwish and Manowar. On 5 December 2012, Yngwie released the album Spellbound. 2013 saw the release of Yngwie's official autobiography "Relentless". At the end of 2012 vocalist Tim Owens left the group and Yngwie Malmsteen recorded his album Spellbound, in which he took the lead vocals on the three non-instrumental tracks.
On June 12, 2014, Yngwie Malmsteen kicked off his "Guitar Gods 2014 Tour" at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania alongside ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Bumblefoot and guitarist Gary Hoey.
On september 10, 2014 Yngwie released a live DVD called "Spellbound Live in Orlando", filmed during his last tour.
In February 2015 he was inducted into the Swedish Music Hall of Fame for his musical contributions over the last thirty years. In the same month, it was confirmed that the musician was working on a new album.
In April and May 2016, Yngwie Malmsteen was one of five guitarists featured on the Generation Axe tour.
In 2018, it was announced that Yngwie Malmsteen had signed with Mascot Records, with a new studio album expected the following year. In 2019, Yngwie released Blue Lightning, featuring Blues rock songs – mainly covers – with Malmsteen's virtuoso playing. As Yngwie Malmsteen was quoted:
"I've been asked to do a Blues album for the last 30 years [...] this time I finally said, "Sure, why not? Let's try it!" I just didn't want to be stuck in the standard, pentatonic, play a 12-bar thing. I didn't want to do that".
On 8 May 2021, Yngwie Malmsteen was reported to have launched the "Parabellum" album and video for the "Paganini-referencing" track "Wolves at the Door". Since COVID-19 restrictions prevented touring, Yngwie had more time to record the album, and was "clearly delighted with the results." On July 20, 2022 Yngwie was in the 013 in Tilburg the Netherlands for a one time concert, the only one in Europe.
Steeler Steeler (1983)
Alcatrazz No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll (1983)
Alcatrazz Live Sentence (1984) live
Rising Force (1984)
Marching Out (1985)
Trial by Fire: Live in Leningrad (1989) live
Fire & Ice (1992)
The Seventh Sign (1994)
I Can't Wait (1994) ep
Magnus Opus (1995)
Inspiration (1996) (cover album)
Facing The Animal (1997)
Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar And Orchestra in E flat minor. Opus 1 (1998)
Double Live (1998) live
War To End All Wars (2000)
Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E flat minor LIVE with the New Japan Philharmonic (2002) live
The Genesis (2002)
G3 Rockin´ in the free world (2004) live
Unleash The Fury (2005)
Perpetual Flame (2008)
Angels Of Love (2009)
Spellbound Live in Tampa (2014) live
World on Fire (2016)
Blue Lightning (2019) (cover album)
Yngwie Malmsteen – guitars, backing vocals bass guitar and keyboards (studio) Moog Taurus lead vocals (since 2012, studio only)
Nick Marino – keyboards lead vocals 2005 (touring) 2009–present (touring and occasional studio appearances) (Since 2012, live only) Relentless (2010) Spellbound Live in Tampa (2014) World on Fire (2016)
Emilio Martinez – bass, backing vocals (2017–present) (touring only)
Brian Wilson - drums (2018–present) (touring only)
Source: Translated mainly from the Portuguese Wikipedia