I love Yngwie


“Bow to me, bitch.”

Once again, San Jose rock radio turned me onto this guy. I was in 9th grade, in the garage of our house, working out with my step brother Troy. The song they played was Alcatrazz “Too Young to Die, Too Drunk to Live.” The feeling it gave me was pretty much the same feeling I had after listening to Eruption: Fucking hell, what the fuck was that?! You could hear jaws drop all over San Jose.

So me and all my guitar playing buddies tried to rip that shit off as much as we could. I was totally using Yngwie ideas inappropriately, putting classical motifs in the beginning of You Really Got Me. Not to mention my picking hand was beyond shit. I’m sure the other guys in the band were rolling their eyes. Glad I was too busy looking at my fingers to care.

So the major electric guitar game changers were Hendrix, EVH, then Yngwie. Alternate picking was probably not even a word (or combination of words) until Yngwie showed the world what the right hand can do (other than that OTHER thing the right hand can do). Or left. We’ll get the weirdo lefties in there. Ha ha.

He brought so many new techniques to the table; alternate picking, arpeggio sweeps (he pretty much invented that), scalloped fretboards, classical arrangements, harmonic minor madness….And an accurate aggression that couldn’t be topped. He scared the fuck of AND inspired a generation of dudes: Gilbert, Becker, MacAlpine, Vinnie, DeVille (JK).

Here, check this out. This is my favourite video of Yngwie. My friend had it on VHS in the mid 80’s, and I watched it forever. God bless YouTube!!

I think the last Yngwie CD I bought was Odyssey. My favourite albums are Rising Force and Marching Out.  My favourite songs are Now Your Ships Are Burned and Disciples of Hell. And tons of other shit, ha ha.

Ah!! My encounter with Yngwie! Early to mid 90’s I was at the Namm show, and it was the Hilton bar (where all the cool people were), and I was already pretty hammered by this stage. So I go up to Yngwie, say hi, and immediately grab his sunglasses off his face and I wear them. For about 10-15 minutes. It was a fun little chat, and I think he was a little scared of me (I’m harmless). Anyways, I walked back over to him, chatted some more, gave him his glasses back, and asked for $5 for a beer. I ran out of money. He said “I don’t have any money, I have to ask my wife..” I think I may have belly laughed at that, and then got terribly sad, and then walked off. I was nicknamed “Jungle Man” at Namm. My drinking was pretty nutso back then. I’m way tame in comparison.


Fuck you Lorena Bobbit! Yep, a  Jungle Man drunken rant on Lorena Bobbit. I had an audience and received applause after my keynote speech. This was at Namm. This is what Yngwie would’ve encountered.

And people rip on him for his big ego, pirate clothes, and arrogance. Don’t bother me none. If you’ve done the shit he’s done, inspired that many guitar players, and brought all these guitar techniques to the table, then you can pretty much do whatever the fuck you want. I love it. Yngwie did a guitar clinic out here in Melbourne a few years back, and he’s a fucking funny guy.  The audience questions were longer than his answers! I love that guy. Well, love him from afar. I don’t really listen to his stuff that much anymore. But he was a massive influence on me. He got my piece of shit right hand working, and Gilbert finished the job. Love to both!!

Here’s a couple of guys still burning the flame for Yngwie and getting scientific. Troy Grady’s Cracking the Code are one part guitar history and two parts science!! Check out  how just how far down the rabbit-hole this dude will go to get to the bottom of shit:

And then there’s my buddy James Ryan, who’s doing Malmsteen Mondays. Bite sized and ready within minutes! Get crackin’!


2 responses to “I love Yngwie

  1. Hey nice synopsis of Yngwie and why you like him. He did formalize a lot of things that are now standard techniques for rock guitarists. Yngwie’s most well known sweep is the one at the end of Far Beyond The Sun – that was the one you HAD to be able to do if you wanted sweep cred. However, the whole sweeping arpeggio thing – Chet Atkins had a tune in the 70s that contained what he called in a guitar magazine interview the “superlick”, which was a 5 string d major sweep. But back in 75, long before the days of internet and ubiquitous tab, I had to slow my turntable down to 16 (from 33&1/3) to try to figure out what he was doing. When I finally did figure it out I was thinking I still had it wrong because I had never heard anybody play like that before (except Chet) so I kind of abandoned except when I was drunk enough to bust it out. When I did it provoked mixed reactions probably because I was so sloppy at execution – but sometimes it came out perfectly and jaws would drop. But I never did much with it. Later though – Frank Gambale was the first person I heard who could do sweeps with great precision. In fact there was a period when pretty much all his playing was sweeps (sometimes just two strings) but it didn’t always sound like it. So that’s what I dig – that smooth execution. I must admit I refuse to go into Guitar Center except right after it opens because at other times I dread hearing nonstop sweeps being perpetrated on patrons who just want to get what they want and leave. Guitar Center should make their amps coin operated to discourage endless wanking.

    • Dude I’ve been getting into Gypsy Jazz, and those guys are absolutely fucked! I just heard a Django song, and he does a full a Major sweep, and this was back in the 20’s or 30’s..The Gypsy Jazz dudes are crazy..Happy shred on acoustics..Don’t even need amps!

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