When: End of 1995/1996
Where: Yngwie’s home in Miami, Florida. It was an excruciatingly humid day there. Even the mosquitoes tried to stay out of the direct sunlight, but once the sun began to set, they arrived in buzzing swarms of agony. I was wearing shorts and I could see them finding the exposed skin of my legs and just setting up home.
What: To fully appreciate the intimacy of this conversation, you need to understand the violence that preceded it. You need to hear the entire tale. Truth be told, Yngwie himself wanted all of this revealed. And to do that, we must travel back 12 or 13 years ago. 

I first met Mr. Malmsteen through my best friend Jimmy Waldo, keyboardist with New England and at the time of this interview, Alcatrazz. Jimmy told me I had to meet this new guitar player he was working with. I was pre-warned, given an advance notice: Waldo told me that Yngwie had a bit of an attitude and suffered from a swollen ego. I took all of that into consideration and figured everything would be fine.
I went to the guitarist’s home in the San Fernando Valley, a 20-minute drive from my guesthouse in Laurel Canyon. I was there on time and ushered in. Cassette player and notes were retrieved and unpacked and the conversation began.
“So, Yngwie, could we start …?”
Barely five words into my first question and he interrupts.
“No, man, not yet, I have to finish practicing,” he interjected in a thick Swedish accent. He had been holding one of his scalloped Stratocasters, running through what looked like some finger exercises, and that was cool with me. If he wanted to practice while we spoke, that was not a problem. But it was for him. He didn’t want to riff musically and verbally and even that I could understand – he was in the middle of some guitar exercising so I waited. And I waited. And when waiting became tired of waiting, that verb retreated to be replaced by ennui.
Ten or fifteen minutes later, sensing that he might be finished, I began again.
“Watching you play, it’s obvious how much time and …?”
He interrupts me again, tells me he’s not completed with his guitar workout, and once again I sit silently. I think I must have waited close to an hour for him to finish. By now, I was sensing that he was simply making me wait because he could.
We finally started talking and after just a couple of questions, I was ready to walk out. He made comments like he never really practiced (after he sat there for an hour with a guitar in his hand) and had never heard of Jeff Beck (this was a slight mis-communication that, many years later was cleared up, but his response made him sound small and uninformed). He just generally blew off every question I asked and didn’t take anything seriously. I was only there, in all honesty, because I was trying to help Waldo in garnering some press for the band; Guitar World had expressed interest in the story and I had to see it through to its conclusion.
He still held the guitar while we spoke and often times after a question was posed, he’d sit for several minutes flying up and down the neck and all but ignoring the question. At one point, he went to clean off the high E by running his thumb and first finger along the string’s length. The string, like a metal paper cut, sliced into the pad of the first finger, left hand, and blood began seriously oozing out. And no little amount of blood either; a trip to the hospital may not have been out of the question. He sat there and attempted to compose himself, although it was obvious this mini-digital dissection hurt like freaking hell. A towel was wrapped around the damaged digit and it did become spotted with blood.
As a side note, later that night, or it may have been the next evening, Yngwie was scheduled to play with Alcatrazz for a live taping. This would be on January 28, 1984, when the band appeared on Rock Palace, a short-lived show featuring the heavier bands of the day. Actually recorded at a club in Hollywood called The Palace (situated on Vine, right across the street from Capitol Records), the show captured Malmsteen in all his typical craziness. He would solo furiously over all the vocal verses and just generally ran all over the stage in an uncontrolled sort of mayhem.
According to my friend, Jimmy Waldo, the guitarist had even applied Super Glue to his cut in order to close the wound. This cut, apparently, is what led to the mad behavior on this particular night. Every time he placed the pad of his first finger/left hand on a string, he’d grimace in pain. The string, like a nasty little thread of metallic floss, would work its way back into the cut and cause, what must have been, some pretty serious pain. Additionally, his tuning was atrocious (Waldo said he was usually out of tune during shows) and this didn’t help matters. During the soundcheck, he had been railing at the guy mixing the house sound since the band didn’t have a dedicated soundman on payroll. The technician had been verbally abused and ridiculed during the entire band rehearsal, so during the actual live performance, he lowered Yngwie’s guitar in the overall mix. You could barely hear him.