Yngwie's Bio

Yngwie J. Malmsteen arrived on the scene in 1983 when he emigrated to America from his native Sweden. Malmsteen created a style – an ear-searing blend of metal bombast and classical beauty that is one of the most immediately recognizable of ALL guitarists. He elevated classical chops to new heights, adding a definite European stamp both dark-sounding and blindingly fast. “I’ve been exposed to classical music since I was five years old,” says Yngwie, who was born in Stockholm on June 30, 1963. “My mother listened to Bach so much, and I grew to really love his music. Bach’s chord progressions and melodies are the most beautiful things ever written. “My family was very musical,” he adds. “My sister played flute and piano and my brother played guitar, drums, piano, violin, and accordian. My father even played guitar.” Malmsteen maintains that his biggest classical influence is 19th-century violin virtuoso Nicolo Paganini. “I was in my early teens the first time I heard his music,” recalls Yngwie,” and he’s been my idol ever since. I got turned on to him through a Swedish TV show. A Russian violinist was playing some Paganini stuff on the program, and I freaked. I quickly put a portable tape recorder in front of the TV to get it on tape. When I found out later what the guy was playing, I went out and bought PaganiniÌ¢s “24 Caprices,” which is my all-time favorite thing to listen to. “That’s how I wanted to play guitar. He did with his instrument what few have ever come close to doing. He was a rock and roller-very wild and very extreme.”

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