I’ve been a pretty big Yngwie fan since I started learning to play guitar. The first record I heard by him was Facing the Animal and I was absolutely blown away. I remember my guitar teacher at the time giving me a copy of the record to listen to. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I knew that was how I wanted to play guitar (Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani were my first two BIG guitar inspirations). Everything about that record was great, the guitar tone, the songs, even the art on the front. I loved it.
So needless to say, when I saw this book on Amazon, I had to get it! The hardback copy is nicely put together and you get some vintage photos in the middle. Really cool. The writing style is very easy going, so it’s a fast read. Great for commuting or going on holiday with.
The story of Yngwie’s life is one of incredible determination, right from when he was a child – the titled “Relentless” is very fitting. He’s certainly someone who has lived life on his own terms. And all these stories are documented in this book.
The first few pages of the book are introductions that read like a “who’s who” list of the guitar scene. There are introductions from Slash, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde, Richard McDonald at Fender Guitars, Nick Bowcott at Marshall Amplification, the chair of Seymour Duncan Pickups, Seymour Duncan; Evan Skip from Seymour Duncan, Paul Younghead from BOSS / Roland and Walter Rührig at AKG acoustics. Awesome introduction to the book!
The book starts off talking about his life growing up in Sweden, what his family and friends were like and how he started playing guitar… with the death of Jimi Hendrix. That seemed to be a profound moment for a lot of musicians – when Joe Satriani heard about Hendrix’s death, he quit playing American Football and took up guitar. Anyway, Yngwie started out with an acoustic guitar that his mother brought back from a trip to Poland.
He talks all about his early inspirations and the moments of decision that shaped the future of his guitar playing career and life, for example, hearing a classical piece (I think it as Pagannini) and knowing that he HAD to play guitar like that. He tells us all about his early days attending concerts in Sweden, his first bands, and how he ended up in America playing with Alcatrazz and Rising Force.
We also get insights into his personal life at the time, when he talks about his girlfriends, first wife and how he met his current wife.
And of course… some of the stories are absolutely outrageous and hilarious! But I won’t talk about them here, that would spoil the story…
If you want to hear how Yngwie Malmlsteen influenced my guitar playing, you can check out my heavy metal record here and you can even order a copy for free.