Yngwie Malmsteen

A headline in The Onion some years ago announced that Yngwie Malmsteen had officially changed his middle name to "Fucking." But fans of the Swedish shredder, all of them in awe of his lightning-fast fingers and rapid arpeggios, surely believe the item should have appeared in Newsweek.

It's been 20 years since the release of Rising Force, which, along with his Trilogy, is Essential Headbanger Library material. But unlike fellow six-string heroes Steve Vai and Joe Satriani -- with whom Malmsteen toured in a guitar geek's wet dream as G3 -- former child prodigy Yngwie (pronounced "ING-vay") studied as much Bach and Paganini as Page and Blackmore. And though some find his blending of metal, prog-rock and classical overindulgent, it is technically stunning. And like AC/DC, Malmsteen doesn't tamper with his proven formula.

His latest release, Attack!!, is a surprisingly good effort, infused with the current edition of his Rising Force band, which includes Dio-riffic vocalist Doogie White. Sample titles give you an indication of the material: "Razor Eater," "Valley of Kings" and "Baroque and Roll." For this tour, Rudy Sarzo (formerly of Whitesnake and Quiet Riot) will join in on bass. And though riddled with enough personal and professional setbacks to sink most performers (a near-fatal car accident, the destruction of his Miami home by Hurricane Andrew, the loss of his earnings to a swindling manager, false arrest by his future mother-in-law for holding her daughter hostage with a gun), Malmsteen's magic fingers still have it. As he's said himself, he can still "unleash the fucking fury" with the best of them.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero