Interview with ANDERS JOHANSSON Page 3
by Fredrik Hjelm
FH: When you dropped Yngwie after five world-tours and possibly retired yourself as a musician at the age of 26, what went through your mind? I mean, you never know for sure if you can join another band of that caliber...did it feel as if you were taking a step down or did you feel you would bounce right back?
Anders: I was actually thinking that it was too bad that we couldn't keep the band the way it was, and change a few things around so all the little details would work out between us instead of everything having to be so difficult. But I never had any regrets. I even attended an Yngwie concert 7-8 months after we bailed, and I remembered thinking; "I'm glad I'm not up there anymore to deal with all the crap". Yngwie had ended up playing quite small clubs at that time anyway, and that didn't exactly make me regret getting out either.
FH: And what about the infamous stories regarding Yngwie's partying/boozing lifestyle. How do you think that affected his career?
Anders: I don't think it contributed very positively to his career, but that's the way he is. Besides all that, he is very a very special, one-of-a-kind guitar player and before he started playing like that, no one else did. People were saying, "you can't play like that", and Yngwie said "I don't give a f**k" and did it anyway. He's a very different kind of guy, in good and in bad ways.
FH: In general, how do you think drugs and alcohol affected the rock'n'roll world? I mean, to a certain extent, perhaps a lot of classic albums wouldn't have been written without all that. Black Sabbath, for example, used to go on massive cocaine binges "to become more creative" but than you have the tragic situations like Hendrix and Morrison. What's your view on drugs and alcohol in the rock'n'roll world?
Anders: The problem is that most artists don't know when to draw the line or how to balance cocaine and creativity. "The rock'n'roll lifestyle" probably destroys more than it adds to a rock-star's life. But I think you're right about Hendrix and Jim Morrison. They probably wouldn't have been able to develop themselves artistically the way they did without the drugs. Not to promote drugs, of course, but I guess that's a fact. But it is very difficult since it always gets out of hand. It is always around in our world, though, and there is no way around it.
FH: Any crazy stories about being on the road with Yngwie?
Anders: Lots! I'll tell you about this one time we took a flight from New York to Tokyo...it was a 14-hour, non-stop flight, so we started drinking right away. We were in first class that time - the first and only time, as a matter of fact. I think the Japanese promoter paid for it. Well, the other passengers started getting ticked off at us pretty early because we were loud, yelling and throwing things around. At one point my brother found a sanitary napkin in the flight seat in front of him and poured a Bloody Mary on it, making it look like huge blood-stain and then he threw it on some other passenger's food tray as he was trying to eat. That was the final straw for the other passengers and when I got back from the bathroom a big fight broke out between Yngwie and our boys and the other passengers and the flight staff. Apparently a lady sitting in first class had taken an entire pitcher of water and poured it over Yngwie, Joe Lynn Turner and my brother so they went nuts, of course, and Yngwie wanted to kill her. It was chaos - somebody's shirt got ripped to shreds, people were wrestling on the floor...it was probably not what people had expected when they bought their first class tickets! At one point the pilot, who had left the cockpit to join the fight, grabbed my arm so I back-fisted him in the stomach and watched him go down.
Interview with ANDERS JOHANSSON Page 4