by Fredrik Hjelm

We caught up with the great Yngwie on tour, right before sound check at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, Tennessee and here's what he had to say about the good old days, his influences and about the new Rising Force album Perpetual Flame.

Fredrik Hjelm: I was living in Los Angeles the last time we spoke six years ago and have now moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. Los Angeles really was the mecca of metal back in the '80s and now it feels like it's metal mania all over again, especially here in Europe. What's your viewpoint on the current metal trend and how has it affected your career?

Yngwie: That's an interesting question and I can give quite an extensive answer! When I got to L.A. in the early 80's, that was the place to be, no question about it, and in that sense I was lucky. But then something pretty drastic happened in the early '90s that totally killed the hard rock scene in Los Angeles. All of a sudden, Seattle was the place to be because grunge was the new thing. I think the '90s was a pretty "dark" time as far as my career went and so I concentrated mainly on Japan and South America because of the fact the American market had become so different. But, when grunge finally died, there wasn't really any other new type of music or sound there to replace it and that created a vacuum on the music-scene. I went on tour at that time in the U.S. and noticed a huge difference in the way the people received us and the way they saw this whole "guitar thing". It was the first time I noticed that, and then it just got bigger from there. What I see now, particularly in the U.S., is that the crowds and the fans have become so young. I mean we're talking from 10 years old and up!

FH: It has got to be pretty special for you to play to fans that weren't even born when you rose to fame?

Yngwie: Yeah, it is - it's fantastic! The way I see it, the times are extremely prosperous for me right now - especially here in the States. But on another note, I've always ignored trends anyway and I always did my thing. What I do is the "real thing" to me. It's not to try to fit in, or anything like that. I'm just doing things my way, I always did.

FH: Well, Anders Johansson, your old drummer from the '80s, actually confirmed that when I spoke to him a while back. He said exactly the same thing, that you always did your own thing and never gave a damn what anybody else thought. He said, when people told Yngwie that he couldn't play like that he just ignored them and said "yes, I can and I will!"

Yngwie: Yeah, that's how it was - especially when I started playing in Sweden back in the day when I had my first band at the age of 10. I remember playing in Sweden just a couple of years ago, and my old grade school teacher showed up to the gig! She brought some of my old drawings to the show and one of them was one I drew already back in 1975 when I was 11, where it said "Come to the Track On Earth show" when I played at our school for the other kids.