Yngwie Malmsteen will release Blue Lightning globally on March 29th via Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group. To call Yngwie Malmsteen a ‘maestro’ or ‘virtuoso’ is to state the obvious. But such terms don’t do sufficient justice to either his talent or impact. There are innumerable guitarists who have copied a small part of the vast musical spectrum that defines him, but nobody comes close to achieving what he has over a period of nearly four decades.
This man is an undoubted pioneer, someone whose style and creativity has inspired so many others. While he first came to everybody’s notice in Los Angeles with Steeler’s self-titled album (1983), followed by Alcatrazz’s ‘No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll’ the same year and ‘Live Sentence’ (’84), it’s been what he’s done since in a distinguished and far ranging career as a solo performer and band leader that has momentously shown Malmsteen’s craft and worth as one of the elite guitarists on the planet. Combining skills that span a vast spectrum of inspirations, he stands as a giant, melding melody, technique and an epic scope in a unique and inclusive fashion.
Speaking about the choice to cover the classic Beatles track, Malmsteen shares, “There were songs that were immediately clear I wanted to do…But then I also went for something like “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” which I wasn’t sure I could do. In this case, it was about trial and error. I am delighted that I was able to do justice to the original.”
Anyone who is expecting Malmsteen to copy exactly the way the original versions sound is in for a shock. Because that is not what he has done. He reflects, “I have never been one of those people who wants to sit down and mimic the way in which a song sounds on record. I don’t see the point in doing that. If all you want to hear is a song the way you remember it, then the originals are there for you. What I have done is add in my own vibe and personality, while paying tribute to what you already know. That way I feel I am being myself, yet also being respectful to those artists.”
Aside from the covers, there are also four original tracks included. And these clearly bring to the fore Malmsteen’s abiding love for the Blues, as well as his capacity for doing interpretations possessed of emotion and depth. He offers, “I have always featured songs with a Blues groove on albums. So, having my own material in this vein was very natural for me.”
The album is self-produced, and Malmsteen has followed a traditional manner in the way this was recorded. He shares, “In the old days, a band would go into the studio, do a couple of songs, then go out on tour, before returning to the studio to do a couple more new tracks. That’s the way I did things this time. I have been so busy on the road in recent times that it was the most pragmatic way to do the album. In all, it took me about ten months to get it done, but by going in the studio in between touring commitments, I feel it kept everything fresh.”