Guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen stopped hiring singers for his band: “In my outfit they’re not Elvis Presley””

Author Samuel Järvinen - 9.5.2022

Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen was recently interviewed on WPDH Radio 101.5 in Poughkeepsie, where he was asked to name the best singer he has worked with. The choices were Jeff Scott Soto, Mark Boals and Joe Lynn Turner.

However, Malmsteen says in the interview that vocalists are not the main role in his band, with vocal parts being an instrument among others.

According to Malmsteen, he stopped beheading the singers after the singers, in his opinion, “thought they were Elvis Presley”. As transcribed by Blabbermouth:

“Here’s the way I look at this. So I came to America in 1982 and I joined a band called Steeler. And then I formed a band called Alcatrazz. In January 1984, I signed a record deal as a solo artist. So from the point of January 1984, it was never a band — never. There was never a band called Rising Force. My first solo album was called ‘Rising Force’. I had a band called Rising Force in Sweden in ’79. And when I hired people for my solo stuff, I would write the bass parts, the drum parts, the guitar parts — obviously — the keyboard parts, the vocal parts and the lyrics. So like an ensemble, like an orchestra or whatever, or even for a performance on Broadway, there’s a written piece and the performer is hired to perform the piece. If they, for some reason, don’t work out, you put someone else in there.”

“For some strange reason, somebody seemed to think that a) it was a band, and b) the guy that was supposed to be the singer at the time was Elvis Presley or something. No. So I therefore, [in] 2012, decided I’m not gonna hire singers anymore and I sing myself. I said, ‘Good luck to you, guys. See you. Bye.'”

When it was pointed out to Malmsteen that, in his case, things had not continued with any of the vocalists, the guitarist replied:

“Well, they seem to think because they’re the singer and not the keyboard player they’re Elvis Presley. And they will soon find out, in my outfit they’re not Elvis Presley and they will have to move on. It’s an Yngwie Malmsteen solo career. And even now, for the last album I even played all the instruments as well.

“Listen, it’s not like, oh, yeah, I minimize these guys — they’re all great; whatever — but the thing is that I’m like an artist like a painter or something. Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t call someone, like, ‘Hey, dude, can you come over and finish half of my painting?’ And that’s how I work — I paint the whole painting. That’s how I work.”