For “Perpetual Flame,” his first set of new material in three years, Swedish rock guitar hero found a new voice for his music — Tim “Ripper” Owens, lately of Iced Earth, but more famous for his seven-year stint replacing Rob Halford in Judas Priest.
“I don’t remember the exact procedure how we got connected,” says Yngwie Malmsteen, 45, who was a member of Alcatrazz before going solo in 1984. “I wrote the songs for this (album) ... and they started taking form in my head. That’s when I decided the singer I had wasn’t gonna be the guy to cut the mustard, so to speak.
“On paper, the combination of (he and Owens) is perfect, but the chemistry had to be right. So I invited him down to Miami and he sang on three songs I had finished, and it turned out great. It’s a very cool thing.”
Yes, you read part of that right — Malmsteen has traded the land of ice and snow for palm trees and sand. But, he explains, “I always hated Sweden, like, ‘Why was I born here? Why did God do this to me?’”
He lived for a time in Hawaii, which was too far away from things, and in New York, which he says “was a little too cold for me.” Miami, he says, gives him the warmth he craves and also makes a positive impact on his music.
“I love the water. I love the trees. I love the palm trees,” Malmsteen says. “When you’re in the dark and cold, you write about the Four Horsemen and the apocalypse. (In Miami), I look outside the skies are blue and the palm trees are swaying in the breeze ... It allows me to use my creative side completely unhindered.”
Yngwie Malmsteen and ANJ perform Friday (Oct. 17) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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