Outraged guitar freak defends Yngwie Malmsteen and rips the s*** out of my Generation Axe review


By Steve Newton

Some guy named Fretfire did not totally agree with my review of the Generation Axe show in Vancouver the other night. Here’s his comment:

Pathetic, Steve. I thought you were cooler than this, especially since you recently posted the interview: “Uli Jon Roth calls Yngwie Malmsteen “one of the alltime greats”, but says he’s not impressed by speed” – I think I value Uli’s opinion a lot more than yours! If Uli’s so impressed with Yngwie, but it’s not the speed that impresses him, then just what is it? I’ll tell you, at least in part: Malmsteen’s “wanking” is 100X more classically authentic than any of the others (something he shares in common with Uli!) – funny also that these other guitarists are all in AWE of Yngwie, not the other way around. To hear you tell it, he’d be watching them for clues, but nope, THEY’RE watching HIM, and it’ll always be that way. I remember seeing interviews with Satch & Vai, where they gushed like little schoolgirls over Yng’s ability to always bend perfectly in tune. “Gee, I wish I could do that” was the gist of it. Since you were raving about Tosin – here’s Tosin’s opinion about Yngwie –
Tosin Abasi:
“Then I remember hearing Yngwie Malmsteen and being unaware that you could even do that on the guitar, so then I got obsessed with technique and speed and the harmonic minor scale and various things like that [laughs]. That opened the door to all of these other shred guitarists, like Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Greg Howe and Frank Gambale.”
“Eventually I started focusing on guitar players specifically, guys like Yngwie Malmsteen, Frank Gambale, Greg Howe… so that started to push my playing further.”
“So that’s all the stuff I was playing (alternative, grunge) until I heard, like, Yngwie Malmsteen. And I was just like, Oh my God, I didn’t even know you could do that on guitar! So that started the obsessive six hour practice sessions and stuff like that.”

How about Zakk? What’s his take on the “boring wanker”?
Zakk Wylde:
“…..Youve got to laugh at the thing (Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time’ list), I mean, Joe Satriani isnt in there. Steve Vai isnt in there. Yngwie Malmsteen isnt in that fucking list. Slash isn’t in there. They are some of the sickest guitar players that have ever walked this planet. I mean, I’m a guitar player. Do you know how good fucking Yngwie is? Its beyond fucking sick. The fact that Yngwie isnt in it is just fucking mind-boggling to me. People can say what they want about Yngwie, but its just like naming the 10 greatest singers of all time and not putting Pavarotti in it, you know what I’m saying? Yngwie is a virtuoso…..”
“You have good guitar players. You have great guitar players. Then you have the ones that CHANGE THE GAME. . . . it’s not just his sheer & utter mastery & command of the instrument that make him amazing. The phrasing, the vibrato, the tone, and his feel & passion, along with the overall musicality that he brings to the table, are what make him so special & unique. . . . while other guitar players play fast and say nothing, Yngwie speaks. If you’ve ever wondered what Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi & Paganini would have been capable of doing if they lived in the 21st Century, look no further…. They All Reside within one Yngwie J. Malmsteen….and They are Smiling”

Hmmm, old Zakk doesn’t seem to agree with you & the brilliant Devin Townsend – BTW, I saw Devin play once, that was enough. Talk about boring!

How about the guy many consider the current overall best out there, Guthrie? Let’s see what he’s got to say:
Guthrie Govan:
“I can also mention that seeing Yngwie Malmsteen made a real impact on me. He wasn’t this academic looking guy just standing there with his music stand. He was going crazy, running around the place, and throwing his Strat while playing a million notes per second. And when he stopped and played just one note, it sounded like a violin or an opera singer. Yngwie has an incomparable vibrato, which his detractors choose to ignore.”
“And then Yngwie, who, to me, demonstrates that it is possible to have all these chops and play these outrageous fast things but still sound like you mean it. This may not be a popular viewpoint, but when I listen to Yngwie playing, there’s as much sincerity as there is whenB.B. King is playing. He plays every note like it could be his last.”

Wow – strange description for a boring wanking Swedish showoff! I think maybe the preceding part of the one sentence kinda says it all, Steve: “….WHICH HIS DETRACTORS CHOOSE TO IGNORE”.

How about even the likes of Scott Henderson?
Scott Henderson: “I mean, to me the best guy is Yngwie – I mean, Yngwie plays all that harmonic minor bullshit, but he also can play blues. He has some feel in his playing. Yeah, he’s a good guitar player. And so many of the metal guys just miss that, uh, miss that soulfulness, you know they uh, for them it’s not about phrasing
and tone. It’s just about playing as fast as they can, and I think that’s not really, that’s not what I enjoy listening to. For me, that’s sort of like
circus guitar…”

Hmmm – he’s describing the OTHER shredders in similar terms that you’re trying to portray Yng – and differentiating Yng as above them! How can he be so wrong? Doesn’t he read your blog? Wise up, Scott!

I can go on & on, with quotes from Paul Gilbert, Gus G., Michael Romeo, even FRANK ZAPPA and John McLaughlin! I think what I’ve included should suffice tho – question is, have I wasted my time typing all this? Do you have the balls to print it? We shall see…if not, you know anyway….


Whoa. I guess I need to dig out my old vinyl copy of Rising Force and give it a closer listen!


12 thoughts on “Outraged guitar freak defends Yngwie Malmsteen and rips the s*** out of my Generation Axe review

  1. You just made an argument about something Steve is not arguing about; Malmsteen’s legacy. Steve was talking about this particular show. What a waste of keystrokes.

  2. I’d just like to mention that I was wrong about Devin Townsend, and he is actually a fan of Yngwie Malmsteen. The only reason he liked my in-concert tweet was because he thought it was funny. So you can revoke your Townsend slag if you want, Fretfire.

  3. This guy sounds so childish & so serious! It’s rock & roll mate! Stop being a musical snob & enjoy life.

  4. I’m obviously a big Yngwie fan. However, the author of this post neglects to acknowledge the fsct guys like DI Meola, McLaughlin, Coryell, and Paco were shredding before Yngwie.

  5. Yngwie is a wanker….he has about as much soul in his playing as my last bowl movement did…

  6. LOL – I did revoke my Townsend slag, Steve, in the original thread:
    Fretfire April 9, 2016 at 11:52 pm ·
    “Actually, I JUST noticed your addendum about Devin Townsend, Steve – ok, sorry about that, I will lay off him and he was actually good when I saw him! Well, I guess we can add another guitarist who’s an Yngwie fan to the list!😉”

    – Sorry Devin, didn’t really mean it – I just get tired of EVERYBODY slagging YJM, all the time!

    If you’re gonna go back to the Malmsteen drawing board, Steve, I’d recommend his mid-era stuff, from “Eclipse” (1990) to maybe through “Unleash The Fury” (2005) – much greater songs than the early stuff.
    One great song after another, but never any credit given it seems. For instance, War To End All Wars was slagged by many for poor production, and it does have a strange, muddy sound. Never mind the fact that the songs are all brilliant! As always with Yngwie, people seem to want to jump on any possible flaw and slag, slag, slag. Then, a few years later, they’re acclaiming the formerly slagged album as great while slagging the current one. This is a pattern that repeats itself again & again.

    Yeah, I should “stop being a musical snob and enjoy life”, and not be so “childish & serious” while everyone teams up on Yng as usual and makes their wrong & unfair comments unchallenged. One guy above talks about his “legacy”, but people have been doing this to Yng from day one. When I heard a YJM recording for the 1st time, I often thought he was “just playing fast”, but upon hearing again I realized there were all sorts of great ideas & melody going on, and it was my ear that was deficient initially because of the overwhelming barrage of brilliance. Maybe if some of you were to actually listen to some of these performances you dismiss as “soulless” 2 or 3 more times, you might find the same. Hey Jacob, maybe you can share your latest opus with us and show us the meaning of true soulful guitar playing, since you had “more soul than in your last bowel movement”…

    I don’t see where I neglected that those fusion guitarists were “shredding” long before Yngwie – I just didn’t have any reason to mention them. In fact, I was into all of them in the 70’s, before I ever heard Yngwie. But when I heard him for the 1st time, around ’86, I was still impressed in a way I never had been by the guys you mentioned – in fact, it was the violinistic classical approach, combined with the SOULFUL (yes I said it – SOULFUL) bluesy phrasing and wild, totally accurate on-pitch bends that I had never heard any of those guys do that got my attention. Big Al was machine-gunning his super clean runs, but it was so regimented, I never heard that wild, rock warrior vibe that I got from Yngwie.

    You guys just take it all for granted now – you ought to give the guy a little respect, after all the achievements the man has accomplished. You’re quite willing to let other guitarists (who shall remain unnamed) keep playing the same stuff they have for 30-40 years, but when it comes to Yngwie suddenly your standards go way up and it’s never good enough. I think maybe you just all love to agree and make each other feel better…

  7. I love Malmsteen! Picked up a guitar becauae of him. I think 2 many people have just seen him live on youtube. He does show off alot and does repeat alot. The early years though! Alcatrazz, Steeler, Rising Force , Marching Out, Trilogy, Odyessy, Eclipse, Fire & Ice. So many Jems in these albums. Untouchable songs. At his peak he had no equal and even now I consider him the best thats ever held an electric and thats not based on speed but pure passion! “Crying” “Overture 1383″ ” Little Savage” “Dreaming” ” Icarus Dream suite” way 2 many 2 list. Hes pure emotion and has made the hair on my arms stand up more times than any. And I listen to them all!!

  8. Yeah, I am fan of Yngwie “J” Malmsteen but then again, often I am not. Just sayin’….

  9. Hey Fretfire! You failed to mention one of the all time greatest axemen that ever set food on stage. He was even listed in a top 100 at least once – Kurt Cobain! There you go. He’ll stand next to Yng for sure (maybe holding his bottle of water or something). LOL

    Go Max!!!

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