Customer Reviews: Relentless: The Memoir
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on April 26, 2013
This book starts off like a proper music biography; Yngwie growing up, raising hell, starting a band, recording and touring. This is done very well and I couldn't put the book down - All the way through the Odyssey album. He covers hiring band members, Boals and Soto coming and going, his car crash, and recording and touring his first few albums. But Malmsteen gives up this effort while recounting the Odyssey tour and the play by play ends there. No discussion of the end of the Rising Force band, the firing of Joe Lynn Turner, recording or touring Eclipse, hiring Vescera, touring or recording Seventh sign, etc. He actually doesn't even mention Magnum Opus by name even once. He mentions Fire & Ice a bit but doesn't cover most of his 90's and 00's albums except for Facing the Animal and Alchemy briefly. No recording or touring info on the latter career save for the lengthy coverage of the Concertos and the ProTools adoption for his newest releases Relentless and Spellbound. I would have liked to know what happened with longtime keyboardist Mats Olausson? No mention of ever meeting or playing with his hero Blackmore, playing Leo Fenders birthday party, what was it like to reunite with former members on the Inspiration album? Some info on the G3 Tour with Satriani would have been nice too. He spends 3 pages on the history of Ferrari but only 1 paragraph on his first wife - and doesn't even say her name. Instead he covers his drinking and eventual sobriety, his very poor choice in managers (which has lead to his wife taking over), and in depth coverage on his technique and his endorsement deals - which is all great info.

I guess I really wanted the details behind the many musicians that have been employed by Yngwie over the years. You know how divorced parents are not supposed to bring home their dates until they are sure they will stick around? This is so the child does not get attached to someone that is just going to be gone soon. Same with Yngwie - we as fans get attached to these band members and then for the next album they are gone without a trace.

So a good chunk of Malmsteens recording and touring career have been left out and that is what I was really looking for. Perhaps this is because the book wasn't even a thought until news of that unauthorized biography came out - Then Yngwie quickly decided to write his own. He was doing a great job with the process but he was either rushed, unwilling or unable to remember parts of his career, or he got bored recalling each album and tour in chronological order - perhaps omitting albums that he feels are unimportant?

That being said - I have been a fan of Malmsteen since the Odyssey album and have seen him live 6 times, it will be 7 next month. One thing that frustrated me about him is that I always felt he would be so much better if he: Kept the same band, reunited with so and so, let someone else write lyrics and contribute ideas, compose his solos, if he embraced YouTube a bit more, update his style a bit so he doesn't look so 80's, maybe button his shirt, etc. I just always felt he had so much more potential if he was a little more self aware. I learned from reading this book that I have been wasting my energy on these thoughts. Yngwie Malmsteen is VERY aware of all these criticisms and HE DOES NOT CARE. He is a very smart man and knows very well that his style is very 1988. He knows that collaborations with Joe Lynn Turner, for example, may make him more money or that writing a certain way could attract more listeners - but he CHOOSES to remain exactly how he is and do what he wants in the studio, with his band, his image, and his management. He does this because that is his vision and executing it as best he can is what makes him happy. Knowing this is actually a big weight off my shoulder and I can enjoy him more now that I understand him better and I don't need to be so concerned with all that stuff. So in that respect, mission accomplished with this bio.
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on April 23, 2013
I still remember when I first bought "Trilogy". I was 13 and it was a Vinyl LP that I bought because the cover struck me. Like Yngwie when he listened to Blackmore, I was blown away. From the first riff of "You dont remember...", the guitar solo on that song to the two instrumentals "Trilogy Suite" and "Crying", I just couldn't believe someone could play that fast, that clean, that cool and with all that tone and vibrato. I listened to that album hundreds of times as I held and examined over and over the cover that featured Yngwie fighting a 3 headed dragon with his strat. No other album except for Kiss Alive and Alive II ever gave me that sound and feel experience. Back then, as Yngwie mentions in "Relentless", we as fans, had no internet and no way of finding out who our rock heroes actually were. We magically associated music and album artwork and took it from there to let our imagination go.
I recently downloaded "Relentless" trying to find out what Yngwie was going through when I was listening to all that music non stop in the 80s. It took me two days to get the answers to the questions I had as a kid. I found out where he came up with "Far Beyond the Sun", "Black Star" and "Icarus Dream". I know now why "Odissey" was such a soft album (he agrees on that). I got answers to why he is constantly firing band mates and works as a one man show and many more anecdotes. Fans will appreciate the openness and honesty by which Mr. Malmsteen tells his story.
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on October 25, 2013
"Relentless: the Memoir" by Yngwie J. Malmsteen is a 273-page book, published in 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.

It opens with an introduction and then proceeds with 15 chapters. The first thing one sees on opening the book, however, is a section entitled "Relentless: the Blurbs." Book blurbs are short reviews, usually positive, by peers and/or mentors that are supposed to convince potential buyers that the book is worth their money and attention. The Malmsteen memoir blurbs, however, say nothing about the memoir itself, but rather praise Malmsteen himself.

The introduction is actually a short etymological entry on the name "Yngwie," which, though an interesting read, presents the author as conceited and condescending. In that respect, the introduction does prepare you for what's to come in the book. For example, after he has made it clear what a unique and powerful name he has, that was hardly ever used at the time of his birth, but is now spread worldwide thanks to his enormous influence, he writes,

"By now, there are a lot of little boys walking around with the name Yngwie, or maybe spelled Yngve, without a clue where that name really comes from. My son also has Yngwie as one of his names, and he knows what it means.
It means he's a Viking, a Swedish king, like his father." (p. 3)

If you think that's arrogant, wait, it gets worse, way worse.

Chapters 1-3 tell the story of his childhood. I found that an interesting read about socialist Sweden of the 60s and 70s (there's even a misquoted statement from Margaret Thatcher on the subject of socialism) even though it was mainly about the prodigy Yngwie who had mastered various instruments before he turned 7 when he saw the news about Jimi Hendrix's death on TV and a short video of him burning his guitar. That's when he decided to play the electric guitar.

Chapter 4 is about his moving to the States, the Mike Varney era, and his brief engagement with Steeler. It's interesting for its perspective of a European's first coming to the New World and all the misunderstandings that come from living in two different worlds.

Chapter 5 is about Alcatrazz and Graham Bonnet. It offers Malmsteen opinion on why things didn't work out with Alcatrazz and the curious parting onstage.

Chapter 6 is about the first two albums of Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force - "Rising Force" and "Marching out" - and the tour with Ted Nudgent that followed.

Chapter 7 is about his problems with the press in the beginning of his career and how he had to learn not to say whatever's on his mind.

Chapter 8 is about the brothers Jens and Anders Johansson and their hobby of destroying stuff; it's about the "Trilogy" album and the tour afterwards.

Chapter 9 is about the signs Malmsteen got in order to reconsider his destructive lifestyle: a car crash that threw him in a week-long comma and a scary earthquake that made him move to Florida. He discovers that his manager Andy Truman has been taking most of the money he's been making. Significantly, Malmsteen has chosen to start telling the story behind his least favorite album "Odyssey" in this same chapter.

Chapter 10 is about the success that follows the release of "Odyssey" and how he finally can see that he's making millions thanks to his new manager Nigel Thomas.There's also an interesting story about how he got to play in the Soviet Union during the Cold War and how he got big in Japan. There's also detailed info on his Ferraris. Nigel's sudden death in 1993 left Malmsteen in the hands of the money-stealing Jim Lewis.

Malmsteen speaks of "Eclipse" before he shares his philosophy on women. He briefly focuses on some of the women in his life, including his wives. He never mentions the names of his first two wives, Erika Norberg and Amber Dawn Landin respectively, but doesn't fail to label them both as "his groupies." He then goes into a detailed description of the many virtues of his third wife April, for whom he wrote the ballad "Like an Angel." The chapter goes on with just mentioning the albums "Fire & Ice," "The Seventh Sign," "Magnum Opus," "Facing the Animal," and "Inspiration." He writes the 90s off as "the Dark Ages" and finishes with a somewhat longer commentary on "Alchemy."

Chapter 11 is about his beloved "Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra" and its live recording with the New Japan Philharmonic. A chapter in which among interesting facts you'll learn that Malmsteen thinks he's not just a disciple of Vivaldi, Mozart, Bach, and Tchaikovsky but he's actually better than all of them, "I accessed an array of different periods of classical music, which was not done by Bach, Vivaldi, or even Pyotr Tchaikovsky, for example."

Chapter 12 offers an overview of his career in terms of media-driven success and staying true to oneself. He gives a good explanation on how the music industry in the 80s worked and how the game is completely different today. He gives some advice on integrity and style for those who want to become musicians or rock stars, "Do you want celebrity or do you want respect?" (p. 204)

Chapter 13 is about his wife's positive influence on his life and career, his son and about alcohol: how he started drinking, the evil alcohol is and how much better off everyone would feel if they gave it up.

Chapter 14 is about the equipment he's used and how he changed his preference for pickups from DiMarzio to Seymour Duncan. It's about his style of playing and the path he makes in the music industry.

Chapter 15 sums up his peculiarities regarding his band and relationships with other musicians. He once again lets the readers know he's no worse than Mozart and he's a be-all end-all, "[W]hen an album is being made, I am the composer, the orchestrator, the arranger, and the conductor - period." (p. 246) He finishes his memoir with how he succumbed to new technologies and got into ProTools and a praise for his last two albums "Relentless" and "Spellbound." Some more self praise, and the book ends with a cliché sentence how he's thankful "to those fans who have been loyal to me and to new fans who have just discovered me." (p. 263)

Continue reading at: [...]
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on November 27, 2013
I am an Yngwie fan and I enjoyed the story of Yngwie told by Yngwie. Not a lot we haven't already heard. Some interesting realities of the music business. Pretty classic tale of young talent getting shafted by the music business sleazeballs. Things haven't changed much thru the decades. Always looking to rip off artists and the end user alike (vinyl prices for instance, which are usually mastered from a common CD). Fortunately Yngwie has produced so much so well that he doesn't need records companies anymore.

Good book. Yngwie teamed with a real writer so it reads well. I didn't find him as egotistical and others seem to. I think he just speaks his mind and people don't seem to like that. People like to be placated and blather in self depreciating folksy "humour". Malmsteen doesn't do that and thank god. Fact is Malmsteen is well beyond most people. As a player and composer I mean. Nothing wrong with knowing it.
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on November 4, 2013
“Relentless” was an enjoyable read for the most part. Yngwie discusses his early years all the way through the time he was about to release “Spellbound”. There were some tidbits that I really enjoyed. For example, I always wanted to know what led to the breakup of Alcatrazz. Yngwie, for the first time, give us the details. The stories about the early years were also really interesting. Yngwie also talks a lot about his technique, sound, and the search for the perfect sound, which should be of interest to all guitarists. About half-way through the book, however, the stories go from one place to another with no apparent flow and quite a lot of repetition. It was an enjoyable read and very “Yngwie” in its style.
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on July 6, 2013
As a very good blogger friend wrote in his blog called Enrique Freeque's Forum, "The most intriguing parts of Yngwie J. Malmsteen's new memoir, Relentless, are his childhood and adolescence accounts of his musical maturation in Sweden. Like most artistic geniuses, he was completely obsessed early on. He'd forget to eat he was so consumed with his guitar. When he saw Jimi Hendrix set fire to his stratocaster on one of the two television channels he could watch in Stockholm, he was hooked. When he heard Deep Purple's Fireball album a year later, he was ablaze himself with an inimitable passion for the electric guitar that could keep him awake all night without the aid of drugs. Had it not been for his mother's sacrifices and interest in classical music, Yngwie might have been just another dime-a-dozen hard rock guitarist to arrive on the scene in the early 1980s, soon to disappear. But he listened repeatedly to his Mom's and older sister's records, and then one day he chanced on one of those two television channels, a documentary on the life of Paganini (he was twelve or thirteen at the time) and it instantly coalesced in him that what Paganini did on the violin he'd been striving to do on the electric guitar. Faster faster! And the metal icon was born. So Yngwie gets repetitious at times in the telling, his stories are generally so good that hearing them again is like listening a second time to a live solo improvised just enough from the studio recording that the solo sounds almost new. Even if his editor was out to lunch, Yngwie's fans won't mind much."
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on May 1, 2013
What else can you say about Yngwie that hasn't already been said about Yngwie by Yngwie. A pretty interesting read from the one and only Malmsteen. Sometimes goes off on long rants about how much a genius he is which is hard to argue. I would have liked to heard more about the actual recording of his back catalog and more about all the great players that have been with him over the years!
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on March 12, 2015
You either love him or hate him, but there is no doubt that YJM is the Neo-classical shred guitar master. The first part of his book was easily the best, as it covered his life story and all the intricacies of coming to America. Towards the end, he makes several statements about the current state of the music industry that I completely agree with. A great read for any YJM fans, or even 80's metal fans in general.
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on June 26, 2013
Bought this for my husband who is a die-hard Yngwie fan and he was surprised at how much more information he got out of this book. A must read for Malmsteen fans or anyone who wants to know what goes on in the mind of a guitar hero.
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on October 10, 2013
This book is a "must-read" for any Yngwie fan. For me it has prompted more interest in him as a musician and a person as opposed to how he is marketed. For me the "bad-boy" image simply was a signal to me and perhaps many a potential fan waa to dismiss his music and even bother listening to him. But this book, shows that this guy is a thinker, has heart and is more devoted to his music that first perceived particularly with his "You have released the fury" attitude.

Yngwie takes you back to Sweden and illustrates his environment and backround thoroughly and how he arrived in the states with just his guitar. It's an unusual journey perhaps that not many a musician has taken. With the exception of Carlos Santana coming from Mexico and Jimi Hendrix having to go to England to "make it".

The only thing that disappoints me here is I wish they had backstage pictures of when he performed with the orchestra.

I highly recommend this book. I salute Yngwie for sharing his journey with us.
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