Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Virginia, CSA
New Yngwie Malmsteen Autobio
I've just read an except, and it's very interesting, too. A sampling:
People ask me why I always come back to places where it's hot and sunny most of the year. Let me tell you something: when I think of Sweden, where I was born and grew up, what stands out the most in my memory is darkness, biting cold, and piles of snow for nine or ten months of the year, contrasted with just a few warm, sunny weeks in the summer, mainly June and July. People who live in Sweden soak up those few weeks when it's daylight twenty-four hours a day, because you know that just when you're getting used to it, the freezing dark is going to come back and hammer you down. It does something to the Swedish temperament, I think. You feel so constricted for so much of the year, then you get let out of prison for a couple of months. You can go boating or hiking or just sit in the sun by the side of a lake and stare at the water. Then it's right back to jail.
If I can sit by a pool with palm trees waving in the breeze overhead and the sun beating down on me, it's paradise. Whenever I can enjoy places like that, whether to record a new album or just take a vacation from touring, it reminds me how lucky I am. That frozen, constricted landscape — and mindscape — of Sweden in the 1970s was a cage I had to escape from. It only made me more determined to have the impossible career and someday sit in my car with the top down, listening to the sound of the surf on the beach in some tropical climate.
I grew up in an environment where adults and older siblings surrounded me. I was born on June 30, 1963, the youngest in a household that included my brother, Bjorn, who was two years older than I was, and my sister, Anne-Louise (Lolo), who was six years older. That's a big difference when you're ten and she's sixteen. Even though I was just a kid, a lot of her tastes and interests made a strong impression on me. I was hanging out with her friends and listening to their talk. It was a very political environment, and much of what they debated and argued over I listened in on. My early interest in politics was kind of secondhand, but these days I have very strong opinions.
The environment of Sweden in the 1960s and 1970s had an extremely socialistic, group-minded slant on what the citizens were allowed to be. You didn't stick your head up above the masses, you didn't aspire to do anything that would make you stand out from the crowd, and you especially didn't draw attention to yourself in any extravagant way.
There was a lot of talk in those days that the basic amenities of life should be provided free to all by the government. But here's the catch. In life, there is no such thing as free. When you hear "free health care," or free whatever, it isn't. Somebody has to pay for whatever it is. Money doesn't materialize out of thin air. It's simple: you take money from someone and give it to someone else — this for that. It's called the redistribution of wealth, and in any welfare system there's no way around it. This social process was invented and implemented by the Swedish government when I was growing up in the 1970s. It's the country's social welfare system.
The basic mechanism of socialism is simple to understand. Margaret Thatcher put it best: "The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you will run out of someone else's money!" You don't get rewarded if you work hard, but you do get rewarded if you do nothing. Society is leveled so everyone becomes "equal." Unfortunately this "equality" brings everybody down, and you can't elevate yourself by pulling someone else down.
The whole country was like that. The input you got from the media — TV and radio, newspapers, films, magazines, the stuff that you saw and heard every day — drilled this way of thinking into you. To be a musician, a star athlete, an actor, or an artist of any stature — such people were looked down on because they were considered not to be model citizens. We had the occasional Nobel Prize–winner whom the country would officially be proud of, but forget it if you aspired to do something that had even a hint of celebrity to it. Some of the best hockey players now are Swedish, but back then they weren't even professionals. That's why they went to the United States. You'd weld a fucking boat, then play hockey at night. Anybody who aspired to be a musician had to play it down. You could maybe have a little apartment with a tiny working space where you could play your instrument and so forth, but nothing serious. It was just hobby stuff. I guess that's why I'm such an advocate of being my own person and doing my own thing. I was totally the opposite of the reserved, self-effacing, self-deprecating Swede. By nature, I seemed much more like an outgoing, Mediterranean type of guy — I loved going out on a limb that way, being larger than life and just putting myself out there.
"First: Do No Good." - The Hymiecratic Oath
"The man who does not exercise the first law of nature—that of self preservation — is not worthy of living and breathing the breath of life." - John Wesley Hardin