RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Yngwie Malmsteen: Relentless: The Memoir (book)
Wiley Publishing

Rating: B

The Guitar Hero’s Guitar Hero, Yngwie J. Malmsteen (as said in Spinal Tap, the “J” is to keep you from confusing him with all of the other Yngwie Malmsteen’s out there) has released an autobiography titled Relentless: The Memoir.

For starters, there is only one Yngwie Malmsteen.  No one looks like him, acts like him, plays guitar like him or talks about himself like him.  Yngwie is outspoken, bombastic, funny and will tell it to you like it is---well, maybe not so much like it is, as like it is…to him.  Life through the eyes of Yngwie is, at the very least interesting.

The guy has a unique story to tell.  Usually, in a rock music memoir, the early days of growing up are dreadfully boring but Malmsteen’s upbringing is some of the most interesting parts of his story.  Growing up in Socialist Sweden and trying to be an over the top guitar god was not an easy gig.  While people appreciated his talent, he was expected to treat it as fun and games and get a real job and not make any waves.  Well, we all know he didn’t do that.

The tale of leaving it all and coming to America is pretty darn cool.  Having Yngwie take us through his early bands and then his solo albums is really eye opening.  The man is a leader, even if his business instincts are not so hot.  If anything, it would have been great to have him open up more about his business end blunders.  Yngwie does not pull punches with his ex-band mates, but he really does not throw them under the bus either.  A little more dirty would have been cool as well.

Still, as far as memoirs go, this one is pretty damn good.  Is it relentless in its pursuit?  Well, not as much as the man is with his guitar, but, as said, his early life and early career are pretty fascinating.  It does trail off a little after that and fades into his opinions more than recounting the dirty details, but that is where the man wanted to take this.  And, we should know, after three decades of Yngwie, the guy is going to pretty much do whatever the hell he wants to do the way he wants to do it...including writing this book.

By Jeb Wright