Former YNGWIE MALMSTEEN Drummer Discusses Infamous 'Unleash The Fury' Incident

June 23, 2009

Fredrik Hjelm of Shockwaves recently conducted an interview with Swedish drummer Anders Johansson (HAMMERFALL, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, SILVER MOUNTAIN). An excerpt from the chat follows below.

Shockwaves: Any crazy stories about being on the road with Yngwie?

Anders: Lots! I'll tell you about this one time we took a flight from New York to was a 14-hour, non-stop flight, so we started drinking right away. We were in first class that time — the first and only time, as a matter of fact. I think the Japanese promoter paid for it. Well, the other passengers started getting ticked off at us pretty early because we were loud, yelling and throwing things around. At one point, my brother [then-YNGWIE keyboardist Jens Johansson] found a sanitary napkin in the flight seat in front of him and poured a Bloody Mary on it, making it look like huge blood-stain and then he threw it on some other passenger's food tray as he was trying to eat. That was the final straw for the other passengers, and when I got back from the bathroom, a big fight broke out between Yngwie and our boys and the other passengers and the flight staff. Apparently, a lady sitting in first class had taken an entire pitcher of water and poured it over Yngwie, Joe Lynn Turner and my brother, so they went nuts, of course, and Yngwie wanted to kill her. It was chaos — somebody's shirt got ripped to shreds, people were wrestling on the floor... It was probably not what people had expected when they bought their first-class tickets! At one point, the pilot, who had left the cockpit to join the fight, grabbed my arm so I back-fisted him in the stomach and watched him go down.

Shockwaves: Wasn't he supposed to fly the plane!?

Anders: Of course, but when he heard all the turmoil and fighting going on, he came out and yelled, "What the hell is going on, on my ship" and after that he joined in the brawl and just happened to grab me. So I got really pissed and thought to myself "Get away from me, f**ker," and it was after that I put him on the floor. Hey — he grabbed me first! At one point, two people were holding Yngwie to try to calm him down. It was one bodyguard there with us, and one really big sound engineer, but, I mean, almost 45 minutes went by and Yngwie was just as pissed as he was when they first started holding him down! Meanwhile, my brother had taken off all his clothes and was running around naked on the plane, leaving little red pubic hairs all over the carpet as the Japanese staff attempted to put several kimonos on him to cover him up. He didn't want that, so he just ripped them to shreds when they tried. Eventually, I got myself together and I tried to talk to Yngwie, and I said, "Hey, Yngwie, you can't kill people. It's, like, not allowed!" He was just screaming, "Kill, kill, kill" in Swedish as they were holding him down, so I didn't know what else to tell him. But eventually we calmed him down by evolving on an idea. We said, "Sure, that lady poured water on us, but how about you piss in that pitcher and pour THAT on her? That'll be 2-1 to your favor," and Yngwie replied: "Hey, that's a great idea!" and so he did and ended the whole thing. She got the piss poured all over her. It went in her hair, in her mouth...everywhere. Strangely enough, that kind of put the end to the whole thing and the other passengers and the staff surrendered. The staff, especially, were really scared since and I don't think they had ever experienced anything like that!

Shockwaves: Do you think they saw it as a "terrorist act?" (laughing)

Anders: It was such a long time ago that the plane staff weren't really used to terrorist acts or even threats. It was before the Lockerbie bombing, even, so I don't think they were very prepared for anything out of the ordinary. There were talks about turning the airplane around to go back to Alaska at one point when all of this went down. However, passengers who weren't involved in the turmoil complained about this and the pilot decided to continue to Tokyo. But when we eventually got to Tokyo, there were cops everywhere at the airport waiting for us. We went one by one, though, so since they were expecting a whole band of longhaired guys, we slid under the radar and got out of the airport without being arrested. I remember the cops staring us down, though, and that they were looking real hard at me when I passed them. Really strange they didn't put two and two together just because we weren't walking next to each other. I was lucky, though, because it was such chaos and I don't think they knew who did what, afterwards. I did have a camcorder going most of the fight, though, so if you look for it on the Internet, it's there somewhere.

Shockwaves: You're mainly talking about yourself, your brother Jens, and Yngwie who caused most this turmoil. What was Joe Lynn Turner doing when you were fighting the other passengers and airplane staff?

Anders: He was just trying to wring out his clothes that were soaked from water by the pitcher attack by that woman. He was more or less staying out of it, I think.

Read the entire interview from Shockwaves.

In a 2004 interview with Electric Basement, Malmsteen spoke about the above-mentioned incident which was captured on the now-infamous "unleash the fucking fury" tape (hear audio below). When asked for the "real story" behind the recording — which first surfaced in December 2002, 14 years after it was allegedly made — Yngwie said, "What happened was a sick story, but a true one. Back in 1988, I was flying to Japan for a tour and everyone was sitting in first class. Me and Joe [Lynn Turner] got fucked up really bad. My keyboard player [Jens Johansson] was being really nasty. . . When served dinner, he put Bloody Mary mix on a female napkin. We were screaming and yelling and drinking all the cognac. After a while, we fell asleep. All of a sudden, this lady pours a pitcher of ice water on us. I wasn't happy about that. . . I tried to kill her, but her bodyguard brought me down. And I said, 'You release the fucking fury.' "

"Unleash The Fucking Fury" audio from above-mentioned flight can be streamed below.

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