YNGWIE MALMSTEEN Reflects On 1988 'Air Rage' Incident: It's 'Still Funny As S**t'

September 28, 2021

In a new interview with Guitar World magazine, Yngwie Malmsteen reflected on the embarrassing drunken episode on an airplane more than three decades ago which inspired the title of his "Unleash The Fury" album. In the surreptitious recording of that event (hear audio below) — which first surfaced in December 2002, 14 years after it was allegedly made — the Swedish axeman threatened to "unleash the fury" on a flight attendant.

"There's no doubt I'd react differently now, but the 'air rage' incident of 1988 is still funny as shit," he said. "Here's the part that people might not know. I fly first-class and the band and crew fly coach — that's the way it is. But back then, some knucklehead decided to put everybody in first class.

"The flight to Japan is 16 hours — and everybody gets shit-faced. I was drinking then, too, and I'm sure I wasn't perfect, but I definitely wasn't the biggest problem, either. So I fall asleep and this woman decides to take a pitcher of iced water and pour it over me, saying, ‘Cool down, boys!'

"So I totally lose it. But it's always the same. One time, I was in a bar and the drummer starts throwing beer at people, but they threw my ass out — because I'm the face of the band.”

Malmsteen previously spoke about the above-mentioned incident in a 2004 interview with Electric Basement. When asked for the "real story" behind the recording, 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.' "

Yngwie's new album, "Parabellum", was released in July via Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group. Only four of the songs on the LP feature vocals. The album title is Latin, translating as "Prepare For War".

After working with some of the top hard singers of the past four decades, Yngwie now handles much of the lead vocals himself in his own band, backed by a lineup that includes keyboardist Nick Marino, bassist/vocalist Ralph Ciavolino and drummer Brian Wilson.

In June, Yngwie announced a month-long fall 2021 U.S. tour. Support on the trek will come from former MARILYN MANSON and current ROB ZOMBIE guitarist John 5.

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