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Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen is a rock god·s rock god. Legend has it he picked up the guitar the day Jimi Hendrix died. The Swede burst onto the ·80s metal scene with his insanely fast, classical-inspired metal shredding and quickly drew a base of admirers, as well as detractors. Twenty years later, Malmsteen is still touring the world, tearing up the fretboard of his signature-brand Fender Stratocaster. With his frilly white shirts, leather pants and dangling spires of dark black hair, Malmsteen represents an era of rock decadence long since passed. Or has it?

According to Malmsteen, the excitement surrounding metal these days is palpable all across the world, but it is most noticeable in America. ·The kids who are coming out are much younger,· he claims. ·They weren·t even born when I started making my first records. Music is timeless.· And as for his music: ·It·s not ·80s metal,· he insists. ·If you do honest music, you will stay on.·


Malmsteen, who will perform at Northern Lights tomorrow (Friday) night, says he keeps his concerts fresh and never plays the same set twice. ·I don·t play anything the same as I did the night before. It is always new. It·s a risk. You take a risk every night.·


Still, Malmsteen has not been able to escape the ·80s totally; the title of his latest album, Unleash the Fury, is a good-natured nod to an incident of rock & roll excess that has been recently resurrected on the Internet. ·It·s so funny,· he explains, · ·cause what happened was, me and the band were flying in January 1988. I was drinking and stuff. We were basically being bastards.· He says he had passed out when a woman threw a cold glass of water on him. ·I get really fucking angry, you know. It wasn·t just me; it was all of ·em, and so I start screaming and whatever. . . . Somebody in my band recorded it. It didn·t surface until about 15 years later, and I thought it was hilarious.·


Malmsteen brings it all: the rock, the attitude, the pomp and circumstance and the musicianship, and he does it all effortlessly. He even spares space in his liner notes to thank the little people: Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Da Vinci.

Even Malmsteen·s morning routine is that of a metal god. ·I get up, have some breakfast, play some tennis, drive around the beach in my Ferrari and then go to the studio.· Malmsteen describes himself as a purist: He loves his Rolex, his Ferraris and his Stratocasters. As he tells it, his interests keep him from sampling the new breed of metal bands that are storming across America. ·I·m sure there is some good stuff out there,· he concedes, ·but I don·t have the time or energy to check it out. I stopped listening to rock & roll and got more influenced by classical music. But I don·t really listen to that anymore. . . . It·s sort of embedded in me. I·m not really a person who goes and listens to music.·


However, Malmsteen reports that he learned to play by listening to his favorite records, and he has advice for up-and-coming guitar heroes. He insists music theory is essential. ·As un-rock & roll as it may sound, if you don·t know theory, you are kind of left with one leg to stand on.·


Malmsteen may soon have to make time to listen to an up-and-coming musician. He reports that his 8-year-old son has all the tools necessary to one day assume his musical legacy. Malmsteen says he won·t force his son in any direction, but the musical spark may well be there. ·He is so intelligent, it is scary,· says Malmsteen. ·He has done a lot of things I did when I was a kid. He reads really well, he draws and he looks exactly like me, too.·


Yngwie Malmsteen will perform at Northern Lights (1208 Route 146, Clifton Park) on Friday (May 12) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Northern Lights at 371-0012.

·David King

The 58th Annual Albany Tulip Festival

They·re back! The tulips, that is; this year, it looks like they might stick around long enough to represent at the annual festival bearing their name.

Yes, it·s time again for the annual bash known as Pinksterfest·aka the Albany Tulip Festival·where suburban families and subterranean miscreants come together for an all-weekend celebration of art, music, fried dough, and 30-packs of Budweiser cans. Oh, and our city·s Dutch heritage. Let·s not forget about that.

But with this year·s music schedule, it·s easy to overlook the details: Saturday·s main-stage headliners are none other than Brooklyn·s favorite geek-poppers They Might Be Giants (pictured). It should be a thrill to watch 10,000-plus partygoers bouncing up and down in unison as they play ·Birdhouse in Your Soul,· and with any luck, they·ll also play their recent ode to Albany, ·The Egg.· Also on Saturday, catch the alt-pop sounds of the Churchills, Zox, and OK Go. Sunday (May 14), it·s a more mom-oriented main stage, with music from Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and former Temptations lead singer Richard Street, among others. Local and regional acts will perform on a second (amphitheatre) stage from Friday through Sunday.

The 58th Annual Albany Tulip Festival kicks off at noon Friday (May 12) with the ceremonial street scrubbing, beginning at State and Lodge streets. It·s your first chance to catch the 2006 Tulip Queen finalists in action; the winner will be crowned at noon on Saturday. Throughout the weekend, you·ll find activities for the whole family, including rides, games and crafts; for a full schedule, visit www.albanyevents.org or call 434-2032.

Albany Pro Musica

If Yngwie Malmsteen is rock·s classically inspired shredder, then German composer Carl Orff·s epic for chorus and orchestra, Carmina Burana, is classical music·s rock anthem. And don·t kid yourself, you·ve heard it: It·s as delirious in its own way as ·Bohemian Rhapsody,· and has been featured in numerous movies, including The Doors, Natural Born Killers, Excalibur, the remake of Cheaper by the Dozen and, of course, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

On Saturday night, Albany Pro Musica, with the Capital District Youth Chorale, soloists and orchestra, will be performing Carmina Burana at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. We fully expect them to rock the hall harder than, well, many recent rock acts have. APM also will be performing Sibelius· rousing patriotic hymn, Finlandia; Boito·s ·Prologue in the Heavens· from Mefistofele; and the premiere of Carson Cooman·s Just Now.

The main event will be Carmina Burana, however, so a little history is in order. In 1937, Orff took some original verses from the Carmina Burana, a 13th-century collection of music and verse written by monks, set it to his own pagan-sounding music and orchestrated it for the an effectively heart-pounding symphonic and choral attack. The Nazis weren·t so crazy about it at first, but it eventually gained great popularity and an official imprimatur; like the Volkswagen, Carmina Burana survived its dubious original popularity to become loved the world over.

Albany Pro Musica will perform Saturday (May 13) at 8 PM at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (2nd and State streets, Troy). Tickets are $25, $23 seniors, $10 students. For more info, call the box office at 273-0038.


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