YNGWIE MALMSTEEN Departed Singer And Drummer Respond!
April 25, 2001, 20 years ago
Former YNGWIE MALMSTEEN touring vocalist Jorn Lande (MILLENNIUM, ARK) recently gave an interview to the House Of Shred, www.houseofshred.com, website where he discussed the events leading up to his and drummer John Macaluso's leaving the tour prior to the group's scheduled performance in Cleveland on Sunday, April 8th. Here are a few select quotes from that interview:"Basically, the story is that all the way from the beginning, there have been hassles about certain things, as well as unacceptable behavior from Yngwie and his family. We didn't actually find it amusing to have his whole family on the tour bus either. It kind of interfered with a lot of things - you know, personal lives. It just doesn't work to do it that way. And stuff happened with hotel rooms that weren't fixed and their behavior when we tried to confront them with these things. I mean, the way they treated people. But I never gave in, so I guess I got a little edgy with the family from the beginning, 'cause I didn't put up with the shit.
"So, in New York I told them there had been delays in payments and things had to be set straight here or else we can't continue. And I told them I wouldn't continue and that I didn't think John (Macaluso) would continue either. And we both talked to them about it and then they freaked out and April (Yngwie's wife) freaked out. His wife is very much involved in this, so we also had to tell Yngwie straight out. I mean, you can't hide behind your wife and your family, you have to make your own choices and take control yourself of how things are going to be, you know? I told him, 'It's you that we're playing with, it's not your family.'Then, basically, things were about to turn out better and we were promised that they were gonna sort things out and make things better.
"Then, the next days after that NY show there was no improvement whatsoever and it became like they couldn't handle the fact that someone had confronted them with something. So then they started to avoid me in a way, so I started to feel that kind of tension. And that day in Cleveland I was just pissed because nothing was taken care of, and nothing had changed, things actually became worse. So then I just told them 'This is it, this is too much of a soap opera, too much of an instigating kind of situation. This is not how I deal with things.'I mean, there's three rules when
you're working, you get your pay when you're supposed to get paid, you get your room when you're supposed to sleep and you get your privacy when you can, you know? So there are certain rules, but there are not many rules to remember to keep the business running. Very simple moral rules that everyone in the world, or at least most people, except for these people, understand. So I guess there's a lack of some mental thing there, I don't know if it's the background, or whatever. It's just not very professionally run. The way I see it, it's more like being on a gypsy tour, with Yngwie, (laughs) know what I mean?
"What happened was that I told them again just before the (Cleveland) show. Everyone was backstage and I said, 'This is basically it. You're gonna sort everything with everyone now.'And also, he owed me some cash from before and I said, 'I'm not waiting any longer, you have to sort this shit out now.'And his father-in-law is suddenly running part of the thing with his wife and they all say different things. So I just had to tell them, 'You've all been lying, you've all been bullshitting from day to day, saying you're gonna sort this and sort that. You look at us and you say (fake Middle Eastern accent) 'Don't worry, don't worry we will sort it', and nothing happens.'So, I got pissed and asked them 'Who the fuck do you think you're dealing with?'I mean, there were just fucking lies all over the place so I told them, 'This is it! I have to sort everything now, or else I'm not going to stay here anymore, I'm just quitting the thing, because this is really not my way of dealing with things.'They still didn't get it from last week, and then when I called them liars, the father-in-law stood up and said (fake Middle Eastern accent) 'Are you calling us liars?'And then he got in my face and he grabbed my jacket and I had to take his hands away by force, you know?
"I just wanted to tell them to sort everything out, and wanted to talk to them about the way that they've been treating people lately. John (Macaluso) had broken fingers and everything and there was some shit with the rooms and you know, just daily life. When you're travelling away from your family back home for a long time and need everything to be sorted out and it wasn't. They were treating people like shit basically and I never wanted to accept that. That's why they were kind of pissed or provoked by me I guess, or by the presence of someone that wouldn't stand for that. So that's basically what happened. And April came up to me after I took her father's hands away and started to like jump on me and I took her hands away too? Instantly, when I took her hands away from me I said, 'What are you doing? Are you crazy?'I said, 'Are you fucking nuts?'Then suddenly, at the same exact moment that I took her hands away she started to scream 'Assault!!'and 'Security!!'and 'Police!!'and all that, like a soap opera kind of thing. And I thought to myself, 'This would make a great movie.'(laughs)"
Meanwhile, Yngwie has issued his own statement refuting much of what was addressed in the aforementioned Lande interview and offering his own version of what transpired on that fateful night. Here is Yngwie's statement in its entirety:"This message is spoken directly to my fans. I am extremely sorry that many of you were not able to come to my shows [April 10-28, postponed due to departure of Jorn Lande and John Macaluso] and share an evening of great rock 'n roll with me on what has been scheduled as my biggest world tour in 8 years. While I do not intend to stoop to the level of the National Enquirer, fighting back and forth on every web site over the events that have derailed my USA tour and made planning for the European tour very difficult, I do want to set a couple of things straight.
"When Jorn Lande was offered a slot on the WAR tour beginning in March, he told me that he would do part of it, but not all, because he had other plans for some of those dates. When he was finished with his other business, then he would rejoin the tour later. I told him that wouldn't be acceptable - it was all or none. He then signed a binding contract to perform all the shows of the complete tour. I firmly believe that he created the 'event'in Cleveland in a premeditated way so that he could leave the tour and follow his own personal business. Some of his own comments in his interview [on the House of Shred website] seem to support this supposition. In any event, he chose to do it in such as way as to make me look as bad as possible. By choosing to quit the tour, he has committed a breach of a legally signed contract, and I want all of you to know that.
"As the staff at the Cleveland venue will agree, both Jorn and John Macaluso did not show up on time for the show, and kept the rest of the band waiting in the dressing room, ready to go onstage. When they finally did arrive, Jorn said in a very belligerent way that he was not going to do this show and that he was quitting the tour. My wife told him that there were fans outside waiting to see the show and this was really unprofessional of him... he had signed a contract and he should keep to it. As the police report states, he then grabbed my wife roughly by the arm, cursing at her and calling her things that I won't repeat here, inflicting bruising and a red swelling on her forearm, which was observed by the officers called to the scene by the venue manager. Although I would have liked to knock the guy flat on his back, I am well aware of the trouble that would come from such a physical attack. Instead, I immediately ran to get the venue security, because I saw in a flash what he was trying to provoke.
"I am very demanding of myself and thus I am very demanding of those around me. This intensity is sometimes misunderstood, to be sure, but it's pretty clear from concert reviews posted on the Internet that fans who have met me after the shows have a different impression from that described in Jorn's interview. Despite being bone-tired and sick with the flu, I allowed fans to come on the bus for a quick handshake and autograph. This often put us an hour or two late leaving the venue. I could have just gotten on the bus and told the driver to drive away, but I didn't.
"I am extremely disappointed at Jorn's lack of professionalism, calling my wife and my family 'gypsies'etc. Let me state clearly that only my wife, April, was officially on tour with me. It was her job to handle the merchandise and to arrange the meet-and-greet with the fans. My mother-in-law joined us for a few days in order to bring our son to see us. My father-in-law joined us for just a day, to help us get a replacement tour bus of a better quality than the one we were trying to travel in. They were certainly not part of the tour, nor were they running my 'family business.'I'm appalled that they got dragged into this sorry mess by someone who could not control his behavior and who would just walk away from his signed contract, refusing to perform the job he was hired to do.
"I will hire someone else and my tour will continue, but it is you, the fans, who have been cheated the most by his actions. I will do everything in my power to return later in the year and make up the lost dates for you, if promoters are willing. I have given 110% at all of the shows, no matter how difficult the circumstances. That's what being a true professional is all about. See you on the road? - Yours faithfully, Yngwie Malmsteen"
In other Yngwie Malmsteen news, it is now almost certain that former singer Mark Boals will once again assume the lead vocalist duties for the guitarist's forthcoming Japanese tour. M.S.O.D.'s Ed Rock is Yngwie's new drummer. The band are currently on the European leg of the tour, which began on May 1st. The US dates are postponed until the fall.