truth of the ugly truth of what really happened on the tour with Yngwie
Malmsteen directly from Lizzy Borden
Lizzy Borden in Hell!!!!!
Cleveland, eleven o’clock at night, the police have surrounded our tour bus, but this time it’s not us there after.
It seems that Yngwie Malmsteen’s singer was accused of assault on Yngwie wife. The police escorted him out of the club and eventually out of
the country; this tour appears to be over…
What, then, didst thou in thy mind have? I will tell you O my brothers but I must back track for if this story was to be told during its reality, there
would be no tale at all to be told, as it was.
Although we’ve been off of the road for quite some time, the three headlining gigs we did on the way down to Texas went off without a hitch and
we we’re primed and ready for Dallas. Having mostly headlined throughout my career people thought I was crazy for taking a support slot position
in clubs we’ve headlined countless times in the past, and as it turned out, they we’re right.
Dallas Texas, 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon, we arrive for our first show as the support band to Yngwie Malmsteen. We had heard all the rumors
about this (one trick pony) but I never in my wildest dreams thought it would affect my show. We brought with us all the necessary stage items
that you’ve come to expect from us, a long with one of the coolest stage productions in the world, designed by none other then Todd McFarlane.
There was just one problem; an extremely over weight guitarist guzzling a little of the ol’ hops and grains at two o’clock in the afternoon, He was
having one hell of a tantrum on stage during what turned out to be a seven-hour sound check. I remember feeling quite embarrassed for his band
and crew having to endure public humiliation over the microphone. After watching one of the most
unprofessional things I had ever seen, I knew we we’re in trouble.
It seems his “high-ness” was having a bit of noise coming out of his amps and was pissed, so I sent in our ace guitar tech Zander, (who later on in
the tour got shot three times by a would be robber, more about that later) Who just happens to also be Swedish to help sort things out, and sort it
out he did, although it still sounded like hell to me, I guess that’s how he like’s it. He seemed to be happy with his new friend and fellow
countryman and his sound was back to the way he thought it should be. How did he repay us for this newfound happiness you ask? I will tell you O
my brothers but this list of goodwill I will have to deal out in increments so as not to make you all so sick-like and want to lash out With a real
horror-show kick in the Gulliver just to see the old doughnut laced red
Act 1: the power trip.
Time to show whose the boss. There is nothing worse then being the victim of someone’s insecurities. When we headline, the support act can do
anything they want as long as it doesn’t interfere with my show. As far as I’m concerned no one can touch us, so we fear no one, but I guess it’s
not the case when you know you’re about to play “flight of the bumblebee” for an hour and a half and you have to walk on stage to chants of the
support band. But Yngwie j. wanted to see some of our stage production before he would agree to let us use it, so our crew set up our brand new
Todd McFarlane originals in two minutes flat with time to spare, old Yngwie took one look at these beauties and stepped behind his amps to
whisper into his (let’s call him weasel) of a road manager’s ear. This little weasel slithered on up to us and said… “You can’t use them!” In a state
of shock we asked why not? And he answered “because Yngwie doesn’t have anything and he can’t have you looking better then him on this tour.”
Now I ask you is it my fault that he puts no money into his show? Is it my fault that my show looks better then his? At this point we asked the
promoter to step in and help settle the first of one long nightmare to come. The promoter said that we may very we’ll be pulling fifty percent of
the people tonight but in the contract Lizzy Borden is the support act and has no power at all.
Weasel also said that Dio tormented Yngwie on the last tour so now he was going to torment us. Having been a big fan of Ronnie James, I highly
doubt that he would stoop so low. (I know! I know! There’s a joke in there) Dio has class and the only class this guy has is low, I’m not buying it.
At this point we have two choices, pack up and leave and let fatty find some other band to torment, or bit our lips off and play the show. I decided
not to play the show out of protest and believe me O my little brothers, that’s just what that power hungry freak, (or just hungry in general) wanted
I spent the night in the hotel room trying to find a reason to do this tour under tyrant’s rule, that reason would come the very next morning.
I woke ready to pull the tour and head home to find a more compatible band to tour with. My manager wanted to try and save the tour so he called
Yngwie agent to see if we could find a compromise. Not only would there be no compromise but Yngwie left instructions that we we’re to just
stand and play, no show at all. He also said “Yngwie does not want you on this tour! He wants some boring old blues band to go up and play a few
boring old songs and then get off of the stage, But all of the promoters wanted Lizzy Borden on the bill that’s the only reason why you’re here.”
“What’s it going to be then, eh?” As far as I was concerned it’s over! I’m gone. Just then my road manager came in to tell me about the Lizzy
Borden fans that came up to him while he was loading the truck, they we’re distraught and angry, the problems we had with trying to give them the
Lizzy Borden show meant nothing to them, they wanted us to play under any circumstances. One kid was on the verge of tears so my road manager
took the Lizzy Borden shirt off of his back and gave it to him. I don’t have millions of fans but the ones that I have are the greatest fans in the
world, they love metal music and they love Lizzy Borden music and that’s when I decided to grit my teeth and do the tour, much to the dismay of
some of my band and crew. And after dealing with this guy’s organization only one night, my road manager said he would quit if I decide to do the
tour. I said, “We’re doing it” he said, “I quit”…
Act 2: Marking the territory, by pissing all over everyone…
We arrived to the second show in Houston eager to see how bad it would get; you guessed it, another seven-hour sound check, (this was
a theme that would run through the whole tour. we never did get a sound check (ever) and very rarely got so much as a line check) this
was to insure our first two or three songs every night would not sound great. All the while Yngwie spent this valuable time playing (bad)
covers of Deep purple tunes that would make Blackmore roll over in his grave and he’s not even dead yet!
Even though the club had two dressing rooms we we’re informed that our dressing room was out in the parking lot, Yngwie took them both (one
for him and one for his ego). (This was also a theme that would run through the tour.) We we’re also informed that the keyboards would take up
all the room on stage right and Yngwie’s peddle board that had about fifty peddles on it (I don’t know why he needs peddles if he’s this master
guitar player) would take up the whole of the front of stage left, and they wont be moved… my manager asked weasel if we could at least use our
drum riser, never a faster response was uttered…no! And by the way you are not permitted to use smoke or any other things that are in the
theatrical vain. Ahhhhhhhhhh!
In every club they have a place to sell merchandise, we we’re told we cannot hang our shirts on the
merchandise board we would have to hang them up around the corner in the dark where no one can see them or even know we have shirts to sell. (That was another theme that ran through
about half the tour.) All the clubs we’re so appalled by this that Yngwie’s wife finally gave in a few shows down the road and gave us enough room
to sport about half a shirt on the board, although still in the dark on the side. We had to go buy special lights just so people would know we we’re
The lights go out, our intro comes on and nothing else matters…for forty-five minutes we kill, kill, and kill again… the response we got in
Houston set the tone for the whole tour. …No matter how much we have to hobble around the maze on the stage, Houston went wild for us and no
one can take that away. One of the other familiar themes of that night that would continue on the rest of the tour was lots of people wearing
Yngwie shirts with there fist in the air going crazy for us, that was something I did not expect but happily embraced. The next night in San Antonio
was killer as well; Texas is definitely Lizzy Borden country…we left the stage of every show on this tour with the chant Lizzy! Lizzy! Lizzy!
Much to the dismay of one certain guitar player in our wings every single night on this tour watching to see how it’s done. At a few shows the
crowd was doing this chant during his performance, although that sounds good for us it was really only making things worse. A lighting person
came up to my manager (who had to take over as road manager because we could not find any one that would work with us as long as we toured
with Yngwie) told him that they we’re ordered to just turn on the light’s when Lizzy Borden hits the stage and leave them alone, do not move the
lights in any way (one scene for the whole show) they thought this was horrible but they thought we should know, a similar thing was told to the
sound man as well as the monitor man. Which explained a lot…the support band always has limited use of everything, but not to this extent. Most
of the lighting and monitor people told us they we’re told this by yngwie’s people but would not obey…that it was pure and simple SABOTAGE!
Act 3: biting off your noise to spite your face…
Big problems started to develop when the promoters started to bill the tour as a co-headlined bill; one promoter took things a step further and had
a GIANT Lizzy Borden logo and a small Yngwie Malmsteen in the ad for the show, that was all it took, Malmsteen called his agent and made his
agent call every show and take us off of the press ad’s and demand that Lizzy Borden was not to be on any
and all marquees. Sure enough we pulled up to one show and they we’re taking our name down from the marquee.
After blowing the roof off every night I guess it was time to turn the screw a little tighter. We show up to load in at one of the shows, and listen to
seven hours of (badly performed) purple tunes, and I guess ol’ Yngwie had enough and told weasel to tell us to go on to the next show, he said
“Yngwie doesn’t want Lizzy Borden to play tonight!” We just drove three hundred miles out of the way to do this show and now on a whim he
won’t let us play? Once again we try and get the promoter involved and he said that “the phone was ringing off of the hook for Lizzy Borden” but
there is nothing he can do because of the contract…we, like his own band, almost left the tour again. Only now it’s personal, I don’t get mad, I just
kick ass even more. That’s how I get even, and the way I see it, I’m kicking this guy’s ass every night, with the help of a few thousand of my new
One of our great pass times on this tour was to sit and like clockwork watch how three songs into Malmsteen’s set it was like that scene from the
blob with people running out the front door, we’d watch from the bus as people we’re in a stampede to get out! It was our sweet revenge, and every
night it tasted great! Through a source that shall remain anonymous high in Malmsteen the ranks, we found out that Malmsteen blamed us for
people leaving during his shows, he said “we we’re wearing out the audience!” O my brothers, I think that just may be the best complement I have
ever received from the most unlikely source.
Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse on this tour, one of the most unbelievable things happened.
Because the support slot for Malmsteen pays about a tenth of our normal fee, we had to stay in some pretty substandard place’s to save money, in
N. Carolina we stayed in just such a place. Despite having to deal with a nightmare every single day, we still like to throw parties on our bus. The
party that night we will remember for the rest of our lives. At some point during the festivities, Zander, our ace Swedish guitar tech, and his new
special female friend stepped off of the bus to have a smoke. As they we’re talking and smoking this black guy slowly approached them, Zander
said “ hi, how you doing?” the guy said nothing and appeared to keep walking past them, all of a sudden the guy took his gun out and smacked it
over Zander’s head, Zander fell to the ground dazed and in shock as the girl ran screaming. This (crack head) went through Zander’s pockets and
when he found no money he was pissed off, so he shot Zander in the stomach. Zander, fighting for his life, pushed the guy away and started to run
holding his bloody stomach following the screaming girl toward the front of the hotel. The (crack head) regained his balance and unloaded his gun
at Zander shooting him two more times before running off into the night. Zander made it to the front office of the hotel before collapsing into a
pool of his own blood. In a matter of minutes there were cops everywhere! They rushed Zander off to the hospital and we stayed behind giving
statements while the cops circled the neighborhood searching for the shooter.
The next day almost everyone from Malmsteen’s organization showed some humanity and inquired about Zander (you know he’s only the guy who
helped Yngwie on several occasions with his equipment problems), except for one person, you guessed it…being a fellow Swede you would have
thought…he appeared not to care, and I’m sure he didn’t. It turns out that Zander is a tough Viking and even three bullets haven’t slowed him down.
He made the cover of all the Swedish papers. He still has some recovering to do but Zander is a survivor and we expect him back with the Lizzy
Borden crew real soon. Hopefully he has given up smoking.
Having gone through two road managers and two bus drivers, yngwie’s wife was road managing their tour. Somewhere along the line they all
forgot to get their visa’s sorted out to get into Canada, so as it turns out the singer and the keyboard player could not come. They also could not
get there merchandise into Canada, so out of the goodness of our hearts my manager offered to stay behind and help yngwie’s wife and mother-in
law load a rented van with all of Malmsteen’s merchandise so they could meet us at the other border to continue on with the tour. For this,
Malmsteen told my manager “from now on, anything you want,” wow! We thought all right! Now it’s going to be fun! No more bull shit! No more
The next night we asked to extend the stage with our drum riser because there was barely enough room for our drum kit, can you guess the answer
O my brothers? No…
We started hearing rumors of dissatisfaction coming from with-in Malmsteen’s band; it seemed to be a soap opera almost every day. When we
got to New York we witnessed one of yngwie’s most brutal sound check tantrums aimed at his band. I don’t think they took it to well. That night
they packed their bags ready to quit but I guess they changed their minds. How do I know all this? Because they started hanging out on our bus and
back stage with my band and crew. I guess they preferred our company rather then Yngwie his wife and kid and mother and father-in-law all on the
same bus…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.. Now that’s rock and roll!!!! I see a Spinal Tap script in there somewhere….
Cleveland, eleven o’clock at night, the police have surrounded our tour bus… this tour is now over, but the only people who don’t know, is us! I
have nothing but respect for the singer and the drummer for standing up for themselves, something I bet they wish they would of done from the
beginning. No one should have to take that kind of abuse from anyone. Especially from someone who thinks
he’s an original (anyone remember Ritchie Blackmore? I mean come on!) There are so many more petty things that I have not told you O my brothers, because they are so pathetic
that I don’t even want to think about them any more.
We we’re told they would replace the drummer and the singer (after all, they are expendable right? It’s only the singer and the drummer…) and we
would continue the tour.
As we waited to hear from yngwie’s tour manager (his wife) about when and if the tour would resume we took over headlining two of the
Yngwie/Lizzy Borden shows and they we’re both a great success, we we’re able to use our whole show without restrictions, and the crowd went
Despite repeated calls to (his wife) to find out when and if the tour would resume, no one from his camp ever returned our calls they just left us
hanging for a week on the road at a huge expense, finally after a week of not playing, his agent called and said the dates would be postponed for a
few months and (get this) they wanted us back when they made up the dates… thank you. But NO THANKS! I
would not wish that on my worst enemy…
There are some Yngwie fans that will read this and think that I’m just slinging mud. I started this tour with all the best intentions even with
everyone including my record company telling me that it was taking a big chance working with this guy, but I have supported and co headlined with
the likes of Alice Cooper, Motorhead, Megadeth, Manowar and countless shows with other great bands and I have NEVER had an experience like
this. So I could leave this alone and let it die with only those that we’re there, or tell it like it was.
We suffered through this tour just for the Lizzy Borden fans, I would do anything for them and believe me this was the ultimate sacrifice. I lost a
lot of money on this tour, and it put an enormous strain on my band and crew. My record company is mad at me for doing the tour in the first
place. And It was by far the least fun of any tour I have ever been on including back in 1983 when we we’re touring across country living on one
serving each of top ramen.
This is not Sour Grapes this is spilled wine of the purest nectar and it’s a great reminder that you never stop paying your dues.
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