My sister gave me Fireball for my eighth birthday, June 30, 1971, and that day my life forever change. I knew immediately that I was going to be a guitarist for life and there would be no turning back. It's like one minute I was a kid playing with cap guns, and then someone handed me a fuckin' nuclear bomb! My life was never the same, to say the least.
Spearheaded by Yngwie Malmsteen and Randy Rhoads, inspired by Uli Jon Roth and Ritchie Blackmore (and Bach, Mozart, Paganini, etc.) and taken to its heights by Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Tony MacAlpine and the other early Shrapnel Records artists, the neo-classical period in modern rock guitar was a time of previously unimaginable technical progress and harmonic inventiveness.
Who doesn't enjoy a dose of Yngwie Malmsteen to kick off the work week? Check out this fan-filmed clip of the six-string legend performing "Black Star" at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California, earlier this year.
High school was kind of a gray area for me: I was at school physically, but mentally and emotionally I was light-years away. For some reason the principal must have seen something in me, even though I was a complete rebel, and he cut me slack in a lot of ways.