Inquirer: Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt

What inspired you to play guitar?
All the rock and metal guitarists I listened to while growing up: guys like Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, Adrian Smith and Dave Murray, Matthias Jabs and Tony Iommi.

What was your first guitar?
I had a Levin classical guitar that I got from my grandmother, but I smashed it up. My first electric was a black Les Paul copy, which was awesome. I sold it to a friend for £25. A bad deal? Yes. For me!

Do you remember your first gig?
Indeed. It was horrible. I was terrified and actually considered leaving without telling anyone. I had to play with my back to the audience as our drummer didn't know the songs and I had to signal to him when we changed the riffs. The singer's mic got stolen by some punk in the crowd, and he got in a fight during the set. Plus we improvised a grindcore tune, and that's never a good idea.

What was your most embarrassing onstage moment?
I split my bellbottoms once as I was walking onstage and my underwear was florescent colored! The drummer split his pants too walking on that same stage. Aside from that, I've mostly just said very stupid things between songs.

What's your favorite piece of gear?
My blue Eighties PRS Custom 24, which is guitar I mainly use. It's so nice.

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Guitar World Staff

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