James, Yngvie Malmsteen and the Fender Stratocaster USA 62
(This was a long time ago and I will recall as good as my memory allows)
So there I was, sitting with Lena at our second home, the railway station house in Stocksund, just north of Stockholm, on a gorgeous Saturday evening late September 1986. We were getting dinner ready, listening to one of the local radio stations, while our new born baby James was quietly snoozing in our bedroom.
I poured myself my first Whiskey of the evening, and after a couple of sips, the Radio programme announcer made, for me, a very interesting offer.
The famous Swedish rock guitarist, Yngvie Malsteen, was offering to give his, signed by himself, Fender Stratocaster 62 to the person who would make the highest bid for his guitar, the proceeds going to the Children´s cancer fund. The offer was to be made in writing and sent to a specific address.
Well of course for me this was a fantastic opportunity to own my first Fender Stratocaster. I had always wanted a Strat, having ever since my teenage days been using a couple of pretty ropey Futurama Guitars, made in the former Czechoslovakia. These got me through my teenage and university (Southampton) years where we for 2 years were the top university group by the name of PFUSIFORM, performing on a weekly basis as a pre band to the always famous pop groups that visited the university.
If I was lucky enough to buy the Strat, it would be a present for our new little baby, James.
So next was to think about how much I should offer for Yngvie´s Strat. I also was very happy at the thought of the proceeds going to a good cause.
So after the first Whiskey was downed, I thought that 5,000 kronor would be an appropriate offer, and out came pen and paper and I started to write. Whilst writing I refilled my Whiskey glass and pondered.
Well, bet you can guess, after my second Famous Grouse disappeared down my throat, I started to wonder whether my offer would be high enough. So having nearly completed my letter, I crossed out the 5,000kr and replaced it with a new figure, 10,000kr.
By this time I needed refilling, and naturally the effect would impair my judgement. So out came the pen again, the 10,000kr got crossed out and was replaced by an even higher amount!
So, to cut a long story short, and after a few more shots, I ended up at a figure of 25,000kr, which I then adjusted to 25,500kr just in case someone had the same idea!!
The letter got posted on the Sunday.
Well, I didn´t hear anything for about a month and had practically forgotten about it when a letter arrived in the post saying that I had been the lucky person, making the highest bid. I had instructions to meet up at Ritz Restaurant and Bar on Birger Jarlsgatan, bring the cash with me in the form of a bank check, where Yngvie Malmsteen with the radio station representatives would personally present his Stratocaster to me. What a treat!
I really looked forward to this moment, so when the day came, I trouped off with baby James in my arms to the Ritz.
It was a great reception but sad to say Yngvie Malmsteen couldn´t make it so never did meet him there. However, the Strat was handed over to me in a gleaming authentic Fender guitar case, which I opened so that James and I could get a glimpse of our new found treasure.
After handing over the check, we made our way home, but I am quite sad I have no paperwork or photos to be able to show. Don´t know what happened, but they are all gone.
However that is not the end of the story!!
Roll forward ca 10 years. Lena and myself are sitting on a British Airways lunchtime flight from Stockholm to London Heathrow, and Lena says to me “That´s Yngvie Malmsteen sitting in front of us”. So you can guess that at the luggage carousel I went straight up to Yngvie and explained the whole story. What a great guy, we spent at least 20 minutes chatting together, and he remembered very well the story.
Well done Yngvie Malmsteen, you really made my day!