Chris Impellitteri Says He Was Once Offered To Replace Yngwie Malmsteen In Alcatrazz

The guitarist Chris Impellitteri recently spoke to Jeff Gaudiosi from Misplaced Straws and revealed that he once auditioned for Alcatrazz to replace Yngwie Malmsteen.

Chris Impellitteri came to Los Angeles during the mid-1980s hoping to build a music career as a prominent guitarist. During his early days, the musician gave guitar lessons until he attracted Alcatrazz’s keyboard player Jimmy Waldo‘s attention. Realizing that Impellitteri was a promising young guitarist, Waldo wanted to offer him an opportunity to make himself heard.

At the time, Alcatrazz had Yngwie Malmsteen as their guitarist, but the internal conflicts between Malmsteen and his bandmate Graham Bonnet had begun surfacing. The turmoil resulted in Yngwie getting fired from the band following a fight on the stage with Bonnett. Yet, it looks like the band members had already decided to replace Malmsteen with another guitarist before his eventual departure.

In a new interview, Chris Impellitteri revealed that Jimmy Waldo offered him to come to an audition to replace Yngwie Malmsteen and become the new guitarist of Alcatrazz while Yngwie was still a member of the band. The Alcatrazz members were seemingly sure that Malmsteen’s tenure with the band wouldn’t last long, which proved right later.

So, Chris saw it as a significant opportunity as a young musician and went to the audition. Besides him, there was also Steve Vai, who was ready to fill in for Malmsteen. Vai was a more experienced guitarist than Impellitteri at the time, so Steve got the job and became the new Alcatrazz guitarist. Chris thinks Steve Vai was the right choice for Alcatrazz.

Chris Impellitteri’s words on his audition for Alcatrazz:

“I was giving guitar lessons when I first came to LA, and I remember Jimmy Waldo, the keyboard player of the band Alcatrazz with Graham, heard about me, came over, checked me out, and said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in auditioning to replace this guy Yngwie Malmsteen?‘ At the time, Yngwie was still in the band; they were just not getting along.

So I remember I went to the audition. There were only two guys, there was me and a guy named Steve Vai, who you probably know. To be honest, they were a lot older than I was; Steve is obviously older as well, and so they were a Steve, and they should. Steve was definitely the right choice. I was too much of an arrogant young punk. I would’ve been, ‘Gotta be more metal than you are.'”

You can watch the full interview below.