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Articles Home » Music Talk » 'Percussive Tales' Interview With Northtale, ex-Yngwie Drummer Patrick Johansson By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
'Percussive Tales' Interview With Northtale, ex-Yngwie Drummer Patrick Johansson By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Percussive Tales

Interview With Northtale, ex-Yngwie Drummer Patrick Johansson

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio


Swedish drummer Patrick Johansson is a powerhouse. The Swedish timekeeper has had stints with W.A.S.P., George Lynch, G3, Gus G., Vinnie Moore, and  Impellitteri, but his longest tenure was with guitar icon Yngwie Malmsteen.  Currently he is a member of Nuclear Blast recording artists Northtale but is still involved with many sessions and will be hitting the stage once restrictions are lifted. Johansson who now resides in Florida for close to two decades has travelled the globe behind his Pearl kit first inspired by the magic of KISS as a youngster inspired by the likes of Peter Criss and Eric Carr.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Mr. Johansson for this exclusive interview.  



Thank you Patrick for speaking today with Boston Rock Radio.  You have been behind your Pearl kit for many shows across the globe under many different circumstances. What was the transition like for you going the local club scene in Sweden with your early bands such as Without Grief and Stormwind to international touring with Yngwie and later W.A.S.P.?

Hey Thanks for having me!! The biggest change has been obviously playing bigger shows for more people and traveling more but the passion to play the drums have always stayed the same to me. It doesn’t matter if you play for a small crowd in a club or a big arena, the music and the people you play with has always been the most important. If the band sounds great and we are all having fun then that’s what matters and the crowd can feel the energy from the band and that’s the blueprint of a great show. Anytime I sit behind the drums I try to do the best show of my life.


Northtale: Time to Rise (Live in Tokyo)


You are also a lifelong KISS fanatic. Please tell BRR readers how perhaps Peter Criss and the other members of the band left a lasting impression on you leading to a life behind the skins?

Of course KISS had a HUGE impact on me as a kid growing up. They are absolutely the reason I picked up the drums sticks.  I was born in 1976 so when I got into the music Eric Carr was the drummer of KISS. I had my whole room covered in KISS posters and l memorabilia!! I still have my old shirts from the early 80's Unmasked tour and Creatures of the Night tour.  Both Eric Carr and Peter Criss played a huge role for me as a young drummer along with others like Tommy Lee, Cozy Powell, Ian Paice, Scott Travis, Tommy Aldridge, Carmine and Vinnie Appice and of course Eric Singer.  It was a lot of exciting times with music in the 70’s and 80's. I’m happy to experience a lot of concerts both in the crowed as a fanboy and on stage behind the drums.

Just for fun what are your five favorite KISS "deep cuts" that are typically not in the set list?

I love all the eras of KISS so it would be hard to pick 5 songs. My all-time favorite song of all time is probably “Black Diamond” but other deep cuts I would have to say: 1) The Oath 2) A million to One 3) Magic Touch 4) Gimme More and 5) King of the Mountain.

You are best known as the drummer for Malmsteen with four studio albums and multiple tours including a G3. Besides Yngwie, there were many talented musicians that came through the band during your tenure including Ripper Owens, Doogie White, Derek Sherinian, and many more. Did you enjoy the lineup changes at given moments with some new blood or was it something that could be stressful at times?  Any funny stories?

The first tour I did with Yngwie was in South America in 2001. At the time there was a complete new line up of Doogie White (V) , Derek Sherinian (K) , Mick Cervino (B) and myself.  That was a magic time in my life as it was the first time I played or visited South America.  Great crowds and a lot of fun and the first show we played was in Monterey, Mexico.  Of course that line up will always be special but I enjoyed all the different people that I worked with in Yngwie's band including Ripper, Rudy Sarzo, Bjorn Englen, Michael Troy, Joakim Svalberg, Nick Marino, and Ralph Ciavolino. It was always great to play with so many different people and all very talented musicians. Very inspiring times and GREAT music!!! My favorite time in Yngwie's band was actually to work with him in the studio and to be part of the creative process. We always had the drums mic’d up and ready to record as to me music is a living thing and anytime you record you have to be able to capture the energy and the vibe.  A lot of time today with all the Pro Tools stuff most band’s edit and copy/paste the life out of their songs!!! To me that’s not music but computer programming. I'd rather hear something out of time or out of tune than to have someone sit for days looking for mistakes and edit every little thing.  People need to remember to mix with their ears not with their eyes on the computer screen!!  Everything I did with Yngwie was spontaneous and real to me and that is what I’m most proud of. We used to jam different riffs and then we put down a scratch track with a click, guitar, bass, keyboards and he played the vocal line on the guitar.  Then I'd go behind the drums and I played around with the song for maybe 30 minutes. Then we started to track the drums from start to finish a few times and then he took the best version of the song with the drum tracks home and put the real guitars and bass on it. Later the keyboard player and singer would come in and do their thing and then it was time to mix!

Also, along with the late keyboardist Matts Olausson you had one of the longest tenures in the Rising Force history.  How did you keep your job so long? LOL

I had fun and I really enjoyed working with him. I learned so much and every day was a new adventure. I knew early on in life that I would never be the best drummer in the world. I just wanted to be good enough to play in a band and to have fun. I never cared about fame or fortune.  I just wanted to play music with people I enjoyed playing with and I enjoyed every moment of my time in the band.

Without Grief was a melodic death metal band you were a part of.  Are you still a fan of the genre and who were a few of your favorites in the "Death metal" world?

Without Grief is and will always be special to me.  The guitar player Tobias Ols and I grew up together and played at school in earlier bands with my neighbor Jon Nilsson so we have a long history together. He is actually married to my other Northtale bandmate Christian Eriksson's sister as it’s a small world. We had this “Rock House” (Rock Huset Varpgarden) in my hometown Falun, Sweden where a bunch of different bands rented their own rehearsal rooms. Tobias was in one room working with Jonas Granvik and Nicklas Lind and I had my room with my band Shades. Tobias asked me if I would like to jam with him and Nicklas in their room and we set up my Pearl Kit and 3 of us jammed on a few riffs and the Slayer Song “Season in the Abyss” and that was the start of Without Grief.  I’m not so familiar with the Death Metal scene.  My friend Peter has a great Death Metal band, Hypocrisy. We used to go see them play sometimes. I always enjoyed them, great harmonies and a lot of power.  I still listen to them from time to time but in general I’m more a traditional metal guy.

Without Grief:  The Last Days

When not on the road or recording, do you teach drum lessons or gig with local groups in the Florida area?

I have always been teaching drums since I was very young. I think it’s important to pass on what you have learned.  I love teaching and showing someone else a skill or a trade that they can enjoy for the rest of their life. The best gift is the gift of music. I have had my own band here in Florida for more than 15 years called KINLIN and we do some local shows around here in small places or open up for some bigger bands when they are in town. The singer and guitar player in Kinlin; Dewayne Hart, is also the guy that helps me record drum sessions. He has a real good ear and we worked together for so long so we know each other inside and out. Most of my recordings are done at his place in Lake City, Florida.

Kinlin: The Last Stand

Do you have a bucket list of some musicians that you would like to work with in the future?

Not really, I would love to do another album and some shows with Without Grief or maybe Stormwind!! Other than that I just wanna work with people I enjoy being around.  It never really matters how great of a player you are.  What matters is how great of a person you are.  I have plenty of patience if someone has trouble learning a song or a hard time remembering an ending. Let’s be real, we have all been there but if  someone’s not a nice person, I have no time as nothing is worth being miserable on the road or in the studio.

What are your current projects that will lead into 2021?

We shall see as hopefully the world opens up again and the virus disappears and eventually touring will resume. In the meantime I’m working on a new project with my buddy Christian Eriksson. I’m about to go to track drums in a few days for the first 4 songs. I can’t wait to share this music with everybody!! Great melodic and happy music!! That’s what the world needs hope and happiness!! And what better way to share happiness than with music??


Northtale Official

Patrick Johansson Official

Patrick Johansson on Facebook


Boston Rock Radio Contributor Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at:



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