MICHAEL SCHENKER Bitten By SCORPIONS - “The Ultimate Reunion Would Be The Original Lineup From The Lovedrive Album”
November 19, 2015, 2 years ago
For Scorpions fans it’s a moment akin to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall! 50th anniversary band celebrations this year and three former members flying auspiciously as Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock. 2013’s Bridge The Gap and this year’s Spirit On A Mission see much treasured guitarist Michael Schenker along with the famed Scorpions rhythm section Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass) on the same albums together since 1979’s landmark success Lovedrive. And the band are currently criss-crossing Europe and celebrating history with multi-faceted singer Doogie White and guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay completing the line-up.
“Well, back in 2008, I had a feeling that I needed to be back in the loop of rock n' roll,” the guitarist begins discussing music, new concepts and the driving force in 2015. “So, looking back, I had been in it up to the early ‘80s and then I withdrew. I did the Lovedrive album with the Scorpions which opened the door to the states for them, and then I wanted to experiment. I mean, I had done my musical distribution to the world and now it was time to do something different and carry on developing my own sound at my own pace. I couldn't do this being part of a touring machine. It would not have worked. I needed to do stuff that was not of that world.”
Most musicians would give their left arm for fame and fortune (and everything that goes with it!) to win big in “America” as it were. But you wanted to leave it.
“The thing is, I never became famous because I wanted to, it just happened by itself,” Schenker admits. “I just wanted to be myself, playing my guitar and developing, ya know? My fascination was to play and discover. My focus was pure self-expression. Up to the age of 17, I was fascinated by Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and then something clicked. I knew I had to stay away from music and do it my way and express my sounds, my way of doing it, my talents. As a result of that, of course I never knew this ahead of time, but I created my own style. By staying away from those influences, I instinctively knew it would keep me fresh. It's like eating chocolate - if you keep stuffing it all in, all the time, you just won't enjoy it anymore. The result of doing this, today is just as great as it was back then. I'm not spoiled, I'm not overexposed, I have not been in that world where I had too much of everything. There is still lots of excitement.”
Can you describe your relationship with Francis and Herman?
“It's great. I mean, they are grown-up guys who are happy to be alive! They are just happy to be in a great band playing good music. They have been out of the loop themselves for the same amount of time, but for different reasons than I mentioned earlier. We just wanna push that music we fell in love with... to celebrate that and put it out there, as sooner or later all this is just gonna be a memory. So, I want to make this third section of my life one that celebrates my era - my generation of rock.”
What's left to conquer?
“I don't want to conquer anything,” he states bluntly. “I just want to play and discover. That's my joy. I just like to live in the moment and play and discover. I can just keep going like that because I always have new sprinklets and spices.”
Give me your take on how the industry has changed over the years?
“It doesn't, because first of all I don't need to be famous and rich. I mean, I've had a lot of money and have been happy and miserable, and I have had little money and have been happy and miserable. So, it's not about that. So, basically, my wish is a different one. I just like to live life itself. The unpredictability - it can be something really bad, or something incredibly good. I could understand if the focus is money or fame and it all come unraveled, yeah, you are going to panic. Because it's not based on that for me it doesn't matter.”
How tight are you with your brother Rudolf?
“We were together for two years when we were doing the Lonesome Crow album and touring it. That's the only time I knew him. He is seven years older than me. So, I know very little about him. I know we are both very spiritual people who meditate. He told me he had a dream once where he was a monk and the main person there who was deciding which way to go - to Buddha or not - and he chose to be in the physical world. I believe that is what he is doing now with his life. So, it's basically, he is in the world of physical and I'm more in the artistic realm. I love music and I love to be creating it. You know, Rudolf had a dream to be in one of the biggest bands in the world and have an extremely successful career. But, he needed a tool to achieve that, and I think I was the tool. But, I didn't need what he needed; so, therefore, he has freedom to enjoy it because he doesn't get stopped in any way because I don't need it. In a way, we are helping each other indirectly and not consciously. That said, it appears to be more than meets the eye, if you look at it from another dimension. There was something he really needed for his life to be fulfilled for him. But, he needed to be in a particular spot on this planet at a particular time. Maybe this is a little farfetched for some, but I don't want what he has. So, I am happy for what I have. My involvement as his brother and member of the Scorpions enabled him in many ways to step up, and that I was able to withdraw after Lovedrive to do my own little experiments and stuff like that. It makes it look like a puzzle - two elements that are meant to fit together to fulfill each others dreams. My vision is to develop as a great guitarist - nothing more. Therefore I am not in his way, and he is not in my way.”
“No, we never have,” Schenker responds when asked if they have ever done Christmas dinner together! “The thing is, we are always on different sides of the planet. I have been living in America for 17 years, and before that in the UK. I left Germany when I was 17 and a half. On the other hand, we are living two different worlds - he is macrocosm and I am microcosm. We have been talking about Schenker Brothers over and over and over for all these years, and I asked him do you really think you would be happy with me in the band because we are both looking for two different things. He is a rat, I am horse, the complete opposites in the Chinese horoscopes. At this point in time I think we have left it far too long. The only thing that would be interesting and possible to do with my brother would be the ultimate Scorpions reunion.”
Which I saw at Wacken.
“That was not the ultimate Scorpions reunion. This would be a brand new studio release with music written by a combination of all the people, and then doing a world tour. When we do things like Wacken, we do that to help them, to fuel them with new ideas to get people back into it. That's all we have done. I have been doing this since 2009. I get a call; 'Michael, we need you!'. The ultimate Scorpions reunion would be the original lineup from the Lovedrive album.”
You would be open to that?
“Yeah, that's the only thing I would do in that world at this point of time. It's just too weird what the Scorpions are doing now, as they don't want to play anymore, but they keep going and going, and my brother keeps talking about Schenker Brothers. What he knows is that I've been doing Temple Of Rock and my own thing, but what do they want? I don't know what they want. He wants Schenker Brothers but he keeps doing Scorpions. It's too odd for me.”
(Top slider photo by Laurence Harvey)