Interview with Michael Schenker

He’s back on the second leg of The Temple of Rock Tour. Michael Schenker chats with Metal Express Radio about the tour and working again with the Scorpions rhythm section and the possibility of playing with UFO.

Metal Express Radio: Are you looking forward to playing in the UK again in April 2013?

MS: Absolutely, I always love playing in the UK. The last tour was really good so it’s always great to come back and play for the UK again. I’m back in the loop of Rock ‘n’ Roll and I’ll be playing all over the country. It feels so good being on the road and playing again.

MER: You will be playing 13 shows on this tour. Too many bands these days seem to think 2 or 3 dates is enough for a tour. Is it important to you to get to as many places as possible to play for your fans?

MS: There are so many places where people can’t come to see us away from the main centers and nobody else plays there, so for me personally it’s great to play in these places. I’ll play wherever there is an audience and wherever there is a demand.

MER: You’ll be coming over with a line up including Herman Rarebell and Francis Bucholz from the Scorpions, and Doogie White from Rainbow. How does it feel having two former Scorpions in your band?

MS: It’s absolutely great to be able to play with Herman and Francis again. It gives us the chance to complete the Lovedrive tour that never really happened all those years ago. Now we can play some of those Scorpions songs together and make up for not doing it the first time round.

MER: You’ve worked with many singers over the years from Phil Mogg, Klaus Mein, Gary Barden and Robin McAuley. What was it about Doogie White that made you choose him to be your singer on this tour?

MS: Doogie is a singer whose voice I love. He fits the band perfectly and can sing all of the songs by those singers that you mention so well. It’s great to have him in the band.

MER: You have so much material to choose from over your career. By having two Scorpions in your band, will you be playing a few of their songs?

MS: We’ll be doing songs from UFO’s Strangers in the Night, MSG’s One Night at Budokan, the Scorpions’ Lovedrive album, as well as a couple of songs from the later period of Herman and Francis’s time in the Scorpions, like “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “Blackout”, which they played on originally. We’ll also be playing new songs from Temple of Rock.

MER: Your line-up has constantly changed over the years. Does it make it more challenging for you having to rehearse and play with so many different musicians, or does the variety keep it interesting for you?

MS: I don’t change the line-up on purpose, it’s something that happens, but it’s been happening less lately. People seem to be available and right now there seems to be some kind of solid thing going on, so it’s been great to have that. I have a funny feeling this line-up will stay together for some time, especially as we are making a new album together.

MER: Wayne Findlay, your rhythm guitarist, has been with you for a while now?

MS: Yes, he’s been in the band since 1999. He has the same birthday as me, but not the same year. Strangely enough, so does Rod Stewart and drummer Aynsley Dunbar. I want to make a Blues Rock record with those guys and we can all celebrate our birthday on the same day! Talking of Rod Stewart, I jammed with Carmine Appice recently in The States — He was Rod’s drummer for a while and wrote “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”. He’s an incredible drummer and it was amazing what he could do. So we might have to get him in to do the Blues album.

MER: What do you think of when you look back on those days you spent in UFO?

MS: They were fantastic times. It was all about development from one album to the next. It was fantastic. We made some great music and on stage the chemistry was incredible. I’m very proud of my time in that band.

MER: Would you consider playing with UFO again — maybe as a one-off anniversary show, or do you really want to look forward now and not back?

MS: I would love to if people were there to support it. If everything is set up properly and professionally, of course I would love to work with them again.

MER: On your latest album, Temple Of Rock, William Shatner guested on the record. How on earth did you get Captain Kirk to appear on your record?

MS: I had absolutely no concept of what I was going to do when I started the album and I ended up with almost everybody on it. Michael Voss, who sang on the album, did the spoken word introduction at first. We were talking about it and I asked if we could get a big name actor to speak those words. A couple of days later I received a call from William Shatner’s agent asking if I’d play on his Rock record, so I just asked if William would do the intro on my album and he agreed. So I played on his album and he does the intro on mine and that was it.

MER: At one time you were linked with joining bands such as Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Whitesnake. Do you regret not taking up those offers or was the time just not right?

MS: You make your choices and you stick with those choices. Those choices have got me to where I am today and that’s a good place. I’m happy with what I have done and don’t regret things I haven’t done. I don’t know what the other route may have been, who knows I may have been dead by now!!

MER: You cut your fist album Lonesome Crow with Scorpions when you were 17. What advice would you give to a kid starting out learning to play the guitar today?

MS: You have to enjoy what you do. If you don’t you won’t learn so it’s all about enjoying playing the guitar and the rest will come.

MER: The current line-up of the band that you have is as strong as any you’ve had in the past. Will you be working on some new material soon?

MS: We will be going into the studio very soon with this line-up and hope to get a new album out at the end of the year. We might even have a couple of new songs ready to play on the tour in April. This line-up is so good and works so well together that we really have to capture what we have on a record.

MER: You have just announced a new VIP experience for your fans. What do you get for your money?

MS: This is something that will be sent to people in a box set and includes a DVD explaining my “Howler” technique and the tool that helps me get my guitar sound with instructions on how to use it, there’s a CD of unreleased recordings going back to ’79 — some with me singing on them — and also the first 1000 orders get their name on my new signature guitar. That’s something that is totally unique and I’m sure that the fans will really love it.

MER: You are planning on doing some acoustic work with Don Dokken. How is that coming along?

MS: We’ve been talking about doing something for a while, but weren’t quite sure about how to fit it in. One day when we were both in Bulgaria playing shows and I suggested maybe doing something acoustically. I suggested he listen to the Thank You album and to try and do something with it, and he did. He sent me “Positive Forward”, which sounded fantastic, so I suggested he keep going. Now he’s working on the other songs, putting lyrics and melodies to my acoustic music. I hope that this will be released sometime soon.

Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock UK tour starts on April 9th at The Arc, Stockton.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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