Michael Schenker – interview

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Michael Schenker is a guitar virtuoso legend who joined the Scorpions aged just 15 and then UFO when he was only 17 years old! Establishing his legend, he then went on to form his own band, MSG, which took him through the 80s and 90s with various famed line ups. The turn of the century saw Schenker falling on hard times, but the irresistible temptation to play guitar once again soon saw him firstly securing sponsorship from Dean Guitars, before building another band made up of rock veterans. Recent years have seen Schenker return to touring and with ex Scorpions members Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholz joining him on last year’s highly successful ‘Temple Of Rock’ tour, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael prior to his next stint of gigs scheduled for this Xmas!

1. Greetings Michael, it’s great to hear you’ve got a new album out and will be touring, where I hope to see you since I was 14 years old and you made a guest appearance at one of the Scorpions Hammersmith Odeon shows during their “Blackout” tour! Speaking of “Blackout” I noticed you’ve got the classic Scorpions rhythm section of Francis Buchholz on bass and Herman ‘zee German’ on drums – which I guess was last seen on “Lovedrive” so did you bring them back for nostalgic reasons (not taking anything away from their acknowledged musicianship of course) or to create an atmosphere perhaps from that amazing era?

Michael: It all happened step by step like one thing leads to another.Herman and I got invited in 2009 to play with the Scorpions. Herman and I talked about jamming together. Then Herman showed up at a MSG concert in London a little later so did Pete Way and we talked more about jamming together. So all 3 of us met in Brighton to jam and I was thinking about doing a Strangers in the Night tour. I hadn’t played that material for a long time and I was eager to do it. That’s how it started. At the same time I made a Demo for a new album and when Pete and Herman heard it they wanted to be the rhythm section. We made the album and toured together. At some point Pete did not do to well and I asked Herman to maybe ask what Francis what he was up to these days since we are playing quite a few Lovedrive tunes and it would be perfect if Francis could join. That’s how we got there.

2. A lot of veteran players like Judas Priest these days seem to be getting younger guys who are also talented musicians so why did you not go for this option?

Michael: Like I explained before it just happens the way it did. Besides I like to stick with Family. I did a lot of things in the past and I like to play my past material if possible with original members. If that’s not possible I look for someone great old or young.michaelschenker_02


3. You yourself were one of these young talents when you joined UFO, with hindsight do you feel it was the right choice rather than continuing on in the Scorpions, who in their time became an equally massive band?

Michael: It’s all natural progression. You do what you do when you do it because it feels right. I wanted to be in England where it was all happening. I never focused on success. I just wanted to play where people wanted to listen. In Germany it was impossible.

4. 

How much was your older brother Rudolph an influence on you either as a musician or even as a person?

Michael: Rudolf is 6 and 1/2 years older than me. Of course he had an influence on me which is natural as your parents also have an influence on you but the main part is you are who you are regardless. They may spark something off in you that then snowballs all your own way. Of course my brother always did everything first. He played football and then I played football. He got a guitar for his birthday and I sneaked up on it playing it secretly. He got a suite and I wore it later. In fact everything my brother grew out off I wore it or used it afterwards – Bikes, Footballs, Guitars you name it but my passion for guitar was much greater than just a thing. So I went all the way with it and actually ended up teaching my brother.

5. How did you start playing guitar – were you taught, go to music school etc?

Michael: When my brother got his guitar for his 16th birthday I was told not to touch. When he went to work I could not resist the temptation over the strings, pressed a string and hit it, pressed on a different fret and hit it. Wow it was so much fun. That’s how I started to play and discover. I never stopped ever since.

michaelschenker_036. Which of all the bands that you were in did you find the most satisfaction – you’ve played with an incredible array of veteran rockers in your time so was there a person, or even a line-up that really stands out in your mind looking back?

Michael: It’s all about one thing leads to the next. Step by step development. Play and discover. Now is always the most important moment in my life.

7. 

Were there any bands that you did want to play in but never got the opportunity?

Michael: My focus has always been the fascination of the single string on a guitar and the incredible amount of things that can be done with it in different combinations. Lead guitar is my passion. I never liked any bands or songs even as a 9 year old that did not have great lead guitar playing in it. I never focused on bands but I was ready to join one if it would give me the opportunity to play with others. My brother discovered my passion and ability to play and introduced me to several different bands including at some point to Klaus Meine. Klaus was my brother’s local favorite singer. The rest is history.

8. I believe you were awarded the Marshall “11” award – is that something you’re proud of or do you feel that if not for other distractions you could have achieved even more and better music?

Michael: It came like a shock. I never expected anything like that. I just love to play guitar. After all these years for that to happened is a fantastic surprise.

9. Ok, so tell me about “Bridge The Gap” – is it MSG 2014 or yet another evolution in the virtuoso world of Michael Schenker – but still with your trademark Flying V and sound?

Michael: Bridge The Gap is an album that is a perfect continuation of where I had left off – while I went on my personal development journey in my second phase of my life. I am now in my 3rd phase which is all about celebration of my Generation of Rock and my life. I am now putting it all together and enjoy myself tremendously. I keep continuing to play and discover and develop and enjoy all sorts of new additional things but the essence of my being is the same.

10. Looking back on your life, what is the single most important thing you learned that you could share with us please?

Michael: To live in the Now and Enjoy!

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Don’t miss Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock on tour in the UK this December!!!

MICHAEL SCHENKER

DECEMBER 2014 UK TOUR

24 HR BOX OFFICE – 0844 478 0898

BOOK ONLINE – www.thegigcartel.com

NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY

WEDNESDAY 10 DECEMBER

Tickets: £24.75

Box Office: 0844 477 2000, 0844 478 0898

www.ticketweb.co.uk

Westgate Road, Newcastle, NE1 1SW

www.o2academynewcastle.co.uk `

GLASGOW O2 ABC

THURSDAY 11 DECEMBER

Tickets: £24.75

Box Office: 0844 477 2000, 0844 478 0898

www.ticketweb.co.uk, www.thegigcartel.com

300 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JA

www.o2abc.co.uk

NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY

FRIDAY 12 DECEMBER

Tickets: £24.75

Box Office: 0845 413 4444, 0844 478 0898

www.thegigcartel.com, www.alt-tickets.co.uk

8 Talbot Street, Nottingham, NG1 5GG

www.rock-city.co.uk

 

MANCHESTER RITZ

SATURDAY 13 DECEMBER

Tickets £24.75

Box Office 0844 478 0898,

www.thegigcartel.com

Whitworth Street West, Manchester, M1 5NQ

www.hmvritz.com

LEEDS O2 ACADEMY

MONDAY 15 DECEMBER

Tickets: £24.75

Box Office: 0844 477 2000, 0844 478 0898

www.ticketweb.co.uk, www.thegigcartel.com

55 Cookridge Street, LS2 3AW

www.o2academyleeds.co.uk

BILSTON THE ROBIN

TUESDAY 16 DECEMBER

Tickets: £24.75

Box Office: 01902 401211

Book Online: www.thegigcartel.com

Doors: 7:30pm Stage: 8:00pm

20-28 Mount Pleasant, Bilston, Wolverhampton, WV14 7LJ

www.therobin.co.uk

 

NORWICH WATERFRONT

WEDNESDAY 17 DECEMBER

Tickets: £24.75

Box Office: 01603 508050

Doors: 7:30pm Stage: 8:00pm

Book Online: www.thegigcartel.com

 University of East Anglia’s Box Office: www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk

139-141 King St, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 1QH

 

BRISTOL O2 ACADEMY

FRIDAY 19 DECEMBER

Tickets: £24.75

Box Office: 0844 477 2000, 0844 478 0898

www.ticketweb.co.uk, www.thegigcartel.com

Frogmore Street, Bristol, BS1 5NA

www.o2academybristol.co.uk

 

LONDON O2 SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE

SATURDAY 20 DECEMBER

Tickets: £27.50

Box Office: 0844 477 2000, 0844 478 0898

Book Online: www.thegigcartel.com

London Shepherds Bush Empire, Shepherds Bush Green, London, W12 8TT

www.o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk

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