It’s that time of the week again when our very own blogger – Self Made Man – offers his exclusive take on the world of classic rock.

And this week he focuses on one of his all-time guitar heroes – a German fret burner with an outrageous amount of talent.

Read on to find out more and remember you can read Self Made Man right here every week. 


Anyone fortunate to see Michael Schenker in concert on his last UK tour two years ago this month will know that talk of his demise is premature if not downright obsolete.

Schenker was back, sober, healthy, refreshed and doing what a guitar genius does best, mesmerising his audiences with his fretwork.

What a difference from the shambolic figure he cut during a guest appearance on The Scorpions Live At Wacken DVD when he wasn’t only eclipsed by Mathias Jabs, brother Rudolf and fellow ex-member Uli Roth, he looked a mess _ dishevelled in appearance, error-strewn and cumbersome in his output.

It probably explained why the Newcastle Academy concert on December 23, 2010 wasn’t a sell-out.

To be brutally honest, fans didn’t know which Schenker would turn up, the supremely gifted axeman or the has-been. past his sell-by date.

The German’s been sober for the past five years and don’t we just know it.

His last two studio albums In the Midst of Beauty and Temple of Rock are arguably his best material since the early-80s.

And if anyone is in any doubt that the rock world has the real Michael Schenker back, then they should buy a copy of Temple Of Rock: Live in Europe, a DVD which portrays his renaissance.

If there is one criticism of the DVD, it is that the concert filmed in Tilsburg in the Netherlands in May, features just two songs from his last album.

Instead, Schenker dips into his back catalogue with UFO and MSG and with a touring band featuring ex-Scorpions Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholz on drums and bass respectively,  there are six songs from Germany’s favourite rock band.

Scot Doogie White, who had a brief spell alongside Richie Blackmore in Rainbow, is on vocals and proves to be an improvement on Gary Barden, who for all his stage presence, struggled with his voice during the last tour.

Even so, most fans will buy this DVD for Schenker’s guitar work and they will not be disappointed. It kicks off with Into The Arena _ one of my all-time favourite instrumentals _ a notoriously difficult tune to play and it’s flawless delivery proves that the man is back to his best.

Coast To Coast, another instrumental, Assault Attack and of course Rock Bottom and Doctor Doctor are songs that fuel the belief that Schenker’s second coming (or is it third, fourth or fifth?) is gathering pace.

Better late than never, I suppose, but what a pity Schenker’s career nosedived when he had the music world at his feet.

I first fell in love with his music when listening to Strangers Of The Night for the first time and even when his first spell with UFO ended acrimoniously, he proved there was still plenty of life left in him with the launch of MSG.

I first saw Schenker live at the Manchester Apollo in 1980 when he showcased MSG’s first two albums and Live At The Budokan, which came out the following year, strengthened the man’s claim to be one of the best rock guitarists on the planet.

MSG imploded after the release of Assault Attack, which featured Graham Bonnet on vocals and subsequent material never hit such heights again.

His reunion with UFO briefly hinted at a musical resurrection before the 20th century was out and indeed, when I saw him at Newcastle City Hall in 1998, Schenker appeared as good as ever.

Then came the tour from hell which culimated in an aborted gig in Manchester and Schenker’s depature from UFO for good.

Thankfully, it didn’t prove the end for the guitarist and though it took him a few years to get his act together, all the evidence points to a glorious Indian summer.

If you haven’t bought tickets for his UK shows next year, I’d snap them up quickly. For one play of the Temple of Rock DVD will convince every watcher to see Schenker live again.

Ian Murtagh

Michael Schenker: Temple of Rock – Live in Europe is out now on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and Ltd Deluxe Edition via inakustik.  Schenker’s Temple of Rock UK tour starts April 9 2013. Book online:, Ticket Hotline: 0844 478 0898.  Further info: