Schenker ResizeHe’s the original and – in the eyes of many – the best but Michael Schenker has rarely been in better form as he embarks on his latest UK headline tour.

RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with the Scorpions founder member and former UFO favourite for an exclusive chat.

And Schenker revealed he’s never been happier on the live stage ahead of what promise to be a series of incendiary shows across Britain this month. 





rushonrock: You’re a regular on the UK live scene again after many years away – do you wish you’d played here more often?

Michael Schenker: Life has got many different directions. I always say this. In the beginning of my career I was focusing on rock n roll and pure self-expression and excellence. In the second chapter of my life it was more about experimenting and developing on a personal level. Now, maybe in the last three or four years, since 2007 or 2008, I’m back in the loop where rock n roll is concerned and it’s a big part of my life again. With that comes playing more live shows.

rushonrock: So why is rock n roll a big part of your life again?

MS: It has to be. This is the beginning of a new era and the end of the era of what I call ‘handmade rock’. It’s a very special era that started off with Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath et al: these guys started an incredible scene where rock showcased music where there was such distortion of strings. It opened people’s eyes – they could see you could do so many things and express so much with an electric guitar. But that sound and that era isn’t going to be here forever. Soon it will be no more than a memory – like classical music. So I’m taking a final opportunity to celebrate ‘handmade rock’. These days almost everything is cut and pasted and fed through computers and the era of bands going into studios together and recording music is almost over. I’m celebrating that music while I still can.

rushonrock: Did your time in UFO guarantee a lifelong rapport with British fans?

MS: I think the UFO job meant I forged a relationship with fans across the world! I was 15-years-old. But of course the UK was special. We toured straight away and I remember we went all the way up to Newcastle and Scotland. When we left Newcastle and headed towards the border the other guys were asking me where my passport was! I was in a panic. I had no idea. I was so young and, in many ways, so impressionable. But it’s not like I was inexperienced and not like I didn’t already have fans and people who followed me. As a kid I played on the first Scorpions album and unbeknown to me people as far afield as Canada knew my work. That took a while to filter through back in the days before the internet but I had fans all over the world before I joined UFO. I just didn’t realise it. I was never really aware of anything much other than having so much fun on the road and playing the guitar.

rushonrock: Is your relationship with fans something you take for granted or do you work hard to maintain it?

MS: First of all different musicians have different motivations. If you’re having fun that, for me, is the main thing about being a musician. I play every day and discover new things and that’s the most fun anyone can have. It’s not hard work because it’s so enjoyable discovering new things on your guitar. It’s a passion and it gives me a really good feeling. I think that’s something my fans have always seen in me and that’s all they need.

rushonrock: Looking back how daunting was it for you joining UFO?

MS: Not at all. By the time I was 17 I was a man of the world. Even when I was 15 I was telling people that they could drop me off with my guitar in the middle of China and I’d be ok. Of course when I joined UFO I didn’t speak a word of English but it was better for me that I didn’t understand what people were talking about! I didn’t really have to communicate with anyone verbally anyway. It was all about the music.

rushonrock: You’ve always been confident in your ability but has that sometimes been interpreted as you being cocky?

MS: I’ve never focused on stuff like that. Music is not a competition and I’m not in a popularity contest. It’s a matter of taste as far as I’m concerned. Each person is an individual who is free to express whatever opinion they hold. I have no problem with that.

rushonrock: In the last two years you’ve performed live with more confidence than at any time during your career – where has the new lease of life come from?

MS: It’s like all of a sudden I actually started to enjoy myself on stage. All of my life I’ve asked myself ‘what am I doing on stage?’. I’ve always thought there must be a reason for all of this and it turns out there actually is! But there has been a change. Instinctively I knew I had to stay away from live music for a while and just create, rather than consume, as it would wear me out. By not copying what’s gone before and drawing inspiration from within it seems there’s an infinite spring of creativity that I’ve somehow unlocked. By staying away from the rock scene for a while I’ve managed to stay as pure as possible as a songwriter. Physically I’m in good shape but the main thing is that now I actually enjoy performing compared to the past. Maybe I have been preserved to give rock n roll one final shot in the arm?

rushonrock: Temple Of Rock: Live In Europe won RUSHONROCK’s DVD of 2012 and has won rave reviews the world over – what do you put that success down to?

MS: It’s a combination of the band, the shows, the fans and the timing. First of all Doogie White is such a great frontman for the band and such a great singer. I’ve got Herman (Rarebell) and Francis (Buchholz) back together and with those two it’s like a competition every night. We play stuff from when they first became famous and what you see is a band of rock n roll musicians doing what they do best and having fun doing it. We play Scorpions classics such as Rock You Like A Hurricane and we play some UFO and some other great stuff. The DVD, the live shows and the band has all been a great success. We’ve already been in the studio to record to follow-up to Temple Of Rock and it’s a great time to be in this band.

rushonrock: Is the Temple Of Rock live band as good as it gets for fans of classic hard rock?

MS: It seems like the people who come out to see us are having a great time and that’s all that matters. For the guys in the band it’s so easy for us to hang out together and have a great time – it was meant to be. The rest of the band just love it out on stage every night. Francis is like a kid starting all over again – he was away for so long. He’s so happy. And I don’t think people ever imagined Herman would get back to the level he’s at right now so that’s a reason for all of us – and everyone involved in rock music – to be happy. With the DVD we didn’t even capture the best that this band has to offer. It’s good but Newcastle, London, Glasgow – they were all unbelievable shows. What you see isn’t even as good as it gets at a Temple Of Rock show. With a DVD you pick the night and you get one shot at giving it your best. It was important to do it but we can be even better.


Full dates for 2013 UK headline tour:


All Tickets: £22.50

Ticket Hotline: 0844 478 0898


ARC – Stockton on Tees

Tuesday 9 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 01642 525 199

Doors: 7.30pm / Stage: 8.00pm

Dovecot Street, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1LL


Aberdeen Lemon Tree

Wednesday 10 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 01224 641 122

Doors: 7.30pm / Stage: 8.00pm

5 West North Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5AT


Edinburgh HMV Picturehouse

Thursday 11 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 0844 847 1740

Doors: 6.30pm / Stage: 7.00pm

31 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2DJ


Newcastle o2 Academy

Friday 12 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 0844 477 2000

Doors: 6.30pm / Stage: 7.00pm

Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SW


Holmfirth Picturedrome

Saturday 13 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 0844 478 0898

Doors: 7.30pm / Stage: 8.00pm

Market Walk, Holmfirth, HD9 7DA


Warrington Parr Hall

Sunday 14 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 01925 442345

Doors: 7.30pm / Stage: 8.00pm

Palmyra Square South, Warrington, WA1 1BL


Falmouth Princess Pavilion

Tuesday 16 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 01326 211 222

Doors: 8.00pm / Stage: 8.30pm

41 Melvill Road, Falmouth, TR11 4AR


Bristol o2 Academy

Wednesday 17 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 0844 477 2000

Doors: 7.00pm / Stage: 7.30pm

Frogmore Street, Bristol, BS1 5NA


Salisbury City Hall

Thursday 18 April

Tickets: £22.50

Box Office: 01722 434 434

Doors: 7.30pm / Stage: 8.00pm

Malthouse Lane, Salisbury, SP2 7TU


Oxford o2 Academy

Friday 19 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 0844 477 2000

Doors: 6.30pm / Stage: 7.00pm

190 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UE


Nottingham Rock City

Saturday 20 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 0845 413 4444

Doors: 6.30pm / Stage: 7.00pm

8 Talbot Street, Nottingham, NG1 5GG


Norwich Waterfront

Sunday 21 April

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 01603 508 050

Doors: 7.00pm / Stage: 7.30pm

139-141 King Street, Norwich, NR1 1QH


London Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Friday 31 May

Tickets: £22.50 / Box Office: 0844 478 0898

Doors: 7.15pm / Stage: 8.00pm

Tickets on sale from Wednesday 5 December 2012

Shepherds Bush Green, London, W12 8TT