Jimmy Kay and Alan Dixon of Canada’s The Metal Voice recently conducted an interview with legendary German guitarist Michael Schenker (UFO, SCORPIONS). You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below.
Asked if he would ever consider recording with the SCORPIONS again, Michael said: “No. I can’t, because I’m very disappointed in Rudolf [Schenker, SCORPIONS guitarist and Michael’s brother]. What I have found out about the ‘Lovedrive’ bio [that is included in the recently released 50th-anniversary deluxe edition of the album] is completely wrong.
“When I was 23, I finished with UFO. I did ‘Strangers In The Night’. We had hits in ’76 with ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Too Hot To Handle’ and ‘Only You Can Rock Me’. The SCORPIONS always copied what UFO did.
“When Rudolf found out I had left UFO and Mathias [Jabs, SCORPIONS guitarist], who had just joined, couldn’t do the album with the SCORPIONS to their liking, they asked me to help out. I came over. I was 23; Rudolf was already 30. And when I finished my work on the SCORPIONS ‘Lovedrive’ album, they didn’t wanna let me go, so they got rid of Matthias. And so they basically persuaded me to be in the SCORPIONS after the ‘Lovedrive’ recording, and all the management in America, they all were very interested in wanting to sign the SCORPIONS. I put on my black-and-white suit and my black-and-white guitar and started touring, [but] after two weeks, I just couldn’t do it. I ran away and I was too shy to confront them; I just couldn’t do it. My brother found me. He called me back. He cried on the phone, [and] it was so embarrassing. I came back a second time. After the second time, I realized, ‘This is not it. I need to stop this,’ and I ran away again. [A short time later] I found out that they got Matthias back — they persuaded him to come back — and that was that. Then, a bit later, I get a phone call from Rudolf [asking me] if I would let him play my black-and-white guitar design. I said, ‘Okay.’ And then he also asked me if I would give him the songwriting credits for ‘Coast To Coast’. All the melodies were written by me, and I didn’t pay attention. I was the sixth part of the ‘Lovedrive’ album, and I had a contract that everything was divided by six.”
He continued: “When they approached me just recently for the SCORPIONS [50th-anniversary deluxe edition reissues of their albums], I found out that they put a bio out that was a complete[ly] wrong story. I found out that there was nobody credited for what I wrote on ‘Holiday’. It’s the intro to ‘Holiday’, it’s forty-five seconds long — that’s the intro that I wrote but nobody got credit for it. And then Rudolf asked me to give him the melodies for ‘Coast To Coast’ and with my black-and-white guitar. And those two things were the most tastiest things and easiest parts to copy, because Rudolf is not really a great guitarist; he can just about play. But that was something, him being a Schenker and now having blond hair, and all the managers finding out, they wanted to sign that band the SCORPIONS where I was part of, I guess he figured out how he can misrepresent and fool people over the years, because I didn’t pay any attention until just recently. I found out that there was not a picture of me on ‘Lovedrive’, there was no mention on ‘Holiday’ who wrote and played that intro, and, of course, Rudolf persuaded me to give him the ‘Coast To Coast’ melodies. And so I’m very disappointed with that. And I must say I’m now finding out more and more weird stuff about Rudolf.”
Michael added: “I have to stay away from him and I can’t trust him anymore — period.”
Earlier this year, Michael spoke to Gigs And Festivals about what it was like playing in the earliest days of the SCORPIONS alongside his brother Rudolf. He said: “There are things that I know today, and I must say I’m actually very disappointed in my brother and the SCORPIONS these days, because I just found out that a lot of things have been incorrect in the past. Me, being seven years younger than the other guys, I think I was taken advantage of right from the beginning.”
He continued: “I wrote most of the SCORPIONS songs on the ‘Lonesome Crow’ album, and it was credited to all members. The very first song I ever wrote was ‘In Search Of The Peace Of Mind’, and it too was credited to all members. I was focusing on music, and they were maybe focusing on business. I have no idea, but they didn’t know how to write songs in those days.”
Asked if he had any plans to get up on stage with the SCORPIONS before they call it a day, Michael said: “I don’t pay attention to any of that. I focus on what I’m doing. I’m fed up with that, and I’m disappointed in them; they have completely distorted the ‘Lovedrive’ phase. Just a few weeks ago, I was confronted with the SCORPIONS [albums reissue] box, and what I saw there, it really, really shocked me. I can’t trust them anymore. The whole ‘Lovedrive’ story is wrong. They are putting it down as if I begged them to take me into the SCORPIONS. They begged me to join — I was already doing arena tours with UFO in the States. It’s unbelievable. They asked me to help them, and now I see that the whole ‘Lovedrive’ story is written to their favor; they are the big guys.”
He continued: “I can’t believe it, honestly. They’re just fooling people with their finishing playing, and then they don’t, and then [they continue playing] forever and ever. I guess when you get older, you get bolder or something, but I have absolutely no interest because I can’t trust them. If I look back now, it’s unbelievable, little bits and pieces I’m discovering. So putting together the whole picture, it looks like they’re absolutely desperate.”
According to Michael, the difference between him and his brother is that “one can play and the other one can’t! [Laughs] That’s how you can find out who is who. Or you look at the eyes; his eyes are brown, but he can fake that too by getting blue lenses. Rudolf is the entertainer on a visual level; I’m the artist.”