Currently we are experiencing a flurry of Scorpions related new music. Impending releases from Michael Schenker and his Temple of Rock new album, UFO and the Scorpions themselves have all enforced the belief that the classic rock genre is very much alive and kicking. The recent introduction of a new UK based festival to the summer calender Ramblin Man Fair to be headlined by the legendary German Rock band the Scorpions offered the opportunity to discuss both this and the band history who are now in their 50th year of existence with frontman Klaus Meine.
Germany’s most successfully rock band, The Scorpions. These guys have been trend setters for that genre from the country that is known for Beer and their world class Oktoberfest Festival. Through Rock’s history we’ve had quite a few legendary bands that are known for their longevity in the scene, The Scorpions fit right up there when it comes to a definitive long career. But as with tenure bands, at some point they like to call it quits, so it happened in 2012 at the end of another successful world tour, the band threw the anvil down and decided to step way.
Truth be told, when there is a high demand, you supply more. In this case they guys realized that stepping away wasn’t all that easy as their popularity is still at a constant level. Klaus Meine himself admittedly said so.
Their long time running vocalist now at the senior age of 66, instead decided to mix some downtime in between studio albums instead of the constant grind of life on the road ( A bit like Judas Priest decided to do). So with a new studio album this year titled “Return to Forever” the upcoming eighteenth studio album, the band catapults their way back into the scene, line up another world tour and The Scorpions are back in business, stinging their poising to all their longtime army of fans.
We we’re very fortunate to have a chat with Klaus Meine himself tackling new album, world tour, their past success and the future… Full interview at the below link:
Planetmosh spoke to Rudolf Schenker, founder of legendary rock band The Scorpions, to talk about their new album “Return to forever” and their live shows including their first UK date in 8 years at this year’s Ramblin’ Man festival.
The Scorpions are one of the most successful rock bands ever. This year marks their unbelievable 50th stage anniversary. During a tour that had started as their Farewell tour they decided that they want to just keep on rocking. Deutsche Welle’s new documentary ‘Forever and a Day’ traces the band’s unique history. Last Saturday saw the world premiere of the film in Berlin.
Vocalist Klaus Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker of German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS took part in a press conference on February 9 in Paris, France. You can now watch video footage of the question-and-answer session below.
Speaking about SCORPIONS‘ decision to scrap their retirement plans and record a new studio album, “Return To Forever”, Meine said: “When we decided [to do a] farewell tour back in 2010, we thought we had a great album with ‘Sting In The Nail’, and especially whenever we were thinking we would go out on the road again for two or three years around the world, and coming back from that tour, we would definitely be in our sixties, saying, ‘How can we keep going at this pace, this tempo, with this energy and power and still deliver a really great show night after night after night? [How can we] do a hundred shows, year after year, in twenty, thirty countries around the world? So that was a huge question mark up in the air for the two of us. And then we realized during the farewell tour, it’s easier to say than to do, and it was so emotional in many ways, and to see that we had a whole new audience of SCORPIONS fans out there, and [we were playing in front] of three generations.”
He continued: “So coming towards the end of that tour, the end of 2012 in Munich, we realized we don’t split up. We might take the foot off the gas a bit and take it easy, play a few concerts, maybe [take part in] a nice project, not knowing that only a few weeks later ‘MTV Unplugged’ would knock at the door and say, ‘SCORPIONS, how about an ‘MTV Unplugged’?’ Normally, we should have said, ‘We’re sorry. You’re too late. We just split up.’ But nobody would do that, right?! So we kept going, [and] we recorded ‘MTV Unplugged’. We prepared for that one and wrote some new songs, because we thought it would be nice to make the show more attractive to also use some new material. And in a way we opened the creative gates. At the same time, we started already going back to the ’80s, we’d been to the studio with our Swedish producers — I think we started in 2011 or 2012 — recording songs from the ’80s, calling the project ‘Outtakes’ as a working title. And we knew we had some great material sitting there. And at the time, we weren’t thinking about making a new record. Our mood was to [release something] as a bonus album at some point. We did ‘Comeblack’, yes, with cover versions, but we knew we had a great one sitting there, with songs never released, never finished, with some working lyrics, and we had to come up with a new chorus or something. So this was the situation. And we had started already some years back.”
Meine added: “After ‘MTV Unplugged’ and after some very successful shows we did in Germany last summer, we went back into the studio, and in the meantime, there were new songs. Everybody had written new songs, and so at the end of last year, it was a good balance between ’80s stuff and also brand new songs. So this album, ‘Return To Forever’, was building up over the last couple of years — not so much in the sense, ‘Now we make a new record.’ So it was building up. In between, we played some shows, we went back with the Swedish guys and did some recordings, and we were in a comfortable situation at the end of last year, having twenty songs and thinking about, ‘So, guys, we do a double record now or what?’ [Laughs] So it was a lucky situation. At the same time, when this 50th-anniversary tour project came up, we thought it would be nice to focus it all on 2015, bring out a new album and celebrate this very special anniversary, not only with a new record but with a movie. We just did the world premiere in Berlin last week [for] the movie called ‘Forever And A Day’, and we know we will have a movie premiere here in Paris as well very soon. So it’s a long story, but here we are in 2015, all psyched up and excited. And we feel it’s a privilege, after all these years and after this experience called ‘farewell tour,’ it’s a privilege we’re still around and it’s privilege we still can play this global stage out there. And to have so many fans, and also so many young fans from the new rock audience, that come to see us wherever we go, it’s just fanstastic and very inspiring and motivating.”
Australia’s The Rockpit recently conducted an interview with guitarist Matthias Jabs of German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below.
Asked about SCORPIONS‘ decision to scrap their retirement plans, Jabs said: “During the so-called ‘farewell’ tour, the ‘Sting In The Tail’ tour, in 2010, in the beginning, the band really believed this is what it will be, and let’s tour until the end of 2012. And we had this film team with us, and at the final show in Munich, everybody believed this would be it for a long time. We never said we’d quit. What we said [was that] we would get out of the hamster wheel — touring, making albums, touring, making albums, going on for 35 years.”
He continued: “During that tour, we noticed already we have too much fun to really quit. We want to slow down and we don’t wanna play that many shows per year anymore. We played always something like 120 shows every year — at least. So we decided to slow down a bit. But when the final show was done, and it was shortly before Christmas, at the end of January in 2013, this MTV unplugged offer came around the corner, and we couldn’t say no. We thought, ‘Wow! This is great. This is a great new challenge. We haven’t done it in our long career, so let’s go for it. And at the same time, before that, the record company put two contracts on the table, which is unusual, I think, for a band that says, ‘Okay, we wanna quit.'”
Jabs added: “As I said, we just have — still — too much fun. And we have such a younger audience, meanwhile, due to Facebook, I think. At least we have more than six milion Facebook [‘likes’], and the research say 80 percent are between 18 and 28 years old. So, for a band that celebrates their 50th anniversary, that’s quite amazing. And a lot of them, obviously, rushed to the front, so even though it might be only 10 to 15 percent in the entire audience, those are the ones we see. And this is energy boosting; it’s much more fun. So we said, ‘Let’s do it again.'”
The brand-new SCORPIONS studio album “Return To Forever” will be released on February 20 on CD, Deluxe CD, vinyl, Limited Collector’s Box, and several more digital and physical formats. The first single, “We Built This House”, can be downloaded as an Instant Grat on iTunes and Amazon MP3 as of now. The North American Release date will be March 3rd.
“Return To Forever” was recorded with Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen, who had already produced “Sting In The Tail”, and re-arranged the material for “MTV Unplugged” with Jabs.
“Actually, we only wanted to finally record some song ideas for the fans, which we had worked on in the past but never put on an album, and then release them without much fanfare,” Jabs remembered. “There had been quite a few over the years, ideas that were really good, but in the end didn’t make the cut back then due to the limited space on vinyl and later on CD. We quickly had eight songs, which partly had to be finalized first and were then recorded from scratch. During the work, increasingly new song ideas were added from our end, as well as from the two Swedes. We had so much fun working and suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of the songwriting process once again. And in the end, it turned out to be a brand-new SCORPIONS album after all.”
The audio interview is below:
The Scorpions’ official French fan-club, Crazyscorps recently conducted an interview with Scorpions frontman Klaus Meine, who is currently in Sweden recording the band’s new album,. In the audio clip below Meine speaks about the new Scorpions record, drummer James Kottak’s rehab process, feeling ridiculous on stage and his first groupie. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow.
About the new record: “A few years ago, when we thought about this album, about putting out something for the die-hard fans, we were thinking about using some good old material from the 80’s, find some old diamonds and pearls, and we did ! But between 2011 and now, and even this year, we kept on writing. This album is not so much about old material, in the end it’s much more about new songs, and that feels really good.”
About drummer James Kottak’s rehab: “We told him ‘At this point, it’s good if you take a break, not so much for us but for yourself. And not so much about being the drummer of the Scorpions but for yourself being a family man. You should go into a rehab, clean out yourself and come back the same James we know for so many years, not only our drummer but also a friend, and a great guy.'”
The most successful German rockers of all time have sold more than 100 million records and given thousands of concerts. They expected to be done in 2012, but things turned out differently. In this interview, singer Klaus Meine, guitarist Rudolf Schenker and lead guitarist Matthias Jabs talk about saying farewell to the farewell, the challenges of unplugged concerts, the band’s upcoming 50th anniversary, the DW documentary film “Forever and a Day” and the album they’re currently working on.
DW: In 2010, you announced you would end your career together after a three-year farewell tour. In early 2013 came the decision to keep going. Why?
Klaus Meine: When you start a three-year farewell tour, you know you’ve got a long time ahead of you. But that long period went by much faster than we imagined. The closer we got to the goal – Munich in December 2012 – the stronger the feeling was that we hadn’t come to the end at all. There were so many images in our minds and so many emotions in our hearts. Everything we experienced between 2010 and 2012, the 200 concerts – it was all so powerful. You stand on stage, look down and see so many fans – including the younger generation, who are really getting into it and saying: ‘Guys, this is so cool. We’re seeing you for the first time. When will you be back?’ It’s so motivating and inspiring to play for three generations. We’re all having too much fun to put down the guitars.
Rudolf Schenker: The success of the farewell tour bowled us over. When you see you’ve got a whole new generation in front of you – lots of 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds – then you get a whole new kick out of it. Essentially, we announced the farewell tour because we didn’t want to be standing on stage and not able to deliver what people expected from us.
Matthias Jabs: At first, there were plenty of arguments in favor of stopping. But we were quickly overshadowed by the feeling of how much fun it all is. It doesn’t matter where we went, the shows were packed – in South America, the US, throughout Europe. So, we just thought: This can’t really be the end.
Then came the offer to play an MTV Unplugged concert in Athens, which would later be put out on CD and DVD. What does the Unplugged series mean to you?
Klaus Meine: It was early 2013 when we got the MTV Unplugged offer. That really brought out the thrill of the chase in us, and we said: ‘MTV Unplugged? Are we supposed to say: too bad, but we just quit? Of course not.’ So, we all quickly agreed that it was the next challenge. MTV Unplugged really is a brand, even if MTV is no longer what it was during its 80s glory days. But there’s a really strong story there. Really the best musicians in the world have participated, and you want to be part of MTV Unplugged history. So, for us, that was an invitation we really couldn’t turn down and accepted with total passion.
What’s the challenge when it comes to MTV Unplugged?
Matthias Jabs: The acoustic guitar is completely unforgiving. You have to play with much greater concentration and precision. With an electric guitar, particularly with some distortion, you can just go at it, and the sound lingers. But with acoustic guitar, every note has to be played at the right time. That just makes it tougher.
What role does social media play for you?
Klaus Meine: For a live band as globally present as Scorpions, the internet has become an ally – in the sense that people can watch songs on YouTube after almost every concert. Then young people see them and say: When Scorpions come to my country, I want to go check it out with my friends because it’s definitely full-service rock’n’roll, and we’ll have a good time. Then they leave the concert and talk about having seen it and how cool it was – that it wasn’t just some old man rock combo on tour, but a band whose music really spoke to them.
Next year, you’ll celebrate 50 years of Scorpions. What are you planning for the anniversary?
Klaus Meine: In 2015, when we celebrate – and it’s almost hard to say it – the 50th anniversary, then of course we’ll want to put out a strong album. We’ve been in studio the last few weeks, continuing with what we started in 2011. We’re calling the project “Outtakes.” We’ve gone back and listened to songs from the 80s, going through our archives, opening all the drawers. We found a lot of material – many tracks we never released, including some we didn’t finish composing. There were also drafts of lyrics, and I sat back down and wrote new ones. There was a gem or two in there. The album will also have new material – songs we’re putting together now. It’s a really exciting project.
What’s the latest on the documentary film “Forever and a Day” that DW and German broadcaster ZDF commissioned from director Katja von Garnier?
Klaus Meine: It’ll also be released in 2015. A camera team followed us around the world in recent years – in Bangkok, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Los Angeles and Moscow. Recently, we had a screening of the final version of the film. It was really crazy because there’s so much material we couldn’t even remember, like Scorpions on tour with the old band bus in the early 70s. There are so many pictures there that no one but us has seen. I think it’ll be a really special film for our fans.