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Happy 54th Birthday James Kottak

December 26th, 2016 by

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BackstageAxxess interviews Klaus Meine of The Scorpions

December 5th, 2016 by

On November 10, BackstageAxxess conducted an interview with singer Klaus Meine of German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below.

Speaking about the departure of longtime drummer James Kottak — who was dismissed from the band during his well-publicized his battle with alcoholism — and addition of former MOTÖRHEAD member Mikkey Dee, Klaus said: “With Mikkey, it’s fantastic. It really gives the band a fresh shot of energy. Mikkey, [he] joined this band where we just played the big encore. And at the end of this year, we all need a break. And Mikkey is, like, ‘C’mon, guys. We’ve gotta keep going. This is so fantastic. We have such a good time. The fans are amazing around the world. And let’s keep going.’ And we say, ‘Okay.’ But at this point, we’ve played everywhere. We’ve been everywhere — we’ve played all continents, and even in Australia. So at the end of this tour, we all need a break. But, of course, we will pick it up at some point, because it really feels great with Mikkey.”

He continued: “James [had] been with us for twenty years; it’s such a long run. And we’re still in touch, and it’s great to hear from him. He’s feeling much better now and he’s getting back on track. We said to him, ‘James, it’s so important… You’re a healthy guy. You’re the guy we all love so much — the band, your family, the fans — so you’ve gotta really take care of yourself and really think of you first and your health situation. So he went into a long rehab and was really taking it serious and really taking care about himself. And we gave him all the support we can give him. And it looks like he’s really in a good way, and his health at the end of this year is so much better than it’s been ever before. So that’s really good.”

Klaus added: “But what can I say? There came a point in the spring when we had to make this decision and really what’s great is that Mikkey came in and joined the band. He’s a great drummer, a great musician, a very powerful drummer and very well respected after more than twenty years with MOTÖRHEAD. It’s all about attitude, and he’s a great guy. The chemistry between us worked right away. We had a great time between when we played the Carolina Rebellion in early May until now. We had a lot of fun, and the SCORPIONS fans welcomed Mikkey. And at the same time, they’re sending their thoughts and prayers to James, which is a wonderful thing.”


A message from James Kottak

November 9th, 2016 by

Hello to all my family, friends I want to send a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart for the thousands of
Messages of hope and positivity during my time of healing!
I’m humble and honored for your love and offers graceful.
I’m healthy and happy living now… thank you for yesterday, excited for the future.
As a chapter of my life that closes… a thousand new doors opened up for adventure.
I received the gift end of my life with my personal reboot.
To quote one of my favorite songs “tomorrow is a brand new day”.
With the support of Athena and my three wonderful children,
Today is the first day of the rest of my life!
I’m looking forward to reconnect and see you all soon!

James Kottak

At 50, Scorpions still has a sting in its tail

November 3rd, 2016 by

At 50, Scorpions still has a sting in its tail

Adoration is a hard drug to kick.

After 50 years and dozens of tours, German hard rock band Scorpions is back on the road, chasing its next high in stadiums across four continents for its 50th Anniversary World Tour.

“People in Asia love us! I remember when we came to Kuala Lumpur, the fans there were crazy, so we are looking forward to it,” said founding member and lead guitarist Rudolf Schenker.

Asked if he was worried about protestors – as religious and conservatives groups held demonstrations against Scorpions’ show in Stadium Merdeka in 2004 – Schenker gave a hearty laugh.

Not wanting to go where it was not wanted, the band had checked in with local organisers, the Livescape Group.

“The promoters told us there is no problem anymore, rock music is accepted. Now DJs are the guys they are not liking so much,” Schenker explained over the phone from his hotel in Tokyo, Japan.

“Our music is love, peace, and rock and roll. It is the headline of our life,” he said, dismissing naysayers who lump Scorpions with the outdated image of hedonistic rock bands.

Recycling his favourite line, he said Scorpions was meant to reflect post-war Germany’s new generation. “They are not coming with tanks making war, they are coming with guitars and bringing love and peace.”

Through music, Schenker intended to build bridges between generations, different ideas and philosophies.

Booming in his salesman like voice, he points out the success his band has achieved in reaching the next generation of rock fans: 80% of its Facebook fans were between 18 and 28 years old.

“It’s always great to see this kind of generations coming to enjoy the music … at shows we see fans coming with parents and their babies, well maybe not babies, but little kids,” said the 68-year-old Schenker.

Asked if smartphone wielding fans’ insistence on recording concerts live and posting everything mid-show was an annoyance, Schenker strongly disagreed.

“The new fans are fantastic, they are giving us a new feeling into the music,” he said, pointing out that having your phone out was the modern equivalent to holding out a lighter.

He added that the fact people kept coming to live shows meant that they still wanted more than the YouTube experience of other fans before them.

“That’s what we did with Sting Of The Tail (its 2010 album). We did an album the young kids got bitten by. They say, ‘I’ve seen them on YouTube, now I have to see them live, I want to go there and be a part of a rock and roll show’,” he said.

To not to disappoint fans, Schenker and the band make a point to rock their hearts out during live shows, “jumping and playing together like kids”.

“When you’re on stage, you are on stage because you’re excited. You want to give people the feeling they are standing in the spotlight … attitude is the gasoline of rock and roll,” he summed up.

Schenker counts his band lucky to be able to do a 50th anniversary tour, noting that only three other rock bands had done so before them: the Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, and The Who.

He concedes there was an element of nostalgia to Scorpions, but adds “a part is nostalgia, a part is today … that’s the trick!”

However, the Scorpions’ 50th Anniversary tour which followed a not-so-final farewell tour, had drawn some detractors, most notably Schenker’s own brother Michael. During an interview with rock journalist Mitch Lafon earlier this year, Michael had questioned Scorpions’ creative output, its treatment of former members and arguing that the band had not really reached its 50th birthday.

Asked about his brother, the elder Schenker gave a forced laugh.

“I tell you one thing: I love my brother, my brother is my brother, and whatever he says is fine with me and let him say what he wants to say. I have a band called Scorpions that knows what is happening and what really happened. I have patience. It is a very important point, not talking stupid things in the press and things like this,” he said, adding in as diplomatic way as possible, that he would explain this misunderstanding to his brother after the tour.

For the band’s coming performance in Malaysia, he reveals that there will be a big multimedia show, the “good kind with five, six cameras filming, a big live show with a lot of energy and some great ballads in our pockets”.

In addition to the multimedia spectacle was also a new member to the lineup, drummer Mikkey Dee, best known for his 23 years with British rock band Motorhead.

Schenker assures that the band will play its back catalogue from the 1970s, the essential hits and ballads and even make time for material from its latest album, Return To Forever.

Asked if Scorpions intended to keep singing and stinging, he admitted, in perhaps a concession to his age, that the band plans to go on a long break after the tour wraps up in Berlin, Germany on Dec 2.

“We want to be inspired by something that comes. If there is a project that inspires our creativity, we will go for it. If nothing, we will retire. We realise have to have the patience to wait for the right moment.”


Happy 53rd Birthday to Mikkey Dee(New Scorpions drummer)

October 31st, 2016 by

Klaus Meine Says Mikkey Dee Has Added ‘A Fresh Wave Of Energy’ To The Band

October 25th, 2016 by


German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS took part in a press conference prior to their October 21 concert at at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre in Singapore. You can now watch video footage of the question-and-answer session below.

Speaking about what keeps SCORPIONS going five decades into the band’s career, singer Klaus Meine said: “When we started the band, it was about the passion for music, love for rock and roll. We shared the same visions, and we shared the love for music, and [the desire] to be in a band. It was always… all those years, especially in the early years, about chemistry. Of course, you have great musicians — a great drummer, a great guitarist — but it was also about… You know, you spend so much time [together] being in a band, it’s like your second family, it’s your rock and roll family. And the guy can be the best musician in the world, but if he doesn’t fit right in, if you don’t feel comfortable spending so much time [together] — 24 hours [a day] and month after month and year after year. It’s very important to have a good company, and in a way, this was the foundation for the SCORPIONS — to have not only great, talented musicians, but also good friends, and travel the whole world. So there was this vision from the early days on — we take our music all over the world, and we did.”

He continued: “We’ve been pretty much all over the globe all those years, but the passion for what we’re doing is still there, the fire is still burning very strongly. And we feel a very strong connection with our fans all over the planet, in so many places, and therefore it’s so great to come here back to Singapore. We believe we have a great show this time around, and we wanna share it with our fans, and it’s a wonderful thing.

“Yes, we celebrate fifty years of SCORPIONS, but I guess it’s much more than that. The fact that the band is still together and we still put on a damn good show. And with Mikkey [Dee, drums; ex-MOTÖRHEAD] just joining the band, there’s a fresh wave of energy, and it’s a lot of fun, and we enjoy every night.

“So we’re still excited about doing all those trips and taking our music all over the world. This vision never left us. And at the same time, creating new songs — playing not only the big classics on our show, but also to present new material, new songs from our latest album, ‘Return To Forever’. So it’s the whole package, I guess, that makes the band very, very special. And we still enjoy it very much — not being superstars or anything, but being musicians, being artists, and expressing ourselves though the music and having a wonderful time with our fans all over the world.”

SCORPIONS in September announced the addition of former Dee as a permanent replacement for SCORPIONS‘ longtime drummer James Kottak. Dee had spent the last few months filling in for Kottak, who was said to be on break while he sought medical attention.

Happy 61st Birthday Matthias Jabs

October 25th, 2016 by

Photos and Concert Review from the Scorpions “Singapore show”

October 24th, 2016 by





Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre/Last Friday

Veteran German rock band Scorpions’ energetic 50th anniversary tour performance in Singapore last Friday – a classic rock showcase, complete with all the bombast – would put many younger rockers to shame.

Like the well-oiled machine their compatriots are famous for producing, they proved they very much still have drive and performance, delivering a stellar 90-minute set to a sold-out crowd of 7,000 at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Whether Scorpions played a classic number such as Always Somewhere or a newer track such as We Built This House, most of the crowd faithfully woah-oh-oh-ed along.

The audience – which included middle-aged men and women, as well as 20somethings decked out in tour T-shirts – was largely an enthusiastic bunch who, at points during the concert, literally made the ground shake with its foot stomping and cheering.

But no matter how much the band tried, they could not get the seated audience in the venue to join in the party that was happening in the standing-only section.

Even then, they did an excellent job of playing to the adoring mass, with lead singer Klaus Meine frequently throwing drumsticks into the crowd and guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs throwing down face-melting licks with plenty of style.

Wind Of Change, as was to be expected, saw the most spirited interaction between the band and the audience, with the energy in the room lifting as the crowd sang along on the classic in full voice.

Drummer Mikkey Dee, in particular, was a scene stealer with his mop of grey hair flailing as he thrashed away on the drumkit. There was a nod to his former band as the Scorpions performed Motorhead’s Overkill, which segued into a blistering five-minute drum solo that ended with the stage screens filled with Scorpions’ album covers.

It was one of many triumphant moments on a night that culminated in an encore of Still Loving You and Rock You Like A Hurricane.

Scorpions, who played here in 1994 and 2001, belong to a small group of old-school bands who are still going strong after decades. Like The Rolling Stones and The Who, they proved last Friday night why they have such longevity – they can put on a rocking good live show.

One may think it cheesy that Meine’s leather vest was emblazoned on the back with the words “Rock ‘n’ Roll Forever”, but they are living out the truth of those words.

Their tale still has sting.

Another Concert review from Singapore – http://www.metaltalk.net/columns2016/201617368a.php

The Scorpions press conference in Singapore

October 21st, 2016 by

ROCKERS: German band Scorpions, comprising (from left) bassist Paweł Maciwoda, guitarist Rudolf Schenker, vocalist Klaus Meine, drummer Micael Delaoglou(Mikkey Dee), and Lead guitarist Matthias Jabs, celebrating their 50th anniversary with a cake.


Former MOTÖRHEAD Drummer MIKKEY DEE Joins SCORPIONS As Permanent Member

September 12th, 2016 by


German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS have announced the addition of former MOTÖRHEAD member Mikkey Dee as a permanent replacement for SCORPIONS‘ longtime drummer James Kottak. Dee had spent the last few months filling in for Kottak, who was said to be on break while he sought medical attention.

Said SCORPIONS in a statement: “We would like to thank James for so many years of lasting participation in the band and personal friendship. We understand and respect his need for time as he makes his way through the final stages of his healing process.

“After our incredibly successful shows in the U.S., Europe and Asia, we are sure to have found a fantastic drummer with Mikkey Dee. He brings a fresh energy to the band and we look forward to the exciting time together that lies ahead.”

Said Dee: I feel truly honored and fortunate to be able to carry on playing drums on this level.

“I grew up listening to SCORPIONS and have always loved the band.

“We have been friends for a long time so traveling and performing this year with Klaus, Rudolf, Matthias and Pawel has been loads of fun and the crew is very professional.

“The SCORPIONS fans have been most welcoming and it’s been great to meet all the crazy wonderful MOTÖRHEAD bangers along the way.

“I had some close to 25 amazing years with my friends and brothers Lemmy and Phil in MOTÖRHEAD and that will always be the backbone in my future drumming.

Lemmy always had great respect for SCORPIONS for being a real rock band and I am sure he is proud up there that I moved on and for playing with this class act.

“Here’s to many more years of rock and roll.”

Regarding how playing with SCORPIONS is different from performing with MOTÖRHEAD, Mikkey said: “I played so long with MOTÖRHEAD, we were a three-piece, and that’s a tremendous difference. For instance, when Phil [Campbell, MOTÖRHEAD guitarist] was doing his solo, I might have to be a little busier on the kick drum. Here [in the SCORPIONS], I’ve gotta think the opposite — I’ve gotta be easier on certain things and step into some other stuff. But it’s a great challenge.”

Kottak rejoined the SCORPIONS on the road in November 2014, eight months after he spent a month in a Dubai, United Arab Emirates jail in April for insulting Islam.

Kottak, who had been receiving treatment for alcohol abuse, released a statement in June 2014 in which he said “this entire incident caused me to realize that it is time to stop drinking once and for all so that I can become the father, musician, and friend that I know I can be.”

For some of SCORPIONS‘ 2014 concerts, Swedish drummer Johan Franzon filled in for Kottak.

Dee was originally scheduled to play drums for THIN LIZZY on the latter band’s anniversary shows planned for 2016 and 2017 but was forced to bow out of the dates after he was offered the SCORPIONS gig. He has since been replaced in that group’s touring lineup by JUDAS PRIEST‘s Scott Travis.

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