Interview with Rudolf Schenker of The Scorpions
By ~ Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
Andrew: What made you decide that this is going to be the farewell?
Rudolf: We were mixing the album and we realized how good the album is. It is like an anthem of the whole of the best songs of the 80s. After working so much on the album you know, we didn't realize. But you do when you have the whole picture in front of you I said to the guys, 'hey I can see how excited you are with this amazing album and I think that this could be a fantastic thing for you guys, if you know what I'm talking about, it could be a good last album and a last tour'. So in the first place they said hey are you kidding or what? I said 'no, think about it. Then we started talking and then we noticed that really it is in an outstanding kind of way how this album sounds like. We had some producers where the chemistry worked out so amazing. Two guys from Sweden, one is a very good guitar player and the other one is a very good technician on the boards and somehow the chemistry was working in my studio and also in Stockholm. We recorded the parts of the backing vocals, guitars and bass here in my studio and other parts like main vocals and drums we did in Stockholm, working together with these guys and really they somehow got this special guitar work out of us, which is really really kicking ass. So this is right essence of the Scorpions to really go on tour again with amazing 80s kind of rock show, the kind of big show we are known for from the 80s. To do that and release the album, that would be fantastic and make it a really big world tour. So more and more we thought about it, the more we came to the point that yes this is the right situation because Scorpions being on stage we make our name as a great live band because of the very powerful act on stage. When that acting gets less and less, it means that the 'sting' is not there anymore. And Scorpions is nothing without the 'sting'. In this case, we know now that we are fit enough to really present a 100 per cent Scorpions show with a 120% Scorpions album, which would make it a successful tour, specially for a band from Germany where people thought that rock music never can come out of Germany. So we are now aware of that and we will give everything to make this last tour around the world a big rock and roll party.
Andrew: Your upcoming album was supposed to be 'Humanity Hour II' but its not. What happened to that?
Rudolf: The truth came after Humanity Hour I. We talked about the fact that we had to be careful with the Humanity Hour I album. Our fears and everything came true, and because of financial crisis and everything, even a band like Linkin Park was talking about the same thing. So in this case, we didn't have anything, any reason to discuss about another concept album. So we said you know, why talking again and again [about it]. Now is the time to say hey guys now we are in deep shit, lets rock, lets get positive energy and lets get out of this shit and make our world positive again. And that's what we did with Sting In The Tail.
Andrew: Can we look forward to hearing some guitar solos played by you on this new album?
Rudolf: Of course, yes. I have two of them. I normally don't play the solos because we have a fantastic guitar player Matthias Jabs. And you know, because I compose a lot and Matthias doesn't, its very important also that we give everybody in the band an important part. Because if you don't give that and you try to do everything by yourself, then for some people it can be boring and we don't want that. This is best for our friendship and we want to give everybody as much possibility to be a part of the band as possible.
Andrew: You recorded this one in Germany as compared to the previous album that you did in the US. How much of a difference you think that has made?
Rudolf: It [the recording in the US] was fantastic! I tell you what, we really enjoyed being in Los Angeles and America is still our dream country. Its pure rock n roll and it was really fun. They gave us personal trainers to be fit, specially coming out of the production and to go on tour again. It was a great idea because after doing this program that time with the personal trainers, we are still doing it because it helps us really to be powerful on stage.
Andrew: Your farewell tour is supposed to last for two years. During this time, can we expect the Scorpions to play in as many cities around the world as possible, covering places you've never been to before?
Rudolf: Of course! We are ready to rock everywhere in the world. Because we did already, but you can talk about Scorpions even playing in the jungle in Amazon, playing in Mongolia, the pyramids in Egypt and there are so many places. The fun thing about it is, its so great to see people who may be never saw a rock n roll band, like when we played in the eastern part of the Europe in Russia. They never saw a rock band live before. We enjoyed very much to play in front of the Russian audience and also we like to play in front of American audience or South America. Its great to see the different mentalities and its fantastic to see that rock music is really building bridges between generations, between continents and religions.
Andrew: I hope there is an India date on your upcoming tour.
Rudolf: I tell you what, we really enjoyed playing in India very much [in 2007], specially in Bangalore, in Mumbai and also we played next to the Himalayas called Shillong. It was amazing! The whole city was free from school and work and I think we had 40-45 thousand people in the stadium. It was amazing to see how they built the whole dressing room, the stadium and everything including the backstage with bamboo!
Andrew: This being the last tour ever, you'll be under a lot of pressure to deliver a set of songs that would satisfy all the fans. So do you have anything in mind for the set list yet?
Rudolf: I think we have in mind of course the classics that people want to hear, may be few songs that we never played. We are still in the process of finishing the album Sting In The Tail because we are still mastering, so when we are finished with mastering we will put the right program together. Of course we have new songs and we have to make sure that we play the right songs because we have so many great new songs that it will be very difficult to find the right one. But like in the last few years, we will change the frequency of the songs. But generally we will play songs like 'You Will Be There', 'Rock You Like A Hurricane', 'Big City Nights', 'The Zoo', 'Winds of Change' and all the important songs will be there and all the new songs and also stuff we never played.
Andrew: The band used to experiment a lot in the late 90s with the albums like Eye II Eye, Moment Of Glory and Acoustica. Why didn't we see some of that experimentation in the albums after that? I thought that stuff was great.
Rudolf: I know [it was great], but the point was that the people were expecting Scorpions like they always were. When we changed the 'formula' everybody was shouting, 'give us the old formula back'. So that's what we found out and people want to have that. That's the reason why we really were very much focused on the new album Sting In The Tail to give the people the formula of The Scorpions. Great guitarist with great vocalist and melodies, and that's what we did, because together with the two producers from Sweden we tried to make the essence out of what we did in the 80s to give the people Scorpions pure. You know, that's the great thing, we started with something Scorpions like and now here we are back again as Scorpions pure. I think that's important for the last album and the last tour.
Andrew: Your brother Michael has made some unusual career moves. What do you think about him and how have you been able to work together with him at all?
Rudolf: If you know, my brother and me, we came out with a guitar called the Schenker Brothers guitar and produced by Dean Guitars. So now many people are asking us, hey guys when are you doing the Schenker Brothers album? And I think that could be a fantastic thing after we finish the Scorpions, to come out with the Schenker Brothers album and I think this is possible. This could be a good thing to do with my brother.
Andrew: The band's glorious history goes back 40 years. Looking back, is there anything at all that you think you could have done differently?
Rudolf: I think everything we did, we tried out the best way of our knowledge. There were difficult times in the 90s because of grunge and alternative, which turned the music scene upside down. We tried to find our way and we learned a lot about music. Acoustica was a very good example of how we can work with acoustic guitars. We learned a lot about our songs when we worked with the orchestra. It was a three dimensional arrangement and a way of working with 80-90 musicians, one of the best orchestra in the world. Anything we did, coming out from Germany, where people couldn't dig rock music, we did as good as we could do it and I think there was no chance to do it any better because everything we tried to do, we tried to make a decision out of our knowledge in that moment. In this case, I'm happy with the career and I'm happy with the new album Sting In The Tail. I promise that we will rock the world like a hurricane and this will be a big world party with our friends and with everybody who wants to be a part of it.
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