APRIL 7th 2019


Michael Schenker has worked with some of the greatest frontmen in rock ‘n’ roll such as, Klaus Meine [Scorpions], Phil Mogg [UFO], and of course Gary Barden [M.S.G.], Graham Bonnet [M.S.G., Rainbow, Alcatrazz],  Robin McAuley [McAuley/Schenker Group] and with Doogie White [Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, Rainbow, Yngwie J. Malmsteen]. All of have been featured on the previous ‘Schenker Fest’ tour, all are prominently on 2018’s ‘Resurrection’ album issued last spring on Nuclear Blast Records. “We’re doing the second leg of ‘Schenker Fest’ in North America and we’ll be finishing up the next Schenker Fest album, we’re supposed to have a worldwide release in August. The record will have a special guest vocalist on it, it will feature Ronnie Romero who has been perfroming with Ritchie Blackmore,” says an extremely enthusiastic Schenker, when Metal Titans caught up with him on March 27th.

Ruben Mosqueda

Metal Titans:  How much of an undertaking was it for you to put together the initial ‘Schenker Fest?’ You have a lot of people to get their schedules to mesh to make something like this to happen.

Michael Schenker: It was work to get everyone’s schedule to make this happen, but I think I was driven because I feel this [Schenker Fest] was the natural progression of where I was going. I think this is just one of the next in a series of steps, that I will be going through, until the day that I die. In 2008, I celebrated my work with UFO, Scorpions and M.S.G., I toured and celebrated my past, while the rest of them chased fortune or fame, I went past that. I was content with self-expression, the other stuff wasn’t important to me, I like to create, I’m creative that is why I put together ‘Temple of Rock,’ we made music and we toured. The next logical form of self-expression, a form of creativity and celebration was to do ‘Schenker Fest.’ We recorded ‘Resurrection’ which it was released in 2018 and later this year we will release another record. I don’t know why my [former] bandmates always thought that I had a hidden agenda, because I did not, I just like to create. I have a very special relationship with music, I have been doing this for over half a century now, I could never understand when I would hear fans say something like, “Michael Schenker is God!” [laughs] I would say stuff like, “How? I’m just being myself!” [laughs] I guess back then, in the first phase of my life, I just didn’t know what I had created. In my opinion, it wasn’t until I did “Into The Arena,” on the first M.S.G. album, that I started to do some good work, that’s when I started the second phase of my career as I had already worked with Scorpions, then left UFO.

Metal Titans: In the past, you’ve had history of stage fright?

Michael Schenker: Yes, but in 2008 it went away, I think it had to do something with me accepting that this is what I do, I create and I began to embrace my past, in Scorpions, UFO and M.S.G., after that I entered the 3rd phase of my career which began with ‘Temple of Rock’ and now ‘Schenker Fest.’ There was a time, when I didn’t know who I was, now I know who I am. [laughs] It’s crazy! [laughs]

Metal Titans: You have Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, Gary Barden and a guy that you’ve been working with for a while, Doogie White on a record, sounds like two with a new album due in August. What’s that like?

Michael Schenker: Well, I feel so fulfilled, and then all these singers ‘popped’ up again! [laughs] It’s all icing! [laughs] I think it goes back to me being true to myself, then things fell into place.

Metal Titans: Your relationships in the past with some of the singers, didn’t end well. I imagine you were able to mend those relationships, otherwise a tour like this wouldn’t work?

Michael Schenker: Absolutely, otherwise they wouldn’t have recorded a new record! [laughs] There were challenges, but we worked things out. Then with Ted’s [McKenna] unexpected death in January, it made us realize even more, how life is short. We don’t know what’s in our future. Ted was a bloody incredible drummer!

Metal Titans: The previous time around Graham Bonnet, wasn’t around long. This is going to be a treat for the fans to witness you and Graham share the stage.

Michael Schenker: You know, I don’t poison myself, when things don’t happen the way that I want or envision them to happen. I prefer acceptance and to move on, I feel that it’s much better for yourself and much better for everybody else. What happened with Graham, was that I was playing a solo---then he was gone! [laughs] Our manager was stealing money from us and he probably bought himself a paradise! [laughs] Listen, I don’t let things poison me, I prefer to think that things happen for a reason and then move one.  Like I said before, I prefer to accept, it keeps your heart healthy and it won’t eat you up. I think Graham and I, and the rest of the band feel the same.

Metal Titans: With ‘Schenker Fest’ actively touring and now on the verge of issuing a second album, what’s the status of ‘Temple of Rock?’

Michael Schenker:  That’s a good question, I don’t know. We have been touring this for a few years. When we shot the DVD in Tokyo, Japan and I saw it, I knew we needed to continue doing this. It was fantastic! We had to have Doogie be a part of this, because Doogie and I are ‘Temple of Rock,’ it brought everything full-circle. So to answer your question, if down the road we feel like there should be another Michael Schenker ‘Temple of Rock’ record, so be it. Right now, I don’t focus on that, I focus on this tour, this band and the new album.

Metal Titans: If the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, nominated Scorpions and Scorpions got in, would you make it for the ceremony?

Michael Schenker: That kind of thing doesn’t mean a lot to me at this stage in my life, but I was in Scorpions and made some great records with them. I think I would! [laughs] One thing that I would have to stick with, I would have to stand on the other side of the stage and stay away from Rudolf [Schenker,  because Rudolf is a bully and he will take advantage the moment I open up to him. That is the only way that I can protect myself, I know that, I know that because I’m connected to the universe. I have to stay away from him! [laughs] I don’t know if Rudolf knows who he is, I think he will find out some day, because he will live a long life and he will realize this. That does not mean that I hate him or whatever, God is in charge of him, not me! I didn’t create him! [laughs] We really only know each other for about two years, while we were in the Scorpions together, we don’t have a problem being apart from each other, because we have been for most of our life. I’m not in touch with Rudolf, but I know what I need to do, I need to protect myself.

Metal Titans: You former bandmates in UFO are winding things down, what’s your thoughts on that? Have you been approached about doing anything with them before they end?

Michael Schenker: Well, I think if Phil [Mogg] thinks that it’s time for UFO to go away, then it’s time. He knows what is best, I have not been asked nor do I plan on doing anything with UFO before the end. I don’t know if I would consider it, even if [former UFO bassist] Pete Way were involved. I tried to help Pete many times, but he does not want help, I can not trust Pete. He is a grown man, he is 60 years old today, he’s not 40 years old anymore. He will find his way, when he is ready. Like with Scorpions, we created great music together, they are part of my past, my musical history and I’m proud of that.

Metal Titans: I picked up the Whitesnake Super Deluxe Edition of ‘Slide It In.’ There’s a DVD in the box set, where David Coverdale mentions that he had his eye on you to join Whitesnake leading up to ‘Slide It In.’ I remember, years ago reading in an article in import magazine about that. How close did you get to being a part of Whitesnake?

Michael Schenker: [laughs] I would have never joined Whitesnake! [laughs] I think, it would have more likely that, David Coverdale would have joined M.S.G.! [laughs] My manager was contacted by David Coverdale’s management about me auditioning for Whitesnake, but I was not interested in joining someone else’s band, even back then, I was aware of my self-expression and I would have not felt fulfilled being in someone’s band. If I recall, he [Coverdale] wanted to use the M.S.G. band, he was planning on working with Cozy [Powell], who had worked with me on the first M.S.G. album, and he [Coverdale] wanted to get Chris Glen, but as I say, I would have not been happy, so no, I would have not joined his band! [laughs]  I did do some writing with him, but I was not going to join Whitesnake! [laughs] It would not have worked, it wasn’t possible.  So, I found Graham Bonnet and worked with Chris [Glen] and Ted [McKenna] on ‘Assault Attack’ and Cozy [Powell] went on to work with David Coverdale.

Metal Titans: What’s your recollection of being a part of Contraband?

Michael Schenker: I did that when I had time before recording the next album with Robin McAuley. Bobby Blotzer from Ratt was in that band, I was invited to fill in [in Ratt] because Robbin [Crosby] had died. That was a very colorful bunch of guys! [laughs] I had never seen anything like it! [laughs] I was completely straight, so I remember everything! [laughs] I’ve never seen anything like that, that’s all I will say about Ratt! So, I wasn’t doing anything at the time and I was asked if I wanted to be a part of Contraband, I said, “Sure! Why not?! I’m not doing anything else at the moment.” It was unusual, but it was fun. I had fun recording that album and I liked working with [producer] Kevin Beamish. I got on with everyone, there was chemistry, but it was not meant to be. Tracii Guns and Richard Black, didn’t get on with each other there was a fight and it was over.

Metal Titans: Last one, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Michael Schenker: Yeah, be true to yourself and everything will be on to you.

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Upcoming 2019 North American Tour Dates:

4/15/2019  Whisky A Go Go - West Hollywood, CA
4/16/2019  Whisky A Go Go - West Hollywood, CA
4/17/2019  Whisky A Go Go - West Hollywood, CA
4/19/2019  Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco, CA
4/20/2019  Ace of Spades - Sacramento, CA
4/21/2019  Revolution Hall - Portland, OR
4/22/2019  Vogue Theatre - Vancouver, BC
4/24/2019  The Palace formerly Flames Central – Calgary, AB CANADA
4/27/2019  Gothic Theatre - Englewood, CO        
4/28/2019  The Truman - Kansas City, MO
4/30/2019  Bourbon Hall 116 West Jefferson St Louisville, KY
5/03/2019  The Pabst Theater - Milwaukee, WI
5/04/2019  Concord Music Hall – Chicago, IL
5/05/2019  Lafayette Theater - Lafayette, IN
5/07/2019  Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, ON
5/09/2019  The Egg - Albany, NY
5/10/2019  The Palladium - Worcester, MA
5/11/2019  Irving Plaza – New York City, NY         
5/12/2019  The Space at Westbury - Westbury, NY
5/14/2019  Ram's Head Live 20 Market Place Baltimore, MD        
5/15/2019  The National – Richmond, VA
5/16/2019  Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA
5/18/2019  Empire Garage – Austin, TX