Michael Schenker – Award Winning Guitarist and one of the most influential Rock Guitarists of all time.
Michael Schenker was born on 10th January 1955 in Sarstedt, Germany.
Lonesome Crow (1972)
Michael Schenker was aged 15 at the time of recording ‘Lonesome Crow’. Michael wrote 90% of the music for this album, but for some unknown reason the songs were credited to all the Scorpions band members, who were all already around 22 years old at that time. ‘In Search of Peace of Mind’ was the first song Michael ever wrote, but it was still credited to all band members. The solo in this song is still one of Michael’s favourite lead breaks of all his work. It was the first Scorpions album ever recorded and it was also Michael Schenker’s first album he ever recorded. Michael was 17 when ‘Lonesome Crow’ was released.
Michael Schenker and Klaus Meine were the team that made it possible for the Scorpions to record their first album. They had been asked by Michael’s 6.5yr older brother Rudolf to join the Scorpions. Klaus and Michael had a band named ‘Copernicus’ who were already playing Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Rory Gallagher songs when Michael was only 14 years old.
The Scorpions were basically playing dance music for the first 5 years of their existence, starting in 1964 when Michael was 9 and Rudolf was 16. Michael and Rudolf started playing guitar at the same time. Michael developed very fast on lead and rhythm guitar and he began teaching Rudolf the new songs that Rudolf was going to play with the Scorpions at their next concert.
‘Lonesome Crow’ was the beginning of the Scorpions becoming professional. With Klaus Meine’s unique voice and Michael Schenker’s unique talent as a lead guitarist when he was only 15, they were getting immediate international recognition. ‘Lonesome Crow’ was re-released later with a Sticker saying – ‘Featuring: Michael Schenker of UFO’. This showed that Michael’s success with UFO had benefited the Scorpions enormously. By Michael joining UFO and becoming an International Star so early in his life, he took the Scorpions step by step with him all the way to Michael’s participation on ‘Lovedrive’, which opened the doors to America for the band.
Fly to the Rainbow (1974)
In 1972 Michael Schenker was asked to join the British psychedelic Rock Band UFO. Michael was 17 at the time. He was eager to get out of Germany where the art of lead guitar and the music Michael loved to play was not really being understood. He was hoping to find a more enthusiastic audience in the U.K.
Before Michael left the Scorpions, he made sure he found Klaus and Rudolf a proper replacement. Michael remembered seeing a 14-year-old guitarist who he thought played skilfully. This was the person that Michael picked and asked him to replace himself in the Scorpions, that person was Uli Jon Roth.
Also, at this time, Michael Schenker was asked by Rudolf if the Scorpions could use some music Michael had written while he was still with the Scorpions which then became the song ‘Fly to The Rainbow’. The Scorpions again used Michael’s name to promote their second Album ‘Fly to The Rainbow’.
Michael Schenker was 23 at the time of recording the ‘Lovedrive’ album. He had just left UFO after recording six albums with them. UFO had their first Hit in the States in 1976 when Michael was 21 (when he wrote the music with Pete Way for ‘Lights Out’), more hits came later with ‘Too Hot to Handle’ and ‘Only You Can Rock Me’. UFO had already released classics such as ‘Rock Bottom’ and ‘Doctor, Doctor’, the music was written by Michael Schenker at age 17.
UFO were mixing the live album ‘Strangers in The Night’ in 1978, when Michael left the band. ‘Strangers in the Night’ went on to become one of the best rock live albums of all time. Rudolf found out that Michael had left UFO and asked Michael if he would help the Scorpions finish their partially completed album ‘Lovedrive’, because their new guitarist Mathias Jabs was not capable of finishing the album to their expectations.
Michael said that he would need to be contracted as a sixth member for the ‘Lovedrive’ album if he was going to do it. The Scorpions agreed, and Michael ended up playing many parts on the whole album. Michael also wrote music for the ‘Lovedrive’ album that he was not credited for, ‘Coast to Coast’ was one such song. Michael gave his part of the composition to Rudolf as a gift when Rudolf asked him if he could have ‘Coast to Coast’ credited as his Rudolph composition (this was after Michael had left the Scorpions and ‘Lovedrive’ was not yet released). Michael has always wondered why Rudolf made such a request.
Another Song that Michael was not credited for as a composer was the 45 seconds long intro to ‘Holiday’, it was an intro that set the mood for the song. Michael’s contribution to ‘Holiday’ with his acoustic lead guitar intro was not acknowledged by Rudolf and the Scorpions as Michael’s composition. Michael only became aware of this some years later when, for the first time, he looked at the album credits after he was approached to participate on the Scorpions Box Set in 2015.
Michael also discovered the story of how ‘Lovedrive’ had been misrepresented by the Scorpions and their version of events was not true. This was one of the most annoying things for Michael. According to Michael, the truth is, that Rudolf called Michael on the phone crying and begging Michael to stay in the Scorpions. How the Scorpions presented the event was that Rudolf had to take Michael back in the Scorpions because he is his brother. Michael believes that Rudolf made up this version of events to justify firing Mathias Jabs.
The Scorpions were impressed with Michael’s work on ‘Lovedrive’ and knew that Michael was already famous in the United States and one of the most influential guitarists around. They believed he was an asset, and this was the true reason he got asked to join the Scorpions. Michael joined as a favour to Klaus and Rudolf, but he found out very quickly that being a part of a constant recording and touring machine like he had just left behind him with UFO was not what he wanted. Michael had his own vision and left the Scorpions, never looking back. Again, the Scorpions used a sticker on their original release that said: – ‘Featuring: Michael Schenker of UFO’ – to promote and sell the ‘Lovedrive’ album.
Also, The Scorpions used the same album cover designer as UFO did from day one, from ‘Phenomenon’ to ‘Strangers in The Night’. Michael’s participation on ‘Lovedrive’ opened the doors to America for the Scorpions where they had never played before.
Aged only 23, Michael had already experienced fame and success. He came to a decision that it was not for him and that he would rather step back and be free and experiment with music. He decided that this kind of life was not for him, yet it took Rudolf and Klaus until 1981 when they were already 33 years old before they were playing the USA. After Michael had left the Scorpions Rudolf asked his brother if Michael would allow Rudolf to use his famous black and white ‘Flying-V’ design (Michael wondered why Rudolph made this request).
Rudolf started to perform ‘Coast to Coast’ and ‘Holiday’ which were Michael’s compositions throughout the years that followed putting them forward as his own work. Rudolph even used Michael’s black and white Flying-V design and even dyed his hair blonde.
Even though Michael had a contract with the Scorpions to be a sixth member for the ‘Lovedrive’ album, Michael’s picture was not even on the original release, Michael only discovered this in 2015 when he also saw that his name had been completely omitted from re-released ‘Lovedrive’ album.
For Michael, it seemed that his name was not needed anymore because by now the Scorpions had since had hits in America. It seems that Rudolf’s planever since Michael left the Scorpions after ‘Lovedrive’,was to confuse new fans and newcomers by making them think that the famous blonde Schenker Lead Guitarist with the Black and White Flying-V was still in the Scorpions. To a new fan they may have even be look-a-likes, which would lead to them being confused. Also, having ignored Michael’s name on the ‘Lovedrive’ re-releases, it looks to new fans that (after 35 years), the ‘Lovedrive’ album was all the Scorpions own work, with no input from Michael. This, of course, is untrue.
With Michael staying out of the spotlight for many years (focusing on experimenting with music, building a recording studio, and focusing on his development as a person), it seemed the Scorpions set out to mislead their fans around the world whom they had gathered since the ‘Blackout’ album in 1981, by using Michael’s guitar style. This is especially so after they were successful in Russia, China and other countries, that had only just recently started to pay attention to rock music in the 1990’s. The fans got misinformed.
Michael only discovered these wrong doings in 2015, when he was asked to participate in the fifty years of The Scorpions Box Set. Michael is now making the effort to help to clear up the past to let people know the truth. Also, for Michael, the Fifty Years Scorpions box set should not havebeen released in 2015, it should have been released in 2020, fifty years after ‘Lonesome Crow’, the first actual Scorpions album that was recorded.
Michael had supported his older brother Rudolf for many years, not knowing what had really happened behind Michael’s back, fortunately, that has now changed. Michael states: “Rudolf ripped me off”. Michael is very disappointed in Rudolf and is no longer staying in touch with him. Michael feels that Rudolf has clearly taken advantage of his generosity. For Michael, his generosity towards Rudolf over all these years has been badly misused by his brother. Rudolf’s behaviour has shown to be totally disrespectful and ungrateful towards Michael. According to Michael, people/fans should study the facts to understand the past. They should research and investigate the facts and they will find out the actual truth.
Also, it is not known that Rudolf asked Michael to help The Scorpions out on three songs for the ‘Crazy World’ album. Michael wrote three solos to the songs ‘Send Me an Angel’, ‘Haven’ and ‘Wind of Change’. Michael sent his solos to Rudolf, but strangely,Michael never got a response, so he asked Rudolf: “What do you think of my compositions?” Rudolf answered: “I did notreceive anything,” and left it at that. Rudolph never asked Michael to send them again or make any further remarks. Michael thinks that Rudolf just wanted to see how Michael would approach those three songs, and then did his own thing, but was inspired by what Michael had sent him. For Michael, Rudolf, Klaus and Mathias, are the proud owners of a brand name that Michael paved the path for.
When Michael stepped back after finishing with UFO in ’78 (age 23) and after Michael helped the Scorpions with their ‘Lovedrive’ album, thereby opening the doors to America for the Scorpions and Rudolf, over the following years, the Scorpions adopted everything that Michael used and did. Whatever Rudolf could get his hands on, he injected it into the branding of the Scorpions. Everything Michael was doing Rudolf wanted because he was hoping that it would lead him to success.
- Michael’s Guitar style
- Michael’s Black and White Gibson Flying V design
- Michael’s moves and how he held his guitar
- Michael’s Blonde Hair
- How to write music
- Peter Mensch (Michael’s Manager)
- Michael’s Guitar Tech
- James Kottack (Michael’s drummer in ’91)
For Michael, Rudolf Schenker developed almost into a perfect Double of Michael Schenker, with one important thing missing and that is the talent as a guitar player.
In 1972 Michael Schenker (aged 17), had just left the Scorpions and was focusing on writing music for the first UFO album ‘Phenomenon’ when he received a phone call to audition for the Rolling Stones. Michael got very nervous about the request and never returned the call. Michael felt that joining UFO and being in the UK was enough progress for him at that time.
‘Phenomenon’ was Michael Schenker’s first recording with UFO, turning them into a proper rock band. ‘Doctor Doctor’ and ‘Rock Bottom’ which Michael wrote the music for are both still favourites today. This was also the beginning of Michael deciding not to listen to music anymore. Upto this point he was fond of all the great guitarist of the late ’60’s but now he felt it was time to focus on pure self-expression.
‘Phenomenon’ was also Michael’s further development as a lead guitarist since the Scorpions ‘Lonesome Crow’ album. Even so, the ‘In Search of Peace of Mind’ guitarsolo is still one of Michael’s favourite solos that he has played over the years. However, with the release of ‘Phenomenon’, UFO immediately became an underground hot tip.
Force It (1975)
‘Force It’ was Michael Schenker’s next step. Now at aged 19, Michael developed as a lead guitarist with pure self- expression which was his passion. Also, Michael started to make it a habit over the years to credit all his band members for at least one song he wrote per album as a thanks for their participation. One of those songs was ‘Shoot, Shoot’,and ‘Lights Out’, ‘Natural Thing’ and many more.
No Heavy Petting (1976)
At this time, Michael Schenker was very happy with his development as a lead guitarist and felt that he was stepping up to the next level with each album release, by now he was 20 years old. For Michael, ‘No Heavy Petting’ was “almost a winner, but not quite yet.” Nonetheless, it is still one of Michael’s favourite UFO Albums.
Lights Out (1977)
With the addition of Paul Raymond on Guitar/Keyboards, and producer Ron Nevison in 1976, Michael felt ‘it clicked’. At that time, Michael was 21 and UFO had a hit album with ‘Lights Out’, with the music written by Michael Schenker and Pete Way,the title track and ‘Too Hot to Handle’ became hit songs.
However, Michael got nervous about the success and disappeared. Two months later, Michael returned to UFO and continued. By this time, UFO started to play Arenas and Michael felt his guitar playing kept getting stronger and stronger.
Obsession was the next killer album with Ron Nevison as the producer. It was recorded in 1977 and the single ‘Only You Can Rock Me’,with the music written by Michael Schenker and Pete Way, made it to the top of the US charts. In general, Michael Schenker wrote most of the music in UFO. Also, Michael had one Black and one White Gibson Flying-V guitar around the days of ‘Obsession’ and ‘Strangers in The Night’. This led him to the idea of the Black and White Gibson Flying-V design towards the end of UFO. It also marked a new chapter in Michael’s life – The Middle Years – they were the most important years to Michael.
Strangers in the Night (1979, Live)
Michael Schenker was 23 when UFO recorded ‘Strangers in the Night’. By now Michael had established himself as one of the top guitarists in the World. ‘Strangers in the Night’ became one of the best live rock albums of all time. However, Michael left UFO in the middle of mixing due to the following reasons:
- He had been punched in the stomach by Phil Mogg who always used to fight people. Michael had warned Phil that if he ever punched him, he would leave.
- Ron Nevison and the rest of UFO had chosen a different recording of ‘Rock Bottom’ than what Michael wanted. ‘Strangers in the Night’ was recorded over two nights at two different Venues. Michael liked his lead guitar playing on ‘Rock Bottom’ better on the other version, but because the rest of UFO sounded better on the other night, they decided to use that version.
The music to ‘Rock Bottom’ was composed by Michael and it was a guitar song with a long guitar solo in the middle. The guitar solo was important to Michael and he felt the rest of the band should have respected that. Michael left UFO in 1978 when they peaked and became one of the biggest bands in the world.
Michael had tasted enough of what it was like to be on top and, at 23, decided that he would rather be free to experiment with music rather than being stuck in the rat race, being restricted by others who were obnoxious, and only interested in competing for fame and money.
Walk on Water (1995)
‘Walk on Water’ was the reunion album of the classic line-up. Seventeen years after separating, UFO recorded this album in 1995. In 1992 Michael Schenker was visited by a completely run down and devastated Phil Mogg who had reached Rock Bottom. UFO had diminished to nothing. Phil had travelled with his manager to Los Angeles where Michael was living at the time to ask Michael him to help-out. At the same time Michael was asked to join Deep Purple. However, Michael agreed to reunite with UFO on the following conditions:
- He was given 50 % of the UFO name (this was to make sure Michael had control over preventing the possibility his efforts of establishment being destroyed for a second time).
- If it was all original members including Ron Nevison.
- If they would agree to sell the record on tour.
Phil agreed to everything.
At the same time Michael was approached by Rudolf to help the Scorpions on their upcoming European/Japanese tours, to be part of their acoustic set in their show. UFO started booking shows in Germany and the Scorpions booked their tours. Michael performed with the Scorpions in Europe and Japan first, and then went straight on to touring Germany with UFO. When Michael got back to LA he was offered a big record deal for MSG by a Japanese record company to release a record in Japan.
Michael thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to take this deal for UFO and convinced the Japanese record label that he would agree if they give him two deals, one for MSG and one for UFO. Michael also requested they give him the rights for the rest of the World for the MSG deal which became – ‘Written in the Sand’ – both were identical deals. The Record company agreed, and Michael decided to use the first deal for UFO and started recording ‘Walk on Water’ in Los Angeles.
For Michael it was a great time, everybody was happy and inspired. Phil was getting well again, and the recording turned out superb. It all felt like UFO had connected perfectly where they had left off seventeen years before. UFO booked a US tour and started selling the ‘Walk on Water’ CD on Tour.
The tour became one of the top selling tours of that year, but all went too well for Phil. According to Michael, Phil started to become difficult, because he didn’t like losing control and not being in charge anymore. Three months into the tour Phil decided to stop selling on tour and that was the end, Phil had broken his agreement, and everything collapsed. After this, the live CD ‘Werewolves of London’ (1998) was released.
After the ‘Walk on Water’ Tour collapse in 1995 UFO made other attempts to carry on. Eventually they got approached by Shrapnel records to make a low budget record. Michael Schenker advised not to do it and to shop for a major record deal instead, but all eventually agreed to go with Shrapnel and ‘Covenant’ was recorded. It was a good record but without the support of a major record company. Moreover, it wasn’t the original line-up, thus, the chemistry was disturbed.
‘Sharks’ was the follow up to ‘Covenant’, but, like ‘Covenant’, it did not have the support of a major record company. Once again, the record was good but without the original line-up (including Ron Nevison), the chemistry was different. UFO decided to do another tour on which it all finally collapsed for good. Michael Schenker gave Phil Mogg the name UFO back without any conditions just to be freed from them forever. Then Michael and UFO went their separate ways since. Since then, Phil Mogg is walking proudly as the owner of a brand name that Michael Schenker established twice.
Michael Schenker Group
The Michael Schenker Group (1980)
After Michael Schenker was eventually free from the Scorpions ‘Lovedrive’ era, and not looking back, Peter Mensch (a Michael Schenker Fan managing AC/DC at the time and now Metallica) was looking for Michael to manage him. Michael moved to London still confused about what should happen next and was offered to jam with Aerosmith to see if it was a match. Joe Perry had left the band, so Michael went to New York, but it was a mistake, because Steven Tyler being in a bad state. Also, Michael was not doing too well and was wondering what he was doing with Aerosmith anyway after having just left UFO and the Scorpions.
Michael had enough from the pressure of constant recording and touring with bands and having to follow other people’s plans. Michael went back to London and focused on putting his own band together to be able to do what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it.
Michael was also not really looking for anything big, he just wanted to experiment with music without compromise, but with Peter Mensch as his manager, Michael was already unknowingly setting himself up for big business again. Peter Mensch saw a great opportunity for himself to manage Michael Schenker and found Michael his first impressive band members.
Peter’s and his partner Cliff Burnstein’s first idea, was to put Michael together with drummer Aynsley Dunbar (ex-David Bowie) and Sammy Hagar from Montrose on vocals. Also, Geddy Lee and Neil Part from Rush offered help Michael on his first solo album.
However, what came out of it eventually was Denny Carmassi from Montrose on drums, and Billy Sheehan (later with Mr. Big) on bass and singer Gary Barden, who Michael picked. After four weeks of rehearsals Michael became sick and this formation broke up, because Michael’s health was getting worse, and he decided to straighten himself out. When Michael got well, he was ready to go, that’s when Peter Mensch approached him again.
The next attempt was Joey Kramer on drums and Tom Hamilton on bass from Aerosmith. Aerosmith had broken up and Joe and Tom were free to work with Michael. Michael went to Boston and rehearsed with them, but Steven Tyler got well and reformed Aerosmith.
Eventually Peter Mensch found Simon Phillips, Drums and Mo Foster, Bass (who were both currently working with Jeff Beck at the time) to record Michael Schenker’s first Solo Album produced by Deep Purple’s bass player Roger Glover.
Suddenly things started to happen very fast. Peter Mensch and Michael put a recording/touring band together. It was Cozy Powell (ex-Jeff Beck and Rainbow) Drums, Paul Raymond (ex UFO) Guitar/Keyboards, Chris Glen (ex-Alex Harvey) Bass and Gary Barden Vocals. Peter suggested John Mutt Lange as the Producer, but Michael did not want to sound like AC/DC and decided on Ron Nevison. While recording ‘MSG’, Paul McCartney, who was recording next door, came over and jammed with Michael and his band. Stephen Stills who was in London at the time came over to do backing Vocals. While Ron Nevison was mixing the new album, the Michael Schenker Group was already taking off to play in Japan and doing a live recording before their second studio album was even released. Somehow the Japanese fans seemed to already know the new songs singing along to almost every one of them.
One Night at Budokan (1982, Live)
Michael remembers it was a great experience arriving for the first time in Japan. The Japanese Fans had waited for Michael since his days with Scorpions and the UFO but somehow, he had never been to Japan up to this point. Now with this amazing line up the Japanese fanswere incredibly excited. The Live Recording took place in Tokyo’s Budokan, an amazing venue that held over 10, 000 people. Michael remembers: “It was like the Beatles the fans were absolutely wild and excited. The album was mixed by Michael and Nevison’s engineer. It turned out to be a killer live album.
Assault Attack (1982)
By this time Peter Mensch wanted a new Singer to move Michael to the next level. Mensch suggested David Coverdale who was already jamming with Michael at Peter’s house to music Michael had written, which became ‘Dancer’ with Graham Bonnet. Coverdale wanted Michael, Cozy and Chris to join Whitesnake and Michael asked Coverdale to join MSG. Neither happened, and Michael decided to team up with Graham Bonnet. The producer was Martin Birch who produced Iron Maiden.
In the middle of all of this, Michael got a call in the middle of the night from Ozzy Osbourne learning about the death of Randy Rhoads and was asked to join Ozzy. Michael was getting ready to record ‘Assault Attack’, but also declined Ozzy for the same reason he declined to be with UFO, Scorpions, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Phil Lynott, Ian Hunter, Motorhead and many more of the well-known bands that Michael was asked to join. For some reason, Cozy Powell decided to quit MSG and was replaced by the excellent Ted McKenna who had been the drummer with Alex Harvey and Rory Gallagher. The Album was titled -Assault Attack – and became a musician’s favourite.
The band booked a tour and Graham. who lasted only 15 minutes on stage and that was the end of Graham being in MSG. Gary Barden was asked back to headline Reading Festival three days later and Michael decided to carry on with Gary, then Peter Mensch and Michael parted, and went their separate ways.
Built to Destroy (1983)
Eventually Michael was free from the pressure of Peter Mensch and he was able to start experimenting without compromises and without having to fear if it was going to be successful or not. Michael just wanted to be free and enjoy the moment which was why Michael wanted to go solo in the first place. This Studio Album was an attempt to try self- producing.
Unfortunately, the engineer that came with the recording studio was not on the level MSG needed. Also, Michael pushed Gary to try sing high notes that sounded unnatural and was not suited for Gary’s great midrange vocal sound. ‘Built to Destroy’ had some great songs on itbut did not sound as good as it could have been.
The funny thing was that David Krebs (Aerosmith Manager at the time) had found out that Peter Mensch and Michael Schenker had split up, so Michael was approached by David to manage him and to have the album remixed by Jack Douglas (Aerosmith producer at the time). The pressure continues. Somehow Michael always attracted people who wanted to do big business with him. Michael fell for it again and again.
Rock Will Never Die (1984, live)
This album was on Michael’s NO list. Michael was not happy with the recording and was never into releasing it. David Krebs decided by himself to release this and that was it.
Written in the Sand (1996)
For Michael, this was a great album. It had Leif Sundin on vocals, Barry Sparks on bass and Shane Gaalaas on drums. This Album was part of a two deal offer to Michael Schenker by a Japanese record company in 1995. Michael used the first deal for UFO ‘Walk on Water’ in 1995. The second deal became ‘Written in the Sand’ and was produced by Ron Nevison. Michael was managing himself at the time and had a new band. Michael decided to sell this record on tour and enjoyed his freedom.
The Michael Schenker Story Live (1997, Live)
Michael Schenker was living in Arizona at the time and was looking for a touring singer. After ‘Written in the Sand’, Leif Sundin was not able to stay in the USA anymore and David Van Landing (who passed away in 2015) joined MSG for touring. They started off in the States and recorded “The Michael Schenker Story Live” in Japan, this was originally released on Michael Schenker Records.
The Unforgiven (1999)
Michael Schenker was approached by Shrapnel records to record with a new singer who Mike Varney had in mind for Michael. It was Kelly Keeling, who is a great Singer. The album turned out great, but it never got as far as touring with Kelly. However, the live album, ‘The Unforgiven World Tour’ was released in 1999 with Keith Slack on vocals.
Be Aware of Scorpions (2001)
Michael Schenker had just finished building his Recording Studio in Cave Creek/Phoenix, Arizona and had put a new band together for a new album. Mike Varney had a great new singer for Michael, his name was Chris Logan. Michael was also introduced to Rev Jones on bass, Jeff Martin on drums and on Guitar/Keyboards was Wayne Findlay, a member of MSG since 1999. The title came about at the photo session for the new album when the band walked out the back door to take pictures when Michael warned the band to: ‘Be aware of Scorpions’ because Michael’s Studio was based in the desert. The Album was released on SPV.
Mike Varney wanted to have a go at recording an MSG/Michael Schenker Group album with Chris Logan on Vocals. Mike put a band together: Steward Hamm on Bass (ex Joe Satriani) and Jeremy Colson on drums (later the drummer with Steve Vai). Michael Schenker became sick in the middle of the recording and some of the lead guitar was finished by Jeff Watson (Night Rangers).
Tales of Rock ‘n’ Roll (2006)
Michael Schenker had started to write material for a new album in late 2001 in his recording studio. There was a period between 1993 and 2002 when Michael enjoyed writing music going from one idea to the next without stopping, creating one long piece of music. This piece of music started as an instrumental. Jeff Martin was on Drums and Pete Way was on Bass. It took a lot of experimenting and many thoughts to figure out what to do with it. This process continued until 2004 when Michael finally decided to look for a singer.
Michael eventually found a Singer from Norway, his name was JariTiura. Jari had the suitable voice for what Michael had in mind. Michael also invited Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley to sing on some sections.Michael moved back to Germany in 2005 and was introduced to Holger Huebner from Wacken who had a record company. A deal was reached with Michael to release ‘Tales of Rock ’n’ Roll’ on Holger’s record label, Armageddon Music.
In the Midst of Beauty (2008)
After a period of on and off rough times for Michael Schenker between 2005 and 2007, Michael decided to freshen up and found himself in a very great state of mind. He suddenly had this urge to be on stage which used to be the difficult part for him in music. Michael suffered from stage fright throughout his carrier but out of nowhere, Michael became the opposite. He wanted to be on stage more than ever and recorded a reunion album with Gary Barden ‘In the Midst of Beauty’ which was to be released on inakustik with Simon Phillips on Drums, Neil Murray on Bass and Don Airy on Keyboards.
This was the beginning of Michael’sthird stage of his life. The album was a great start. In 2010, ‘The 30th Anniversary Concert – Live in Tokyo’ (2010, Live) was released. With a renewed interest in MSG due to the Schenker/Barden reunion, the 1981 MSG concert, ‘The Michael Schenker Group: Rockpalast (2012) was also released on DVD/CD.
Featuring Michael Schenker, with Ronnie Romero, Ralph Scheepers, Joe Lynn Turner, Michael Voss, Gary Barden, Robin Mc Auley, Doogie White on vocals, Barry Sparks on bass, Steve Mann on guitar/keyboards, Bodo Schopf, Simon Phillips, Brian Tichy on drums and Derek Sherinian, keyboards, guesting on the opening song: ‘Drilled to Kill’. ‘Immortal’ was produced by Michael Schenker & Michael Voss and released on the Nuclear Blast labeland became a big success all around the world reaching number 8 in the German Charts.
McAuley Schenker Group
Perfect Timing (1987)
After the Album ‘Built to Destroy’ things were coming to an end with Michael Schenker, Gary Barden, Chris Glen and Ted McKenna. Gary seemed to have had enough, Chris left over night and there was no point carrying on.
Michael’s next experiment was looking for a 50/50 partner in a Singer. He picked Robin McAuley. Michael decided to give Robin the M of MSG in order to keep MSG. Andy Johns (known for his work with the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin) was to be the producer. Having more people involved in writing, the direction of the music changed things a bit, but Michael carried on developing his guitar playing.
Finding Mitch Perry (second guitarist) let the band be part of the guitar tapping style trend and the album became a success in the States. The McAuley Schenker Group showed their potential as a hit band.’Gimme Your Love’ was their first Video, followed by ‘Love is Not a Game’.
Save Yourself (1989)
Adding Steve Mann Guitar/Keyboard was a great move. Steve was very good in doing studio engineering and that helped the band a lot. They put together a great demo and chose Frank Filipetti as their producer. ‘Anytime’ was the next video and became a hit in the States. Even Lou Gramm had to stop his car on the motorway to digest what he was hearing, so Michael Schenker was told at some point. ‘This is My Heart’ was the next Videoand went down very well.
Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley changed management and moved to LA. The band’s name changed to – Schenker/McAuley with James Kottack (ex-Kingdom Come, later Scorpions) on Drums, Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken and later Foreigner) on Bass and Jeremy Spencer Sercombe (Shark Island) on Rhythm Guitar. Left Bank Management was in charge and decided to choose the songs that went on the Album.
Robin wrote songs with others and the Michael Schenker sound disappeared slowly but surely, except Michael’s lead guitar playing kept developing. A very interesting thing happened during this recording. Michael was in self-improvement mode. He had put up a video camera directed at him throughout the whole recording session to overcome the fear of video cameras pointing at him in interviews. He also visited several self-improvement programs that led him to do a project to end hunger by the year 2000.
Part of the project was to come up with a topic to work on and follow it through, so Michael decided to work on ending hunger. He had seen a video clip how to help people to help themselves and he was convinced that he could make this work if the rock scene would support him. Michael had to come up with specifics that was part of the project, so he promised to sell out a concert inviting Aerosmith, Scorpions, Kiss, to promote this video to help people to help themselves, but none of them showed any interest. Subsequently, Michael went on a Hunger Strike for five days, not eating while mixing the ‘MSG 1992’ album. They discovered that one solo was missing on the song ‘What Happened to Me’. Michael was already so weak he had to be driven to the studio but decided to have a go at playing the solo. Michael took all the strength he had left and played one of his favourite solos ever. It was a miracle. Michael carried on his hunger strike until he reached 11 days when he finally had enough and stuffed himself with food all day for the next 3 days. It was after this that ‘Nightmare: The Acoustic M.S.G.’ (1992) was released.
Unplugged Live (1992)
This started off as a promotion tool for the ‘MSG 1992’ album that was performed by Michael Schenker, Robin McAuley and Jeremy Spencer Sercombe in many countries. Michael started to love playing acoustic guitar and eventually they booked a show in LA and recorded ‘Unplugged Live’ (1992). Michael and Robin had different ideas how to mix the album and went their separate ways.
Thank You (1993)
It never occurred to Michael that there was something wrong with not getting paid after concerts. Apparently, there was never any money left after expenses. Michael was happy anyway, had an apartment and everything he needed. A limo driver told him in a conversation that he is being ripped off. That was 1991 when Michael told his management that he will not play shows unless he gets paid and for the first time, from then on, Michael got paid after every show. Michael was wondering why he should hang around any longer with those kinds of people ripping him. He thought he should be able to sell at least enough CD’s every day by himself to have food and a roof over his head, to be independent and free. So, he decided to split and became his own manager.
Michael decided to record an acoustic instrumental album by himself with borrowed money to say Thank You to his fans for their support over all these years. Michael went on a Greyhound Bus and travelled 10,000 miles through the United States knocking on radio station doors without an appointment and presented his ‘Thank You’ album. Eighty percent of all Stations opened their doors, played songs from the album and did interviews with Michael. When Michael got back home, he was rich. The ‘Thank You’ album was also used for Aids Patients in Hospitals for Therapy.
Thank You 2 (1998)
In the 1990’s, from 1992 onwards, Michael Schenker was eventually free to fully experiment with music in all ways possible. It was time for another Thank You album. ‘Thank You 2’ was first released on his own label, Michael Schenker Records and later SPV released the album.
Thank You with Orchestra (1999)
Michael Schenker met someone who was able to add Orchestral music to his first ‘Thank You’ album.
This was another experiment Michael Schenker was attracted to. He wanted to compose long pieces of music going from one part to another. It truly was an Adventure Michael says. Ansley Dunbar was on drums. It was released on Shrapnel Records.
The Odd Trio (2000)
This was something Michael Schenker always wanted to do. He loved playing drums and wanted to have a go on playing all instruments, including recording all by himself. As a kind of a fun thing and messing around, not to be taken too seriously, he dressed himself up as three different musicians for the album cover and gave them fake names. It was an instrumental album which some hard-core fans loved as one of their favourite albums of Michael’s. This was recorded at Michael’s temporary studio while his real main studio was being built.
Thank You 3 (2001)
After the surprising success with the first ‘Thank You’ album and managing himself, Michael Schenker established himself over the next few years to the point when he found himself having one house in Scottsdale, one in Phoenix and another one in Mexico. He had, land in Hawaii and was working on building a recording studio designed by the same people who built Don Henley’s and Ricky Martin’s. After giving up the idea of building in Hawaii Michael settled in Cave Creek Arizona, based on a new relationship Michael got into. Now was the time to record ‘Thank You 3’ in his own studio. This was released on Michael Schenker Records then on Shrapnel Records.
Dreams and Expressions (2001)
This album was again based on one long composition going from one piece to another, hardly repeating any bits to take you on a journey. It was a very enjoyable thing to do for Michael to do at the time.
Thank You 4 (2003)
By now Michael Schenker’s relationship fell apart and Michael lost his recording studio, and everything else. Back to square one, Michael recorded the acoustic instrumental album ‘Thank You 4’ in a studio in Scottsdale and started to rebuild himself from scratch. He opened a new office and a new Record Company, Goott Records (which stands for Get out of the trap), and he re-established himself in Phoenix Arizona till he decided in 2005 to move back to Germany.
A compilation of Michaels instrumentals titled ‘Instrumental Intensity’ was released in 2010.
Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock
Temple of Rock (2011)
Gary Barden moved to Thailand and Michael Schenker was jamming with Pete Way and Herman Rarebell to work on a live show. Michael was also ready to record his next album. He went to Michael Voss’s studio in Germany and started to put down ideas for a demo and asked Voss if he could help with guide vocals. Michael did not know that Voss could sing, so Michael asked Voss if he wanted to sing on the album and that was it. Once the Demo was recorded, Michael went back to the UK and played it to Pete and Herman. They loved it and wanted to be the rhythm section, now there was a band. At some point Voss created this great intro and Michael said we need someone with a big voice to speak the words. Next thing, by chance, soon after this, Michael gets a phone call from William Shatners Agent who asked Michael if he would like to play a solo on Captain Kirks new album.
Michael said: “That’s it! Please ask him if he would speak on my new album.” So, Michael ended up playing a solo on William’s album and Captain Kirk spoke on Michael’s intro. Things were developing effortlessly.
Then Michael had the idea: “Maybe we should invite more guests.” So, they made a list of musicians and invited the ones that wanted to do it. It was amazing. So many Musicians replied, such as Carmine Appice, to Simon Phillips, to Chris Slade, Chris Glen, Paul Raymond, Rudolf Schenker, Lesley West, Robin McAuley, Doogie White, Brian Tichy, Michael Amott, Elliott Rubinson and many more. It turned out to become a killer album. Produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss, released on inakustik.
The personnel were:
William Shatner- spoken wordon track 1
- Robin McAuley- track 12
- Doogie White – track 8
- Rudolf Schenker- tracks 4, 7
- Michael Amott- track 14
- Leslie West- track 14
- Don Airey- track 5
- Paul Raymond- tracks 4, 7
- Chris Glen- tracks 9, 13
- Neil Murray- tracks 2, 14
- Elliott ”Dean” Rubinson- tracks 4, 8, 15
- Carmine Appice- tracks 5, 15
- Simon Phillips- tracks 2, 14
- Chris Slade- tracks 9, 13
- Brian Tichy- track 8
The touring band was now Wayne Findlay, Herman Rarebell, Michael Voss, Elliott Rubinson, Pete Way and Michael Schenker. They booked a tour and played shows in the UK. They also played the High Voltage in London that performance was added to the live in Europe DVD/CD, ‘Temple of Rock – Live in Europe’ released in 2012.
A Tour was booked but Pete Way got sick, and the band needed a bass player. Also, Michael Voss was not available to tour, so they got Doogie White. There were a lot of UFO and Scorpions songs included in the set that consisted of the most popular music of Michael’s career. Michael asked Herman “why don’t you ask Francis, because we play quite a few Scorpions songs. It would make sense.”Francis joined and Michael decided to record the event just in case it was not going to last and made a live CD/DVD- Live in Europe, released on inakustik.
Bridge the Gap (2013)
The band was getting stronger and stronger, and Michael suggested to make a Studio album. Doogie became the permanent singer and of they went to Germany to do the recording. The album turned out great, produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss, it was released on inakustik
Spirit on a Mission (2015)
After a lot of touring Michael couldn’t wait to record the next album, as he already had ideas. Also, he wanted to add more of Wayne’s seven string guitar to make it sound deeper and heavier. Again, a great step forward in the development to make Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock stand on its own feet with its own sound, was again produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss and released on inakustik. This line-up also released a DVD/CD ‘On a Mission: Live in Madrid.’ (2016)
Schenker Pattison Summit
Schenker Pattison Summit – The Endless Jam (2004)
This was a great time for Michael Schenker. Michael was wishing that he could do a project where he only had to play lead guitar. Funnily enough, he received a phone call from Mike Varney from Shrapnel Records asking if Michael would be interested to play only lead guitar on this project of cover songs Mike Varney was working on. “Wow!” was Michael’s response, it was exactly what he wished for. For Michael it was so much fun. Mike Varney was going to send Michael the songs to work on before he would come to the studio, but Michael said he would just show up and play what comes to mind when he I arrived.
Michael arrived and played and played until Mike Varney was in tears. Mike could not believe what Michael was doing on the spot, the lovely Ansley Dunbar was on drums.
Schenker Pattison Summit – The Endless Jam Continues (2005)
This was the same concept as the first one, but with different songs. It had Tim Bogert (ex-Beck) on bass and Aynsley Dunbar on drums. Michael was happy to do this once again. Especially because this time was with a dream Rhythm Section, it worked out fantastic.
Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley had a waiting period of six months before making their third album (M.S.G. 92). Their Management Left Bank were putting together an All-Star Band project that included Artists from their management. Michael was asked to play lead guitar, along with Traci Guns, Bobby Blotzer from Ratt on drums, Share Pederson from Vixen on bass and Richard Black from Shark Island on vocals. The album turned out very good, but after one concert, Tracy Guns and Richard Black had a fight and it was all was over.
This also happened in that six-month waiting period when Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley were waiting to make their third album. Michael was asked by Ratt guitarist Warren de Martini, (a Michael Schenker fan), to play some guitar on their new album and to help them out on their upcoming US Tour.
Ratt& Roll 81-91 (1991)
Tell the World – The Very Best of Ratt (2007)
Schenker/Barden – Acoustic Project: Gipsy Lady (2009)
This was an idea Michael Schenker had for a long time. To have a great singer sing on some of Michael’s instrumental songs he had recorded over the years. Michael picked Thank You 4 and it turned out incredible. Michael asked Gary Baden to sing and Michael Voss to produce. It turned out to be one of Michael’s favourite albums and was released on inakustik.
Other Schenker projects
Bernie Marsden: Look at Me Now (1981)
Michael Schenker was invited to Bernie Marsden’s recording session and ended up doing some hand clapping on this album.
Legends of Rock at Castle Donington (2001, live)
Michael Schenker’s/UFO’s manager (who also was the manager of Uli Roth at the time) convinced Michael to help out Uli Roth on his upcoming Festival, so Michael, Phil Mogg and Pete Way jammed on some songs with Uli,Jack Bruce from Cream was also part of the Show.
The Plot (2003)
This Album was recorded at Michael Schenker’s recording studio. Pete Way was living in Scottsdale Arizona at the time and had asked Michael if he would help him to record his solo album. Michael decided to make it a Way/Schenker Project and called it ‘The Plot’, and a Plot it was. Pete took the album and sold it by himself.
Schugar/Schenker: Under Construction (2003)
Michael Schenker decided to help Amy Sugar to record an album. Michael had quite a few songs available and so they recorded them, and it turned out quite interesting. Michael took Amy on a MSG tour to perform a few songs with Amy in their set, but it did not work out. Michael decided to give Amy his share of the album and Amy sold it by herself.
This album was directed by Siggi Schwarz who was buying musicians to play on cover songs in a studio in Germany. Michael, who was still in the playing solos only mode, played on a few songs.
Again, Michael was asked by Siggi to play some Solo’s.
Heavy Metal Thunder (2005)
Heavy Hitters – MSG (2005)
This was another one of Michael Schenker’s wishes that came true, to play lead guitar only and what a great project it was. This album was full of famous ‘80’s musicians, and Michael was hired to play lead guitar throughout the whole album. Again, it was a selection of cover songs. The album turned out amazing, but the big shock came when Michael was sent the final CD package and discovered that it was sold as an MSG album. Michael didn’t know whether he was going to laugh or cry. Michael would have never agreed to make a cover’s album under the MSG name. Michael thought “Wow, what a twist this was.” For a long time, Michael was very upset about how he got tricked into this. Nobody did anything to legally challenge it or do anything about. As the years went by, this album became one of Michael’s favourite albums.
- Joe Lynn Turner- vocals
- Michael Schenker– leadguitars
- Bob Kulick– rhythm guitars
- Jeff Pilson- bass
- Aynsley Dunbar- drums
- “Blood of the Sun” (Felix Pappalardi; Gail Collins Pappalardi; Leslie West) – 3:52
- Leslie West- vocals
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
- Rudy Sarzo– bass
- Simon Wright- drums
- Jeff Scott Soto- vocals
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
- Jeremy Rubolino – keyboards, stringarrangements
- Marco Mendoza- bass
- Brent Chassen– drums
- “War Pigs” (Bill Ward; Geezer Butler; Ozzy Osbourne; Tony Iommi) – 7:24
- Tim “Ripper” Owens- vocals
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
- Mike Inez- bass
- Aynsley Dunbar – drums
5. “I’m Not Talking” (Mose Allison) – 4:10 (Mose Allison cover)
- Mark Slaughter- vocals
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
- Jeff Pilson – bass
- Aynsley Dunbar – drums
- Tommy Shaw- vocals
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Edgar Winter- sax
- Tony Levin- bass
- Mike Baird- drums
- Gary Barden- vocals
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
- Chuck Wright- bass
- Brent Chassen – drums
4:11 (Nazareth cover)
- Paul Di’Anno- vocals
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
- Phil Soussan- bass
- Vinny Appice- drums
- Sebastian Bach- vocals
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
- Tony Franklin- bass
- Eric Singer- drums
- Jeff Pilson – vocals, bass
- Michael Schenker – lead guitars
- Brent Chassen– drums
- Numbers from the Beast(2005)
- Gary Barden:Agony & The Xtasy(2006)
- Siggi Schwarz and Michael Schenker – Live Together(2006)
Michael became a friend of Siggi and helped him out on a live gig.
- Doctor Doctor: The Kulick Sessions(2007 re-release)
- Metal X-Mas (two-CD Special Edition)(2010)
This was fun. A Metal version of a Christmas song with Michael Schenker playing Lead
and Doro Pesch on Vocals.
- Strangers in the Night(2010)
- By Invitation Only(2011 re-release)
- William Shatner:Seeking Major Tom(2011)
Seeking Major Tom is the fourth studio album by William Shatner.
It was released October 11, 2011 in the US by Cleopatra Records. The album features many notedmusicians, including Sheryl Crow, John Wetton, Patrick Moraz, Ritchie Blackmore,Alan Parsons, Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, Nick Valensi, Zakk Wylde, Mike Inez,Chris Adler, Steve Hillage, Steve Howe, Michael Schenker, Dave Davies, Johnny Winter,Brad Paisley, Bootsy Collins, Carmine Appice, Ian Paice, and Toots.
This one was a surprise that came out of the blue. Michael Schenker was asked by William Shatner (Captain Kirk from Star Trek) to play a solo on his upcoming album. In return William Shatner spoke on Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock album Intro.
- The Essential Michael Schenker Group(1992)
- The Story of Michael Schenker(1994, Compilation)
- Armed & Ready – The Best of the Michael Schenker Group(1994)
- The Michael Schenker Story Live(1994)
- Forever and More: The Best of Michael Schenker(2003)
- The Best of The Michael Schenker Group (2008)
- Greatest Riffs(2009, US-only compilation)
- The Michael Schenker Group: The Chrysalis Years (2012)
- The Michael Schenker Group: Walk the Stage, The Highlights (2013)
- Rock Will Never Die(1984)
This release was on Michael Schenker’s -No List- Michael was not happy with thisrecording but it got released anyway.
- The Michael Schenker Story Live(1999)
- Live in Tokyo 1997(2000)
- World-Wide Live 2004(2004)
- The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live in Tokyo(2010)
This was a great time for Michael Schenker. to play with Simon Phillips again. Plus, with Gary Barden on vocals, Neil Murray on bass and Wayne Findlay guitar/keyboards, a great Show released on inakustik.
- Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock: On a Mission: Live in Madrid(2016)
Doogie White, Herman Rarebell, Francis Buchholz and Wayne Findlay.BerhardRoessle from the inakustic (Michael’s record company) had this idea for a live recording and asked Michael if he was ready to do a Live DVD. Michael wanted to record in Spain. They picked Madrid and what a great DVD it turned out to be. It won two Awards for best sounding live CD/DVD in Germany and Japan.
In 2016 Michael Schenker Fest (Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley on vocals, with Chris Glen on bass, Ted McKenna on drums and Steve Mann on guitar/keyboards was offered a Headline Gig at Loud Park Festival in Japan to close the Festival on the second and final day.
Michael declined when he found out that the Scorpions were the headliner on the first day. Michael had a feeling that he was going to be tricked into something and was being set up, so he did not take the offer and told the promoter to ask again next year. That was a great move, headlining the third biggest indoor Arena the world with a capacity of 30,000 people.
It sold out with Gene Simmons from Kiss second on the bill. In the meantime, instead, Michael took an offer from his usual Japanese Promoter for three Japan Shows in Osaka, Tokyo and Sapporo. Tokyo – International Forum Hall A – 5,000 capacity sold out immediately and Michael decided to record and film the event. It was like Budokan all over again. A fantastic event captured Live and released on inakustik.
Featuring, Michael Schenker, with Gary Barden, Robin McAuley, Graham Bonnet, Doogie White on vocals, Ted McKenna on drums, Chris Glen on bass and Steve Mann on guitar/keyboards. This was produced by Michael Schenker & Michael Voss, released on the Nuclear Blast label. Resurrection reached the top 10 in the German album charts, number one in Japan and many high chart positions world-wide.
- Michael Schenker Fest: Revelation (2019)
Featuring, Michael Schenker, with Gary Barden, Robin McAuley, Graham Bonnet, Doogie White, Ronnie Romero on vocals, Bodo Schopf and Simon Phillips on drums, Chris Glen on bass and Steve Mann on guitar/keyboards. This was produced by Michael Schenker & Michael Vossand released on Nuclear Blast label.
Michael Schenker Fest was an idea that Michael had to get back with his 1980’s original MSG singers. They recorded a live CD/DVD which was so successful that Record Companies from all over the world offered Michael great deals. Michael decided to go with Nuclear Blast and recorded the very successful ‘Resurrection’ and ‘Revelation’ studio albums with the addition of Doogie White.
Michael Schenker Fest is still available for live shows but because it is such an expensive undertaking with singers and musicians from all over the world Michael decided to put another band together under the Michael Schenker/MSG name and recorded –‘Immortal’– which wasverysuccessful and critically acclaimed, it reached high chart positions world-wide.
The new Michael Schenker/MSG album is on its way and is fantastic. More information on this will beavailable soon.