Robert Cavuoto of Metal-Rules.com spoke with guitarist Michael Schenker. Highlights from the interview appear below.
Robert Cavuoto: You released Resurrection in March 2018, and Revelation will come out September 20th. Since the releases are close together by today’s standards, I was wondering if they were written and recorded at the same time.
Michael Schenker: No, we don’t like to work on two CDs at the same time. The last show for Resurrection was September 2018, and the American tour was scheduled for April 2019. I decided that I’m not going to sit around doing nothing, so I called the record company and told them, during the eight-month window I wanted to write another CD….
Robert Cavuoto: Working with four great singers [in Michael Schenker Fest], whose voice do you hear in your head when writing?
Michael Schenker: I don’t think of the singers; I just think of music. I grew up to music without lyrics because I didn’t understand English. I come up with the blueprint of the music. Then we sent the music out to all the singers. Doogie took the first two songs, and I thought he was taken care of. Then Robin picked a song he liked. I was very happy when Graham insisted on writing his own lyrics and melodies, as he did a fantastic job. Eventually, everyone was taken care of. Somehow, in the end, it all works out.
Robert Cavuoto: The artwork for Resurrection recreates the last supper, and Revelation recreates the Crucifixion of Christ, tell me about utilizing these provocative images on your CDs?
Michael Schenker: I didn’t come up with them. The idea I had which I told the record company for Revelation was to have a photo all the guys in the studio hanging around a big table or having a party/fest in the control room of the studio. We could then call it Michael Schenker Fest in the Studio. Someone from the record company sent me a photo of the last supper [laughing]. I told them that it was not what I meant. Somehow, people started liking the idea, and it soon evolved. Then Doogie started singing Take Me to the Church. I was like what is going on here? It was getting crazy, and I said we might as well call the CD Resurrection [Laughing] One thing leads to another.
For Revelation’s artwork, I had sketched out an idea of being tortured when I was slandered from the Scorpion days. Also, at some point in the 90s, I was invited to join a bunch of musicians on stage in front of 1000s of people and handed a guitar that was completely out of tune. It was humiliating! I was being set up, tortured, and hated. The other title we had for the CD was Purity and Compassion vs. Greed and Corruption. Basically, it has nothing to do with crucifixion; it is about me being tortured in my middle years. I wanted to work on myself and create music; to understand things more about myself. I had enough fame from my music to decide if I wanted to stay with the fame. I didn’t need it, so I disconnected with it and created the Michael Schenker Group. The CD Into the Arena was actually about getting on the battlefield. On this cover I’m not nailed to a guitar, I’m tied to it with rope. The Flying V and I were cursed in that period of time and totally distorted by my brother, Rudolf Schenker, using the same black & white Flying V. I was leaving the orbit trying to see the world, doing my work, and people didn’t know who the real Schenker was [laughing]. That is why I’m hanging on the Flying V with the rest of the guys. The problem with the CD cover is the painter misunderstood the concept in the beginning and the first iteration had the band hanging me on the guitar. I told him it doesn’t make sense. I’m supposed to be hanging on the guitar, and the band is supposed to be rescuing me. The front cover ended up as if the singers are glorifying me. That wasn’t the idea either; I must have overlooked it when I was proofing the artwork because I was so blown away with the beauty of it and how it was painted. The back of the CD cover is the way it was meant to be with the singers in fighting mode trying to get me off the guitar. The story is supposed to be that they cut me off the guitar and here we are. We’ve succeed, were back, and we are carrying on. It’s a celebration of surviving the middle years, and now we are all together. I only learned a few weeks ago that Graham was offended by the CD cover. I took another look at it and was like “s–t” I’m not surprised. Doogie should be more offended as he looks like he is worshiping me. I never noticed it, and I’m really embarrassed by it. They should have been looking to get me off the guitar to save the Michael Schenker Fest. It’s a bummer.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you see yourself bring Herman Rarebell and Francis Buchholz back for another tour of America?
Michael Schenker: They are doing their own thing, and I won’t break up what they are doing. After what I’m doing, there is no need to break up what they are working on. They are occupied and happy. Also, 2020 will be the 50th anniversary of Klaus Meine and I writing our first song together In Search of Peace of Mind, and 2022 will be 50th anniversary of my joining UFO.
Read more at Metal-Rules.com.