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Interview with Michael Schenker | M.S.G

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BVR
so, Michael, first, the new album from Michael Schenker Group and the title “Universal”. How do you feel about that?

Michael
Oh, it's great you know. I like the “immortal” (previous album) as well and so they were both written in the pandemic they both turned out excellent.

 

 

 

BVR
oh, very good very good. So, the new album “Universal” is already on the shelves since the 27th of May, via Atomic Fire Records. What we are going to hear from you Michael this time?

Michael
We made an album and it's out on Atomic Fire and it's out on the 27th as you already mentioned and it's doing well.

 

 

 

BVR
many guest musicians on this new album from Michael Kiske of Helloween Ralf Scheepers from Primal Fear and from Bob Daisley to Simon Phillips. So, the title universal could we say is justified right?

Michael
I’m not sure what that has to do with the guest singers, but uh universal basically is, Music can be understood um universally. um you know it's anybody who has ears or can listen without ears can understand music and that's universal.

 

 

 

BVR
With so many great musicians with their own heavy schedules do you face any difficulties with the recordings did you have any difficulties making the album more with any particular song?

Michael
No difficulties just you know figuring out with ideas on what to do with the songs as we build them, brick by brick you know sometimes things come up like ideas you know Michael Voss is doing the music after I’ve written the music Michael Voss writes the lyrics and then he plays it to me the vocals. For instance, with this out with this song “A King Has Gone” Michael said to me “what do you think of getting the rainbow guys to help us make a tribute to James Dio” since this song is about Ronnie James Dio and so we've got probably Nelly and Bob Daisley and Tony Carey and then Marcus Tiger from Nuclear Blast. He said like “uh I love this song this would be a great one for Michael Kiske so we said Well let's try it and it was fantastic vocals. and that’s how we ended up with Michael Kiske singing, and the rainbow musicians from the 70s having bobby Robinelli play drums Bob basically bass and Tony Carey uh keyboards and Michael Kiske singing and me playing.

 

 

 

BVR
that was a very beautiful song, one of my favorites from the album a very beautiful album in my ears. The new artwork from the album is from Sofia Dankova a different setting from his predecessor the “Immortal” album but with the same color palette as I read from the press release the artwork was your inspiration. I want to hear the story behind that.

Michael
yeah, I had the idea when I did my first Michael Schenker Temple of Rock album when William Shatner the captain kirk from star trek was singing, I was talking about the intro on that album 2012, I think it was released, and because it was captain kirk and star trek, I had the idea of maybe I made a sketch. I had it made proper by my website guy. But it wasn't in acoustic in those days they wanted to do the pyramid thing and so I put it away. But for this album it came I remembered that sketch I got it out and I show it to Marcus and he said yeah that's a great and he worked on it with the girl that was painting it and showed it to me if I like it and I said “yeah that's great” and that's how it came about. It was just the right time to do it and of course after “Immortal” you know “Universal” is the next step up. And looking at the album cover it's obvious that “Universal” would be the appropriate album title.

 

 

 

BVR
as we said before one of the most beautiful songs is “A King Has Gone” and the intro “Calling
Baal” a song as you said dedicated to the great Ronnie James Dio making homage but with a specific way in your mind as I read from the press release.

Michael
oh, there's not nothing specific it's just I heard the song “Long Live Rock and Roll” and it's fantastic and Ronnie is you know the best rock singer

 

 

 


BVR
okay let's talk about the promotion videos. The first video for the promotion of the album the video for “Emergency” then followed the lyric video for “A King Has Gone” and then the second lyric video recently the “Under Attack” what made you to choose those specific songs for the videos can we expect any more videos?

Michael
when we had the album done Michael Steiger he immediately said “oh that's going to be the opener that's going to be the first song” (“Emergency”). And then “A King Has Gone” Obviously, it's a great song that had to be a single sooner or later so it became the second single and then “Under Attack” again was also a team effort to come up with that particular song as a third single.

 

 

 

BVR
One question that I like to ask, do you believe that the pandemic unintentionally made a new way of creativity for the artists? We saw many collaborations and songs “Quarantine songs” as they said throughout those two years what do you believe?

Michael
No no I always write the same way. That has nothing to do with pandemic it just happens that’s the only thing I was able to do while the pandemic was going on was writing. But I always write the same way I’ve always write you know since I was 15 years old and now, I’m 67. I still write the same way in under any circumstance it never had an effect on me.

 

 

 

BVR
from 2018 you have created four albums in four years “Resurrection” and “Revelation” with Michael Schenker Fest and “Universal” and” Immortal” with Michael Schenker Group. that is impressive. What makes Michael Schenker to be so productive.

Michael
Well, I have been doing that since I started writing when I was 15. I did six albums in six years with UFO and sometimes with Michael Schenker Group. I have done two or three albums in one year so that's the Michael Schenker way of doing things so I’m a creative artist, and I have a lot of ideas how to write and what to express.

 

 

 

BVR
okay the pandemic has ended in a way. What the plans for touring do you have any plans going on the road again?

Michael
Yeah, we're playing Hellfest in France uh Graspop in Belgium in June and then July we're doing some festivals a couple of shows and in august and then September October November we play the states (US) with Eric Martin from Mr. Big opening up to us and we play in Florida with W.A.S.P. and then we go to Japan and then hopefully to north-south America and Australia.

 

 

 

BVR
Michael, you have influenced many artists throughout the years but which bands do you believe influenced you?

Michael
Well of course I got a jump start from when I was 9 years 10 years from the bands, I heard on radio the “Hit Parade” like you know Rolling Stones, Beetles and uh all the bands that were in those days played on radio. But then later when I was 14 years old, I was really impressed by the sounds of Black Sabbath and the rock music. Led Zeppelin with this amazing drummer John Bonham and then you know Deep Purple and Rory Gallagher and all the late 60s and early 70s guitarists they had. They were fun for me they all had their own style and I was always looking forward to go to festival to go a on “guitarist hunting” you know because I was I loved to listen to guitarists I never heard before and so on and so you know there was the whole beginning of me playing guitar from nine years old until I was 11 with my first friend and then 13, the second band, but when I was 14 I had a band with Klaus Meine and then 15 I was with scorpions and then around 18 years old I stopped listening to music By then I had heard enough and I decided to do a pure self-expression or at least get out of some things out of my inner self, to express those people have never heard before, because we're all unique and if we express from within ourselves we release something, we open up, we let something out that people have never heard before.

 

 

 

BVR
So, no other bands that are you listening to this time around?

Michael
I don't listen to music for over 50 years because I am doing pure self-expression if I listen to music all these years I couldn't do pure self-expression, because the brain gets influenced automatically, subconsciously we copy things and so I was very aware of that. I didn't want to copy anything not even subconsciously so; I made a decision not listening to music and not copying other guitarists in order to do what I am devoted to which is spreading the joy of music from a place of pure self-expression.

 

 

 

BVR
Any memories from the first time you went on stage?

Michael
Yeah, I had when I was 11 years old, I remember that one show but, in those days, it was more like dance music you know, music from the “Hit Parade”. I had one show at the age 11 with the scorpions already and I played a I jam with them and I played a Shadow song with them I think it was FBI or Apache and I remember quite a few I remember a show with Klaus Meine when we were playing Rory Gallagher and Black Sabbath songs and then zeppelin and so on.

 

 

 

BVR
Any memories from the worst or best show you had any funny moments?

Michael
I don't know I did so many so many uh um shows and it's always more based on how well I played but I don't remember there's too many shows I cannot recall any of them in details if possible.

 

 

 

BVR
Any memories when you visit Greece? Are there any memories there?

Michael
Um yeah, I think there is one where we went to the stadium when I was helping the Scorpions to sell tickets in Greece. I think we played the stadium that was a very impressive and I was on crutches (Laughs). Because I kicked something and my toe broke and so I had that. It was my first show in 93 with the scorpions and I had to come on stage with crutches.

 

 

 

BVR
something that you may regret throughout your career?

Michael
everything has to happen the way it happened in order to be where I am today so I don't want to leave anything out.

 

 

 

BVR
any last message to your fans

Michael
keep on walking

 

 

 

BVR
thank you very much Michael for your time a very beautiful album I was really enjoying it thank you very much.

Michael
Thank you very much take care bye bye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Mouskos, Tasos Zervoudakis

Black Velvet Radio

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