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Interviews   

In the mind of Rudolf Schenker


« Here’s the translation of Rudolf Schenker’s interview [conducted at the Nancy On The Rocks festival]. As I’ve already pointed out, he’s completely wasted and says weird stuff. I’ve put in a few questions marks here and there because I had no idea what he was talking about. Aside from that, he generally says very strange things. I’ve done my best to transcribe his drunk guy’s logic, but it’s worth what it’s worth. » Thus spake our translator Chloé regarding this interview of Rudolf Schenker, who was, shall we say, in a festive mood at the time we talked to him. The man’s tired voice and his approximate pronunciation betrayed what the sunglasses hid. The guy is a showman on stage – but the show is of a different kind after he’s had a few drinks. Rudolf gets all heated up, interrupts, grips your shoulder, stands up and waves in an urgently inspired way. So inspired, really, that he manages to deliver unexpected and abstract analyses, on subjects as varied as Karl Lagerfeld (would the stylist recognize himself in Rudolf’s style?) and the four dimensions of Saint Petersburg. Faced with such excesses, we can only confess our helplessness.

However, aside from these outbursts, he remains coherent, if you forget the more concrete questions regarding the lack of a “familial” show at Nancy On The Rocks. A subject he avoids rudely, more in order to sweep it under the carpet than because of his inebriation.

« We are a band playing everywhere in the world! In this case, if you can tell me how you can make shortest tours… […] If you go to a party, I mean I can see your face, you are a party animal, so you know that when you go to a party, you never know when and where you end up. »

Radio Metal : How are you doing?

Rudolf Schenker (guitars) : I’m doing alright. I had a long night but I’m still alive. Rock’n’roll keeps you alive, and we are ready to rock this place like a hurricane, hopefully!

Since you started this whole farewell tour, you did a lot of shows in France. What is your relationship with France actually?

Scorpions love you! Scorpions has been on three soil. One is love, the second is peace and the third is rock’n’roll. Love since “Still Loving you” in 85, peace with “Wind Of Change” and rock with “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, so it’s very easy. The good thing is three is always a good number.

« We are not musicians, we are a gang. […] We’re like rockers, you see them on their Harley Davidsons? You just hear the sound and you’re already going ‘Hopefully they won’t kick my ass or punch me in the face’. »

It looks like this tour is getting longer and longer…

[Schenker interrupts] What are you saying? What about a band playing in one country? We are a band playing everywhere in the world! In this case, if you can tell me how you can make shortest tours… OK, we can go around the world in 80 days, but no with concerts and everything! Normally Scorpions’ tours are always one or two years long. This one is a bit longer. But when we do it, we celebrate a party, the party of the forty years-long success of the Scorpions, and if you go to a party, I mean I can see your face, you are a party animal, so you know that when you go to a party, you never know when and where you end up, OK? It’s the same with us.

Actually, I saw you maybe three or four times since that tour began, it really looked like you didn’t wanted to stop. Is that right?

Again, the party. When you’re at a party and you like that party, you don’t wanna leave and your girlfriend comes and says: “Look, we have to leave know, it’s already 3 o’clock” and you’re like “One more beer!”, one this and one that and so on. I mean we’re Scorpions, we’re rock guys, we’re not schlager [German pop music] singers, we’re rock’n’rollers.

« When you are connected to this energy which changes at every moment, you don’t go into routine, you go and look for something new, even if it’s difficult. We have around 1.5 to 2 millions Facebook fans, and the majority, believe it or not, is between 14 and 28 years old »

Actually, I was also very impressed by the energy you give on stage. How did you manage, as you’re getting older, to keep that energy? What would be your advice?

My advice is… It’s very clear. We are connected with the energy of life. If you take this energy from the audience and put it in your mind, then you give them something back. Maybe from just you it’s too little, but from many people it’s a lot. So, in this case, what you only have to do is take care. Take care, believe in what you’re doing, and love your fans. That’s what we do and that’s the reason why. I’m always in the dressing room and I’m like « Oh mamma mia, how I can get this energy again for this audience, they’re expecting so much! » But it’s not because I make those things easy and say: « Oh, I’m playing a great guitar, I’m gonna go there and show them how good I can play », not at all. First, it’s a band dynamic, that’s the most important point! We are a gang! We are not musicians, we are a gang. We go as a gang outside, we’re like rockers, you see them on their Harley Davidsons? You just hear the sound and you’re already going « Hopefully they won’t kick my ass or punch me in the face » and run around the corner. We are rockers with a message which in people believe in. That’s the good thing about it. We have a three dimensional kind of life, and I’m happy I have found this life.

« I’m living with a very young woman from Russia… The thing is to live with young people. […] You know, I don’t want to be in the tree, in the wooden tree where everything is dead already, I wanna be up there, in the freshest moments of life. »

Recently, you recorded some kind of compilation with the best hits of the Scorpions, so how did you felt playing and actually recording those hits again?

It was very easy. Life is never ever the same. Even when you think it is, it isn’t. Every day, every moment, every second is different. If you read The Power Of Now, a book written by Ekhart Tolle, it’s like this: when you are connected to this energy which changes at every moment, you don’t go into routine, you go and look for something new, even if it’s difficult. We have around 1.5 to 2 millions Facebook fans, and the majority, believe it or not, is between 14 and 28 years old. So that’s a young, refreshing energy. The impressive thing about this, and that’s what people wouldn’t understand, is that energy. I’m also living with a very young woman from Russia… The thing is to live with young people. You people in France have Lagerfeld from Germany. He also knows how to capture this energy to always be on the spot, always be in this… You know, I don’t want to be in the tree, in the wooden tree where everything is dead already, I wanna be up there, in the freshest moments of life. So that’s the reason why Scorpions is working and Scorpions is giving this energy… Last night, I was out with Paweł [Mąciwoda] in a club and someone went like « Oh Rudolf it’s so fantastic being with you guys », I said « Look,I won’t and we always go again until one thing: the important point is what we did with the 80% of the 14 to 28 years old people want to give. We want to give them the possibility to listen to our song. » Then I went to Paweł last night, and said: « Look Paweł, it’s great, it’s refreshing »… That’s what it’s all about: it’s refreshing. You go in the shower every morning, maybe sometimes in the evening, maybe you go and swim… This is what it’s all about. You always have to refresh yourself and go.

« Now, if we are able to do something out of the blue, we will find something. But the point is also that I don’t know where you’ve been seeing the shows lately, but we have a very big production. We had rehearsed it and so on. You can’t change things that quickly »

By the way, tonight this was supposed to be a show with the whole Scorpions family, that’s what was scheduled…

Michael [Schenker] misunderstood something. He was running on front, we had this already written the DVD that brings the Scorpions family. We are ready and we are happy to bring our friends on stage. James [Kottak] has been coming and said « I’m here to see you », Herman [Rarebell], we’ve been inviting him as well… And I said: « He’s after you. » Because somehow, Kilhofer [note : the organizer of the show] did something without informing us. So now, if we are able to do something out of the blue, we will find something. But the point is also that I don’t know where you’ve been seeing the shows lately, but we have a very big production. We had rehearsed it and so on. You can’t change things that quickly, but we will find something. Maybe we will play tonight something with Uli Jon Roth and Herman, « Blackout » or whatever. We heard about this tour and of course we don’t want to make our fans unhappy…

« The French people are so fantastic even after the war, it’s coming back, the cars are getting better and better, so in this case, the French people that have kind of connection… Germany, Saint Petersburg, Moscow. Moscow, not so much because it’s more in the North, but this is the line. »

I heard that it was scheduled for months, so that’s kind of strange…

Look, lately we worked with Gérard [Drouot], the French promoter. He’s a fantastic guy, we had to give him credit to him because he really brought us back into the French market. When I played in the 90s’, I know we did this show Taratata [note: French TV show] in 1996 and my set was in front of us and I said: « I can’t believe we sold 1.10 millions singles from ‘Still Loving You’, over 859.000 from ‘Blackout’, where are all the fans? The fans are not back. » That’s the reason why… It’s so unbelievable. In a love affair, it’s similar to the situation with the structure from Russia, France and Germany. This line was always something because as you can see, today, I was in the hotel looking out of the window and saw this fantastic market place… The French people are so fantastic even after the war, it’s coming back, the cars are getting better and better, so in this case, the French people that have kind of connection… Germany, Saint Petersburg, Moscow. Moscow, not so much because it’s more in the North, but this is the line. And when we start playing in different countries, we always think we want to show everybody the new generation coming from Germany and not going with tanks and making war, but coming with guitars and playing in peace. That was our way of going. That’s the reason why « Wind Of Change » came out and became the soundtrack for the most peaceful revolution there was. Before it was India, Gandhi, but now it’s a three, four dimension.

Interview conducted on June, 1st 2012 during Nancy On The Rocks festival (France).
Transcription: Chloé
Introduction translated by Saff

Scorpions’ official website: www.the-scorpions.com

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