ENVOYEZ VOS INFOS :

CONTACT [at] RADIOMETAL [dot] FR

Interviews   

ULI JON ROTH : « I NEVER REALLY LISTENED TO MUSIC »


This sentence is just right to introduce to you a character such as Uli Jon Roth. As he himself admits: « I guess that I am a bit strange (laughs) ». However, we suggest that you read this interview before you start calling the guy a heretic. The guitarist has a very unusual approach to music which is actually quite interesting. When Uli Jon Roth listens to music, he lets his mind take over. Just like any virtuoso, he always places music on the front line, and this is the type of state of mind which he is trying to pass on through his teaching at the Sky Academy: “I don’t teach guitar, I teach music”.

It is always facsinating having a discussion with someone whose logic and ideas are completely unconventional and yet make a lot of sense. Furthermore, real name Ulrich Roth’s claims about food will probably make our unique Heavy Metal Cook leap out of his skin. Or any other normally constituted human for that matter. Yet once again, it does make sense!

We were also able to mention his opinions on worrying the future, Uli’s work in the studio, his outlook on the end of the Scorpions and his relationship with… airports, which according to him constitute the symptoms of failing society.

« I don’t have any new studio projects at the moment because my albums are always such big productions and nowadays the record business has pretty much been destroyed. Or at least this is the case for big albums. »

Radio Metal : How’s it going?Uli Jon Roth : It’s going great. So far we’ve played two shows in France and they were great. There was a great audience and we had a great time on stage. I always enjoy playing in France.

First of all, could you summarise some of your recent and up coming activities? Apart from these few shows, what are your plans?

What I have been doing a lot is mainly Sky Academy. Sometimes Sky Academy is concerts but it’s mainly teaching advanced levels of music. So I have been writing a lot of music for the teaching and I have written some music for the Sky guitar solo, as well as preparing some teaching courses for that also. I’ve been doing that for the past few months and I enjoy it. I’m also planning a tour with Michael Schenker and Leslie West in the States which will be later this year. Other than that, I am always busy with many things like writing music and taking a lot of time to think.

About the school, when and how did you realise that you wanted to teach guitar?

I’m not really teaching guitar. I teach music. A lot of guitar players don’t actually know that music is about music you know (laughs). This is something that has always interested me personally. I wanted to find a deeper meaning behind the notes rather than just playing. I started searching for this very early on and I think that some of the answers that I found were very interesting or at least they were for me. This really helped me to get better and to keep getting better at it. These are the kind of things that I am teaching. It’s not just about guitar playing and it’s not just about music, it’s about life. When you are a musician or a performing artist it’s also important to have your mind in the right place as well as playing your instrument well. You must do this in order to find the right inspiration. So these are the things that I’m teaching.

The album Under A Dark Sky came out 3 years ago. Do you have any new studio projects up your sleeve?

I don’t have any new studio projects at the moment because my albums are always such big productions and nowadays the record business has pretty much been destroyed. Or at least this is the case for big albums. So I have written music but I am not in the studio right now. This may change at any time but I just don’t know. At the moment, I am very happy to just perform and write music but I’m not actually directly planning to make a new release.

I heard that there was some material from the Under A Dark Sky album that you didn’t use. Do you intend to release this material?

No. The material which I didn’t release is for a second album. In the beginning I thought that I might do a double album but then I changed my mind. But I have already written and recorded a lot of music for the next album. At the moment, my mind is in a different place and I don’t want to be in a studio right now. The Sky Academy stuff is more important to me right now because I am also writing a Sky Academy book which is a big task and quite time consuming.

Do you know when this book is going to be released?

No, I’m not sure and I don’t want to set a date yet. I have already written about 500 pages but I don’t want to discuss a release date before I have found the right kind of date. But I don’t think that it will be this year because it’s a big project and it takes time.

I remember when I heard Mozart’s Requiem for the first time in 1983 I think, I couldn’t listen to it for another year or two because it was too strong for me and it gave me a shock because it was so intense […] Une fois que tu as ton propre langage et ta propre voix je ne crois pas que ça soit encore nécessaire de s’inspirer des autres. »

In 2010 you mentioned the difficulties there were in trying to associate the sound of a modern electric guitar and an orchestra. So what do you think of what Metallica, Deep Purple or Kiss achieved with an orchestra? Or even more recently the bands that associate hard rock and metal with an orchestra in the studio?

I haven’t heard most of these things yet. I don’t really listen to that kind of music because I don’t really like… or I prefer to have a different approach while working with an orchestra. I think that most bands use orchestras too much as though they were the keyboards in the background. They don’t really write for the orchestra, they just play their songs with the orchestra. For me that is not interesting. I prefer to write music for the orchestra with the band. I think that this is a stronger kind of approach.

In an interview that same year you also said that you don’t listen to music that much and that you would rather play it…

Yeah. That’s exactly what I do. I have never really listened to a lot of music. I love music very much but I don’t need to hear it all of the time. So I prefer to explore new music and for me that is enough. I have found my direction and I have the road that I want to go down. For me, that’s quite enough and it’s my destiny. When I was younger, I listened to certain artists and I learned a lot from that, but I don’t really need to do that anymore because I know what I want.

So you just play music and listening to music is for the others to do?

Well it’s great to listen to music but I don’t need to listen to a lot of music. It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality. I remember when I heard Mozart’s Requiem for the first time in 1983 I think, I couldn’t listen to it for another year or two because it was too strong for me and it gave me a shock because it was so intense. Listening to it once was enough. I had it in my mind and usually when I hear things once it’s enough. This happens with most types of music. I guess that I am a little strange (laughs).

Is it something that people should do in order to have a certain personality? Should people not listen to other music in order to avoid copying others?

No. I mean everybody learns from what is out. That’s normal. At the start, we all learn from copying others. We talk the way our parents do and it’s the same thing with music. Once you have your own language and your own voice I don’t believe that it’s necessary to do that again. I don’t get much inspiration from that anymore. My inspiration comes from other things.

What kind of things?

I like to think a lot and when I think I get music in my head and a lot of ideas.

« We live in a world that is controlled by fear and fear is a big business for a lot of companies so airports are a symptom of this culture of fear. »

As you have done previously, I suppose that you will be making a lot of guest appearances on the Scorpions farewell tour?

I think that will take place next year.

So there is nothing scheduled at the moment?

Not at the moment but I think that it will probably happen next year.

Even though you haven’t been a part of that band for a long time now, how do you feel about the end of the Scorpions?

I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it (laughs). It’s just the way that life is. They have made so many albums and they have had so much success that it’s up to them. If they think that it’s a good time to stop that’s fine with me. I have no influence over this.

Well even if it was a long time ago, you might feel something…

No. When I was in the band it was a different band. I’m still friend with the band but at the same time it is their decision. For me it isn’t a shock because I knew that this moment was coming from before.

Some members of Scorpions do not intend to put an end to their career once the band has ended. For example, Mathias Jabs told us us that he really wants to continue making music. So would it be possible for you to take part in a studio project with one or several members of the band?

Yes. It would be absolutely possible.

I read in an interview that you love to travel but you hate airports. What is the reason for that?

No. It’s not that I hate airports but I don’t like the security thing because I think that it’s just too much and it’s ridiculous. I mean we live in a world that is controlled by fear and fear is a big business for a lot of companies so airports are a symptom of this culture of fear. But I’m different and I don’t want to be controlled by fear. I want to live my life in a different way and I am also not afraid of taking chances. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be so security conscious, you stop living normally. In this respect, you lose more than you gain.

« When I‘m eating I can’t really concentrate on conversations very well, so I try to eat fast so that I can then concentrate on the talking which to me is more interesting. »

It’s funny you say that because that’s exactly what Joe Bonamassa told us a few days ago…

Really?

Yes. He told us in an interview that he was in an airport a few days ago and got really pissed off by the way the security people behaved with him. Perhaps you should write a concept album with him on the subject…

No that’s not a good subject. I would prefer to pick a more interesting subject (laughs).

My last question is a bit of a silly one about Rudolf Schenker. We met him a few times and we noticed that he eats really fast ! Have you noticed?

He’s the same as me, we are like brothers for that and I don’t know why that is. I think that Rudolf is a very strong person in his mind and he is sometimes impatient. So finishing a meal is almost like a job that he needs to do (laughs). For me it’s the same and food is like fuel. I like to have good quality fuel rather than poison, but at the same time I also eat as fast as Rudolf. I guess it’s not that healthy, but I can’t help it! (laughs)

So you’re not interested in going to good restaurants and having a nice meal that lasts up to an hour or two…

No that’s different! That’s a social occasion and it’s nice. But for me, food is just food. When I‘m eating I can’t really concentrate on conversations very well, so I try to eat fast so that I can then concentrate on the talking which to me is more interesting. I think that Rudolf is exactly the same. That is one of the funniest questions anyone has ever asked me!

Interview conducted by phone on march 8th, 2011

Transcription : Izzy’ & Isa

Uli Jon Roth’s Website : www.ulijonroth.com



Laisser un commentaire

  • Arrow
    Arrow
    Greta Van Fleet + Vola @ Paris
    Slider
  • 1/3