Scorpions Press Conference

0

30/05/2004

With the opportunity of the release of their new, very good album, “Unbreakable”, their concert in Lycabettus Theatre and the gold award giving for “Moment of glory”, Scorpions held a press conference for a few, chosen and mostly lucky ones, due to the last moment preparations. Rockpages was there and claimed the informal title of the “most provocative” question, courtesy of Mr. Stamelos.

George Anasontzis, Sakis Nikas, Christos Stamelos

K. Meine: First of all, I want to thank you for coming here. It’s great to be back in Athens, especially with a #1 album. We are looking forward to the concert tonight and we’re ready for your questions.

Mad TV: Scorpions has released a new album called “Unbreakable”. Is the title of the album an answer to all those people who said that Scorpions should retire after “Eye II Eye”?

K. Meine: Not really. I know that many rock fans were expecting an album in the good old tradition of records like “Love at first sting” or “Blackout”. The 90s weren’t a good period for hard rock music. Hip-hop, alternative and all these different styles were dominant and at the end of the decade we did an experimental album, “Eye II Eye”, then the orchestra and the unplugged thing. But we knew that the day would come when we would return to the studio and cut a hard rock record. Hard rock fans, including Greek fans of course, were constantly asking when we will return to pure hard rock and stop playing with violins. We heard them, we saw that people were returning to rock, especially in America where we were the headliners of a series of big arena concerts, last year with David Coverdale’s Whitesnake as special guests.

So the time was right for a rock record again and we are glad to keep this promise to our fans with “Unbreakable”. But the title has to do with the longevity of a band that’s been on the road for more than 30 years, through ups and downs, highs and lows and still going strong.

Metal Hammer: I had the opportunity to cover a studio report for “Unbreakable” a couple of months ago and Rudolf told me that he thought of “Eye II Eye” more as a project and less a Scorpions album. What’s your opinion?

K. Meine: Sometimes things get mixed up…I think “Moment of Glory” and “Acoustica” were projects. “Eye II Eye” was a regular studio album. We were experimenting, people haven’t received it well and that’s all. The end of the 90s was a difficult period for us. “Eye II Eye” for many people was a great album, but definitely not a great Scorpions album. All we did was trying to find a way…At that time we could break up. It wasn’t an easy situation. But we’re happy that rock is back and people are interested again in “handmade” music, like guitar and bass. We are glad that “Unbreakable” was well received and proved to all those people who had erased Scorpions that the sting of Scorpions is still hurting!

 R. Schenker: I want to explain a little bit what I had said…After 5 years, I am able to see more clear that “Eye II Eye” wasn’t a typical Scorpions album and from this perspective I see it more as a side project and with “Unbreakable” we returned to our roots of “Blackout”, “Love at first sting” and “Lovedrive”.

Rockpages.gr: We were talking with Uli Jon Roth a couple of months ago and he said that he was supposed to participate in the recordings of “Moment of glory”. What really happened and another side question…Do you keep in touch with past members of Scorpions?

R. Schenker: We keep in touch with Uli, Herman and my brother, of course. We had some ideas for “Moment of Glory” and actually it was Uli who said that when we decided to do the orchestra thing, he would love to come. But as we went on with the production of the project and we arranged all things with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, we thought of doing it as a straight Scorpions record and call Uli another time.

Question: What is the deeper meaning of the lyrics on “Maybe I, maybe you” and what do you think needs the world today in order to become better?

K. Meine: All you need is love, like the Beatles song. This is what the world really needs…love, respect of each other, respect of other cultures. It’s simple as that. This is what we do, whenever we go out all around the world. But the truth is that the real world is different from the “musical” world, which is more peaceful. People understand each other through a song. After the 11th of September and the war in Iraq, the new generation is looking for a stronger emotion and for answers through music. A ballad or a rock song is a getaway from a brutal, cruel reality. Music helps us all go through the day in very difficult times. “Maybe I, maybe you” is a song I wrote with a Persian composer who lives and works in America. The song talks about respect and it is a cross-culture theme. When I met him, he said that he had written a melody for my voice. Then I wrote the lyrics and tried to say that maybe I, the musician, can give something to the world and make a change and maybe you, for example the doctor, who tries to save lives everyday, can do the same. It’s a deep meaning, but of course everyone can interpret it however he wants. It’s a very personal song, though.

Rockpages.gr: The next question is about your ballads. You have recorded a lot of ballads, many people have fallen in love with your ballads. Does it bother you, when you decide to retire, to be remembered not as a strong hard rock band but as a strong ballad band?

M. Jabs: You make it sound like we are 100 years old! (laughs) I think the new album says it all. The balance between ballads and rock songs is back to normal. We have two ballads and 10-11 rock songs. It’s very nice to be remembered as a ballad band, but tonight show will be a rock show! Not a ballad show.

Rockpages.gr: When I said, “remembered”, I meant in the next century maybe…

K. Meine: All right, that’s better! Every artist should be happy if he would be remembered for anything positive in music. Whether it’s a rock song or a ballad. We are very proud of “Wind of Change”. With the new album we want to show that we are a strong hard rock band, that released an album with 10 strong rock songs and 2 strong ballads.

Question: What are the precious things for you that you have been deprived of, all these years?

J. Kottak: I always miss my family, my wife and kids. But there is always a price for everything and I think I’ll always do this!

K. Meine: His name of his wife is Athena and I showed him today as we were coming from the airport all these signs with the name of his wife on them! (laughs) Nice for a change.

J. Kottak: My wife’s mother name is Vasiliki Papadimitriou. She was Miss Greece in 1959 or 1960.

K. Meine: We would like to introduce our new bass player, Pawel Maciwoda.

P. Maciwoda: Being a part of this huge band is a sacrifice. You don’t get to have any private life. I know that these guys miss their family, but right now my family is Scorpions!

Scorpions: Oh!!! (all the band hugs him)

Question: “Wind if Change” stood as a symbol. Do you think that music, today, can change the world?

K. Meine: Music has a positive energy. All that we do is sending out our waves of positive energy. Can a song change the world? Probably not. When we went to Soviet Union, at the end of the Cold War in late 80s, people wanted to be set free. They were sick of the war. But music can make a difference, can change your emotions and in difficult times, as I said earlier, music can help you pass the day. It’s a getaway…

R. Schenker: We are trying as musicians to build bridges and express ourselves, of course.

MAD TV: You have been successful for three decades. You have countless gold and platinum records. You have played with an orchestra and influenced so many people. Are there any unfulfilled dreams, concerning music?

K. Meine: After all these years, “Unbreakable” is quite an achievement. It’s easy for the fans to demand from us another album like “Blackout”. But that was 100 years ago! How can we write that again? If you manage to retain your passion for music, work as a band and not do it strictly for business reasons, then this is very important. We are very proud that we have a #1 album in Greece. Scorpions fans in Greece are very critical. They follow our tours, speak their minds in the message forum of our website. They wanted to rock…not any more ballads! (laughs) When we please such die-hard fans, it is quite an achievement for us, because our fans are our family!

Rockpages.gr: Do you like any other rock band from the 00s?

K. Meine: Evanescence

J. Kottak: 3 Doors down

Rockpages.gr: Which one from your past albums, do you like the most?

M. Jabs: “Blackout”, “Love at first sting”, “Crazy World” and “Unbreakable”, not because it is our latest album, but because it had that retro feeling during the recording and mixing process. That is quite obvious in our shows for this tour… We play 7-8 songs from “Unbreakable” and they stand in the same line as “Rock you like a hurricane”. People respond really well on the new songs.

MAD TV: 20 years ago, Scorpions introduced me to the wonderful world of hard rock music and changed my life. Can you realize when the word “entertaining” stops and the word “influential” begins?

K. Meine: Here we go to the ballads again…”Still loving you” was a big hit all over the world. In France, for example, the population grew up, after this song. There was a baby boom! It’s great, music is something we all need. Music is feelings, is an emotion and to be on stage and entertain people is a privilege. A fan in Salonica was crying in front of the stage and his girlfriend was mad at me! She was saying something like “look what you did to him”! What could I do? (laughs)

At this point, a fan of Scorpions interrupts Klaus and it turns out that he is the same fan that Klaus was talking about a few seconds ago! After sharing some details of the whole incident and expressing his loyalty to the band – his exact words were “This is my happiest day of my life” – Klaus thanked him and ended the press conference saying “Our fans in Greece are very emotional”!

After the press conference, the golden award was given to Scorpions and they headed back to their rooms to get ready for that night’s show.