Uli Jon Roth has revealed that there were songs on some early SCORPIONS albums on which Rudolf Schenker did not play. Saying that it was “just quicker” for Roth to record the parts himself, the guitarist said that tracks on the likes of 1978’s “Virgin Killer” and 1979’s “Taken By Force” did not feature SCORPIONS founder Schenker. Uli made the revelation speaking to Eonmusic about his forthcoming U.K. tour.
Speaking about his time with the German hard rock institution, Roth said it had been a particularly harmonious environment. “I liked being in the SCORPIONS, and so we had a great time,” he said. “A lot of bands fall into that trap where they personalize things and then there’s a lot of politics and internal power struggles. We never had any of that. It was very easy-going and smooth, and we just put our best foot forward. We were a very, very good team. There was never any clash of personalities, and there was never any envy or rivalry or what have you. Most bands suffer from that, and we never did.”
Talking about his decision to leave SCORPIONS, he clarified that it was not — as has been widely reported — because the band wanted to go in a more commercial direction. “The actual reason was that I developed as a writer and as a musician in a way that I felt I needed a different kind of platform and more freedom,” he explained. “Yes, the SCORPIONS framework allowed for something like ‘Sails Of Charon’, say, but I started writing stuff like ‘Earthquake’, you know, ‘Japanese Dream’, and those were songs that had no business being in SCORPIONS. But that’s what I wanted to do; I wanted to do those kinds of things. So for me, it was actually a relatively easy decision, because I was not so much driven by thinking about success; I was just purely driven by my artistic impulses, and they went contrary to where the SCORPIONS were going.”
It was while talking about the classic “Sails Of Charon” that Uli revealed that he had played all the guitars, as well as bass on certain SCORPIONS songs. He said: “I wrote the song at home and then I think we did a demo, and we ended up really just being two people in the studio doing it because I also played the bass and all the rhythm guitars on that one. So it was just the drummer Herman [Rarebell] and myself, and well, of course, Klaus Meine on vocals.”
When asked, “So you played all of the guitars, all the stringed instruments on the original recording of that song?”, he replied: “Very, very often on my songs, most of the time I did all the guitars, except for on the very early albums. You know, Rudolf never minded that. They were a little tricky to play for him maybe, because he had a different style. Live, he coped admirably, but in the studio, it was quicker when I did it myself, like, you know, ‘Polar Nights’ and all these kinds of tracks [like] ‘Yellow Raven’, it was a lot quicker to do it myself.”
Read the interview at Eonmusic.
Roth was in the SCORPIONS for five years before leaving the group in 1978, following the release of the live double album “Tokyo Tapes”.
In recent years, Roth has revisited the early music of his period with the SCORPIONS, which resulted in the “Scorpions Revisited” double CD and “Tokyo Tapes Revisited” DVD/Blu-ray releases.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players ever, Uli pioneered a unique style of guitar playing which — for the first time — combined complete mastery of the instrument with an intensely melodic and emotional appeal.
From his earliest days onwards, Uli has always been a bold and uncompromising musical innovator of the first order. Being the first guitar player in rock to incorporate complex melodic arpeggio sequences, Uli Jon Roth — in the eyes of many of his peers — practically reinvented modern guitar-technique almost singlehandedly during his SCORPIONS tenure, but even more so during his ELECTRIC SUN days.
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