Michael Schenker Turned Down Motorhead Offer, Slams Former Scorpions Bandmates
Michael Schenker is one of the most revered guitarists in the rock and metal scene and one of the most sought-after as well. Having cut his first album, Lonesome Crow, with the Scorpions in 1972, he pursued other musical avenues including a successful stint in UFO and his own solo efforts. As it turns out, Lemmy Kilmister attempted to recruit the already lauded skills of Schenker when forming Motorhead. Oh, and he doesn't have some nice words regarding his former Scorpions bandmates regarding their debut and their 1979 record Lovedrive.
"Yes, when he first put Motorhead together, Lemmy asked me to be the guitarist," Schenker admitted in an interview with Metal Talk. "It was many years ago, but we toured together when he was in Hawkwind and I was with UFO. We toured the States together, and I saw Lemmy every day, but later when he started to put Motorhead together, he approached me to be his lead guitarist but I wasn't interested." Without auditioning, Schenker turned down the offer, stating, "I couldn't see that it would be something for me. I declined. I just couldn't see how it would work."
Concerning a band he did play in, Scorpions, Schenker spoke to Gigs and Festivals about his dissatisfaction in the way the band's story, particularly his involvement, has been told. "There are things that I know today, and I must say I’m actually very disappointed in my brother [Rudolph, guitarist] in the Scorpions these days, because I just found out that a lot of things have been incorrect in the past," he said. "Me, being seven years younger than the other guys, I think I was taken advantage of right from the beginning."
The beginning was when the band was still trying to find their own sound. Lonesome Crow was the only full length to feature Michael Schenker as a primary member and the group disbanded a short while after when he departed to join UFO. They reformed again in 1973 and enlisted Schenker's services to lay down some guitar leads on Lovedrive. Talking about that period, he said, "I wrote most of the Scorpions songs on the Lonesome Crow album, and it was credited to all members. The very first song I ever wrote was 'In Search of the Peace of Mind,' and it too was credited to all members. I was focusing on music, and they were maybe focusing on business; I have no idea, but they didn’t know how to write songs in those days."
Continuing, he stated, "I’m disappointed in them; they have completely distorted the Lovedrive phase. Just a few weeks ago I was confronted with the Scorpions [albums reissue] box, and what I saw there, it really, really shocked me. I can’t trust them anymore." Citing why, he went on, "The whole Lovedrive story is wrong. They are putting it down as if I begged them to take me into the Scorpions. They begged me to join -- I was already doing arena tours with UFO in the States. It’s unbelievable. They asked me to help them, and now I see that the whole Lovedrive story is written to their favor; they are the big guys."
Michael then took a parting shot at his brother and Scorpions co-founder Rudolf Schenker, saying, "The difference is one can play and the other one can’t! [Laughs] That’s how you can find out who is who. Or you look at the eyes; his eyes are brown, but he can fake that too by getting blue lenses. Rudolph is the entertainer on a visual level; I’m the artist."
When asked if he'd ever consider joining the Scorpions onstage before their eventual retirement, he lamented the band toying with their farewell tour and then abandoning it, pulling fans along for the ride. Scathingly, he commented, "I guess when you get older you get bolder or something, but I have absolutely no interest because I can’t trust them. If I look back now, it’s unbelievable, little bits and pieces I’m discovering. So putting together the whole picture, it looks like they’re absolutely desperate."
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