MOTIVATION FOR GUITARIST: MICHAEL SCHENKER
Interview with former Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker, in which he talks about his first steps in his career, about the idols of youth, about guitars, as well as about his brother Rudolph. Sit back!
The first steps on the creative path
I have always been fond of music since I remember myself. From the age of 3 to 5, I loved to sing, expressed my love for rhythm by playing drums, well, I mean, in pots, and my father played the violin.
I remember the case when I was about 6 years old. Once, my family and I gathered for another holiday, and my father heard me playing something on the violin, and then he said: “Hey, show them, repeat what you just played!” Then I played something like a Jimmy Fox song.
And then I tried to play my mother’s piano and, finally, my brother’s guitar, which had been on his 16th birthday. And when he left for work, I was drawn to play it, although he did not allow me to take it.
My brother already worked, and I still went to school. He is 6.5 years older than me. He worked from 16 years old, and then I was about nine and I had time at home to train. Actually, I played his guitar, although he did not allow me to do this. But when my brother found out that I was doing something there, he asked me to help him and teach him after work.
Then I had not heard of people like Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. At 9 years old, I became interested in The Shadows – it was instrumental music, it was a clean guitar sound and I was very impressed. This was something very important to me, and I knew that this is what I really want.
It started when somewhere in the 13-14 years old I first heard the effect of “distortion” – it was the band Led Zeppelin and other bands who performed at that time. This was approximately in 1968. Until 17 years old, I repeated all the music I heard, and in which there was a distortion effect. My brother and I played the same things. It was The Beatles, The Shadows – what was popular in those days, the hit parade of songs of that time.
It’s like with clothes – what my brother wore, so did I. My older brother wears the first one, and I’m wearing it. And something similar happened with the guitar, and I liked it for a while, to be honest. But soon I began to realize that I needed something of my own, because I had my own ideas.
I started with the Framus electro-acoustic guitar, then we had Hohner. My brother had a Gibson guitar, which I played, and then I went in the direction of Fender (Jazzmaster, Jaguar) and others.
The advent of Flying V
For me, the shape of the guitar was not that important. It was, perhaps, somewhere intuitively or, perhaps, somehow subconsciously. My brother and I, the Scorpions had different cases related to this guitar when we rehearsed. He played a V-like guitar, and I also opted for it. It was a combination of a 50-watt Marshall and this guitar.
My brother played my favorite Western theme on it. I did not play this guitar, but I saw how he does it. In general, I decided to try and opted for it. Once I got so used to this form that it was already a little strange for me to play differently. Basically, I just got used to it.
Rudolph always offered me something, and when I was eleven, he said: “Michael, I have a group for you. I think that you will be very interested! ” This was the first group I joined at age 11. Actually, with this group I played my first concert. Then there was the second group, which he also found when I was already 13. It was called Cry or Cry Expresss and at that time it was the youngest group in Germany.
Once he said something like: “I have a great soloist for you, he’s just wonderful. Invite him. You may be interested in creating a group. ” And we are united. He had a drummer from an old band, and I took the best musician from my band and we created Copernicus. Then I was about 15 years old, but after a few months Scorpions needed a soloist, and they were also looking for a guitarist. And when they listened to our songs, they decided and wanted to invite me and Mine to their group.
Reflections on further career
For me it is like many, many steps, steps that I went through. For me, they have become very memorable and very important components of my development. And I can go back from the beginning, from my very first album, first step, etc. Of course, for me the first step was to create the first album. This is incredible when you have never recorded an album. And when I heard my song on the radio, it was just “Wow!”
At the time when I left Germany for England it was a big step in my life and each of these steps at the age when you are developing rapidly is simply unbelievable. But time passes and these changes, i.e. your development, steps in this direction, become less noticeable, even if you continue to move on. The goal of your entire path, as the end of your evolution, and if you look, it is a constant development. Then the next step always becomes even more exciting than the previous one, because you go further, you go forward.
My work is my hobby. I love to work 24 hours a day, if possible. I believe that to create, to create something new, means to enjoy life. I do not like to sit still, I hate boredom. I can’t even imagine that someone loves this. And I do not do this all day long, but once upon a time I realized for myself that when you wake up in the morning it is very important, first of all, to do the two most important things. It does not matter what it is, and then all day anything. So I do what is important to me – the most important things in my life.