Rudolf Schenker: The Scorpions Can't Do This Forever

Scorpions live in Lisbon
(Image: © Getty Images)

This article originally appeared in Classic Rock #144.

After more than 40 years, it’s about time to bid a fond farewell to the Scorpions. Astonishly, the band released Sting In The Tail, their 22nd album (the 17th studio record) of their lengthy and distinguished career in 2010, one that has seen them become the first German hard rock band to achieve international fame and success.

Now, the Scorpions have announced that said album will be their last. Rudolf Schenker (rhythm guitar) and Klaus Meine (vocals) have worked together since 1969, while Matthias Jabs (lead guitar) has been in the band for 32 years. As Rudolf points out, though, there’s still a lot for the band to do before he hangs up his trademark Gibson Flying V and collectively they say a final auf wiedersehen to the rock world.

The current album seems to be something of a return to the late 70s/early 80s Scorpions sound. Do you regard that period as the band’s greatest in their long history?

Of course. It was when we enjoyed our biggest success, and that’s the era our fans look back on with most affection. But we did some great things in the 70s as well. However, we did struggle in the 90s. Things changed so much, and we were out of fashion for so long. But those albums we did from Lovedrive [1979] to Love At First Sting [1984], they’re the ones everybody always asks for. People who’ve heard the new album believe it’s the best thing we’ve done since Love At First Sting. Which is very gratifying!

The band played atop the Berlin Wall in 1990, they’ve performed in the Kremlin. Is there anything left that you would really like to do before it all ends?

There are one or two things being planned, but I can’t say anything at the moment. But we’ve done so much – played in the Amazon jungle, by the Pyramids – so it’ll take something special to top these. We’ll see what we can do!

Will we see the return of the famed Scorpions human pyramid for the upcoming world tour? It has been much-missed on recent tours.

Definitely. So many people have asked us about this. About 18 months ago Matthias and I met up with Kiss, and even they said that one of their ambitions was to form a human pyramid with us. We are planning to bring back a lot of the great effects we’ve had in the past. There will also be some new visuals, which I don’t want to reveal now but, trust me, Scorpions fans will love them!

The band will be out on the road for a long time for this farewell world tour. Are there any plans to play live the whole of certain albums in sequence?

I doubt we’ll do that, to be honest, because we have so much material we want to play. And that includes the new album. But what we will be doing is playing music from across our career. The 1970s, pre-Lovedrive, won’t be ignored either.

You’ve reunited with some previous members of the band on stage before. Is anything like that likely to happen again?

I’m sure it’ll happen. But I don’t know how this will work. We started off touring Europe on March 15 2010 [in Prague], and we want to get the set and the staging working properly before starting to think about that. However, we’ve plenty of time to get this organised. We plan to be on the road until 2014 at least. Oh, and expect the Scorpions in Britain at some stage.

Are you likely to release any live material, either audio or DVD, recorded during the tour?

We have no plans at the moment. It all depends on how special any shows turn out to be. But if, for instance, we end up doing the Wacken Festival [in northern Germany], then I’m sure that would be filmed and recorded. However, one thing we are certainly planning to do is go through our enormous library of unreleased film. We have thousands of hours which have never been seen. They include 300 hours from our Russian tour in 2002, there’s stuff from the US Festival [1983] and Rock In Rio [1985], the Madison Square Garden gigs… just so much. What we’ll be doing is looking at all of this and getting it ready for release on a series of DVDs. So there’s plenty more to come from the Scorpions.

There are reports that you and your brother, Michael, are going to do an album together. When is that likely to be?

That is true, Michael and I have been talking about doing an album together. It’s about time, right? But nothing will happen until after we finish this tour. Then the two of us will get to work. Klaus has already said he wants to guest on it, so he’ll be on two or three tracks. One other thing that I am currently working on is to get my autobiography, Rock Your Life, published in English around the world. At the moment it’s only in German.

For more on Rudolf Schenker and the Scorpions, then click on the link below.

Big City Nights, Loving You Sunday Morning: The Turbulent Story Of The Scorpions