Herman Rarebell will always be best known as the drummer with The Scorpions, who he was with from 1977 for 18 years, during their most successful period. He also wrote lyrics for some of the band’s best-known songs, including Blackout, Dynamite and Rock You Like A Hurricane.
Since his Scorpions days he’s recorded a number of solo albums, and worked with Michael Schenker, John Parr and Ginger Baker, among others, pursuing a varied career that currently includes him being a member of art ensemble the Seeing Tree. His 1981 debut solo album, Nip In The Bud, has been reissued to mark its 40th anniversary.
Why did you do a solo album in 1981?
I had a number of songs I’d written with a couple of musician friends in 1976, just prior to joining the Scorpions, which weren’t at all right for the band. However, they deserved to be heard, so I did the album.
How did the rest of the Scorpions react to you doing a solo record?
Not very well. Rudolf Schenker asked me why I didn’t give these to the Scorpions. But they were too heavy for them.
You were involved in writing some of the Scorpions’ best-known songs. Does it irritate you that you never get much credit for that?
It does. In fact the band never mention me in interviews, which I find ridiculous. But there’s a new documentary in the pipeline from ITV on the band. I am being interviewed for this, so I can finally set the record straight on my role. I am also planning to do a tour with what I’ve called the Hurricane Orchestra, doing symphonic versions of those songs I wrote with the Scorpions.
You were briefly in Temple Of Rock with Michael Schenker and former Scorpions bassist Francis Buchholz. Why did it last only a short time?
In 2016 Michael decided he wanted to tour as Schenkerfest, so Temple split up. But maybe we will get back together one day.
Were you disappointed that the Scorpions didn’t ask you back when they fired James Kottak in 2016?
I’ll tell you how disappointed I am. I sent them a message offering my services, and never even got a reply. I thought that was very rude. Now I hear the Scorpions are claiming their new album will be a return to the glory days of the eighties. If they’re serious about that, they should get Francis and me back, and also Dieter Dierks who produced all those classic albums. You know why they won’t do that? Greed! It would mean having to share everything five ways and not three.
There’s long been a rumour that the Scorpions started recording the Love At First Sting album with Bobby Rondinelli on drums. Is it true?
Yes it is. I had real alcohol problems at the time, so the band brought in Rondinelli to replace me. I understand why they did it, but he was too heavy for them. So Dieter asked me to return.
Is the Seeing Tree your new band?
It’s an art project, mixing music with painting. If you check out the video for the new song The Beat Goes On you’ll see what I mean. We hope to give performances at art galleries around Europe, and leave the art created during these presentations as exhibits.
The reissued Nip In The Bud is in streaming platforms now.