BY JEB WRIGHT
The Scorpions are well into their Farewell tour. The day is coming soon where there will be no more albums or songs or tours. No more “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “No One Like You.”
I suppose all great things must come to an end, even Scorpions music, but before the end has arrived Scorpions fans will have two new releases to purchase. The most impressive is a 3D Blu-Ray titled Live in 3D. The special effects are well done and the song choice and sound are amazing. This is a band preparing to leave the stage at the top of their game.
The other release is a new CD. Yeah, a new CD is coming out despite the fact that the band went to great lengths to make sure everyone knew that the release before this one, Sting in the Tail, was the last new album they would make. To be fair, this is not really a full blown new release as much as it is a way for the band to have some fun in the studio and make a few extra bucks. The release, titled Comeblack, is a hodgepodge of re-recordings and 1960’s cover songs. Not as exciting as Live in 3D but a lot of fun nonetheless. The band takes on T. Rex, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and The Kinks among others. Most surprising is the remake of “Tainted Love.” Most people relate this song to the new wave version released by the Soft Cell in the early 1980’s. The song was actually recorded by Gloria Jones in 1965…and now, in 2012 by the Scorpions.
Vocalist Klaus Meine took time to speak with Classic Rock Revisited.com about the new 3D concert and CD release. In the interview that follows we discuss playing to the camera, facing the reality that the band is coming to an end and even that fact that the band released another CD after they said they would not.
Maybe the winds of change that fuel the hurricane will blow another tour and album our way a few years down the line. Maybe not, as after forty years the band may actually be ready to retire. Either way, check out 3D Live, Comeblack and be sure to catch the band one more time on tour before the end arrives.
Jeb: I just finished watching Live in 3D and was blown away. It had to be great to do this in your homeland.
Klaus: We recorded that in April in Germany. It came up, I don’t want to say out of the blue, but we got the opportunity to record this with the newest technology, which happened to be in Germany. We needed to make a quick decision to do this, as we really had just the one show to do it, as we were getting ready to go do a lot of dates in Russia. Rudolf Schenker had wanted to do this for many years. This came together very quickly and it is very exciting.
Jeb: The music sounds great and the 3D effects are very cool.
Klaus: There is a moment on “Blackout” where smoke is coming out of Rudolf’s guitar and you can almost smell it. I take the microphone out into the audience for them to sing along and it is like Klaus is hitting you with the microphone. It really brings it to life in your living room.
Jeb: Did the 3D filming make you be more careful with your choreography onstage?
Klaus: The only difference is that you have to act to the cameras. Normally, you don’t care about where the cameras are. We had meetings with the directors beforehand and they said, “We don’t want you to overdo it, but once in a while it would be nice if you could take your guitar, or your microphone and really move it towards the 3D camera because that will give it a very special effect for the viewer.” You can’t do it the whole time because it is a regular concert but, now and then, you would be next to the 3D camera and you would do something because you know it will have a very special effect.
Jeb: As the farewell tour goes on are you starting to get emotional that the end is near?
Klaus: It is a weird thing to think about after forty years with this band. We are family. On the other side, we are a band that after forty years has survived punk and grunge. Classic rock music seems to be very popular with the new generation. Right now, we can put all of our energy into our concerts.
We are going to be doing the biggest heavy metal festival in the world called Wacken. People come from all over the world to see this show. We are really happening right now and we feel the energy. Our fans around the world will keep this energy going until the very end. They will keep it going until our rocking hurricane is downgraded to a tropical storm.
Jeb: On the Blu-Ray, during the song “Still Loving You” the camera pans the audience and every person in the crowd knows every word to your song. That is amazing.
Klaus: I don’t need to sing at all anymore as the audience sings all the words to all the songs. It is quite something. We have a whole new audience which makes a nice mix with those fans who have been with the band for thirty or forty years. There are young fans standing right in front of the stage going totally nuts to “Blackout,” “No One Like You” and “The Zoo” and other songs that were written way before they were even born.
It is wonderful to have those classics like “Still Loving You” and no matter where we play the fans react the same way and sing along. Scorpions fans make every show a lot of fun and it feels great. We can play Russia or New York City or somewhere in the jungle and the fans sing all of the words to the songs. It is a wonderful, wonderful feeling.
Jeb: I’ve got a bone to pick with you. I thought Sting in the Tail was supposed to be the last album by the Scorpions. I am holding in my hands the new album Comeblack.
Klaus: It was. We announced the album Sting in the Tail in conjunction with this tour that will take us all over the world and it became such a huge success that Sony said, “Okay, we want to support this with some product.” What can you do? We just announced our last album and then things are so huge that they want us to get back in the studio. We decided that if we were going to do that then we would just go in and have some fun. We decided to re-record some of our classics like “The Zoo” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The idea was for us to blow off the dust from those vinyl records and to present them to a whole new audience in the sound of the 21st century. It was a lot of fun because you can do so much more today in the studio. At the same time, we thought that this can’t be enough as we didn’t want to put out a new album without some new songs on it. We thought about recording some covers and paying tribute to some of the legendary bands who inspired us in the ‘60’s. We had a lot of fun trying things out and seeing what worked and what didn’t work. We really were enjoying playing music from all of our heroes like the Beatles and the Stones. We did songs like “Tainted Love” which is a song that many people might not expect to hear us do but the riff worked well. We gave it a try and it worked. We did “Children of the Revolution” by T. Rex, which was outside of us in a lot of ways. They are all great bands.
Jeb: You really put a Scorpions stamp on these songs. Was that part of the reason these songs made the cut? You could pay homage to them but you can still be yourself.
Klaus: Those are all legendary compositions. You have to find your own adaptation of that music. You better do good. It doesn’t make sense to record any of those songs unless it is going to be great. At this point, we had to be convinced that is was not only a great song but we had to put our own Scorpions DNA onto those songs. It was a very difficult issue to even choose the songs. You can’t go in and choose “Hey Jude” or “Strawberry Fields,” no way. When I did “Across the Universe” it worked well with my voice and everyone said, “Let’s do it.” Then Matthias [Jabs] said we should do a Rolling Stones song. It is impossible for me, with my voice, to sing a soul song. We found “Ruby Tuesday” and it came out not too bad. Then we went to Led Zeppelin and we figured out, no way could we do that. We love Led Zeppelin and they are one of our favorite bands of all time but at the end of the day it was impossible to pick any of those songs. I think we were talking about “Good Times Bad Times” but it didn’t work. At the end of the day, we took a deep bow to Jimmy Page as we couldn’t do justice to any of their songs.
Doing this album was so much fun that if someone had not told us it was time to stop then we would probably be in the studio still recording. We didn’t need to write songs and we didn’t need to write lyrics. We just had a great time.
Jeb: Before we have to go I want to talk about your voice. Back in the Blackout days you had major problems with your voice. Now, 30 years after that you still sound amazing. How did you do it?
Klaus: Thank you very much for that nice compliment. I try to take care of my instrument, which is my voice. I try to prepare it and not to slash it too much, which can happen on a long tour. At the end of the day, I am really very fortunate that my voice is still there.
Back in the day, when we recorded Blackout and I had surgery twice, I really had to work hard. When I look back to 1982, which is thirty years ago, we recorded the album and then we went on a long American tour and I came out of it with my voice intact. I was very happy. I got a second chance to rock the world with the Scorpions.
Jeb: Any final words?
Klaus: I want to let you know that we will be back over to see our fans in US before our Farwell tour is over. America has always been very, very important to our career and we never forget our American fans that have been very loyal for all of these years.
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