Michael Schenker Fest
Why play with just three lead singers when you can have four?
Having released an album, Resurrection, since last year’s visit with three lead singers, this time the mercurial German guitar hero is fronted by four – Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley and Doogie White – along with bassist Chris Glen, keyboard player/guitarist Steve Mann and drummer Ted McKenna.
The first tour that Michael Schenker Fest played was a huge success.
That one had three singers, and we have added a fourth [Doogie White] and made an album. The thing is getting bigger and bigger. People loved it in America, and here in Japan [where he’s calling from] the audiences are completely crazy.
The key is that you’re enjoying being on stage – maybe for the first time in your career.
I’m having fun. Something happened to me back in 2008 and all of a sudden I wanted to be on stage. Over those ten years it has developed. It started by talking to the crowd, but now I sing [backing vocals] and tell stories. I can’t believe it is happening to me at this age [Schenker is 63]. How will this tour differ from the one back in November? Since 2016 I’ve played longer sets. There will be songs not performed last time, and of course some material from Resurrection.
Although you said the idea was “far-fetched”, you have proposed adding singers Klaus Meine of the Scorpions and UFO’s Phil Mogg, to become the Ultimate Michael Schenker Fest. If they would do that it would be a completion of the cycle. I don’t know if it will happen. Life is like a train; I’m not driving it and trains have many compartments.
As a former member of UFO, will you be involved in any way in the band’s farewell tour next year – even just getting up on stage with them at their final UK show, in Shepherd’s Bush? Bands like UFO and the Scorpions are trying to fool the audience, and I’m not a part of that world. It’s becoming a trend to make a big deal about playing last shows, and those bands do it because they can’t get anywhere in a normal way.
I returned the UFO name to Phil Mogg [in 2003]. It was a precious gift that I gave him for free and he didn’t even thank me. Why should I show up [to play] with UFO again? For me, UFO only exists with the original five members, plus [classic-era producer] Ron Nevison. Phil calls his current band UFO, but it isn’t UFO. If [Mogg] shows me no respect or appreciation, why would I do that for him?
“I’m having fun. Now I sing [backing vocals] and tell stories.”
Isn’t Mogg a neighbour of yours in Sussex?
Phil and I constantly bump into each other – when I use a zebra crossing, Phil’s there walking his dog; or I see him in Morrisons queuing for a Lotto ticket; or he’s going up the hill on his racing bike – but we haven’t actually spoken for quite a while. DL