THE SCORPIONS RETURN! I have had the pleasure of knowing Scorpions members for years now and was proud to honor them when they appeared at my Vegas Rocks! Hair Metal Awards in 2016. This interview is one I did with Klaus Meine in 2015

One of my all time favorite rock bands will be taking center stage here in Las Vegas this ROCKtober. Legendary status precedes The SCORPIONS as they celebrate 50 years as a band! I am so looking forward to seeing my friends Rudolf Schenker, Klaus Meine, Matthias Jabs, James Kottak and Pawel Maciwoda as they will rock the stage October 7th 2015 at The Joint. The guys are touring in support of their new CD “Return To Forever” which will be released in September which the music world is eagerly anticipating. I was excited to recently do an interview with Klaus Meine to find out more about what this amazing band has been up to…

VR: “Hey Klaus! We are excited about your new CD “Return to Forever” coming out and are looking forward to you coming back to Vegas.”

Klaus: “Yes, we are very much excited and looking forward to coming back to the Hard Rock. Is it true that there are many bands coming through The Hard Rock doing like a residence or something?”

VR: “Yes, it started with MOTLEY CRUE, GUNS N’ ROSES and we also had KISS and JOURNEY. But we would love to have THE SCORPIONS here as a resident so I will put in a good word for you!”

Klaus: “Well, yes, let’s see what the future might be, you know… for our 50th Anniversary we have become Elvis [laughs].”

VR: “I saw you guys at the Joint back in 2007 I think it was, when it was still the small room. Have you guys played in the bigger venue since then?”

Klaus: “Yes, we played there a few years back, it was a lot of fun.  Vegas is always a lot of fun, I was glad when I saw it on the schedule and I mean, there is so much you can do, so many bands and great artists you can see and always when you play Vegas, it’s like you become part of this entertainment family you know so it is always a very important and very special gig.”

VR: “Is there anything special you like to do while you are in Vegas… besides perform?”

Klaus: “Well, I mean it depends, it is always nice when you have an extra day off in Vegas and there are so many nice hotels, you know and if you have a chance to enjoy the Vegas sun, if you found like a great sun blocker, it’s got to be between 50 and 100 block I guess since it is so hot [laughs]. And if it’s not the pool , the malls are great for a day of shopping. There are some great stores like John Varvatos, so if there is a little time, we go out shopping like hurricane.”

VR: “[Laughs] Hey that should be the name for your next album…”

Klaus: “Exactly, Rock you like a Hurricane, Rock you like a thunderstorm, exactly.”

VR: “Did you always sing and speak English fluently or was it hard for you to learn and sing English?”

Klaus: “It was not easy, to express your feelings  in a foreign language when English was not your mother language, especially in the early days to write songs with English words it was not so easy. Our producer had to double check to make sure it was all correct, because it was not our mother language. So why the hell were we singing in English was probably going to be your next question….I think when we were grew up with our heroes, the BEATLES, THE WHO, THE STONES, so many great bands and even Elvis, when we were young kids singing “Heartbreak Hotel” and Don’t Be Cruel”, “Be bop a loobop a wop bam boom”…..we didn’t understand a word, but we got the message of rock n’ roll and we loved it right away. And with all the British bands who came over in the 80s,and we were  teenagers picking up a guitar and drums and starting to sing it was the sound . This kind of music, this guitar orientated music, worked only in our ears as English, and there was never even a discussion, should we sing in English or should we sing in our own language in German, we never had this discussion and it turned that it was the best decision we made because this was the ticket for our career to take our music all over the world. Otherwise we would have played Germany, Switzerland Austria only. We might have been big heroes in our own country but with English lyrics we had the chance to take our music all over the world. And it was hard, but It was getting easier the more we played internationally and especially in America and it was like we lived in America with an international crew. We lived in the tour bus on the road and it was great to be on the road with so many great acts [like] Ted Nugent AC DC, AEROSMITH so it was a good thing that we started and stayed in English.”

VR: “What was your first impression of America?”

Klaus: “The first time was New York City, and we were invited to a place, and somebody said; “Tonight we go out to the “zoo”, and we expected to see some elephants and tigers but it was 42nd Street in New York City, and I wrote a song about it which became one of our classics, “The Zoo”. And there were many great moments on the first [visit] and impressions coming to the Untimed States. We played our first show in Ohio with Ted Nugent and Aerosmith and when you come from Europe and you land in America in New York City and the big Apple and that it is very, very  spectacular. I mean but the same goes for Vegas in a way, it is so different, this city in the middle of a desert….”

VR: “Yeah, talk about a Zoo – here’s your real zoo here in Vegas, forget New York City, this is the real zoo here! [They laugh] we just have all different kinds of animals!”

Klaus: “[Laughing] Yeah absolutely right, the Casino Zoo, right? … Absolutely, and I have to say after all these years we’ve been on the road and we’ve been just about everywhere…. so many countries and so many states, but after all these years, it’s still exciting. We go back through our tour that kicks off in Boston and for most of the tour we travel by tour bus and that’s so American and this American tour romantic, and I’m still looking forward to this kind of feel to see America through the tour  bus window- to when you wake up in the morning at maybe  5 o’clock and see if the bus driver is still alive [ laughs] and drive the through the rocky mountains in the early morning and you say, I have to go to bed now but – no – I want to stay awake, this is so beautiful in all those parts and all those states and for somebody coming from Europe when we grew up  in Germany and then you go to America and for us it was always part of our dream to be part of the international family of rock music. And here we are and being the headliners, you play the big arenas and it is fabulous and it’s a privilege after all these years that we can still do it.”

VR: “Was there anything as you look back in your long career that you might have done a little bit differently?”

Klaus: “There was really nothing that we could have done differently, I mean we had a chance to build up this song and house brick by brick and the windows were shaking and house was shaking but it was a process and we went up step by step on this ladder and it was all about music and delivering onstage and playing in front of the fans. It was not so much about you becoming a superstar but it was about being up on stage and really delivering a great show every night, this is what it’s all about.  And even after 50 years, we’re getting older – it’s an ugly number 5-0, I think, but were still young at heart, and to see all those young kids at the front of the stage that have joined the party in the last couple of years, it is exciting to play for different generations, and to see and realize that our music became timeless. It is simply wonderful.”

VR: “I read that early in your career that you lost your voice. When that happened, did you consider another choice of a career?”

Klaus: “I don’t know, I might have become the bus driver you know [laughs]. I really don’t know. When I think about it, it was really scary. I had surgery twice on my vocal chords, I was ready to give it all up, but fortunately  it was  really like a great statement of friendship from Uli [Jon Roth] , wouldn’t let me go and he said; “You have to do everything you can do, and we are waiting for you”. And the album we were doing at the time was “Blackout” and when I recorded “Blackout” and we went on the road in America  it became such a huge success around the world and  for me, I’m very thankful the way it went and it became the longest encore ever. And I’m still there, so we are still doing what we enjoy so much and so I think it went very well at the end of the day, after all the ups and downs in a long career. I mean we survived punk, we survived alternative music and now we are coming back to America and even Seattle is sold out already so what can I say?… It is all great.”

VR: What was the biggest lesson that you learned in your career?”
Klaus: “Well, I think it’s very important that you believe in yourself and that you make sure it is not all about business. It’s about the passion for the music, it’s about friendship, it’s about chemistry in the band and that’s very important. And you have to be honest with yourself and you’re very lucky if the find the right people at the right moment in your life and you have a chance for something like a long career and you always have to follow that path and try to be true to yourself and enjoy life. And even when sometimes it all goes downhill, there might be the right moment where there is some light at the end of the tunnel and you’ll be back again. And that is what we went through and you have to be patient, and to wait for the right moment and everything will be cool  but you have to just  believe in yourself and don’t give up too early.”

VR: “I know you did a farewell tour but you are back. Is this tour your farewell tour now?”
Klaus: “I mean after we did the farewell tour we don’t want to talk about another farewell tour or  make any predictions. I mean we lost some very close friends our manager Peter Amend, almost a year ago, he is gone and our tour manager Michael Gehrke passed away earlier this year. And so we went through a tough time, last couple of months. But at the same time we are making this record and we are back on the road again and everything. But you realize everything can be over just tomorrow. When something like this happens like a real life tragedy and you don’t take anything for granted anymore. We enjoy the day and we enjoy the chance what we’re doing and were here right now and are doing what we’re doing,  so when we come to America, we want to give our fans a great show and we don’t want to think about what might be next year or what might be 2017. I know about 2018 – you know I will be 70. That’s scary! I was watching the ROLLING STONES last year here in Germany in Berlin and next to me was Steven Tyler you know, and Steven and me were watching Mick Jagger and he was dancing and going totally crazy and I said to Steven “Look Steven, this guy is 70 now! Isn’t that amazing?!’ and Steven said “Klaus, I am 66!” and I said; “Well, me too man!” So all of us are growing older but were still out there with the same passion and I guess were still young at heart and we get so much energy from the audience and the fans and that’s the great thing.”

VR: “What do you feel was the biggest accomplishment with the band that you’ve made?”

Klaus: “That we really had the chance to play around the world and that the band was also not only about – we rock you or shock you – like a hurricane, but it was always about building bridges with music and bringing people together in a peaceful way by  playing countries like Lebanon, or Israel or Egypt, especially when you are in the middle east, where people in the real world are enemies, and you see how powerful music is in bringing people together with music and talking the same language. Music and The SCORPIONS was always about building bridges and with a song like “Winds of Change”, became a peace anthem. And I think this is the song that underlines this position the SCORPIONS being ambassadors of peace and building bridges in a lot of countries around the world where we play our music. “

VR: “Excellent! – Very well said. What would you like people to know most about your new album “Return to Forever?”

Klaus: “I mean you have to check it out. I think it is an album that really presents the SCORPIONS DNA and is an album our fans expect for the SCORPIONS. Musically it’s all in there and you have to check it out and listen to the whole thing,  we think it’s a great album, and we’re very excited it comes out in September  in the U.S. and we play quite a few songs off the new album as well.”

VR: “Well that’s great, we can’t wait to see you here in Vegas and were going to put you on the front cover of VEGAS ROCKS! Magazine and I’m going to make sure you get a copy.”

Klaus: “Fantastic, that would be cool, fantastic. All right Sally, thank you, nice to talk to you!”

Sally Steele

Be sure and check out the Scorpions new CD “Return to Forever” and don’t miss them at The Joint October  7th!

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