Following on from the release of their successful debut album Resurrection, Michael Schenker Fest will release their second studio album on September 20th this year worldwide through Nuclear Blast.
Schenker’s forthcoming studio release will once again feature an ambitious lineup featuring colleagues past and present and includes a four-pronged vocal attack of Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley and Doogie White.
National Rock Review recently caught up with the guitar god himself to get the lowdown on Michael Schenker Fest’s new studio album Revelation.
Michael Schenker started off by telling us how the idea for Revelation was born.
“We had a second leg of the Resurrection US tour coming up on the 15th April this year. And the last gig we did was in the UK. And so there was a gap of eight months. And I said to myself, I’m not going to sit around here and do nothing and wait until the American tour starts. So I called up Nuclear Blast and I told them, I’m going to write a new album. And they said, okay. And so I started writing and when I was ready, I had already got ideas to have four songs sang by all singers and directed by Michael Voss. I wrote the first songs where everybody was singing – last time, we had two songs Warrior and Last Supper and I was so happy about those two songs. To guess who’s singing it must be great for the hardcore fan. I like to invite a lot of guest musicians and stuff like that.”
However, tragedy struck the band with the passing of the group’s drummer and MSG colleague Ted McKenna.
“Ted McKenna died and we had to rethink everything because now we have to find a drummer who was able to play 45 songs. Because we had this tour in America, 32 songs, two and a half hours with a set of up to three hours. And then we had the record of 13 songs. So the first drummer that came to mind was Simon Phillips. And he was very happy to do that, but he wasn’t available for live shows and Bodo Schopf also offered to help. He was available for touring. And so we had managed have 10 songs for Simon to play on the album. Three songs for Bodo Schopf to play on the album. And then I took Bodo Schopf with me to England and we rehearsed the heck out of the set, you know, the American set. And, Simon put down his drums. And he text while he was doing that, he texts Michael Voss, our co-producer and he said Michael Schenker is fucking great. The head of Nuclear Blast in Germany he wrote me a personal message and he said he was in love with this record. You know, that was fantastic.”
Following the loss of Ted McKenna, Schenker had to revisit his original idea for the record. But waiting somewhere over the Rainbow was guest vocalist Ronnie Romero who was only too happy to get involved. The record now featuring Rainbow vocalists past and present including Romero and former frontman Graham Bonnett.
“We had to look at things because we were on a tight schedule. We scrapped the whole idea about the guests because it’s very time consuming, and it takes a lot of work. We did three songs with everybody singing and when we came to the fourth song, it became kind of complicated – I think it was because it was an upbeat song. And we usually do the everybody singing tracks with a mid-tempo song. And so instead of fighting the situation of making this work, Michael Voss had this great idea, he knows this singer, he sings with Ritchie Blackmore, his name is Ronnie Romero. And, I said great, ask him if he would be interested in helping us out. And Ronnie Romero was very happy to do that. And so they went straight to work and the song turned out fantastic. It’s an unusual song anyway, but also his vocal is so different from the other guys. And so it added like another dimension to the album and we got a guest singer as a surprise, you know? So that was great.”
“And, so basically I also was very happy that Graham Bonnet insisted on writing his own lyrics. He did such a great job with those two songs that he’s chosen. You know, once I did the blueprint and put the windows and the doors anywhere they needed to be, we sent out the music to all the singers in one go. And then Doogie, you know, chose the first two songs and then, you know, Robin chose one song. And then Graham chose two songs. And so at the end of the day, everybody was taken care of. And, I knew that everybody was happy with their choices. And so they started working on the vocals and then put that down until after everything was done. And, we got the musicians in.”
Schenker’s master plan or blueprint was brought to life with the aid of his incredibly talented ensemble of musicians.
“The main thing about the input of the musicians, as you know, even though, the blueprint was done with electronic drums and electronic bass to make sure they knew if it was a double speed or a mid-tempo. So they understood what the song was about. The main part is that the musicians, and the singers, with the lyrics and the melodies and the personalities of the musicians or the colouring of the keyboards. And the personality of Chris Glen playing the bass, you know. The personality is what kinds of – if somebody said like, okay, so you mean like the house was there basically but now it needs to be, you know, decorated. And that’s what the rest of the guys take care of, including of course my lead guitar parts and stuff like that. So that’s all part of colouring and at the end of the day, everything worked out.”
Michael Schenker Fest’s new record Revelation will be released on 20th September via Nuclear Blast. Available to pre-order HERE.