At the end of the month the legendary Scorpions, UFO, and MSG axe man will take the Temple of Rock on the road across the UK.

Michael Schenker is joined by his ex-Scorpions bandmates Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass) along with Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards), and ex-Rainbow vocalist Doogie White. Last year the band released their latest album, Spirit On A Mission featuring their new Double A-side single “Rock City” and “Good Times”.

National Rock Review recently caught up with Michael to talk about Temple of Rock’s forthcoming UK tour, their new single and what the band have in store for 2016.

NRR: Happy New Year, it’s great to speak to you again.
Schenker: Happy New Year.
NRR: You finished last year out on the road with Judas Priest. How did the tour go?
Schenker: Absolutely great. We started in America at the beginning of the year, I can’t even remember so many things happened, but all good you know. I really enjoyed the Judas Priest thing, the European tour was excellent. We did a DVD recording in Madrid and that’s going to be released in April.
Like I said we did the Judas Priest tour, that was fantastic the set was short and it was only a few dates but it was really enjoyable and, of course, we are looking forward to the DVD release and the headline tour which starts on the 20th January in the UK.
NRR: You are also about to release a new Double A-side single which is “Rock City” and “Good Times” on the 11th January, both from your latest album Spirit On A Mission. Could you tell us a little bit about those tracks and the inspiration behind them?
Schenker: Yeah, I mean Rock City is a fantastic song. You know it was very hard to pick the first one because there were a few that I like, the up-tempo ones and “Rock City” is one of them but you know even “Live and Let Live” and, of course, the first number “Vigilante Man”.
“Good Times” is a very unusual song for this band, but it’s kind of interesting how Doogie approached it and what came out of it. I really like it, but it’s not something that I would have picked as a first single as it’s more on the softer side. It’s about the past, Doogie is singing about the past, the good times you know. I actually witnessed that many people like that song a lot, but of course you know I prefer the metal approach.
The reason why I like “Good Times” is because it’s a song which sings about I guess Doogie’s career (laughing) because he does the lyrics and so he kind of sums it all up and is asking where have the good times gone. I’m still having good times because we all have still. Obviously, many people may ask themselves wow what have we been doing all these years and look what great fun we had and this and that, so people reflect on their past and so this song does exactly something like that, it brings people back you know.
It’s a very interesting song and I like the melody, I love the guitar solo it was a surprise the way it turned out. “Rock City” is definitely a steamer and it’s up-tempo and it’s very melodic, it has a great chorus you know, I play guitar all over the place and it keeps moving, it’s snappy the way I like it these days.
NRR: Did you write “Rock City” about any particular city that you had visited?
Schenker: (laughing) I’m not really sure because Doogie always writes the lyrics and so he is also from here and I’m German so he has more knowledge what is called what, but I do remember hearing something when we were thinking about what to call the song there is a place, a venue actually called Rock City in Nottingham which we are going to play.
I think this song can apply to any place you know because it’s a ballad, we are going to rock this city and it can be any city that wants to be rocked (laughing).
NRR: Like we just mentioned you are bringing your “Spirit on a Mission” headline tour to the UK at the end of the month which is starting at the Robin in Bilston on the 20th January. What can the fans expect from your set, this time, around?
Schenker: Basically as we are touring we keep changing our set. Obviously, we always play classics, we play the must songs, we play highlights from the hay days of Herman and Francis. It’s Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock so we play the past and the present all combined, but lately we kind of have already created a momentum with Temple of Rock so we are not repeating ourselves too much.
You know Temple of Rock, the idea is for it to stand on its own feet and develop towards it and we are getting very close, but we want to keep it exciting you know for the people who expect new songs and for the people who expect classics. We will mix it up and we will make sure it’s a nice balanced set, especially not something that you know we just played a year ago.
There’s so much material to choose from, people will hear enough new stuff. As new stuff of the old stuff and of course the new stuff of the new stuff and so keep it all balanced and exciting.
NRR: We are looking forward to seeing you at the Sage Gateshead on 25th January. I know you’ve played in Newcastle many times before. Do you have any good memories of playing in the city?
Schenker: Newcastle is the beginning of my career with UFO. You know Sunderland and Newcastle. I remember Newcastle very well from those days, especially because we used to play the ballroom you know something like that. I remember gigs there with Suzi Quatro and stuff like that. I was only 17/18 years old, I started right there and have lots of memories from Newcastle.
NRR: Do you have any plans to play any summer festivals this year?
Schenker: We do anything that makes sense to us and that you know we are just letting the offers come in and we make decisions when they come in and so we are open to anything. The whole year of 2016 we are going to be releasing a DVD and then we are also looking for a record deal for Temple of Rock.
A new record deal because everything has been based on my own record deal and so I want Temple of Rock to get its own deal together and to focus on that. In the meantime whatever comes up and makes sense and is doable we will do. Then of course, we are planning a new CD to be released somewhere in 2017.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at National Rock Review. We are really looking forward to catching you live at the Sage Gateshead on the 25th January. Good luck with the start of the tour.
Schenker: Great, thank you so much.


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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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