KLAUS MEINE On Life After SCORPIONS: I Am Sure It Will Not Be Boring

Jeffrey Easton of Metal Exiles recently conducted an interview with vocalist Klaus Meine of German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metal Exiles: This is a pure SCORPIONS album through and through and you guys have always delivered a message with your lyrics. Is there a message you wanted to get out this time?

Klaus: We wanted to go with no message this time, we just wanted to have fun with the music. Especially after coming off of this big humanitarian message with "Humanity - Hour 1". We just wanted to go back to straightforward rock and roll, let's have a good time. Still there is a song called "The Good Die Young". It is a song about the soldiers in Afghanistan and we wanted to dedicate it to the people who stand up for a more peaceful world. It is an anti war song but with this album we did not want to go with a big message we just wanted to enjoy ourselves.

Metal Exiles: This is your last album but the last track is entitled "The Best Is Yet To Come". Is there a reason for this?

Klaus: This song has been around for quite some time and we recorded it before we thought about this retirement thing. When we put the album together we put that at the end for an ironic twist. We wanted to end with a positive note and even if we end the chapter of the SCORPIONS after this next tour for the next few years there might be a new page in the book of life.

Metal Exiles: "Sting In The Tail" debuted at #23 on Billboard, which is the highest charting record in the U.S. since "Face The Heat". What is it about this record that people latched onto that they have not in the past few years?

Klaus: it is in the songs, I guess. It is also the fact that we worked at home with producers that did not exactly produce but became part of the gang.

Metal Exiles: They were not oppressive.

Klaus: Yes and they challenged us as SCORPIONS fans, they were very good at what they did and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. With the last album, I had to focus on my German accent because Desmond Child was not happy with the way I pronounced certain words. I told him, "I sold millions of records in America with my German accent." Therefore, it was different this time. Last time Desmond wanted everything perfect, this time we wanted everything our way. "Humanity - Hour 1" is a great album but for some reason it did not click with our audience. Now with "Sting In The Tail" we come into America with an album that goes up to #23 and all over the world it is charting high. After 40 years, it is something that you do not expect. You have all of these bands on the road for years that live on their history and nobody would expect that they would come out with something that can top their past. With this album, we were not trying to top our history but we wanted to put out a record that our fans would say that "this is the album that we were waiting on."

Metal Exiles: You guys are about to embark on your final tour and you have always been known for the enthralling live show. What can we expect from the final SCORPIONS run?

Klaus: We have a played a few shows already and we kicked off the show with "Sting In The Tail", played "Raised On Rock" and "The Good Die Young" and, of course, the big hits as well. We also are playing some of the things we have not played in awhile, like "Animal Magnetism", for example, which went down well. We also might have our friends Michael Schenker, Uli Roth and Herman Rarebell here and there joining us for a night to remember here in the U.S. There are no plans right now but since we are talking setlists, we would play "No One Like You" with Herman on drums, "We Burn The Sky" with Uli and "Another Piece Of Meat" with Michael. You go through different times of your career and pick out the songs that are connected with those artists that mean the most.

Metal Exiles: The SCORPIONS have almost always drawn the ire of the censors with your album covers, even "Love At First Sting" was banned for awhile. Did you guys ever purposefully go out of your way to make the covers racy to get attention or did you just like great art?

Klaus: Back in those days (the '70s) it was RCA, our record label then, went over the edge with "Virgin Killer". Today when you think of child pornography on the net, you would never do something like that. We never did this in the sense of pornography, we did it in the sense of art. It is about the song and the label was pushing the idea because they wanted to get the controversy to help the album sale and you cannot get better promotion that that. Looking back from the band point of view it was never an album cover that we took home to our parents and said, "Look what we just released." There was always mixed feelings about it and even 30 years later it caused a scandal at Wikipedia because the site for that album was blocked and even the FBI was getting involved. All of that after so many years, can you believe that?

Metal Exiles: You have always had great covers but it seemed like for a while right after you released an album here in America you had a collectors item.

Klaus: We never did it on purpose, we just did not know it would be a problem in America, it was just sex and rock and roll. It is odd that in America that some of these covers were a problem because in the '80s when we would tour here we always had boobs flashed to us at the front of the stage. Nowhere else in the world, just here. We just did not think it would be a problem to put out a record like "Lovedrive" in America. ("Deadly Sting: The Mercury Years" was banned at Walmart and "Pure Instinct" was banned as well.)

Metal Exiles: How do you maintain your voice after all of these years?

Klaus: I try to treat my voice with a little more respect and try to keep it in a good balance. After so many years, I am a lucky person and that I survived my lost voice during "Blackout" in 1982.

Metal Exiles: What did you do differently after that?

Klaus: I did not play six shows anymore after that and just took care of myself. There is a bad word in rock and roll called discipline, you have to be on the safe side to make it through a tour. When everybody throws a party, the poor singer has to take care of his voice. Now I do all of the parties I missed back then, it is my turn!

Metal Exiles: With the final album in "Sting In The Tail", you now have bookends on your career with "Lonesome Crow" as your debut. From the start with "Lonesome Crow" to the end with "Sting", what do you think of your progression as a band do you think that progression saved your careers?

Klaus: With "Lonesome Crow", we were just a young band trying to find our way, trying to shape an artistic style to find the SCORPIONS DNA. There was a ballad with "In Search Of Peace Of Mind" and a psychedelic rocker with the title track, "I'm Goin' Mad" was a great rocker with Michael Schenker playing great solos. We were just a young band with talented guys with no idea on where to go from here. We brought in Uli Roth who had a Hendrix influence and Rudolf and I became a songwriter team. When Matthias Jabs joined the band, we found our style, fast riffs but great melodies along with the power ballads. I think from "Lonesome Crow" to "Sting In The Tail" we influenced many musicians. This Is our legacy, to leave many rock classics like "Rock You Like A Hurricane" to "Wind Of Change", which became the soundtrack for the end of the Cold War. Our final album shows that the SCORPIONS still burn for the passion of rock and roll and we love it. We are still a live band and many of the songs on the new album can be played live. With this record, we want to go out on the road and nail it every night.

Metal Exiles: What will you do when the last tour is over?

Klaus: Pick up the pieces, I do not know. Right now, it does not make sense to make plans for the end. We are young at heart but when we come home from this, we will be 65 but we can say we have been all over the world and have fans from every country. You cannot ask for more than that. There will hopefully be another challenge in the book of life, I never did a solo album in all of those years. I am sure life will not be boring and the golf courses of the world will not see us too soon.

Read the entire interview from Metal Exiles.


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