Legendary German guitarist Michael Schenker's MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST project has recruited drummers Simon Phillips and Bodo Schopf following the recent passing of Ted McKenna. Simon, who played on the MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP debut album, will return as the main drummer on the upcoming second MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST LP. Due to his schedule, he is unable to be the live drummer for the upcoming U.S. tour. This role will be completed by Bodo Schopf, who played on "Perfect Timing" and "Save Yourself". With the sudden passing of McKenna, Bodo will be featured on the upcoming record but in a smaller role as he had the important job of preparing for the U.S. tour.
Michael states: "We are very grateful to Bodo for being a team player and working out with Simon what needs to be done in order for us to continue as smooth as possible and also to Simon for helping us to make it all possible. Bodo is the perfect choice to continue as the permanent drummer for MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST. It is a perfect balance between the musicians from the past. It includes everything as a family to continue MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST."
Bodo comments: "I am very sorry that Ted had to leave us under these tragic circumstances and I'm proud to rock for him and all the MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST fans. RIP Ted."
Following the release of its successful first album "Resurrection", MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST is currently recording the follow-up, co-produced by Schenker and Michael Voss, which is tentatively scheduled to be released in August.
McKenna, who has also played with THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND, Rory Gallagher and Ian Gillan, died last month at the age of 68. He passed away from a haemorrhage during elective surgery.
Michael comments: "We are totally heartbroken to hear about Ted McKenna — our amazing drummer and dearest friend — passing away. It's a massive shock and a huge loss to lose Ted so suddenly. He always had a smile on his face and was one of the most sincerely genuine people you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. One of the great rock drummers, he always played from the heart and his heart was music. Rest in peace, Ted. We will miss you."
MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST will kick off its U.S. tour on April 15 at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California. The trek will include performances in Vancouver, Chicago, and New York before concluding on May 18 in Austin.