Legendary guitarist Michael Schenker recently spoke to Pitriff.com about his departure from UFO and his recently released MSG (MICHEAL SCHENKER GROUP) album, "Arachnophobiac".
When asked why he decide to give up the rights to the UFO band name, Michael said, "[UFO vocalist] Phil Mogg approached me and said, 'Please give us back the name. We need to earn money.' I don't know what that meant. We've had so many disasters in the last few years. [UFO bassist] Pete [Way] was getting totally out of control onstage. He doesn't listen. He's a sweet guy but he gets so obnoxious. He stands in my way and trips on my feet. He's just messing around too much. Somebody has to take it a little bit serious in order to keep the whole thing together. Can you imagine if everybody would mess around like Pete does? There wouldn't be any music. Especially, when I tried to introduce Pete and THE PLOT [Pete's collaboration with Schenker] to the MSG fans. Pete was so bad it was very embarrassing for me. It kind of really totally distracted me from my band. It was becoming chaotic. So when Phil approached me, I went, 'What the heck. I think it's time for me to get away from this.' I feel a little bit like a snake when the old skin comes off. Kind of like a reborn type of a situation. I'm starting from scratch with my fan club, having no other people involved anymore, getting rid of all the sharks, and all the stuff that's trying to sabotage my life."
With regards to the reports that Jeff Watson (NIGHT RANGER) ended up finishing the guitar tracks for the "Arachnophobiac" album when Michael failed to turn up for the scheduled recording sessions, Schenker said, "We did the whole session in three steps. It was done first in the San Francisco area, then in Las Vegas, then back to San Francisco. I did basically all my parts. After the vocals were done, it came down to meeting for the mix and overdubs. I had some problems of my own going on. It was due to the unresolved issues I was going through with my wife. I really wasn't doing too well at the time. I decided that it would be better to do it with someone else if they (the band and the producer) wanted to get it finished. [Producer and Shrapnel Records label owner] Mike Varney found Jeff. I didn't know it was going to be Jeff. Mike knows so many musicians. Mike asked him and completed it. That's basically what happened. When Mike Varney starts making a record, usually his budget and schedule is so perfectly worked out that if you put a hole in it or try to delay things it really screws him up. That played heavy into the mix of things."
When asked why he sold his trademark flying V guitar, Michael said, "I actually sold three of my guitars. Basically, because of the separation of my wife and everything totally collapsed on me. I built a studio and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everything just went poof! And that was it. Now I'm back to square one. But you know? Life is not so much what you have, but how you deal with life and what you learn from all of these fallings. I think that's much more important because there are lessons in those situations which I am more interested in. It's kind of like practicing a detachment. Detachment is important in life because when we get too attached that's when suffering comes in."
Read the whole interview at Pitriff.com.