Legendary German guitarist Michael Schenker (SCORPIONS, UFO) has once again slammed his brother Rudolf, saying that the SCORPIONS axeman is "a desperate wannabe" who "cheated and bullied" his younger sibling.
Michael Schenker gave a number of interviews in the last couple of years in which he questioned his brother's integrity, going so far as to call Rudolf "a con artist" who "completely adopted [Michael's] image" as his own. He also denounced the SCORPIONS for "distorting" the story of his brief tenure with the band and criticized what he saw as ongoing efforts to minimize the contributions of the group's former drummer Herman Rarebell and ex-bassist Francis Buchholz, as well as SCORPIONS' long-running creative complacency.
In a brand new chat with Jimmy Kay of Canada's The Metal Voice, Michael said (hear audio below): "My brother is a cheat. I just stay away from him. What I found out about him is disrespectful, disgraceful. Let him be who he wants to be; I just can't trust him and I just stay away from him as far as I can, because he rips me off whenever he can because he knows what I do always has good value and he hasn't got ideas of his own. He stole my image, he copied everything I did ever in his life. And if he wants some goodness coming out of this, he has to clean his side of the street, but that's up to him. I just need to stay away from him as far as I can."
Michael added that his low opinion of his brother has "has nothing to do with" SCORPIONS singer Klaus Meine, whom he called "a pure soul. [Klaus] is the only artist in the band [and] he's carrying the whole SCORPIONS," Michael said. "And who's the SCORPIONS anyway? SCORPIONS is made out of different eras and has different foundations. That's why SCORPIONS is still a big name. And SCORPIONS has a foundation — it's a cake with the icing, only because I was the first guitarist in the band with Klaus Meine, a great singer. I was only 15 years old, I was called the 'wunderkind,' and I was playing developed guitar already as a 15-year-old. So for the people who fell in love with a great-guitarist-great-singer type of concept, the SCORPIONS were already recognized as an international, very, very high-potential, successful band, and that was based on Klaus Meine and myself. I wrote most of the music on [SCORPIONS' 1972 album] 'Lonesome Crow'. My ever first written song was 'In Search Of The Peace Of Mind'. The SCORPIONS, Rudolf mainly, he credited himself. He had nothing to do… I wrote the song in the kitchen of my mom's. Rudolf wasn't there, so I don't know why his name is on there as a writer."
Michael explained that he "was very disappointed" when he found out that SCORPIONS presented "a completely false 'Lovedrive' story" as part of the band's 2015 deluxe box set containing reissues of some of their finest work. "They lied about everything," Michael said. "I had a contract for 'Lovedrive' as the sixth member of the band. There should have been a picture in there. They should have mentioned that I wrote the intro to 'Holiday', which is a 40-second setup that sets up the mood for 'Holiday', which was one of the most successful ballads ever of the SCORPIONS. Then there is 'Coast To Coast', which Rudolf asked me if I would give my portion of the composition to him. I wrote all the melodies in 'Coast To Coast', so I said, 'Why not?' I gave it to him."
Michael also doubled down on his claim that Rudolf got some of his early ideas about songwriting and image from his younger brother. "Basically, he was pretending to be me," Michael said. "And because I made the decision, when I was 23 years old, that I didn't need [to be] holding desperately on to success and fame, because I'm a real musician and I was more interested in expressing myself as an artist, I never even looked back at the SCORPIONS, looking what they did with the 'Lovedrive' album. I only found out all of these things after my sister said, 'Rudolf is a greedy wanker.' That raised concern. When I read the false 'Lovedrive' story/bio, then I went, like, 'Wow! Maybe my sister is right after all.'"
According to Michael, Rudolf capitalized on the fact that he was older than his brother and intentionally misled his younger sibling into giving up something that was rightfully his. "I was 15 years old and Rudolf was already 21," Michael said. "He already ripped me off then by crediting himself for a song that I wrote. Do you think Rudolf gives anybody his share of the songwriting that he wrote? No, he wouldn't. But he ripped off his younger brother. It's disgraceful. This is disrespectful and it's taking advantage of a younger man, of a younger boy, and it's basically bullying him and trying to control him and making him his property. He's that kind of a guy. He cheated and he bullied his younger brother, who was an artist not looking for money."
Referring to himself in the third person, Michael summed up his relationship with his brother thusly: "Michael Schenker never wanted to be famous and successful; Michael Schenker just wanted to have fun with music. And Rudolf Schenker is a desperate wannabe who ripped his brother off and even went as far as taking credit for his younger brother's songwriting. It's stupid. So let's forget about that guy until he understands that it's not all about rat race and money and being famous and being 'it.' There's more to life than just being rich and famous and having money."
Michael Schenker first appeared on "Lonesome Crow", earned acclaim in the 1970s on classic UFO albums such as "Phenomenon" and "Lights Out" before rejoining SCORPIONS for 1979's "Lovedrive". He departed soon thereafter to launch MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP. And while his sometimes-erratic behavior have derailed parts of his career, Schenker remains one of hard rock and metal's most influential axemen.