SCORPIONS singer Klaus Meine says that "it was the right decision" for him and his bandmates to complete their new album without producer Greg Fidelman.
The German-Polish-Swedish hard rock legends spent the last few months recording the effort at Peppermint Park Studios in Hannover, Germany. Tentatively due later this year, the disc will mark SCORPIONS' first release since 2017's "Born To Touch Your Feelings - Best Of Rock Ballads", which was an anthology of new and classic material.
SCORPIONS originally intended to record the new album in Los Angeles with Fidelman, whose previous credits include SLIPKNOT and METALLICA. However, because of the pandemic, some of the initial work was done with Greg remotely, after which SCORPIONS opted to helm the recordings themselves with the help of their engineer Hans-Martin Buff.
During an April 2021 chat with Scorpions Brazil, Meine stated about the band's decision to proceed without Fidelman (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When we played Los Angeles in 2019, we met with Greg Fidelman. And we came together there, and he liked the idea to produce our next record. And Greg came to Germany to see us, at Peppermint. Then the pandemic, the way it went over here [in Germany] and over there in the U.S., it changed all of our plans. Our plan was to go to Los Angeles last year in May and June, spend May and June in the studio, go to Las Vegas [and] play the [residency] shows. We even booked a studio in Las Vegas for the off days. And the album would have been pretty much done in August [or] September. So that was the plan. But then corona changed everything. And we started with Greg via Zoom. He joined us every other day in the studio — L.A. in the morning, and with SCORPIONS, it was dinner time over here in Germany. So we worked on the material together, to a certain extent. Then it was hard, at some point, to continue without him being with us in the studio or without us being in his studio in Los Angeles. So we had to make a decision to have a break that would have lasted way into this year — into spring this year — or to keep going. And we didn't want to lose the momentum of the songs for us working in the studio. And so we decided to keep going. Because with Hans-Martin Buff, we had an amazing engineer, and we had a great team around us, working with us. We had set up a super-great sound together with Greg, so it was all L.A. standard. But it was a plan B to record in Germany instead of Los Angeles. But there was no way out of this since we could not travel to Los Angeles and he could not come over to Germany. So it was difficult."
He continued: "We'd been working with Greg on all the songs; we went through all the material with him together. But at that point, we felt very strong that we should continue, that we should move on, and we had the feeling we trust our own people, we trust our own team. It's a team effort. If we would have had the feeling we can't pull this off ourselves, we probably would have stopped. But that means, at this point, in April '21, we would have never [gotten] there where we are right now, because of the decision [to keep] going. And for us, looking back, it was the right decision, because when you look what's happening right now, there's still no chance for us to go to Los Angeles, and there's still no chance for him to come here, because it's all so difficult with all those travel restrictions. So I think we made the right move. We all were very confident that we keep going, and it hopefully will be one of the best albums we ever did."
Klaus also spoke in more detail about SCORPIONS' approach on the new album, saying: "We tried to really reactivate the SCORPIONS DNA, and we tried to make an album where we feel this is what our fans around the world expect at this point. And, of course, having Mikkey Dee in the band, the guy who played 20 years with MOTÖRHEAD, you can imagine he's also like a powerhouse behind the band, pushing, 'Let's try this. Let's try that,' which is fantastic, which is great. So, the good thing is, looking back at the last couple of months, the way the band moved closely together to pull this off, to make this work, but not as a B option… I think this B option to record in Hannover turned way before this year started into an A option, because we had a great studio, great setup, great sounds and great people to work with. And Hans-Martin did an excellent job. And we can't wait that you guys will hear the new songs. It feels really good. But it was very complicated circumstances in this corona situation. It's not Greg's fault, but it's not our fault either. We had to make the best out of it in order to move forward."
Meine previously told Talking Metal that the goal with using Fidelman to produce the new LP was to bring "the old vibe from albums like 'Blackout', 'Love At First Sting' or even 'Lovedrive'. We try to focus on those albums and this attitude," he said. "If we get there, who knows — it's so many years later. But it's the spirit and it's the whole vibe around this album. This time, the focus is on the harder songs."
According to Meine, SCORPIONS' new LP features "no outside writers at all," unlike 2015's "Return To Forever", which was largely co-written by the album's producers, Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen.
Fidelman began his career as the guitarist and songwriter for RHINO BUCKET before launching his career as a producer, engineer and mixer, finding an early mentor in Rick Rubin.
SCORPIONS' last full-length collection of new recordings was the aforementioned "Return To Forever", partially comprising songs the band had in the vault from the '80s. It was the final recorded appearance of SCORPIONS' longtime drummer James Kottak, who was dismissed from the band in September 2016.