Michael Schenker Fest Live at Concord

Photos © 2019 by: Roman Sobus

Photos © 2019 by: Roman Sobus

Check out more great live photos here!

Michael Schenker was born the 10th of January 1955 in Sarstedt near Hannover, north Germany. He is the 6.5 years’ younger brother of Rudolf, who is still with the Scorpions and 2.5 years older than his Sister Barbara.

Michael started playing guitar in 1964 at the age of 9. He joined his first band aged 11. When he was 14, in 1969, Michael got together with singer Klaus Meine and started a band named Copernicus.

In 1970 when Michael was 15 and Klaus 21 they joined the Scorpions achieving instant international recognition with Michael’s unusual talent as a 15 year old lead guitarist and Klaus’s distinctive vocals. This created the platform for International success for the Scorpions with their first album, “Lonesome Crow”. Michael wrote most of the music and “In Search of Peace of Mind” was the very first piece of music that he ever wrote.

In 1972, aged 17, Michael left the Scorpions after first finding Klaus and Rudolf (both 23 years old at the time) a replacement. Michael remembered a guitar player he saw when he was 14 who was playing very well. That person was Uli Roth and he took the offer to join the Scorpions. Michael joined the British psychedelic band UFO and turned them into a rock band. At the same time Michael was approached to audition for the Rolling Stones. That made him nervous and he never returned the call.

Michael’s departure from the Scorpions turned out to be very beneficial for the Scorpions due to Michael’s enormous International success with UFO that was yet to come.

The age of 17 marked the beginning for Michael to stop copying and listening to music in order to focus on the art of lead guitar with pure self-expression. Michael stayed with UFO for 6 Albums. The first 3 albums were produced by Leo Lyons, the bass player of Ten Years After.

“Phenomenon” was recorded in 1973 when Michael was 18, ”Force It” in ’74, ”No Heavy Petting” in ’75, ”Lights Out”, produced by Ron Nevison (known for work with Led Zeppelin), was recorded in ’76 when Michael was 21. It was their first Hit Album, “Obsession” in ’77 and the Live Album “Strangers in The Night” (also produced by Ron Nevison) in ’78 when Michael was 23 years old and became one of the best live albums of all time.

“Lights Out” and “Too Hot to Handle”, off the “Lights Out” Album, and “Only You Can Rock Me” from “Obsession” became hits and many songs became classics over the years such as “Doctor Doctor”, “Rock Bottom” Shoot Shoot”, “Natural Thing”, “Let it Roll” and many more.

In the ‘80’s Michael’s guitar style was copied by almost every 80’s guitarist and he continues to influence the metal scene till today. Bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden and Guns and Roses to name a few. Michael left UFO in ’78 aged 23.

It took Michael 8 years from 15 years of age till the age of 23 to make it all the way to the top.

By ’78, aged 23, Michael had developed into a top guitarist, it was also the beginning of his black and white Gibson Flying V design (changed to Dean in 2004). Experiencing fame and success in its fullest which gave him the opportunity to decide between continuing success in the fast lane or to step back and be free to experiment with music and life.

Peter became Michael’s Manager and had big business in mind for Michael which made it even more difficult for Michael to step back. At least he had made a step in the right direction by forming his own Band – Michael Schenker Group/MSG – to musically do what he wanted, when he wanted.

Michael went through a lot of musicians before ending up with his first Solo Album. It started off in ’79 with Denny Carmassi (ex Montrose) on drums and Billy Sheen (later Mr. Big) on bass and Gary Barden on vocals. After 4 weeks of rehearsals Michael became sick and the Band broke up. Next was the formation with Joey Kramer on drums and Tom Hamilton on bass – both from Aerosmith.

“Michael Schenker Group” was Michael’s first solo album and made it to the top 5 in the UK Charts. The album contains many Classics such as “Armed and Ready”, “Into the Arena”, “Cry for The Nations”, “Victim of Illusion” and “Lost Horizons”.

In ’81 Michael recorded the “MSG” album (produced by Ron Nevison) and “Live at the Budokan” produced by Michael and his engineer with Cozy Powell (ex Jeff Beck and Rainbow) on Drums, Paul Raymond (ex UFO at the time) on guitar and keyboards, Chris Glen (ex Alex Harvey Band) on bass and Gary Barden on vocals.

The “Assault Attack” album which became a musician’s favourite was next with Graham Bonnet on vocals, Chris Glen on bass, Ted McKenna (ex Alex Harvey Band and Rory Gallagher) on drums and Tommy Eyre (session player with Joe Cocker and many more) on keyboards and produced by Iron Maiden’s producer Martin Birch. Classic Tracks include “Assault Attack”, “Dessert Song”, “Dancer” and “Broken Promises” In the midst of this Michael was ask by Ozzy Osbourne to join his band. Randy Rhoads had just died in a Plane crash.

This was also the time that Peter Mensch and Michael separated. Michael recorded the self-produced album “Built to Destroy”. This album was especially known for songs such as “Captain Nemo”, “Rock My Nights Away”, ”Rock will never Die”. It was re-mixed by Jack Dougles (Aerosmith/John Lennon producer). David Krebs (manager of Aerosmith) became Michael’s new manager but it fell apart quickly and Michael’s band came to an end in ‘84.

In ’86 Michael was ready for his next experiment. He wanted to try a 50/50 partnership with a singer to share responsibilities equally. Michael found Robin McAuley. They recorded 3 albums together: “Perfect Timing”, produced by Andy Jones (known for his work with the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin) and “Save Yourself” produced by Frank Filipetti (known for his work with Elton John and Foreigner ) They released a bunch of hits such as “Anytime”, “Love is not a Game”, “This is My Heart”, “Gimmie Your Love” and recorded classics such as “Save Yourself “,”No Time For Losers”, “Bad Boys” and “Never Ending Nightmare”.

“Schenker /McAuley – MSG” produced by Kevin Beamish was Michael’s and Robin’s 3rd album with James Kottak on drums (ex – Kingdom Come and later Scorpions), Jeff Pilson (ex-Dokken and later Foreigner) on bass.
In his off-time Michael helped out Warren De Matini (friend and Michael Schenker fan at the time) with Ratt and did the All-Star project – Contraband.

In ’92 Michael and Robin went their separate ways and Michael was finally completely free. He became his own manager and an even more experimental musical life started. He recorded several acoustic instrumental albums -Thank You 1,2,3 and 4. Playing Solos –ONLY- on 2 of Mike Varney’s cover Songs projects – Summit “The Endless Jam and “The Endless Jam continues….” with a great rhythm section – Aynsley Dunbar (ex David Bowie/ex Journey) on drums and Tim Bogert (ex Beck, Bogert and Appice) on bass and David Pattison (Robin Trower) on vocals and later Michael recorded another cover song project playing solos –ONLY- on the MSG album titled “Heavy Hitters” with great musicians and singers of the 80’s.

MSG-Heavy Hitters
1. “All Shook Up” (Otis Blackwell; Elvis Presley) – 4:21 (Elvis Presley cover)
Joe Lynn Turner – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
Jeff Pilson – bass
Aynsley Dunbar – drums

2. “Blood of the Sun” (Felix Pappalardi; Gail Collins Pappalardi; Leslie West) – 3:52 (Leslie West/Mountaincover)
Leslie West – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
Rudy Sarzo – bass
Simon Wright – drums

3. “Doctor Doctor” (Michael Schenker; Phil Mogg) – 6:07 (UFO cover)
Jeff Scott Soto – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
Jeremy Rubolino – keyboards, strings arrangements
Marco Mendoza – bass
Brent Chassen – drums

4. “War Pigs” (Bill Ward; Geezer Butler; Ozzy Osbourne; Tony Iommi) – 7:24 (Black Sabbath cover)
Tim “Ripper” Owens – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
Mike Inez – bass
Aynsley Dunbar – drums

5. “I’m Not Talking” (Mose Allison) – 4:10 (Mose Allison cover)
Mark Slaughter – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
Jeff Pilson – bass
Aynsley Dunbar – drums

6. “Money” (Roger Waters) – 6:04 (Pink Floyd cover)
Tommy Shaw – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Edgar Winter – sax
Tony Levin – bass
Mike Baird – drums

7. “Out in the Fields” (Gary Moore) – 4:25 (Gary Moore cover)
Gary Barden – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
Chuck Wright – bass

8. “Hair of the Dog” (Dan McCafferty; Darrell Sweet; Manny Charlton; Pete Agnew) – 4:11 (Nazareth cover)
Paul Di’Anno – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
Phil Soussan – bass
Vinny Appice – drums

9. “I Don’t Live Today” (Jimi Hendrix) – 3:54 (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Sebastian Bach – vocals
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Bob Kulick – rhythm guitars
Tony Franklin – bass
Eric Singer – drums

10. “Politician” (Jack Bruce; Pete Brown) – 5:10 (Cream cover)
Jeff Pilson – vocals, bass
Michael Schenker – lead guitars
Brent Chassen – drums

Michael also carried on with two very experimental electric instrumental albums: “Adventure of the Imagination” and “Dreams and Expressions”. Throughout the ‘90’s Michael ended up doing a lot of stuff. On and off with UFO recording and touring, helping out the Scorpions in Japan, and an east block tour with their acoustic part of the show and carried on with MSG as well.

In 2007 Michael started to have this incredible urge to be on stage and took this as a sign that it was time to continue where he had left off in 1978 at age 23 and to be back in the loop of Rock’n’Roll. He has since consistently developed step by step back to the top of the scene with albums like the Schenker/Barden reunion album – “In the Midst of Beauty” produced by Michael and Siggi Schwartz released on inakustik and “Gipsy Lady”, an acoustic album (one of Michael Schenker’s favourite Albums) produced by Michael Voss and Michael Schenker, also released on inakustik.

Next was Michael Schenker’s “Temple of Rock” with Michael Voss as the main singer, Herman Rarebell (ex Scorpions) on drums, Pete Way (ex UFO) on bass and many great Guest Musicians

William Shatner – spoken word on track 1
Robin McAuley – track 12
Doogie White – track 8

Rudolf Schenker – tracks 4, 7
Michael Amott – track 14
Leslie West – track 14

Don Airey – track 5
Paul Raymond – tracks 4, 7

Chris Glen – tracks 9, 13
Neil Murray – tracks 2, 14
Elliott ”Dean” Rubinson – tracks 4, 8, 15

Carmine Appice – tracks 5, 15
Simon Phillips – tracks 2, 14
Chris Slade – tracks 9, 13
Brian Tichy – track 8

This album was produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss, released on inakustik. In the same year Michael was invited by William Shatner to play on his Album “Seeking Major Tom”

Seeking Major Tom is the fourth studio album by William Shatner. It was released October 11, 2011 in the US by Cleopatra Records. The album features many noted musicians, including Sheryl Crow, John Wetton, Patrick Moraz, Ritchie Blackmore, Alan Parsons, Peter Frampton, Warren Haynes, Nick Valensi, Zakk Wylde, Mike Inez, Chris Adler, Steve Hillage, Steve Howe, Michael Schenker, Dave Davies, Johnny Winter, Brad Paisley, Bootsy Collins, Carmine Appice, Ian Paice, and Toots.
It was followed by two Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock albums.

1. “Bridge the Gap”
2. “Spirit on A Mission”

Doogie White (ex Rainbow on vocals), Herman Rarebell on drums, Francis Buchholz (ex Scorpions) on bass and Wayne Findlay (MSG member since 1999) on 7 String guitar/keyboard. Produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss. Released on inakustik.

This Formation produced classics such as “Vigilante Man”, “Lord of The Lost and Lonely”, “Horizon”, “Where the Wild Wind Blows”, “Live and let Live” and “Saviour Machine”.

They also made 2 Live CD/DVD’s

1. “Live in Europe” mixed by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss released on inakustik.
2. “On A Mission: Live in Madrid” mixed by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss and released on inakustik.

Video editing for Live in Madrid was directed by Doogie White. This Live DVD/CD received awards in Germany and Japan. The Band was in great form after 4 years of constant recording and touring and is currently taking a break.

“Michael Schenker Fest”, with 3 original MSG singers –Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and Robin McAuley, along with band members Chris Glen (bass), Ted McKenna (drums) and Steve Man (guitar/keyboard) is the latest and a very successful undertaking. A Live CD/DVD was released Worldwide March 24th –Michael Schenker Fest – Live – Tokyo International Forum Hall A. It entered the charts in several countries.

Overall the current status of Michael is back to the peak. He received several Awards, has recently been voted Nr.1 Guitarist in Japan and currently has a very successful Live CD/DVD out worldwide.

Michael continued with success in Japan all throughout his career, even during his experimental stage in his middle years (Michael’s most important years). His hardcore fans from all around the world stayed with him mainly consisting of musicians, experts and serious music consumers.

Throughout Michael’s career he has been asked by many famous, established, successful bands and musicians to join them. It went from a request to audition for the Rolling Stones in ’72 when Michael was 17, to re-join Scorpions in ‘78. He was invited to a Jam with Aerosmith at age 24, he was asked by Ozzy to join Ozzy Osbourne at age 26, Phil Lynott and Ian Hunter in ‘84, he was asked by Lemmy to join Motorhead, he was asked to join Whitesnake, Deep Purple approached Michael in ‘93 and the list goes on…but because of Michael’s own Vision he declined all of them.

Michael is now celebrating the 3rd stage of his life and the Era of Handmade Rock.


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