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Michael Schenker

Along with Gary Moore, Michael Schenker never quite reached the same level of acclaim stateside as he did in Europe (and other parts of the world), despite possessing exceptional, and quite influential, six-string skills. Michael Schenker was born on January 10, 1955 in Sarstedt, West Germany, and it was his older brother, Rudolf, who sparked the youngster's interest in guitar at an early age. Entirely self-taught, Michael picked up a thing or two from such hard-rocking acts as Wishbone Ash and Mountain, as well as his older brother, who would offer the youngster money if he would transcribe certain songs for him while he was at work. As a result of constant playing, it wasn't long before Schenker showed immense talent with the instrument and, by the early '70s, joined Rudolf's group, the Scorpions. Michael appeared on the group's 1972 full-length debut, Lonesome Crow, and toured with the outfit (all at the age of 17). But it was during the album's supporting tour that another up-and-coming outfit, UFO, took a keen interest in the young Schenker and managed to pry the guitarist away from the Scorpions.

Although a language barrier existed between Schenker and his new bandmates (he barely knew any English at the time), the guitarist let his playing do the talking, especially on his first recording with the group, 1974's Phenomenon, which spawned such metal classics/Schenker showcases as "Doctor Doctor" and "Rock Bottom" (also of note was the instrumental "Lipstick Traces," a tune that Schenker played entirely with his feet!). It was also around this time that Schenker began playing an instrument that he would become synonymous with for the rest of his career, a Gibson Flying V (which would eventually be decorated with a half-white/half-black paint job). Heavy-duty touring and a pair of further releases, 1975's Force It and 1976's No Heavy Petting, set the stage perfectly for what UFO hoped would be a global commercial breakthrough.

The late '70s saw UFO issue a trio of classic hard rock albums -- 1977's Lights Out, 1978's Obsession, and especially 1979's outstanding live set, Strangers in the Night -- all of which made strong showings on the U.S. charts. But UFO's time in the limelight would be fleeting, as alcohol/substance overindulgence and erratic behavior drew a wedge between Schenker and the rest of UFO (the guitarist also became famous for disappearing from the group without any notice, leaving them high and dry mid-tour). The year 1979 saw Schenker's exit from UFO (who were never the same after his exit) and reentry into the Scorpions. But, as with his first go-around with the group, Schenker's tenure was a fleeting one, only lasting a single album, 1979's Lovedrive, before exiting once more.

The same year, Schenker was invited to take the place of the just-departed Joe Perry in Aerosmith. Despite a few jam sessions between Schenker and the others, nothing ever materialized of the Schenker-Aerosmith union (the interesting meeting was discussed by the group in their 1999 autobiography Walk This Way). Now free of any other obligations, Schenker set his sights on a solo career, forming the Michael Schenker Group immediately thereafter. While the group got off to a promising start with such strong releases as 1980's Michael Schenker Group, 1981's MSG, plus 1982's Assault Attack and One Night at Budokan, interest eventually evaporated, as it became obvious with each subsequent release that Schenker had set his sights at the top of the charts rather than sticking to good old-fashioned hard rock/heavy metal. Constant lineup fluctuation didn't help, either.

Schenker got an invite from Ozzy Osbourne to join his group immediately after Randy Rhoads' tragic death in 1982, but like the Aerosmith bid several years earlier, it failed to pan out. Despite failing to issue a big commercial breakthrough on his own (although 1989's pop-metal outing Save Yourself, credited to the McAuley-Schenker Group, came close), the guitarists in such renowned groups as Metallica and Def Leppard were quick to voice Schenker's influence. The early '90s saw Schenker appear with Ratt on a best-forgotten episode of MTV's popular Unplugged series, in addition to participating in a one-off pop-metal "supergroup," Contraband (which included members of such groups as Shark Island, Vixen, Ratt, and L.A. Guns), who issued a lone self-titled debut in 1991.

Throughout the '90s, Schenker continued to issue solo albums, including 1993's acoustic-based Thank You and 1999's more rock-based Unforgiven, but the real story of the '90s for Schenker was his re-enlistment in UFO in 1993. Predictably, Schenker's second go-around with UFO was short-lived, yet it did spawn a world tour as well as an all-new studio effort, 1995's Walk on Water. Schenker's pace of issuing solo albums only increased during the early 21st century, as such titles as 2000's all-instrumental Adventures of the Imagination, plus a staggering three albums in 2001 alone (MS 2000: Dreams and Expressions, Odd Trio, and Be Aware of Scorpions) saw the light of day. In 2002, Schenker signed on with UFO once more for a new album, Sharks. The reunion was short-lived, however, and after his exit from the group, rumors began to circulate about his health. The doubters were quickly silenced by the eighth release of the Michael Schenker Group, Arachnophobiac, in 2003. He also managed to complete yet another solo album in the same year, Thank You 4, as well as a collaborative album with Amy Schugar entitled Under Construction.

The Michael Schenker Group returned in 2005, if only by name, for Heavy Hitters, which featured a revolving cast of guest musicians accompanying Schenker playing covers. To celebrate the group's 25th year of activity, 2006 saw the release of Tales of Rock'n'Roll, which featured a new vocalist, Jari Tiura. Many of the group's past singers also contributed lyrics and vocals to the album. The band would return in 2008 for In the Midst of Beauty, their tenth album, which boasted the return of their original vocalist, Gary Barden. A new Schenker project, Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock, would surface in 2011 with a self-titled debut album. The band would go on to release a live album the following year, and then return to the studio for 2013's Bridge the Gap, co-written with former Rainbow frontman Doogie White. The band would release another studio album in 2015, Spirit on a Mission.

This was followed by the audio-video concert package On a Mission: Live in Madrid in 2016, recorded the previous November at the historic Joy Eslava Theatre. The concert not only included tracks from the charting Spirit on a Mission, but also proved to be a career retrospective, including songs from MSG, the Scorpions, and UFO. Upon release, the deluxe package immediately hit the hard rock and metal charts. ~ Greg Prato
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Temple Of Rock

1. Intro

2. How Long

3. Fallen Angel

4. Hanging On

5. The End Of An Era

6. Miss Claustrophobia

7. With You

8. Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

9. Storming In

10. Scene Of Crime

11. Saturday Night

12. Lover's Sinfony

13. Speed

14. How Long (3 Generations Guitar Battle Version)

x

Track List: Instrumental Intensity

1. Achtung Fertig, Los!

2. Old Man With Sheep On Mars

3. Three Fish Dancing

4. A

5. N

6. D

7. Bijou Pleasurette / Positive Forward

8. Captain Nemo

9. Essence

10. I Am Gratetful

11. The Creator

12. Bonus Track

x

Track List: Heavy Hitters

2. Blood Of The Sun

3. Doctor Doctor

4. War Pigs

6. Money

7. Out In The Fields

8. Hair Of The Dog

x

Track List: Arachnophobiac

1. Evermore

2. Illusion

3. Arachnophobiac

4. Rock And Roll Believer

5. Into The Sands Of Time

6. Weathervane

7. Over Now

8. One World

9. Break The Cycle

10. Alive

11. Fatal Strike

x

Track List: Adventures Of The Imagination

1. Achtung Fertig, Los

2. Open Gate

3. Three Fish Dancing

4. Michael Schenker Junior

5. Aardvark In A Vw Smoking A Cigar

6. I Want To Be With You

7. Old Man With Sheep On Mars

8. At The End Of The Day

9. Hand In Hand

x

Track List: The Unforgiven

1. Rude Awakening

2. The Mess I've Made

3. In And Out Of Time

4. Hello Angel

5. Fat City N.O.

6. Tower

7. Pilot Of Your Soul

8. Forever And More

9. Turning Off The Emotion

10. Live For Today

11. Illusion

12. The Storm

Comments

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MSG USA TOUR...???
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Fingerknuckl e b u m p k n u c k l e b u m p f i n g e r
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\ ^ ^ | ⚡️ ❤️ ⚡️ | ^ ^ /
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There's potential in them instruments there
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Pretty good stuff man ❗️
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Saw him play at the no defunct Bayou in Washington DC eons ago. Amazing guitarist. UFO's obsession continues to be one of my favorite rock and roll albums...
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I saw him play with UFO in Orlando in 1990's, got my ears blown out, but man could that man shred an ax!
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Saw him a few years ago. Still shredding.
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cbstalcup
Nice to see the great ones get credit. Been a fan forever. Still like accept more than scorpions though. Balks to the wall.
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He is the best biggest baddest and most German GUITAR PLAYER of all time. Gibson V players are the best because they just are . Schenker is feel , BLUES INFORMED melodic seventies shred guitar. Awesome tone , his playing rules
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He's def a great guitarist but in my opinion I wouldn't say he's the best, and I've seen a lot and I mean alot of guitarist. Look at KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Ace Frehley, Randy, the list goes on.... ROCK ON Everyone
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The best - and I've seen a lot of guitar gods.
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I saw him here in Portland(201 5 at the Bossanova Ballroom w/Herman Rarebell and Francis Bucholz) and he was amazing! He is getting up there in the years, though. Always been a total fanof his and his Brother's, and the Scorps.
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Regardless of making commercial success he gave us amazing music. Love Michael Schenker, UFO, MSG and everything he has ever created.
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Pl
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I think Ron Warner might enjoy this guy's guitar playing.
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Agreed rwurzbach, ,. MSG,, Anytime is one of my favorites that he does... ROCK ON EVERYONE
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I absolutely love how doctor doctor was put together it absolutely rocks !!!
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They're are no other than the brother of brothers michael
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R
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One of the best out there rock deep Keith swishe
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He did NOT play lipstick traces with his feet-un true rumor started by ?
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Those undeniable midrange frequencies distinguish his tone and style almost immediately. A TRUE LEGEND!
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Schenker most definitely made UFO as good as they ever were. Love his riffs.
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Great song great album Schenker is the MAN!
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Michael was at his best with UFO end of story
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Every thing Schenker is a part of , is The very best. I love listening to him play. Heard UFO , when in junior high. Good stuff.
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I personally feel that UFO's Walk on Water is as good if not better than their 70's hey day. And I've been a huge UFO fan since 1977 when I was 14.
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zhipfan
Schenker is the f'n best!
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173132015
I was awestruck in 1979....My favorite ever since.
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Leslie West and Schenk together!! Fantastic!
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UFO kicks a**! just ask Eddie on That Metal Show, he'll tell ya! Michael Schenker sweetens the sound of just about everyone else that he plays with, metal but harmonic at the same time, the kind of s**t that makes you want to get down fast!
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My favorite guitarist for over 30 years, Illusion is on The Unforgiven not Arachnaphobi a c
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Just saw MSG Saturday night at The Coachhouse in San Juan Capistrano. Robin McAuley's voice is still perfect. His covers of Scorpions songs unreal. Total pro. Shenker looks like Eddie from Iron Maiden now but ripped the guitar every song. Great show! Bunch of middle age guys in the audience (myself included) and had a lot of great conversation s regarding old days rock trivia. Last minute alert that they were playing and glad I went.
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gonna see him tomorrow night. can't wait!
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jwillse1
Virtuoso. Saw him 2 weeks ago: phenomenal.
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I have listened to him since 1974 and was always in my top 5. Love him.
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One of the best EVER....PERI O D ! ! ! Look for Herr Schenker and Robin McAuley on the 2012 Temple of Rock Tour!!!
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Greg Prato is an IDIOT! Michael Schenker is a Top 10 all time guitarist. End of Discussion.
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I sware I love this song so much I can't stand it! I have covered it in every band I have ever been in!!!! Kik azzzzzz!
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htwheel1961
UFO live with Rush and Cheap Trick, 1978 tour at the Capitol Center just outside D.C.... what a concert. Rush was actually the headliner, but trust me... people knew who Michael Schenker was and appreciated the music he and Moog created when UFO was in their heyday.

The close of Love to Love on Strangers In the Night (live) still gives me goose bumps.
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MICHAEL SCHENKER IS ONE OF THE MOST UNDER RATED AXEMEN EVER ( BEWARE OF THE MAD AXEMAN) SO.. MELODIC IN HIS PLAYING BUT FAST TASTEFUL LICKS!! SO.. LOVE HIS APPROACH!!! ONE OF MY ALLTIME FAVORITES!!!
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just listen 'to young to no' on phenomenon - like liquid honey
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seth.miller6 6 9 4
Lonesome Crow
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thebartman19 7 0
Schenker was never fully appreciated in the states but that never slowed him down. He is a true guitar god and has produced very respectable music year after year for four decades. A top ten all time greatest guitar player for certain. Of course multiple lineup changes and lack of promotion by the record labels didn't help record sales to back his talent up.
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One of my all time fav's
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martonem4
Amazing...On e of the greatest!
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markthomaspy b u r n
One of the greatest rock guitar tones of all time, every time
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spursfan2
Michael Schenker is a rock guitar god! Have seen his last 4 tours to San Antonio and he consistently amazes me with his 3 finger technique without using a tremelo. F'n unreal.
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SHRED is RIGHT!!! Cannot get enough. MSG/UFO Lovedrive is awesome, too!!! Who knew? All those albums! i need to get out more!
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