Scorpions on Their New Album and Why They're Saying Goodbye
Last year, German hard rock band the Scorpions announced that 'Sting in the Tail' would be their final studio album with a farewell world tour to follow. Yet with the tour booked well into 2012 and 2013, the group led by founding guitarist Rudolf Schenker and singer Klaus Meine, recently managed to release another album called 'Comeblack.'
Some have criticized the group – garnering a surprisingly younger legion of fans lately – for releasing another album after proclaiming 'Sting in the Tail' to be the last, but Schenker is adamant it's not the case.
"We said it would be great to make a project because we see it as a project, not an album like a real Scorpions album," he tells Noisecreep. "We stayed true to our word saying that 'Sting in the Tail' is our last studio album. But this is a project for us because as a band we never went into cover versions so much."
'Comeblack' features 13 tracks, seven of the band's biggest hits re-recorded, plus a half dozen cover versions of songs by some of the artists who inspired the legendary German rockers.
"We started to work out the songs last year in January and February and we noticed that there was one idea from somebody in the band saying, 'Why are we not making it half and half, meaning Scorpions classics and then bands which inspired us like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds and the Kinks?"
The Scorpions tried between 20 to 25 different songs before choosing the final six. One of the highlights of the covers might be the band's rendition of The Beatles' 'Across the Universe,' something Schenker says was Meine's suggestion.
"Klaus was always a big Beatles fan, I'm more on the side of the Stones and Pretty Things," he says. "That's really a good situation for the Scorpions, give something a different vibe. I give the edge and Klaus gives the melody, that's the reason why we make for a great combination. 'Across the Universe' is not so well known but it's a fantastic song and Klaus sings the song fantastically."
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the covers is 'Tainted Love,' the song written by Ed Cobb and originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1965, but best recognized from Soft Cell's '80s synthpop rendition.
"I brought in 'Tainted Love' because I liked the song and it's also one of the oldest compositions," Schenker says. "I'm the guy coming in from Elvis and Little Richard and all the old rock and roll guys. For me 'Tainted Love' was always a song that I thought was a very good song to make a rock version out of it."
As for their own material, one track which was almost a glaring omission from 'Comeblack' was 'Wind of Change,' their 1991 politically charged ballad which has made a resurgence thanks to the Arab Spring uprisings and subsequent political changes. "Originally we said to ourselves that we wanted to have all of the stuff from the '80s," Schenker says. "Then people from the record company said, 'Look guys, people might be a little bit pissed off if 'Wind of Change' is not on it, there might be some confusion for people.' But we did it and it sounds good.
"And it's also important in that it's (being used in) the Arabian revolution, the North African revolution where you can see there's a new way, a new wind of change also in Russia. This kind of them is not running away, it's around us even 20 years after. You can see the wind of change in different places on earth."
Besides the new release, the Scorpions are also issuing 'Get Your Sting and Blackout: Live In 3D,' a concert recorded last April in Germany featuring 20 songs. Schenker says the idea was on the backburner for a while regarding a 3D film but was well worth the wait.
Meanwhile Schenker says the group is enjoying the farewell tour, something they were initially hesitant in announcing but feel better now for proclaiming.
"Klaus and I are 63 now," he says. "Believe it or not it is true. After finishing 'Sting of the Tail' our manager said, 'Hey guys, this is a great album. I don't think you can beat this in your next 20 years. It would be a great time to do a farewell tour.' At first we were kind of shocked but after sleeping on the idea we said he's right. At the moment we can still jump and put on a hell of a show and to end the career on a high note would really be the best thing."
But don't expect the group to go away. The Scorpions have many plans on the horizon, including another North American trek this year. The first will be a film of their final concert already slated for the 2013 Berlinale (Berlin's International Film Festival). And then there's the "warehouse" filled with old concert footage and previously unreleased material – including songs from 1982's 'Blackout' and 1984's 'Love At First Sting' sessions -- the group intends to release.
"The Scorpions will not fall apart, we are not finishing the Scorpions because we want to break up, but we really want to deliver something else to the fans," Schenker says. "We have over 900 hours of film material, in front of the Pyramids, in the rain forest in Brazil, in front of Red Square and, and, and, and so on. We have so many possibilities to create great films and the bonus track thing.
"We're not thinking about the end because we're right in the middle of the party and we want to enjoy the party," he adds. "When it's sold out and the fans are really celebrating it's unbelievable. That's a fantastic way to finish your career. Forty years ago to now it's been amazing, it's better that than to fade away."