German hard rock veterans SCORPIONS will release their new album, « Return To Forever » — celebrating its 50th anniversary — on February 23 in Europe. The disc will contain 12 songs, with a deluxe edition including four additional tracks. There will also be a limited collector’s edition box. For the occasion, vocalist Klaus Meine and guitarist Rudolf Schenker took part in a press — on February 9th in Paris, France.
Not so long ago, you announced your retirement. But here we are today, all gathered to discuss your new album « Return To Forever ». What happened in between ?
Klaus : When we decided to do a farewell tour back in 2010, we thought we had a great album with ‘Sting In The Nail’, and especially whenever we were thinking we would go out on the road again for two or three years around the world, and coming back from that tour, we would definitely be in our sixties. We thought : How can we keep going at this pace, this tempo, with this energy and power and still deliver a really great show night after night after night ? How can we do a hundred shows, year after year, in twenty, thirty countries around the world ? That was a huge question mark up in the air for the two of us.We, then, realized during the farewell tour, it’s easier to say to goodby than to do it. This tour was so emotional in many ways […], so coming towards the end of it, at the end of 2012 in Munich, we realized we don’t split up.
We also thought that we might take the foot off the gas a bit and take it easy, play a few concerts, maybe take part in a nice project, not knowing that only a few weeks later MTV Unplugged would knock at the door and say : ‘SCORPIONS, how about an MTV Unplugged ?’ Normally, we should have said : ‘We’re sorry. You’re too late. We just split up.’ But nobody would do that, right ? So we kept going, we recorded MTV Unplugged. We prepared for that show and wrote some new songs, because we thought it would be nice to make it more attractive to also use some new material. At the same time, we started already going back to the ’80s. We weren’t thinking about making a new record. Our mood was to release something as a bonus album. We did the ‘Comeblack’ disc, with cover versions. After ‘MTV Unplugged’ and some very successful shows we did in Germany last summer, we went back to the studio with the Swedish guys and did some recordings. Everybody had written new songs. We were in a comfortable situation, having twenty songs, thinking about : ‘So, guys, we do a double record now or what ?’ [Laughs]. When this 50th-anniversary tour project came up, we thought it would be nice to focus it all on 2015 : celebrate this very special anniversary, not only with a new record but with a movie. Last week, we did the world premiere in Berlin for the movie called ‘Forever And A Day’, we know we will have a movie premiere here in Paris as well very soon. So it’s a long story, but here we are in 2015, all psyched up and excited. We feel it’s a privilege to be where we are now, after all these years and after this experience called ‘farewell tour’. It’s a privilege we’re still around, able to play global, and have so many fans – also so many young fans from the new rock audience – that come to see us wherever we go. It’s just fanstastic, very inspiring and motivating.
Rudolf : The fiftieth band anniversary hit us rather accidentally. Not long ago, I found an old cash account book, from the year 1965, in my mom’s office when I was cleaning the house, in which she meticulously recorded the earnings and expenses of my band SCORPIONS fifty years ago. My parents had lent me the money for the first equipment back then. The point is, I found out about the 50-year history of the band by accident. The timing for the new album was then perfect. People thought that it would be great to celebrate half a century of SCORPIONS with a new record. After the farewell tour, after the break, it was time to show the band’s progress. Everything came together like a puzzle and I think we find the perfect mix on « Return to Forever » to show this evolution with the six new songs and six old ones.
The album’s first single, titled ‘We Built This House,’ reflects, as the rumor has it, on the 50-year history of SCORPIONS. Can you be more precise ? Why do you comprae the band to a house ?
Klaus : It’s a good picture. The new single tells our story. We’ve been building our carrer step by step, brick by brick and often quite arduously. From the first days in Hannover, the first concerts abroad, until this very day. We’ve weathered severe storms, but the house withstood everything, turned out to be wheatherproof and stable. SCORPIONS is a solid house built on a rock. The band is still alive after having faced many styles of music. Every classic rock bands were yesterday’s news. We had to be strong to fight our way through. It also prouved that the philosophy of friendship, especially when life is not glamorous, is a very important matter. You can only successed when there is a special chemestry with whom you work with. After all those years, our house is still standing, it’s still standing strong, maybe stronger than ever. However, building the house was never just cumbersome, but joyful as well. The joy of music, the joy of having experienced and still experiencing it all, the joy of – and the thankfulness for – the fans’ affection. We have been working hard for this dream, but we’re thankful as well for having been able to live it, and for still being able to live it today. We’ve carried our passion through our lives and we’re still enjoying what we do.
Will we see you enjoying it in the future with new releases ?
Klaus : We cannot think further than tomorrow. We lost three loved ones not long ago. The last couple of weeks and months have gotten us on a roller coaster of emotions. We attended funerals and world premieres for our new releases. It has been a marathon. We live here and now. There’s no point in making plans. All I can say is that we’re still full of energy and life, we’re healthy, we’re in good shape but we cannot make plans at this point.