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Michael Schenker Group

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. Born on January 10, 1955, in Savstedt, Germany, it was Schenker's 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 which 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). 1979 saw Schenker's exit from UFO (who were never the same after his exit) and re-entry 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.

1982 saw Schenker get an invite from Ozzy Osbourne to join his group immediately after Randy Rhoads' tragic death, 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 into 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. 2002 saw Schenker sign on with UFO once more for a new album, Sharks. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Comments

I saw MSG on the 1 st tour. I saw the perfect timing tour with McCauley.
I seen uli open for Michael, then at the meet and greet we were last in line, and Michael goes " I remember you, you remind of a cross between uli and my brother. Just a total honor to meet the man. Too inspiring for words. Seen him too many times to count. Love all
Michael signed my brand new , black and white epiphone Flying V at a show in San Jose, met him probably7or 8 times in the last 20 years. On the walk on wAter tour, they came in with 3 nights in a row. Oh did I mention I saw Judas Priest open for UFO on the British steel tour, before the album dropped, on the STRANGERS tour. I was HOOKED. ANYWAY, I bought tickets for thur. Fri. And sat. Nights. Then they added wed night and I couldn't get tix. Well, something happened and the show was over after
His accuist guitar playing just as outragious as electric
Definitely one of, if not THE most, underrated and unappreciate d guitarist of all time.
Gary Barden is just butchering this tune.
Good guitarist need to get McAuley and Schenker on pandora and more MSG.
Schenker signed my Vinyl after the show and I shook his hand-- his fingers are like a skeleton... Makes for speed I guess. Superb musician!!!
I saw MS and McAuley a few months ago at a small venue in OC. AWESOME SHOW! Michael ripping as well as ever and McAuley was spot on with his voice. These guys are still razor sharp. It was like going to see a Scorpions concert for 300 in a bar.
Michael Schenker the best!!!
daveredrider c a i n
Just saw Michael at the Marque 15 in Corona, California and gotta say, he hasn't lost a bit of his amazing guitar gift! Love the man and his music!!
Schenker is GOD!!!!
ezej310
Yes, AMAZING, and yes, he just never broke through to the big time. Still love what he did do whether he could have been much bigger or not.
Great guitarist, but a 10 cent head kept him from the accolades he deserves. Like some others in this business, his god gifted talent was wasted on his inability to fit in and enjoy the other musicians around him for that is where u learn to hone ur craft. Picking up little things and networking with others! Again, such a waste of talent!
amsterkev
Best guitarist ever!

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