Questions And Answers With Michael Schenker

How will the Flying V loving “Blonde Bomber” Michael Schenker answer the 10 questions every fan and guitar player on the planet is dying to ask? Let’s Get Right To It, Shall We?

  • What was your first guitar and when did you get it?

“My first guitar was one that I built myself. I was 14 years old and in school we had a project to build something out of wood, and so I decided to build a guitar. And guess what shape it was? It was a triangle – I was 14 years old and I built a triangular guitar. It wasn’t a V, but it was as close to one as you could get!”

  • Suppose the building’s burning down. What one guitar from your collection would you save?

“To be honest, I would just pick one and it would be whatever was closest to me, they all play great. The Kaleidoscope I liked a lot, but that was stolen, so I’d probably pick up a black and white guitar.”

“I have the best energy in the morning and I don’t play anything I know; it’s just play and discover.”

  • What’s the oldest guitar that you own?

“Probably the very first guitar that Dean made for me, which was in 2004. It’s the one I usually play for Rock Bottom. I don’t even know what pickups are on it… I think I have about 25 Dean Guitars and there are so many black and white guitars. I’m not really a collector and I don’t really keep track of what I have.”

  • When did you last practise and what did you play?

“I actually call it ‘play and discover’ and I do that on a regular basis. I did it before I left this morning. I have the best energy in the morning and I don’t play anything I know; it’s just play and discover, so I just play and hope I discover something! I’m actually going to Glasgow to do a few days’ rehearsal with the Michael Schenker Fest to add a couple of songs in there and also to refresh the memory and to play together. We don’t actually have a gig until May, but I want to do a rehearsal.”

  • When was the last time you changed your own strings?

“Actually, I don’t know. I used to not change my strings, period. Only just lately, because I have had a string go in the middle of a lead break, I’ve kind of started to get fed up with it. I like playing on worn-in strings, but lately, especially if we haven’t played for a while, I tell my guitar tech, ‘You’d better change the strings,’ just to make sure I don’t break any. It’s hard to remember when it was; I definitely did it before we played Japan – and that was last August [laughs].”

  • If you could change one thing about a recording you’ve been on, what would it be and why?

“To be honest, it’s a bit like this: the past is the past and whatever happened there brought me to where I am today and, actually, I’d leave everything the way it is. It’s all part of development; it’s all part of a healthy learning experience. I’m in a good place today and so I would say that everything I did brought me here and so there’s no need to change anything, really.”

  • What are you doing five minutes before you go on stage and five minutes after?

“I eat a Snickers before! I have to make sure that there’s not a photo session, because last time I was eating a Snickers and they did a photo session while I was chewing. Five minutes after I change as quick as I can and get out of there.”

“The past is the past and whatever happened there brought me to where I am today.”

  • What’s the worst thing that has happened to you on stage?

“It’s an embarrassing one: I actually shat myself. I had a stomach upset from some bad food and it developed throughout the afternoon. I had my long boots on, the long boots I used to wear with UFO – and it took me about 45 minutes to put them on. It was towards the end of the show and I just couldn’t do anything about it and I just rushed off stage as soon as I could and just dumped everything in the shower. It was terrible, honestly!”

  • What song would you play on an acoustic around a campfire?

“Probably Beatles songs. I love Beatles songs. When we used to go with The Scorpions from gig to gig in the very early days when I was 15 or 16, that’s all we did. It was fun.”

  • What aspect of guitar would you like to be better at?

“It’s not about ‘better’ or ‘not better’, I play and discover. I play from within and just take it from one moment to the next. There are no expectations. I go treasure hunting and as I go I’m having a lot of fun – you don’t necessarily find the gold, but you have fun hoping that something shows up. So I don’t expect anything, I don’t really look for anything… My focus is the art of lead guitar with pure self-expression and so whatever comes out from the inside helps make the world of the fretboard that little bit bigger.”

MSG – “Captain Nemo”

MSG – 01 – Captain Nemo [Hammersmith '83]

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