Still like teen spirit

Michael Schenker
Michael Schenker

He was a member of the Scorpions, turned down the offer to play guitar for Ozzy Osborne and he’s lived the archetypal rock and roll lifestyle for four decades.

Indeed, Michael Schenker, who also played in early metal band UFO, has a few stories to share.

But there is something much more remarkable than rock and folklore about the German guitarist - Schenker has not listened to other music since he was 17 and hasn’t bought an album since he was 14.

The metal guitarist, in Sheffield next week and about to release his latest album, Bridge the Gap, explains: “I believe in pure self expression so I stay away from other people’s music. I don’t want to get influenced by anything else.

“When I am in Starbucks or something like that you can’t help but hear it but I do try and block it out.”

“It’s only in the past few years that I have thought about this and I have fascinated myself by it - I have realised that for all these years not listening to music I have been a musical monk.”

But he has, of course, continued to make his own music. “What I have been doing lately when I make an album is listening to my own music that I have accumulated and then creating something from that. I get inspired by the best pieces and make something from that.”

His latest work has been with his Temple of Rock band - made up of musicians Schenker worked with more than 30 years ago. “I think that things tend to go in cycles. You don’t see people for years and then all of a sudden your orbits cross and the planets line up.”

Schenker turns 60 next year, though to him, his age is irrelevant. “I still feel like I’m 16. I am more excited than I have ever been about music right now. With Temple of Rock I’ve actually enjoyed being on stage whereas before I loved the music but didn’t like being on stage. The band is really really good and we have a really good set. We are all very motivated by what we are doing.”

Schenker is a staunch solo artist at heart though. “I realised after I split with the Scorpions that I wanted to experiment with my own music and do my own thing. That’s why I turned down Ozzy Osborne, I didn’t want to copy someone else’s music. I want to do pure self-expression.”

Michael Schenker and the Temple of Rock are at Plug on Saturday.