Michael Schenker has completed the recording of a brand new MSG album, which is set to be released on Nuclear Blast on January 8th, 2021. The album title will be Immortal, a perfect statement to describe Michael Schenker's legacy and to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a musician.
Today, Michael Schenker reveals the cover artwork of Immortal, created by Zsofia Dankova (POWERWOLF a.o.).
"We have a lot of guest musicians, who will undoubtedly help to make the album an exceptional success“, says Michael Schenker. He also adds: "First of all I want to say that I am very grateful to any musicians that have helped to create a fitting tribute to my long career on this special release. I want to thank all of them for their incredible contribution.“
Nuclear Blast founder Markus Staiger is super excited about the new MSG record. Michael Schenker is his teenage idol and brought him on the hard rock path in his early days. "I am really looking forward to releasing this brand new MSG album, after the two excellent MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST records. At the age of 14, the self-titled MSG debut completely blew me away and helped to shape my taste, since then I’ve followed and loved his music and unique compositions. Those ten new tracks are pure magic!"
The album was predominantly recorded at the Kidroom Studio in Germany, with Michael's long time partner Michael Voss who co-produced the album and also sings on two tracks. "It is always a pleasure to work with Michael Voss, who works around the clock and is a phenomenal musician and producer. He was composing the melody and lyrics for a power ballad I had written the music for, and he ended up singing along. It turned out so amazing, I did not think anyone else could have done a better job for this song. Truly great.“
Immortal will continue the tradition of the previous two MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST records Resurrection and Revelation and feature a big list of friends and guests. The album's main vocalist will be uprising Chilean born talent Ronnie Romero (RAINBOW a.o.), along with Michael Voss (MAD MAX a.o.), Ralf Scheepers(PRIMAL FEAR) and Joe Lynn Turner (ex-DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW a.o.) singing on two tracks each. Besides Michael Schenker himself, the album was recorded with Steve Mann (keyboards), Barry Sparks (bass, DOKKEN, etc.), as well as the three drummers Bodo Schopf, Simon Philipps (ex-TOTO) and Brian Tichy (ex-WHITESNAKE). „Brian was thrilled to be part of it. He is a master of groove and ended up playing on six songs. I could not believe it: This man is something else. He is a true natural and very original. With his input, it made the album very solid and complete. So guess what - I am very happy“, smiles Michael Schenker. The newest addition to the record is keyboard player Derek Sherinian (ex-DREAM THEATER, ex-KISS, etc.), who plays on the album's opening track, featuring German power machine Ralf Scheepers on vocals. "Derek and myself trading solos, it sounds unexpected and beyond my expectation. Absolutely fantastic!“
Immortal will feature ten tracks, including the magnum opus "In Search Of The Peace Of Mind". "I wrote this song when I was 15 years old, it was my first ever written piece of music which I recorded with SCORPIONS on our first studio album Lonesome Crow. in 1970, getting released in 1972 - when I had already left SCORPIONS to join the British rock band UFO in June of 1972 - when I was 17. We re-recorded this song for my 50th anniversary as a celebration and it turned out to be an epic; with an extra extension at the end of the song, which turned out absolutely fantastic with Simon Phillips on drums, doing his usual amazing stuff.“ The result is a true highlight and features even more surprises: "Gary Barden sings the first verse, continued by Ronnie Romero - and in the end we have Ronnie, Doogie White, and Robin McAuley screaming their heads off, as a tribute to my 50th anniversary. Absolute amazing. Thanks to the guys for doing this!“
The limited first edition of this upcoming MSG album will feature another unique extra: "We have the MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST - Bang Your Head – Blu-ray, recorded during our headline show in Balingen/Germany two years ago: Unfixed, raw, pure and great! There's a couple of small mistakes, but because the show and recording went so well, I decided to keep it the way it went on the night. It's live, magic and pure.“
Canada's The Metal Voice recently spoke to Sons of Apollo Keyboardist Derek Sherinian who will be releasing a new solo album entitled The Phoenix on September 18 2020 via Inside Out Music.
Topics in the interview include details on new solo album, recording with Michael Schenker, playing with Eddie Van Halen and his influences.
Why did it take you nine years to do another solo album
" I took a little time off and then in 2016 I formed Sons of Apollo with Mike Portnoy so most of my riffs and musical creativity was going towards that. I just felt a real urge last year to start doing a solo record. So I went and got a new (record) deal and called up (drummer) Simon Phillips and we got to work about 18 months ago, we started writing The Phoenix and here we are. It's coming out in a couple of weeks and we are very happy with the results and so far we are getting amazing worldwide response.
Tell us about the music on the new solo album
"The Phoenix is a snapshot of my life for the last 18 months and I go through different moods, styles and that usually comes out in the writing and there is a lot of variance in the songwriting. What is really cool is that it is a cohesive recording in that Simon Phillips and I are the common denominator but we pick the right bass player and guitar players according to the compositions and I think we nailed it all throughout this record. "
Photos By: Greg Voroblov
Tell us a little bit about the guests on the album
"Not only is The Phoenix the keyboard record of the year,i t's also the guitar record of the year and has the best guitar talent of the world on this record. For blues I got Joe Bonamassa no one plays blues better than Joe right now. I have Zakk Wylde on guitar for the metal, I have Steve Vai, I have Bumblefoot, the sickest shredder out there, he is playing stuff no one can even touch playing double neck fret less guitar and he is getting sounds no can even come close to. I have Kiko Loureiro who is fantastic. And then I have all the great bass players Billy Sheehan, Tony Franklin and of course Simon Phillips on drums it doesn't get any better than that. If you are into great instrumental music, great production you have to get The Phoenix."
Tell us about your time playing with Eddie Van Halen
"It was September 2006 and Edward was involved with this porn director where he did the soundtrack to this high production porn movie and he became friends with this director. So fast forward my friend has a club band that used to play on the Sunset Strip and Van Halen's fiance at the time and now his wife saw this band and thought they would be a great band to play at the party that they were going to hold for the porn movie release (at Edward's house). So my friend's band gets hired, which had some names in the band, Brian Tichy, John Corabi and my friend knew what a big Van Halen fan I was and said Derek you have to do this gig with us and I said of course. So I had to learn these Van Halen songs and I knew this would be my opportunity to meet Edward. We went to his house the day before to rehearse and Edward was there and it was so surreal meeting him in person. He liked the band so much and he said I want to jam with you. He gets his guitar and all of a sudden there is Edward Van Halen with his guitar strapped on across from me and I'm going Holy F*** this is amazing. We rehearsed through the songs and then he started telling stories and it ended up he and I walked up to his 5150 studio which was a guest house converted into a full on recording studio and I am just blown away is this really happening here? We played the show the next night and it was very surreal."
Tell us about you playing on one song on the upcoming Michael Schenker album Immortal
"It's a brand new song I'm not too sure who is the singer on it but Brian Tichy is on drums and it sounded great, it sounds like a classic Michael Schenker song . But what I am really happy about is Michael wanted me to play solos and he gave me two different solo spots and I did my thing and he was so happy with how it turned out that his manager, lawyer whoever it was wrote me back saying how he wants to do more stuff in the future with me. Then they ask how much do they owe me and I said I don't want to get paid to play with the great Michael Schenker, it's my honour and I said, if he wants to return the favour and play on my next solo record that would be awesome. So they immediately wrote back saying Michael would love to do it, just send us the tracks. So me being me I immediately wrote like the killer ultimate Michael Schenker track which is like a new Into The Arena 40 years later and I had Simon Phillips play drums on it and Tony Franklin on bass. So I sent it off to Germany so now I am waiting for Michael to lay his tracks and this will be for my next solo record, this will be number nine that I am writing right now."
What did you learn from touring with Kiss on the Revenge Tour
"It was a great experience watching how Gene and Paul ran their business and the crew, just the whole mechanism of a huge rock band going on tour there is a lot of moving parts and there is a lot to learn. So I kept my eyes open and knew that one day I would have my own band like Sons of Apollo and all the things that I learned from touring with Alice Cooper, Kiss and Billy Idol I'm learning on their dime so I can apply to my deal later on."
How much was Randy Rhoads an influence on you
"Randy was a very huge influence when I was 15 or 16 when the Blizzard of Ozz record came out I immediately gravitated to Randy Rhoads. At the time I was only listening to Edward Van Halen and then all of a sudden Randy came up and it was like here is someone new that is really cool. I got into his playing really deep. I related to him because I could hear the classical influence. At the time I was studying Bach on piano and I saw the relationship and the benefits of learning classical music cause Randy was doing it and he applied it to rock. When he died it was very devastating to me at the time I remember I was a junior in High school and I remember wearing a black arm band around my arm to honour Randy, it was very sad because he was a hero to me and it was just all of a sudden he was gone. There is a lot of Randy DNA in my keyboard style in the solos at times it really comes out."
Derek Sherinian – "The Phoenix" (42:38)
1. The Phoenix (05:24)
2. Empyrean Sky (03:56)
3. Clouds of Ganymede (06:02)
4. Dragonfly (03:46)
5. Temple of Helios (06:01)
6. Them Changes (05:28)
7. Octopus Pedigree (05:04)
8. Pesadelo (06:55)
Derek Sherinian – Keyboards
Simon Phillips – Drums
Zakk Wylde – Guitar
Billy Sheehan – Bass
Armen Ra – Theremin
Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal – Guitar
Jimmy Johnson – Bass
Steve Vai – Guitar
Tony Franklin – Bass
Ernest Tibbs – Bass
Joe Bonamassa – Vocals, Guitar
Kiko Loureiro – Guitar
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