Award-winning, legendary guitarist Michael Schenker will release a brand new studio album entitled "Bridge The Gap" in the UK on Monday December 2nd. Released by in-akustik, the album features Schenker's band Temple of Rock which consists of ex-Scorpions Herman Rarebell (drums) and Francis Buchholz (bass), plus ex-Rainbow's Doogie White (vocals) and Wayne Findlay (guitar, keyboards).
The new album features 13 hard-hitting, adrenalin fuelled melodic rock'n'roll songs that showcase Schenker's distinctive and explosive guitar playing, valiantly underpinned by the ferocious rhythm section of Rarebell and Buchholz, marking the first time Schenker, Rarebell and Buchholz appeared on the same album together since the Scorpions' 1979 Lovedrive.
Scottish vocalist Doogie White, who co-wrote the album with Schenker, soars across every song, and stamps his enthusiastic personality with every note and phrase. Wayne Findlay adds another dimension to the dynamic, classic Schenker sound with his Dean 7 string guitar and keyboard orchestrations.
Bridge the Gap is a thunderous, explosive collection of brand new songs steeped in shades of dark and light. Musically and lyrically, the new album shows a re-energised guitarist at the top of his game, surrounded by top drawer musicians.
The album was recorded from January to March 2013 at Kidroom Studios, Germany and was produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss, and engineered by Voss.
"Michael and I had talked about recording an album together after the tour of 2012," says Doogie White. "We never spoke about it again until January 2013 when he sent me seven ideas he had been working on.
"Last October I started writing the music for the new album," adds Schenker. "I sent material to Doogie in the New Year and he started writing melodies and lyrics. I laid down some arrangements at Michael Voss's studio. There was a lot of energy flying about during the recording process. I had the same drive making this album as I had when I was 16. I wanted it fast, heavy and melodic. It felt like bridging the gap from my teenage and Lovedrive years to what I am doing now. I'm back to where I was a long time ago and I love it."
"Never having really written with Michael before, apart from When the Devil Knows You're Dead (from 2011's Temple of Rock album), I didn't know how flexible he would be writing wise," recalls Doogie." I laid down some vocal tracks as ideas and when Michael heard them we were off and running. Within two weeks we were in the studio laying down tracks."
Schenker admits that when he wrote this album, he tried to get a balance between songs that are heavy, fast and melodic, complimented by his signature guitar solos.
"I wanted to combine the old with the new,” says Schenker. “That's why the album's called Bridge The Gap. With Wayne playing 7-string guitar we created some low, heavy modern sounds. Since I play and experiment on a regular basis, I always have some new, fresh sparks to share when I record a new album. I am inspired from within. It's infinite like a kaleidoscope."
"As former members of the Scorpions, Herman, Francis and I have been out of the loop of rock'n'roll for quite a while. Getting together for the first time since the Lovedrive album is an incredible jump. We're connecting the past with the present. We're bridging the gap."
Schenker remains philosophical about the name of the new album. He believes the name reflects what is going on in the fast-moving world around him.
"Everything that is currently going on in this world is showing that people are desperate for change. We need to bridge the gap of poverty. There are too many innocent people getting killed in terrorist attacks. We need to leave all of this chaos behind us. We have to be strong. We have to continue moving forward, working together in a balanced way."
Schenker is amazed how melodic the new album turned out, but he still insists the songs still feature a bit of darkness as well.
"I came up with the name of the album, before I even started writing. When Doogie started writing the lyrics to the new songs he had something to go by. I guess Bridges Burned is a new song that is something of a word play on Bridge The Gap. I love this song. Doogie's singing is excellent on this."
"Horizons is a really powerful and exciting track from the new album," says Schenker. "I love the energy and Doogie's great vocal lines."
"Neptune Rising is a song I wrote in the studio. It's about Wayne Findlay. He reminds me of a Neptune with his crazy hair and beard. One day I had this vision of seeing him with the Trident coming out of the ocean. Wayne loves water and the undersea world. So, I suggested that we design a guitar that looks like a Trident. The guitar is almost completed and will be called Trident and will be seen on our next tour."
"Because You Lied is completely of the wall. I love everything about it. I had a real blast playing the guitar solo. In general, on the new album I have injected each song with a new wave of lead guitar playing. It had a lot of fun making the entire album. Francis and Herman - the original Scorpions rhythm section of Rock You Like A Hurricane seriously rock on the new album."
"BRIDGE THE GAP" - TRACK LISTING
1. NEPTUNE RISING
2. WHERE THE WILD WINDS BLOW
4. LORD OF THE LOST AND LONELY
5. ROCK'N'ROLL SYMPHONY
6. TO LIVE FOR THE KING
7. LAND OF THUNDER
8. TEMPLE OF THE HOLY
9. SHINE ON
10. BRIDGES WE HAVE BURNED
11. BECAUSE YOU LIED
12. BLACK MOON RISING
13. DANCE FOR THE PIPER
14. FAITH (VOCALS: DON DOKKEN) (BONUS TRACK)
All songs produced by:
Michael Schenker and Michael Voss
All songs are written by:
Music - Michael Schenker
Lyrics - Doogie White
Except: ‘Neptune Rising' (Michael Schenker)
Bonus track "Faith" appears on the Special Edition,
featuring Don Dokken (vocals)
Michael Schenker's Temple Of Rock "Bridge The Gap" CD Inlay
DOOGIE WHITE'S TRACK BY TRACK
"I have a vocal studio at home. I received the tracks from Michael on the same day I started having construction done on the house. It was interesting to have no walls and lots of snow, no heating and zero temperatures and a hoard of builders staring in the windows. It's reflected in the lyrics... wind, cold and darkness."
Where The Wild Winds Blow - is a perfect example. When chorus kicks in I can see the audience rocking out. I always try to write for the live environment. That's when the songs really come alive.
Horizons – We started playing it live on the last tour. Herman's drumming is awesome on this track.
Lord Of The Lost And Lonely - has a Celtic vibe about it and the riff rocks and rolls. The chorus just bursts out on this song out, and drives right through. It's that small voice in the back of your mind that you know you really should listen to but can't.
Rock'n' Roll Symphony - features Wayne holding the tune down with the Hammond under Schenker's rolling riff. It's a celebration of rock'n'roll in all its guises. I took song titles and phrases from the wider rock community and wrapped them up into a lyric.
Live For The King - I was reading Richard Burton's Diaries and was thinking of how the stage, whether it is music, theatre or sport has a great hold on those who work it. It is hard to walk away when the spotlight dims. We don't do this for fame or fortune. We do it because it's who we are. It is our nature.
Land Of Thunder - Another thunderously paced song with Herman and Francis slaying all comers with their driving powerhouse rhythm. The listener can take what they want from the lyrics - different days, moods, and interpretation. This song will be amazing live.
Temple Of The Holy - has sinister undertones. It's a mid-paced song with a heavy riff and a melodic solo dancing majestically through the middle.
Shine On - The melody over the riff is not what you'd expect, but it really works.
Bridges We Have Burned - is the first song we wrote for the album. There is the chance, hopefully, of redemption for everyone. This was my way of asking for mine. If we can shake off our dark passengers, then, perhaps, the road may go on.
Because You Lied - is the song that tested us all. It is so simple but so off the wall. I sang it live in the studio on a hand held SM58 in one take. We were not sure what was going on, really. Michael plugged in and had fun, too much fun. It's not typical of us, but it's cool.
Black Moon Rising - The drama at the end of the song says more about it than I ever could.
Dance for the Piper - is the last song we wrote for the album. It's a rather splendid way to lead us forward banners held high, not into the sunset, but to new horizons.
MICHAEL SCHENKER'S TEMPLE OF ROCK
THE MAKING OF THE NEW ALBUM
Michael Schenker and Herman Rarebell met on and off over the years and eventually decided to do something together. Schenker hadn't performed UFO material for a while, and decided to put a touring project together with Best of Michael Schenker material. Pete Way showed up at one of Schenker's MSG Shows and appeared to be in good spirit, and was invited to Brighton to jam together. At the same time, Schenker was about ready to start working on a new album. He went to a studio in Muenster to record a demo. Michael Voss was engineering and laid down guide vocals.
Schenker liked his voice and asked Voss if he wanted to do the singing. When Schenker finished the demo he played it to Pete and Herman. They liked what they heard and immediately offered to become the rhythm section. The result was 2011's "Temple Of Rock" album which featured lots of great guest musicians including Star Trek's Captain Kirk (William Shatner) who recorded the spoken word intro on the album. Schenker ended up playing on Shatner's solo album. Vocalist Doogie White also appeared on the album. Schenker wrote a song specially suited for Doogie's vocals - "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead".
The song became a favourite on the album and was A-listed on Planet Rock radio in the UK. When it was time for Schenker to go on tour, Michael Voss wasn't available, so he had to find a replacement.
Having Robin McAuley singing on one song, Schenker thought about having different line-ups between Voss, McAuley and Doogie (based on their availability). Voss toured with Schenker in Japan, McAuley toured with Schenker in the USA, and Doogie toured with Schenker in Europe.
When Schenker was getting ready for the European tour, he learned that Pete Way was not well so he asked Herman Rarebell what Francis Buchholz was up to due to the fact that Schenker performed several Scorpions songs in his set. Francis was happy to join for our European tour with Doogie on vocals and Wayne Findlay on guitar and keyboards. The tour was so successful that Schenker decided to film one of the concerts for a live DVD. The band got stronger and stronger and completed their European tour, but more offers were coming in to perform additional gigs.
Schenker seized the opportunity to record an album after the end of the first leg of their European tour. There was a six month window. Doogie was ready to go for it and so was the rest of the band. Schenker started laying down tracks and gave the material to Doogie so he could start writing the lyrics. Off they went recording with Michael Voss as their engineer and co-producer. Everything went like clockwork and was finished before the set off to tour Russia in April 2013.
The band toured for another three months in Europe, and became stronger and stronger. After finishing the second part of the tour, they got back together and remixed and re-mastered the album. Entitled "Bridge The Gap", the album will be released December 2nd 2013. In 2014, Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock will embark on a U.S. tour. "We're ready to rock," says Schenker.
MICHAEL SCHENKER - OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY
It goes without saying, that the legendary and award-winning guitarist Michael Schenker has led a truly amazing rock’n’roll life. Born in Sarstedt near Hannover in 1955, Michael's career took off when he was just a teenager. At the age of nine, he was already listening to the Beatles and the Stones. By the age of 14 he was looking to learn from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Mountain and Black Sabbath.
He got off to a flying start: from 1969 to 1973 he played with his brother Rudolf Schenker in Germany's most successful rock band – the Scorpions. It was Rudolf who introduced him to the Gibson Flying V. When the Scorpions supported the British hard rock band UFO, Michael had the opportunity to switch bands.
For six years, Michael was a driving force behind the UFO sound. Some of his earliest compositions such as "Rock Bottom" and "Doctor Doctor" have become timeless rock classics. After his departure from UFO in 1979, he briefly returned to the Scorpions to record their legendary "Lovedrive" album. Then he decided it was time to go solo.
Enter the Michael Schenker Group (MSG). "It was only when I started playing with this band that I could really put what I had learned and what I stand for into practice," reflects Michael.
The first two albums became instant classics. "The Michael Schenker Group" (1980) and "MSG" (1981) contained songs like "Into The Arena", "Armed And Ready", "Ready To Rock" and "Attack Of The Mad Axeman" – all of which have become standards in Michael Schenker's concerts. Schenker soon developed the nickname - the "Mad Axeman".
MSG enjoyed many triumphant moments but also numerous lows which they endured stoically. The only person who has stayed with the band through the decades is Michael himself, the boss and master puppeteer.
This list of his former band mates reads like a who's who of hard rock: As founder members, Michael recruited Simon Phillips (drums), Gary Barden (vocals), Mo Foster (bass) and Don Airey (keyboards). Later members included rock luminaries such as bassist Neil Murray, drummer Cozy Powell and Carmine Appice, singer Graham Bonnett and guitarist Wayne Findlay.
In 1985 the Michael Schenker Group mutated into the McAuley Schenker Group with new singer Robin McAuley. This incarnation of the MSG lasted for three albums: "Perfect Timing" (1987), "Save Yourself" (1989) and "M.S.G." (1992). In 1995, Michael rejoined UFO for their comeback album "Walk On Water". Afterwards he revived the Michael Schenker Group – and in 2008 he reached new heights with the album "In The Midst Of Beauty". He was accompanied in the studio by a host of familiar faces: Gary Barden, Simon Phillips, Don Airey and Neil Murray.
These four are also present among the impressive array of musicians who took turns on stage in the MSG's "30th Anniversary Tour". The band was greeted with a thunderous reception wherever they played during their world tour.
Full of creative power, dynamism and ideas, in 2011 Michael Schenker entered a new phase of his life – both creatively and personally – with his new band "Temple Of Rock". He can be heard to be enjoying life more than ever before and reaping the artistic rewards from his previous achievements. The band members included Michael Voss (vocals), and Schenker’s trusty band mates Wayne Findley (guitar, keyboards), Pete Way (bass) and Herman Rarebell (drums). On the following extended "Temple Of Rock" world tour, Doogie White took over vocal duties and Francis Buchholz played bass.
The amazing chemistry of this band can be heard on the live recording "Temple Of Rock – Live in Europe" (2012).
Recorded by the same line-up, the new studio album by Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock is entitled "Bridge The Gap", and will be released in December 2013.
Michael Schenker - Official Website
Michael Schenker - Official Facebook
inakustik - Official Website
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