The Dio Message Board recently conducted an interview with legendary guitarist Michael Schenker (MSG, UFO, SCORPIONS). A few excerpts from the question-and-answer session follow:
The Dio Message Board: In 1982 I heard that you were [being considered as a possible] replacement [for] Randy Rhoads in Ozzy's band. Is that true?
Michael Schenker: "Yes, I was the first one to be called, according to Ozzy."
The Dio Message Board: You walked out on UFO straight after the legendary "Strangers in the Night" album. You then rejoined and it all went wrong at the now-infamous UFO Manchester show. What happened on these occasions to warrant your actions?
Michael Schenker: "I walked out on UFO after the recording of 'Strangers in the Night' because [Phil] Mogg [UFO frontman] hit me in the stomach after I was telling him if he ever did I would leave the band. I guess he wanted me out. He had a bad reputation as a bully in those days. I rejoined UFO 15 years later after being approached by them to rejoin several times during those years. In '94 I finally did, hoping to be of help after I had been extremely successful with a new approach in the music business wanting to share so they could receive the money they never did during all the famous UFO days.
"Manchester: I was headbutted by the singer of the QUIREBOYS one night before Manchester in Newcastle while looking for Pete Way [UFO bassist] after the concert who kept standing on my feet, falling into me and deadening my strings on stage that night and nights before. In Manchester I was demonstrating to Pete what it feels like if someone else in the band would be behaving that obnoxious. Unfortunately at the expense of the audiences. I was angry at Phil as well because he had me on the ground after I got headbutted in Newcastle. The tour got cancelled after Manchester because Mogg could not sing. He had to show two separate doctor's exams to the promoters. I left the band for good in 2002 after Mogg calling me on the phone asking for the name UFO back and I did. For free."
The Dio Message Board: So the new album ("Heavy Hitters") is due out soon. You've got a lot of very well known musicians on this album with you. How did it all come about and what can you tell us about the new album and the recording of it?
Michael Schenker: "The album 'Heavy Hitters' is great but unauthorized to use MSG to shop the album. It also confuses fans with my upcoming [25-year anniversary] MSG album 'Tales of Rock'n Roll'. Already I suffered turndowns because of record companies fearing a possible interference.
"For the 'Heavy Hitters' album I was asked to play all leads as a session player and received only a little flat fee. I had no idea that they would use MSG to shop the album for a record deal receiving 15 times the amount of money then they paid me and I would have gotten under normal circumstances for MSG. Also by doing what they did they gave MSG a stamp as a cover band. MSG was originally created by me as a special band for free expression based on my choices. They took my accomplished vision and helped themselves. It's being examined and studied by lawyers. Hope with this action I and others will finally win a bit more respect in this crazy 'help yourself world.' Fortunately the album is great with fantastic musicians."
Read the entire interview in the "Don't Talk to Strangers" forum at The Dio Message Board (free registration required).