Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice spoke to Ex-Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on April 16 2019 at the Piranha Bar. Uli Spoke about his Triple Anniversary tour and did a deep dive into the making and recording of the classic live Scorpions album Tokyo Tapes. Uli Spoke about Tokyo Tapes set list, the choice of cover songs, adding the audience from Peter Frampton’s famous live album, Frampton Comes Alive. Uli also spoke about archival Super 8 film footage he has in his vault from all his years in the Scorpions whereas 70% of it has not yet been seen.
Watch the interview here:
When asked on why they chose to have cover songs on Tokyo Tapes
“They were just accidents, for me that wasn’t Scorpions. The band came from a Rock and Beatles background and we did used to play Johnny B Goode occasionally but that was because I was a Hendrix fan and we copied the Hendrix version. Why Long Tall Sally and Hound Dog how they made it to the album I’m still not sure and I don’t want to necessarily disown them but somehow maybe these songs should have not been there because we had more suitable ones. One song I do like off the album is taken from the Scorpions debut Lonesome Crow In Search of Peace of Mind, one that Micheal Schneker wrote, it’s is a masterpiece with beautiful lyrics by Klaus Meine, I love that song.”
When asked if there was any fixing of Tokyo Tapes Live album in the studio
“No, in fact there wasn’t enough of it because I was quite upset when I first heard the recordings because there was a mistake. Apparently the Japanese sound engineers recorded all the pre-sets with EQ’s and you don’t do that because after words you don’t get a chance to tweak the sounds as much and I was not happy with the sound of the album. I remember what it sounded like on stage, it sounded phenomenal particularly in that hall but what I heard on the album was a shadow of that. So that is why I never listen to the album. I never listened to the whole album in one go. ”
“I did the playing on the album and there were no overdubs afterwords we just left everything as it was, except for the audience clapping because we forgot to record the audience so we had no audience sound. I don’t know who’s idea it was in the studio, it wasn’t mine there was this massive album Frampton Comes Alive Album at the time, so somebody took the clapping from that recording and they put it on a loop so suddenly Sun Plaza hall becomes Stadium rock. There is your dirty little insight and it’s a true story nobody will deny it. So the audience of Frampton Comes Alive is on Scorpions Tokyo Tapes. We had a great audience but they weren’t recorded.”
When asked about the song if there was any left over material from the recording of Tokyo Tapes
“There were some and I am to blame for a couple of things that got left out. I didn’t think the song Catch your Train was good enough and I didn’t think Hell Cat was good enough. Then when I heard them recently when they did the re-release and I thought what was I thinking they were good enough I should have had them on. I was actually being a bit too critical at the time. But today I am really glad we did the album and we can be proud of.”
When asked if there was any video of his era with the Scorpions
“I loved taking Super 8 Film footage from day 1 with the Scorpions until my final days in 1978 I chronologically have all the footage from all the tours including Japan and some stuff has been released on the Tokyo Tapes revisited DVD but most of it is unreleased. It’s not live footage it’s all on tour behind the scene footage, about 70% is unseen. It’s the only footage that exists from the 70’s.”
To celebrate his upcoming 50th Stage Anniversary, he will perform concerts across North America this spring.
The two hour-plus programme will consist of carefully selected highlights from Uli’s entire musical career The 50th Anniversary set will naturally include the best of that timeless material, including The Sails of Charon, In Trance, Fly to the Rainbow and many other songs.
As a logical continuation of Uli’s journey into his own musical past he will also be reconnecting with the second very important part of his unique musical journey – that of his ground breaking Electric Sun period – during which he took the art of electric guitar playing to a completely new and unprecedented level.
Also a pre-show V.I.P. Uli will play excerpts from his stunning Metamorphosis of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Concerto as well as several pieces which feature him on classical, acoustic and flamenco guitar.
16 – Montreal, QC – Piranha
17 – Quebec, QC – L’ Anti
18 – Ottawa, NB – Brass Monkey
19 – Pawling, NY – Daryl’s House
20 – Derry, NH – Tupelo Music Hall
21 – Hartford, CT – Infinity Music Hall
23 – NYC, NY – Gramercy Theater
24 – Asbury Park, NJ – Wonderbar
25 – Sellersville, PA – Sellersville Theater
26 – Syracuse, NY – Sharkey’s
27 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
29 – Pittsburgh, PA – Jergels
1 – Plymouth, MA – Spire Center for the Performing Arts
3 – Newton, NJ – Newton Theatre
4 – Louisville, KY – Diamond Pub Concert Hall
5 – Nashville, TN – The High Watt
6 – Atlanta, GA – City Winery
9 – Dallas, TX – Trees
10 – San Antonio, TX – Rockbox