Klaus Meine vocals
Rudolf Schenker guitar
Matthias Jabs guitar
Pawel Maciwoda – bass
James Kottak – drums
It’s been worth the wait. For Unbreakable. With their uncompromising rock album the Scorpions have unequivocally sounded their return in 2004 to the worldwide hard n heavy arena.
Unbreakable is a concept album in a very special sense. It symbolizes the indestructibility of the basic musical coordinates of the Scorpions. The unique power triad of outstanding musical figures: singer-songwriter Klaus Meine, guitarist and composer Rudolf Schenker and lead guitarist and composer Matthias Jabs.
Unbreakable, the twentieth Scorpions album, is the quintessence of thirty-five years of Scorpions history. And at the same time it marks the re-commitment of Germany’s internationally most successful hard rock export to their essential strengths. First and foremost we are a rock band, says Klaus Meine, leaving no room for doubt. Our fans expect to really feel the lethal sting of the Scorpions. So with Unbreakable we’ve recorded a typical Scorpions album. Seconded by Rudolf Schenker: After side projects like Moment Of Glory and Acoustica we owed our fans a kick-ass, bad-to-the-bone rock CD. Rudolf Schenker sees Unbreakable as building a bridge between the Scorpions and their fans. It’s an album that brings the old and the new generation of Scorpions fans together. Matthias Jabs sums it up: With the new album we’ve returned to what the Scorpions are really all about. Hand-made rock music. Pick up the instruments, plug them in, play, is how he describes the highly successful three months spent working in the studio with producer Erwin Musper. The band together in one room for the basic tracks – back to the roots but in the contemporary rock sound of 2004. And at the same time we’ve reshaped our live set with the new songs. Erwin Musper, who as producer and sound engineer knows the Scorpions better than anyone else, goes even further: The Scorpions have set a new standard with Unbreakable. It’s the best material the Scorpions have written in the last five years. Any rock band setting out to record a new album, should have Unbreakable as a reference in their sound library. Erwin Musper knows what he’s talking about. Born in The Netherlands, he’s been working with the Scorpions as producer and engineer since 1988. In addition, he has worked in the USA for many years as producer for bands such as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard. Scorpions drummer, James Kottak, is up front about it: Unbreakable is the best record ever from Germany’s No. 1 rock machine.
With Unbreakable 2004 Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs are going onto the musical offensive with a typical Scorpions coup: Pawel Maciwoda is the new bass player of Germany’s globally most successful rock act. This new band member is another signal that there’s no going back for the Scorpions. Together with drummer James Kottak, this hard rock bass player, steeled in the New York professional scene, represents a pressure build-up in the Scorpions now outstanding rhythm n groove section.
Unbreakable symbolizes the musical and personal identity that has characterized the Scorpions for over thirty-five years and accounted for their lasting worldwide success. Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs are three musical individualists, who have been time-travelling together since 1978, without regard for the changing fashions and ethos of the moment, on a common musical journey through their own Scorpions universe.
The coordinates: compositional genius, unique musical identity, irrepressible will to succeed and unbroken pioneering spirit – true to the credo of playing anywhere in the world where we can plug in . The Scorpions are a live band. That’s the territory in which they’re most at home.
The inner strength of the Scorpions derives from the staunch friendship between Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs. On their concert tours, which can often last for months, they spend more time together, after all, than they do with their families. Their musical collaboration is characterized by the dedication and unconditional effort they put into their common goal: fighting to achieve the best at all times. True to their slogan ’don’t Stop At The Top , the Scorpions tirelessly pursue their resolution of always doing the unexpected . In this they are supported by their unbridled passion for their music. The Scorpions love to push their sting out to the limits.
This surge of positive energy is the power field that holds the multi-facetted nucleus of the Scorpions together. It’s this element of friendship existing between the musicians and extending to their fans that remains the core strength of the Scorpions. The result is the strong fan basis around the world, which makes the Scorpions independent of the unpredictable and fluctuating moods of the international music market.
In terms of their music, the Scorpions have maintained an impressive balance between the wide-ranging musical tastes of their fans in different continents. In the USA it’s the straight rock numbers that are expected of the Scorpions. The same in Britain, Australia and Japan. In Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as in the countries of the South – Central and South America, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece – it’s the rock ballads that the fans love best. In Asia, in countries like India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea and the Philippines, the Scorpions have scored a remarkable success with their unplugged project Acoustica.
Unbreakable is the payback for all the millions of loyal Scorpions fans around the world, who have followed their band through decades of successive and successful creative phases.
Looking back, the Scorpions have achieved everything that defines an internationally successful rock band. Their hard rock hits like Rock You Like A Hurricane, Blackout, Big City Nights, Dynamite, Coast To Coast, The Zoo, Coming Home, Hit between The Eyes and Tease Me Please Me thrill millions all over the world. The Scorpions virtually created a genre of modern hard rock. Together with Led Zeppelin, the Scorpions are the inventors of the hard rock ballad. Their power rock ballads, such as Still Loving You, Holiday, Send Me An Angel, When You Came Into My Life and You And I, as well as their unplugged oriented songs like Always Somewhere, A Moment In A Million Years and When The Smoke Is Going Down, appeal even to confirmed opponents of hard rock. In 1991 the Scorpions landed a worldwide No. 1 hit with the rock ballad Wind Of Change composed by Klaus Meine. But Wind Of Change was not just a hit single. The song formed the soundtrack for one of the most significant events in world politics towards the end of the 20th century. Wind Of Change became the anthem for the fall of the Berlin Wall and the lifting of the Iron Curtain.
Spurred on by the undiminished enthusiasm of their fans, the Scorpions tour the world’s most important rock market, the USA, every year as headliners, performing at over 40 concerts. They give more than a hundred concerts a year in front of hundreds of thousands of fans in sold out halls and stadiums right round the globe, from Los Angeles to New York, from Anchorage to Santiago de Chile, from Glasgow to Beirut, from Helsinki to Vladivostok, from Bangalore to Tokyo.
Since the early 1980s the Scorpions have headlined at all international rock spectacles. In 1985 they appeared at the first Rock In Rio. In the mid-80s they topped the bill at the legendary Monsters Of Rock festivals. They are the only German band ever to have performed to a sold out Madison Square Garden in New York time after time. In 1999 they took part in the Michael Jackson & Friends benefit concert in Munich’s Olympic Stadium at the personal invitation of the King of Pop. In August 2000, 750,000 Polish rock fans made the pilgrimage to Krakow to experience the Scorpions live. Their many special appearances include events like the opening of the Tour de France in 2000 and the international Masters of Endurance motorcycle world championship in Magny-Cours, France, in 2001. Even heads-of-state get in on the act. In May 2003 the Scorpions performed in front of an audience including 40 international leaders at the tercentennial celebrations in St. Petersburg. In September 2003 the Scorpions played together with the Presidential Orchestra of the Russian Federation in Red Square in Moscow. This mega-spectacle was accompanied by a gigantic pyrotechnical light installation created by the world-renowned pyro-light designer Gert Hof.
The concert set against the world famous backdrop of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Lenin Mausoleum in front of the Kremlin marks a special high point in the Scorpions biography. The band has very close ties to Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe. In fact, they’re bonded in a unique musical kinship. Throughout Eastern Europe the Scorpions are superstars. In 2002 the Scorpions became the first western rock band to stage a tour of 23 concerts right across Russia and the former CIS states from the Baltic to the Sea of Japan. They appeared in major cities on both sides of the Urals, which were unknown territory even for the Russian organizers of the tour. In the once closed city of Nizhni Novgorod, formerly Gorky. In historic Volgograd. In Rostov-on-Don. In Samara, Naberezhnyye Chelny, Perm, Ufa. In Ekaterinburg, Tcheliabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Vladivostok. The tour took the Scorpions to cities no less marked by history in Ukraine. To Odessa on the Black Sea coast, to Dnepropetrovsk on the Dnepr and to Charkov.
The Scorpions were the first internationally known rock band to perform behind the Iron Curtain. That was in 1988 in St. Petersburg, the then Leningrad, where they gave ten sold-out concerts. This was the curtain-raiser to the legendary 1989 Moscow Music Peace Festival, the Woodstock of the USSR. Scorpions vocalist Klaus Meine forged his experiences into the Scorpions smash hit Wind of Change. Written in 1989, the song anticipated the lifting of the Iron Curtain and became the anthem of the opening up of Eastern Europe. In 1990 the Scorpions performed in reunified Berlin, in Potsdamer Platz, on the site of the newly cleared death strip which had divided the city, in Roger Waters rock spectacle The Wall. On December 14th 1991 Michail Gorbachev, the initiator of glasnost and perestroika and last head-of-state and party-leader of the USSR, invited the German Scorpions to a rock summit in the Kremlin. Eleven years later, in October 2002, the German Scorpions appeared in Volgograd, the former Stalingrad, the most heavily emotive city in recent German-Russian history. In 1999, to mark the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Scorpions were invited by the German government to appear at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, where they were joined by 166 cellists in a performance of Wind Of Change. Conducted by the legendary Russian cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich.
The year 2000 saw the crowning musical honor. The globally celebrated Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, bearer of the legendary Karajan legacy, appeared together with the Scorpions at a special event at the EXPO world fair in Hanover. The program: Scorpions classics, collected in the joint CD production Moment Of Glory. The title song, composed by Klaus Meine, was also the official anthem of EXPO, the first world fair to be held in Germany in the Scorpions home city of Hanover.
The Hanover EXPO, June 22nd 2000. It was the Night of Nights , the Battle of the Giants , a musical exchange of fire between rock band and classical orchestra of a standard never heard before. With this crossover project, the Scorpions achieved a remarkable bridging operation between orchestral and rock music and accessed an audience that would otherwise never venture into a rock arena. Through the CD and the concert the Berlin Philharmonic achieved sales figures and audience dimensions that are truly exceptional for classical productions. Renowned crossover arranger and conductor Christian Kolonovits from Vienna saw the joint project as nothing less than an event at which Scorpions hits were used to write the history of thirty years of rock music. Kolonovits achieved the ultimate fusion of these musical antitheses with Crossfire and the Deadly Sting Suite. At the climax of the concert, Kolonovits engaged the two bodies of musicians in such a furious instrumental interchange that even inveterate classical fans among the EXPO premiere audience were literally ripped out of their seats.
The successful collaboration with Christian Kolonovits led the Scorpions in 2001 to immediately follow the Moment Of Glory joint venture with the Berlin Philharmonic with the unplugged album Acoustica that had long been planned and was eagerly awaited by the band’s Asian fans. The Scorpions had mastered the technique of unplugged playing – using purely acoustic instruments – right from the start of their career as musicians, long before the MTV era. Rock music is their vocation, a tenet of their absolute professionalism, without which they could never have achieved what they have. The Scorpions are very happy to have produced Acoustica and are proud of their unplugged project. It was a challenge, musically, to take a song like Rock You Like A Hurricane, give it a new and sophisticated acoustic interpretation and perform it as an integral part of a live set. At the same time, Acoustica provided the impetus for the Scorpions to return to their musical roots with Unbreakable and recommit themselves to their strengths as a live hard rock band.
Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs were shaped by the hard rock pioneers of the 60s, by bands and musicians like Spooky Tooth, The Pretty Things, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Led Zeppelin and of course The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. And they were also influenced by the rock n roll heroes of the 50s: Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Elvis Presley.
In the 1960s music scene in Hanover, Klaus Meine and Scorpions founder Rudolf Schenker crossed paths a number of times. It was right at the end of 1969 that the two decided to join up on the same musical path. The Schenker / Meine composing partnership laid the foundations for a spectacularly successful career. In 1979 Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker brought Matthias Jabs into the band as lead guitarist. His creativity and virtuosity were to make a decisive contribution to the international success of the Scorpions. It was with Matthias Jabs that the Scorpions made their breakthrough as an international hard rock act. American-born James Kottak joined the Scorpions as drummer in 1996. And the latest addition is Pawel Maciwoda, the power rock base-player who was born in Krakow in Poland, who joined the Scorpions in 2003. Both these musicians are proven hard rock specialists of international experience.
Even a band like the Scorpions, which has such a long history of success in the international music business, is bound to undergo changes. The band’s paradigmatic philosophy of friendship has stood the test of time, including the various changes of membership that have taken place in the 35-year-plus career of the Scorpions.
And the Scorpions have picked up on an interesting phenomenon with regard to the audiences at their concerts around the globe. More and more younger fans are crowding into the front rows – fans who’ve been inspired by the idols of their own generation and now want to see the originals.
From the very beginning, it was the vision of Scorpions founder Rudolf Schenker to conquer the world through music and one day count among the best heavy rock bands in the world. In musical terms, the Scorpions cover the whole spectrum of rock-specific genres in 2004: hard n heavy, unplugged and crossover. Yet right across the various arrangements the distinctive Scorpions identity is clearly recognizable in all Scorpions hits. The Scorpions songs and words address global issues and reflect what people around the globe feel about life. Musically the Scorpions compositions span the spectrum between driving rock riffs and deeply emotional power rock ballads.
All this has ensured that the Scorpions are the only German band to have unswervingly pursued an international career for over thirty-five years. We’ve often been through hell, to experience heaven. We’ve always had faith in ourselves and have never accepted limitations for ourselves, is how Rudolf Schenker sums it up. ’doing a world tour and seeing how people respond to the music and are carried away by it, is for Rudolf Schenker simply the best there is. An adventure that he wouldn’t miss for the world. For Scorpions vocalist Klaus Meine it’s a fascinating experience, again and again, to contribute towards a peaceful world through the global language of music. To show that music is a language that crosses frontiers and overcomes differences. The outstanding date in this respect was the concert the Scorpions – from Germany – gave in 2002 in Volgograd. For these musicians, born in post-war Germany between 1948 and 1955, it was a deeply felt contribution towards atonement. What’s important for Matthias Jabs is to make music that’s enduring and that embodies the identity of the Scorpions. Over time and up there in front of the fans. Music that satisfies the band’s own musical needs and those of their audiences. Music, above all, that stands the test of a live concert – in the full exposure of the spotlights, where you can’t hide anything. In 2004 Klaus Meine gives this summary of the impressive history of the Scorpions: There ll never be any substitute for live concerts with real music and real feelings. It’s a statement from the heart that also looks forward into the future. And Unbreakable is the musical statement of now from Germany’s only global band.
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