MICHAEL SCHENKER: My Brother 'RUDOLF Doesn't Have Much Talent As A Guitarist'

February 4, 2020

In a new interview with Guitar World, legendary German guitarist Michael Schenker, whose main guitar for much of his career was a Gibson Flying V, was asked if Gibson has ever offered to make him a signature model. He laughed uproariously before responding: "Rudolf [Schenker, SCORPIONS guitarist and Michael's brother] took care of that! He's been working so hard at distorting my image, so people don't know anymore which one is Michael and which one is Rudolf.

"Sometimes Rudolf would come up to me and proudly report who'd tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Hey, Michael, how are you doing?' Slash and Joe Perry, for example.

"[Laughs] While I wasn't looking, he managed for years to distort the hell out of the image of the Schenker brothers. People don't have a clue anymore who is who. Because I'm younger and I was successful earlier and had the first hit in 1976, I was playing in America when I was 19 and Rudolf was 33 before he got to America for the first time.

"People are so confused because I was six and a half years younger. The SCORPIONS became so successful that people forget what the band was like at the start. It's incredible how he managed to distort the whole thing. Rudolf made a deal with Gibson for black-and-white guitars.

"He asked me if I minded if he played a black-and-white Flying V. I asked myself why he wants to be me, but I just said, 'Go ahead.' Then he pushed it so far in trying to make the black-and-white image his. He doesn't know who he is. Then he had the cheek to make a deal with Gibson for a signature Flying V.

"I'm playing a Dean and he's got the Gibson, and then people probably think he's also the guy who used to play with UFO. It is remarkable. He's a very strange guy, one of a kind. [Laughs]"

When interviewer Mark McStea pointed out to Michael that Rudolf, as the older brother, was perhaps expecting things might come to him first, Michael said: "Well, that is true. As the younger brother, I probably ended up wearing his underpants and school uniform, and riding his bike. He was the oldest and I got the hand-me-downs. I didn't look for fame and success, but I became successful.

"I didn't look to become an icon, but I became one, it became me. Rudolf focused on those things, but he couldn't get it. It's a strange message — that existence of two brothers who made such a weird success in their own way. The puzzle is not completed yet between us.

"I know there is a reason for this peculiar journey through life between Rudolf and me. I hope I will understand it if I can get another 10 years on the planet. I'm not bitter about the stupid games he played. He was probably very frustrated that everything he wanted was coming to his much younger brother without even trying for it.

"I believe I was born to make him successful. Rudolf doesn't have much talent as a guitarist. Without direction, he is lost. He copied everything I did. [Laughs] I needed to pave the path for him.

"I'm not saying that competitively, but with an open heart. I jumpstarted the SCORPIONS. They should be happy instead of acting like I'm some little shit. [Laughs]"

Michael gave a number of interviews in the last few years in which he said that he was "disappointed" in Rudolf over the narrative he and SCORPIONS had created about the writing and recording of 1979 album "Lovedrive". Michael added that SCORPIONS took advantage of him and took credit for his songwriting efforts, particularly as it relates to the tracks "Holiday" and "Coast To Coast".

Last year, Rudolf — who is seven years older than Michael — dismissed Michael's criticism, telling Classic Rock magazine: "Look, I love my brother. He's a fantastic guitar player but he knows nothing about business. When we made 'Lovedrive', the band was under contract to Dieter Dierks [producer and manager]. When I asked Michael to play a solo to my composition 'Coast To Coast', we agreed a half-and-half credit, but Dieter wouldn't allow it — this related to publishing and studio costs. Michael had a signed contract with Dieter that gave him one point on the song. And we agreed to pay Michael… he had the money."

He continued: "But in 1985, when [Michael] was completely smashed and had a new MSG with Robin McAuley, Michael lived with me in my house. We flew in musicians, I did all of that for nothing on the understanding that Michael would pay me when a record label came in. But he didn't pay me anything. So I took his half to cover the bills he hadn't paid. Everything is clear. All Michael has to do is ask: 'What's happening here?' But he doesn't; instead, he gives these stupid interviews."

Rudolf added: "I still love my brother but he has always hated business matters and the only person that's to blame here is himself."

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