MICHAEL SCHENKER Shares 'Mother Mary' Single Featuring SLASH And ERIK GRÖNWALL

June 19, 2024

The world of rock guitar has always been illuminated by a few virtuosic stars who shine brighter than the rest, and among them, Michael Schenker stands out as a comet blazing across the night sky.

His tenure with the British hard rock band UFO during the 1970s remains one of the most celebrated periods in the annals of rock, elevating UFO from underground sensations to rock legends.

Now, in 2024, Michael Schenker is set to celebrate those glory days with his new album "My Years With UFO" alongside today's rock elite.

Produced by Michael Schenker and Michael Voss, the new album marks the 50th anniversary of Schenker's era with UFO, spanning from 1972 to 1978. The "German Wunderkind" was asked to join UFO at just 17 years old. Touring the globe as a teenager, Schenker became a driving force behind some of UFO's most loved tracks, such as "Doctor Doctor", "Rock Bottom" and "Only You Can Rock Me".

The first single off the new album, "Mother Mary", breathes new life into this classic, bringing together Michael Schenker's and Slash's unmatched guitar work with former SKID ROW singer Erik Grönwall's soaring vocals.

Although Michael Schenker's era with UFO spanned only six years, his influence as a young songwriter and exceptional guitarist had already left a lasting mark on rock. During these meteoric years, the UFO albums "Phenomenon", "Force It", "No Heavy Petting", "Lights Out", "Obsession" and the seminal live album "Strangers In The Night" were recorded, each contributing significantly to the genre. "Strangers In The Night" particularly stands out as one of the most influential live rock albums of all time and is still regarded as a cornerstone in any rock enthusiast's collection.

In this celebratory album, Michael Schenker presents 11 of UFO's greatest hits from this magical era with an impressive lineup of guest stars. Joining Schenker on this journey are Derek Sherinian on keyboards, Brian Tichy on drums, and Barry Sparks on bass.

The stellar roster of guest artists includes Axl Rose (GUNS N' ROSES),Slash (GUNS N' ROSES),Kai Hansen (HELLOWEEN),Roger Glover (DEEP PURPLE),Joey Tempest (EUROPE),Biff Byford (SAXON),Jeff Scott Soto (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, JOURNEY),John Norum (EUROPE),Dee Snider (TWISTED SISTER),Joel Hoekstra (WHITESNAKE),Joe Lynn Turner (RAINBOW),Carmine Appice (VANILLA FUDGE, CACTUS),Adrian Vandenberg (WHITESNAKE),Michael Voss, Stephen Pearcy (RATT) and Erik Grönwall (SKID ROW).

This album is the introduction to an upcoming trilogy, as Michael Schenker has signed an exclusive three-album deal with earMUSIC, with additional albums to follow in 2025 and 2026.

Today's release of "Mother Mary" sets the stage for what promises to be one of the most exciting rock albums of 2024.

"My Years With UFO" will be released worldwide on September 20 via earMUSIC and is available for pre-order.

"My Years With UFO" track listing:

01. Natural Thing (feat. Dee Snider, Joel Hoekstra)
02. Only You Can Rock Me (feat. Joey Tempest, Roger Glover)
03. Doctor, Doctor (feat. Joe Lynn Turner, Carmine Appice)
04. Mother Mary (feat. Slash, Erik Grönwall)
05. This Kids (feat. Biff Byford)
06. Love To Love (feat. Axl Rose)
07. Lights Out (feat. Jeff Scott Soto, John Norum)
08. Rock Bottom (feat. Kai Hansen)
09. Too Hot To Handle (feat. Joe Lynn Turner, Adrian Vandenberg, Carmine Appice)
10. Let It Roll (feat. Michael Voss)
11. Shoot, Shoot (feat. Stephen Pearcy)

A little over three years ago, Michael detailed events which led to his final exit from UFO in 2002, saying that "the natural flow of the chemistry was destroyed" by the time he left the band.

Schenker, whose original tenure with the British rock institution lasted from 1973 to 1978, rejoined UFO in 1993, recording the "Walk On Water" (1995) album with the classic lineup of the band that also included lead singer Phil Mogg, bassist Pete Way, drummer Andy Parker, and guitarist/keyboardist Paul Raymond.

Explaining how the reunion came about, Michael told Eonmusic: "Phil Mogg came to Los Angeles in '93, begging me to refuel UFO because he completely had destroyed it. I said, 'I have a few conditions. One is, you have to give me 50 percent of the UFO name so you don't destroy it again, especially if I put my energy into it."

The onetime SCORPIONS man went on to say that initially, things were great within the camp, and that he noticed a change in the formerly dejected Mogg almost immediately. "I tell you, when I saw Phil the next time when we started recording, he looked like an one hundred and eighty degree different person," Schenker said. "He was happy, healthy. He was unbelievably fit."

But it was a harmony that wasn't to last. "'Walk On Water' was a blessing after 17 years," Michael said. "It was such a beautiful record that famously carried on from 'Strangers In The Night' [1979]. And then, of course, we went on the road, and then Phil lost it, and wanted control again and destroyed everything."

Despite going on to record two further albums with the band — 2000's "Covenant" and 2002's "Sharks", Michael said that it was further lineup changes (the ousting of both Parker and Raymond) which ultimately destroyed the band.

"I always said to him, 'Never do a reunion with UFO unless it's the original setup, including the producer,'" Michael said. "Because if you take one piece out, the chemistry is finished."

Bringing in producer Mike Varney for "Sharks" in place of Ron Nevinson, the man behind their greatest '70s triumphs, for Michael, the end was nigh. "I said to Phil, 'Don't do this. It will backfire. It will not succeed.' And it did not. The natural flow of the chemistry was destroyed, and basically, we were just limping towards the end."

Despite this, Michael made one final gesture of good will toward Mogg. "I'd had enough of UFO at that point, and in 2002, Phil Mogg asked me, 'Michael, I need the name UFO back.' I said to Phil, 'You know what? God bless you. I'll give you the name back for free. Enjoy your life.' And then that was it. That was the end of it."

Photo credit: Tallee Savage

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