Pivotal Rage recently conducted an interview with MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP/KOTTAK bassist Rev Jones. An excerpt from the chat follows:
Pivotal Rage: You guys [MSG] had scheduled a North America tour for the fall of 2006. I was very disappointed that the tour didn't happen. What really went down? I know the reason was something having to with Jari's (Tiura; vocals) personal or family issues? Was Jari thrown under the bus?
Rev Jones: Jari's family had nothing to do with it, the tour canceled because [Michael] Schenker couldn't afford to pay us our weekly salaries without taking a cut in pay. We haggled over this for a month until it came to the point where I quit the band and the next day Jari quit, so they canceled the tour and put the blame on Jari. The thing is all you had to do was read his website to figure out the truth, he was hinting about canceling the tour for two weeks putting the blame on other people then he changed it to Jari. The truth is if he would have took a cut in his own pay he still would have made a fortune on merchandise and he would have done a great tour, but instead he just added another canceled tour to his list of stupid Schenker moments. The only reason that I'm telling you all these things is because everyone always lies and tries to make him out as the victim. He is not the victim, his fans are. Every time he does an interview he talks about all these things that happen to him but he always leaves out details of why things really happen. He talks about his wife leaving him and selling everything, but he leaves out the fact that he abandoned her and their kid and his whole band on tour in 2001. He just took off and left us and went with some crazy lady to Mexico, so why wouldn't she sell everything. He cares about no one, not even himself.
Pivotal Rage: And you recently issued a statement which reads: "I want to apologize to all the fans that wrote to me and all the fans in Japan and Thailand for the talent less guitar player that took place on stage next to me at the last three MSG shows. I myself could not believe how bad Schenker played. Although me, Pete (Holmes, drums),Jari (Tiura; vocals),and Wayne (Findley; guitar/keyboards) all gave 110%, in my eyes he gave less then 1% and that is so disrespectful not only to the band and the crew but also to the loyal MSG fans. So again I apologize for his actions because he would never apologize himself. We have two more shows and it is OVER." I know when I e-mailed you about setting an interview, you "had no idea" if and when there would be a U.S. tour. That didn't exactly sound too optimistic or that you'd be taking part in it. Just what went down on the Asian leg of the tour and are you still a member of MSG?
Rev Jones: Well, as I stated earlier I left the band because of the money thing with the USA tour. Well he realized that the Japan/Asia was very important, so he paid myself and Jari in advance to come back and do the tour. I had no plans to do any more MSG dates after this, but to help him save what was left of his career, and for the pleasure of playing to all the Japanese fans, I agreed to do it. I figured that the importance of this tour would make him get his act together, because the last couple of shows we did he played pretty bad; in fact the Wacken Open Air show was going to be released on DVD but his performance was not good enough. But I figured that here we are going back to Japan after all these years, and it's a sold-out tour that he would be in top form. I was so wrong. The first three shows were OK, but I noticed he was drinking a lot more than usual and I could hear it a bit in his playing. Well, we come on stage for the fourth Japan show and right from the opening riff of the first song I knew the show would never end; he was so drunk he couldn't play these parts that he has been playing for so many years, so after the second song he walked off stage. After about five minutes he returned and we started playing "Let It Roll", he made it to the second verse and realized he couldn't play so he threw his guitar down and walked off stage leaving us to finish the song without him. So then we, the band, had to apologize to the fans for him, and then they started saying, "Oh, he is ill" and he started making excuses to us, but never did he apologize to me. Then the next night he was drunk again but he made it through the show, barely. So then we went to Thailand and had two days off. We all thought it would get better — wishful thinking. We go onstage there are about 3,000 fans and MTV Asia is filming and it seems like it will be a great show, but then the truth set in. He was so drunk that he never played one note in key. It was hideous. Me and Pete both wear in-ear monitors so neither one of us could escape hearing his guitar. I am only being honest because no one else will. My little brother doesn't play guitar but he could have played just as good as Schenker that night. Amazingly, we made it through the show, even though he yelled and cursed at the fans for no reason. Then we went to Hong Kong, and to my amazement, he played almost halfway decent, or it at least it seemed that way after the last three shows. Then we start to head to Taiwan — one more show and it is over. All we talked about was how this was the longest two-week tour of our lives. We thought nothing could get worse. Then we were checking in at the airport and they said that Schenker needed a special visa to get into Taiwan, so after the promoter dragged him all over Hong Kong and still had no guarantee that he would get into Taiwan, he finally flipped out and just left. So now we had to go to Taiwan anyway to fly home.
Pivotal Rage: That sounds like a nightmare. MSG issued a 25th anniversary album called "Tales of Rock 'n' Roll", but Pete and you not are credited as playing on it. Instead it's Pete Way, who I though Schenker had a falling out with and Jeff Martin. Did you or Holmes play on anything on that record? If not, why? That seems very odd to me.
Rev Jones: That is because he recorded the music in 2001 the same time we recorded MSG "Be Aware of Scorpions" and the same time they did the PLOT album. For some reason he thought he would save money by taking this instrumental album that he never released and turning it into a MSG album. But cutting and pasting a bunch of parts together is not how to make a great album and that is why it is not a great album. Aside from the singing, the songs are very boring. Plus he spent so much more money then he would have starting from scratch, because who ever did all the editing was an idiot, and Rick Plester had a nightmare time trying fix all the mistakes in the mix, so Schenker would have been better off writing and recording a new one instead of trying to polish a turd. Pete and I actually recorded a drum-and-bass instrumental for the album, Schenker wanted it to break up the pattern a little bit, add something new. But after we recorded it he got mad at us because he canceled a tour, so he pulled it off the album.
Read the entire interview at Pivotal Rage.