RUDOLF SCHENKER On His Brother MICHAEL: 'He's A Very Extreme Person' Who 'Can't Be In A Band'

April 14, 2024

SCORPIONS guitarist Rudolf Schenker has once again responded to criticism from his brother Michael after the former UFO axeman accused him of being a "dangerous bully" who "takes advantage" his younger sibling.

Michael Schenker gave a number of interviews in recent years in which he questioned his brother's integrity, going so far as to call Rudolf "a con artist" who "completely adopted" Michael's image as his own. He also denounced the SCORPIONS for "distorting" the story of his brief tenure with the band and lamented the fact that he gave Rudolf his "portion" of the songwriting credit for the classic SCORPIONS song "Coast To Coast". It all came to light, Michael said, when he was approached to help with the recent 50th-anniversary SCORPIONS reissues.

During an appearance on the April 12 episode of SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", Rudolf — who is seven years older than Michael — said about his brother: "I love him. He's a great person. I watched him since he was a baby, and I love him, and I brought him in into all the bands he had in the earlier times and to care that he's not going downhill. It's up to him. He's a very extreme person. He can't be in a band. He's not a band person. He is an extreme, great guitar player. And that's a different situation."

Asked if he and Michael are in contact at the moment, Rudolf said: "[At] the moment, no. From my side, I would talk [to him] immediately. [Laughs] I even can't be bad with him because I know what the situation is, where he talks from."

Underlining the different philosophies he and his brother have when it comes to creating music, Rudolf said: "My brother wants to be one of the best guitar players in the world. And I said, 'I want to play in one of the 30 biggest rock and roll bands in the world.'"

Host Eddie Trunk also asked Rudolf if Michael copied him when he first picked up a Gibson Flying V guitar or if it was the other way around. Rudolf responded: "This guitar has something to play it this way. I was playing before Michael, this guitar. The point was that Michael, when we had to play a big festival… he came to me and said, 'We can't play. I have no guitar.' I said, 'Oh, you have no guitar?' I was going around, hurrying up and got the [Gibson] Melody Maker and said, 'Okay, here's the guitar.' Then he said, 'I can't play with this guitar.' I said, 'Give me the guitar. You take the Flying V that we can do the concert.' And then he came back from the concert in this festival and said, 'Rudolf, I can't give you back the guitar because it's so good. It sounds so good.' I said, 'All right, you're looking much better with the guitar as a lead guitar player than me playing rhythm and play this guitar.' So in this case, he was playing this Flying V. The first [SCORPIONS album] 'Lonesome Crow', I think, was made with a Les Paul."

This is not the first time Rudolf has publicly addressed Michael's scathing comments about him. In an April 2022 interview with Guitar Player magazine, Rudolf said: "I tell you one thing: I love my brother. He can say whatever he wants to say. He's an amazing guitar player, an amazing person — whatever he wants to say, why not say it? [Laughs] If that is what makes him happy, then okay. I wish him all the best.

"I think, sooner or later, we will all be friends again and we will play together again. My life is too happy to put myself into a dustbin over it. I want to live in the sky. I am so happy for my life."

Five years ago, Rudolf dismissed his brother'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."

Michael has repeatedly said that he has no intention of reconnecting with his older brother, telling Spain's Metal Journal in a 2021 interview: "I love Rudolf as a brother, but social distance is needed, so I don't get tricked into any further inconvenient situation. Rudolf is a bully, and I don't connect with bullies. It creates turbulence, and it's inconvenient… I don't wanna be controlled by them. I have established myself in a way that I don't wanna be tricked into more inconvenient situations. The moment I connect with Rudolf — you have to understand — it will carry on just the way it did when I was 15, and it will never stop. He's a trickster.

"Rudolf and I, we have been separated for 50 years," Michael continued. "We have never actually spent any time together except for the tour dates in the [SCORPIONS] 'Lonesome Crow' period, but that's it. So we're used to that anyway.

"I hope for Rudolf to find his way back to understanding what true life is about. [He's] chasing something that gives you something that in the end is not gonna make you happy, which is fame and money, et cetera, et cetera. It rarely makes anybody happy. I mean, sometimes it kills people — too much fame, it kills people; they just die. And so I don't wanna be involved in that world."

Michael Schenker first appeared on SCORPIONS' 1972 album "Lonesome Crow", earned acclaim in the 1970s on classic UFO albums such as "Phenomenon" and "Lights Out" before rejoining SCORPIONS for 1979's "Lovedrive". He departed soon thereafter to launch MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP. And while his sometimes-erratic behavior have derailed parts of his career, Schenker remains one of hard rock and metal's most influential axemen.

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