ULI JON ROTH 'Can't Stand The Lyrics' In SCORPIONS' 'Rock You Like A Hurricane' But Praises The Song's 'Great Classic Rock Riff'

March 18, 2024

In a new interview with "The Card King Sports Variety Show", legendary German guitarist Uli Jon Roth, who left SCORPIONS four and a half decades ago after making five albums with the group, was asked if it ever bothered him that he wasn't involved in the writing and recording of what is considered SCORPIONS' signature song, 1984's "Rock You Like A Hurricane". He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, I can't stand the lyrics, but I think it's a great classic rock riff. I mean, that's really quite something to write a riff like that. It's unforgettable. So, yeah. Bravo, Rudolf [Schenker, SCORPIONS guitarist]."

Pressed about whether he would have "tweaked anything or changed anything" in "Rock You Like A Hurricane" had he been involved with that work, Uli said: "The title, of course, is great, but I wouldn't have liked the lyrics. But regarding the guitar lead, I think I would have played a guitar lead which supports the song. I never did anything that destroyed Rudolf's songs. On the contrary, I think we jelled very well. Had I stayed in the band, I would have, of course, played something that supports [and] fits those songs. Absolutely."

When the interviewer asked Uli if he feels "Rock You Like A Hurricane" could have had a better guitar lead, Uli clarified: "I didn't say that. I would have played it differently. That's all. I would have played a different lead, because Matthias [Jabs, current SCORPIONS guitarist] is Matthias and I'm who I am and we think differently. So, yes, I'm sure I would've done a different lead. But the song lives because of the riff and the vocals, not because of the guitar lead. The guitar lead in that song wouldn't have been so important, really. I would have done my best and I'd try to do my best, but the riff, we would have played the riff just as it is, because it's perfect. I wouldn't change anything there."

In a September 2023 interview with Vintage Rock Pod, Roth reflected on his decision to leave SCORPIONS, saying: "I handed in my notice a year before [the live double album 'Tokyo Tapes' was released], [in] 1977. And the reason was not personal; it was just purely artistic. It was because I started to write music like 'Earthquake' and other songs, which I knew had no place whatsoever in SCORPIONS. It would have kind of really not resonated with any of the other stuff. So in 1977, I led a little bit of a dual existence. I wrote some of the songs for SCORPIONS like 'The Sails Of Charon' and 'Your Light' and 'I've Got To Be Free' and then some other stuff. But I also already wrote this music for ELECTRIC SUN, which was very different. And because I was not so success-driven… I mean, the band, obviously, we all knew that we were getting more successful every year. We already had our first gold albums by then, and it was kind of inevitable almost. But, to me, that wasn't really so much the thing that interested me. I was more interested in exploring music in a way that was more free and in a band like that, I guess I had taken it as far as I could at that point. And had I stayed on, for all the other albums, I would have continued in the same vein as 'Tokyo Tapes'. But the ELECTRIC SUN stuff would have never been made."

Asked if any part of him regrets leaving SCORPIONS when he did, Uli said: "No. I would've gone mad had I stayed, because I had so many other things to say, and they needed saying. It was an easy decision and it had to come and I had to make it. It was just a natural progression."

The 69-year-old went on to say that he still has a friendship with his former bandmates. "We're very much on friendly terms," he said. "Nothing has ever changed in that, even though we were a great unit when I was in the band. And to this day there's a family feeling whenever we meet. And I guess that will never change."

Pressed about whether there will ever be a full tour with him and the SCORPIONS again, Uli said: "It's very late in the day. I don't know what their plans are. I mean, I would be open to anything, but I would say it's probably unlikely at this point in time."

In recent years, Roth has revisited the early music of his period with the SCORPIONS, which resulted in the "Scorpions Revisited" double CD and "Tokyo Tapes Revisited" DVD/Blu-ray releases.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest guitar players ever, Uli pioneered a unique style of guitar playing which — for the first time — combined complete mastery of the instrument with an intensely melodic and emotional appeal.

From his earliest days onwards, Uli has always been a bold and uncompromising musical innovator of the first order. Being the first guitar player in rock to incorporate complex melodic arpeggio sequences, Uli Jon Roth — in the eyes of many of his peers — practically reinvented modern guitar technique almost singlehandedly during his SCORPIONS tenure, but even more so during his ELECTRIC SUN days.

Last July, it was announced that Roth was forced to postpone his previously announced North American tour due to health reasons. The trek was scheduled to launch on September 6 in West Hollywood, California and conclude on October 1 in New York City. According to a statement on Roth's social media, he recently underwent a "successful kidney removal operation" and "is fit to play, but has been advised not to embark on a full-scale major tour just yet. Uli will be performing at selected shows in continental Europe during his recovery period."

In April 2023, Roth told Canada's The Metal Voice that he used the downtime during the coronavirus pandemic to write a book called "In Search Of The Alpha Law". He added that the book "is not about myself — it's not about my life on the road or my life. It is about my — well, my philosophy of life."

Find more on Scorpions
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).