ULI JON ROTH Doesn't Rule Out Playing With SCORPIONS Again: 'I Would Be Open To Anything'
September 19, 2023
In a new interview with Vintage Rock Pod, legendary German guitarist Uli Jon Roth spoke about his decision to leave SCORPIONS four and a half decades ago after making five albums with the group. He said: "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 68-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.
This past 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."
This past April, 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."
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