ULI JON ROTH: 'I Was Always Too Left Field To Become Mainstream'

September 14, 2023

In a new interview with Express & Star, legendary German guitarist Uli Jon Roth spoke about his decision to leave SCORPIONS in 1977 after five albums, just before his now-former bandmates went on to have huge commercial success with such hit songs as "Rock You Like A Hurricane" and "Winds Of Change".

"SCORPIONS at that time were a bit of an outsider in Germany as we looked to England and America and sang in English," the 68-year-old musician said.

"For us, rock music came from England it didn't come from Germany, so it was obvious it should be sung in English. I guess I was always too left field to become mainstream as there is a certain unpredictability to my output.

"I didn't really understand the whole commercial thing as such," he added. "I never really cared about these aspects, how many records we sold [or] whatever. Other members of SCORPIONS were aware of that and were very committed into doing that to have the worldwide success. For me, that wasn't the driving force."

Roth officially left the SCORPIONS in 1978, following the release of the live double album "Tokyo Tapes".

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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