ULI JON ROTH Says His Upcoming Book Is 'Quite Philosophical' With 'A Lot Of Facets'

March 21, 2024

In a new interview with Thomas S. Orwat, Jr. of Rock Interview Series, legendary guitarist Uli Jon Roth spoke about his upcoming North American tour, which is scheduled to kick off on April 2 in Mesa, Arizona. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, touring North America has been a thing that I've been doing for many years on a regular basis, because I love doing that and then we've got a lot of audience over there in that neck of the woods. But we haven't been since before COVID. And so we had a 70-date tour booked for North America, including Canada, when COVID hit. And so I did a few shows in Europe. It was also called 'Interstellar Sky Guitar'. It was a solo tour, just with a big screen, an orchestra behind me, and I wrote a lot of music for it, new music. And then, yeah, thanks to COVID, there was no tour. So, forward to 2024, I thought it would be good to pick up that thread. And a lot of people still have tickets from back then, and they're, of course, fully valid, but I thought it might be a nice idea to not only bring the solo show, because after so many years bring the band as well. So we're actually doing a dual kind of show — two shows in one evening. I'm kicking off with one and a half hours of solo, which is called 'An Evening with Uli John Roth', which includes a little TED talk about my new book, 'In Search Of The Alpha Law', which I'm gonna be presenting. And then there's a break and then we're playing a full-on rock show consisting of my earlier material — SCORPIONS, ELECTRIC SUN and then also a little bit of Jimi Hendrix."

Asked when "In Search Of The Alpha Law" will finally be released, Uli said: "The book will be released pretty much during the tour. So we're not gonna have it on the tour. We're a little late. Unfortunately, it was quite complicated to get everything under wraps, but we're gonna have it. So I think what they're gonna do, at the merch, they're gonna sell vouchers, so 10- or 20-dollar vouchers for the book, and then people will be sent the book. Which is a good idea anyways, because you don't want to carry that book around you in the evening… It's quite a tome. It's big and heavy — four kilos. It's got 600 pages with about a thousand pictures and illustrations. I did all the design myself, because I wanted it to also be artistic, and I wanted the text to be one with all the imagery.

"The way this came about was thanks to COVID, actually," he explained. "I'm one of the few people who, actually, I guess, can be thankful to COVID because it was a horrible thing for most people. I was able to spend two years in lockdown writing this book. And this book has quite a history, because I started many years ago writing it. I wrote several versions. I was never quite happy because I wasn't quite sure how to present the book.

"The subject matter is not an easy subject matter. It's quite philosophical. It's about my view of life, and music has a lot to do with it. And I wanted to have a book that also non-musicians can enjoy. And that's not so easy when you're sometimes talking about technical stuff like octaves and fourths, et cetera. How do you explain that to somebody who doesn't know what an octave is?

"So, to cut a long story short, when COVID came and I was at home with all this time, the book just started to pour out and it kind of wrote itself," Roth added. "And the subject matter really goes back 40 years, because I've been always fascinated by these ideas that are described in the book… It's difficult to explain the book in a few words. That's why it's a book and that's why it's big. It's got a lot of facets. And I scripted it a little bit like a movie, so there are many different facets and various storylines, which sometimes drift side by side and then they jell together."

Asked what the most challenging part of writing the book was, Uli said: "The bigness wasn't really the challenge. I could have written a much bigger book. My original intention, back many years when I first started to do 'Sky Academy' in Los Angeles, was to write seven books, because it was a complete kind of philosophical system in itself, kind of. But I went away from that and I thought I'd make it more user friendly. I didn't want a dry something. I wanted something that can touch people that's inspirational rather than academic. And once I figured that out, it kind of started writing itself. And there were really no obstacles. Well, I did have to learn about book design; that's something that I didn't know before, how to do that. I wouldn't say I mastered that craft, but I got by in order to do what I wanted to do. And now I'm very, very happy with it. And it's a good foundation for my 'Sky Academy' also. Whereas before, when we did these 'Sky Academy' seminars, I never really had anything in writing, and now I do. This ties in very much with my musical output, my musical philosophy. Having said that, this book comes with a couple of bonus CDs because I thought it might be nice to bundle it with actual music, not just the visuals. And of all my output, the stuff that I figured was best for this was my 'Metamorphosis' album, which is Vivaldi's Four Seasons with electric guitar and orchestra, and a concerto of my own, 'Metamorphosis Concerto'. So, that's gonna be in here as a newly remastered release. And also half an hour's piano music, which I wrote in the early '90s called 'Aquila Suite', which isn't so well known, but that will also go very well with this book. And they're just other creative angles."

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.

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