Back when I was masquerading as someone who was primarily interested in punk rock over metal (punk rock girls, now that’s a different thing), we used to say “Scorps, Dude” to make fun of the lunk-head-bangers. What none of my longhair hatin’ buddies knew of course was that I was purdy darn familiar with Scorps honcho Klaus Meine and his rhythmic foil Mr. Rudi Schenker. I’m hearing now the SCORPIONS are on their last tour, and they’ll be stopping the City of Devils in a week or so for their final “Wee Love You Kali-phone-ya!” (Note: The ever-practical Ozzy takes out the guesswork of having know what state he is in with a simple “I love you all.”)
But that’s the Scorpions for you – always trying a little too hard to achieve one effect while unconsciously achieving something else, and that’s why we love these affable Hitlers and what makes them so special and ultimately harmless. Just like a German Judas Priest, they stumbled and fumbled from one scene onto another onto creative genius onto commercial success and then 20+ years of “what the fuck?” only to come out the other end with their retirements in place.
Shit, let me run with this Scorps/JP thing because I think I’m onto something. Think about the parallels between JP and Scorpions: both bands came out of derivative 60’s scenes (Priest: UK pub blues crap – Scorps: hashed-out Kraut rock); both bands made some weird fricken sounds on the way to metal invention; both bands had brilliant albums that sold crap (Hell Bent for Leather and Virgin Killer/ Lovedrive); both made definitive live statements in Japan that also sold crap; both then transitioned into more polished, focused, poppier metal (British Steel and Animal Magetism) that sold crap ++; both then made awesome metallic slabs of inventive metaldom (Screaming for Vengeance and Blackout); both then exactly – like down to the tune-- repeated that formula with watered down and better selling results (Love At First Sting and Defenders of the Faith); then both issued more live albums and spent the next 25 years looking like that fish on the Faith No More video that flops around gasping for oxygen.
Now THAT’s a fuckin theory! So what if it doesn’t take into account Stained Class or Point of Entry or the Scorps’ putrid “Winds of Change” ballad years – it’s still pretty solid as a theory goes.
Around Virgin Killer/Tokyo Tapes, the Scorps were rising German psych heavy blues rockers. Back when they had that Uli Jon guy pretending to be the German Hendrix (good luck my bleached out brethren). Check out the gatefold to Tokyo Tapes and you’ll see the Scorps dudded up in 70’s gear that would have made a CATHEDRAL fan cry tears of envy 25 years hence.
By Blackout, the Scorps seemed unstoppable. How many thousands of bedroom guitar jockies learned rhythm by bouncing along to “No One Like You”? How many lead dweebs started their craft on the same tune? More importantly, how many bra straps were undone in backseats by “sensitive” guys letting the tape run through “When The Smoke Is Going Down?”
Yea and verily gentle reader, those days were tops for the Teutonic toilers. By the time I saw them in Sacramento on the Love At First Sting tour, the long slide had begun. Like a drunk who peaks at Macallan then switches to Jack Daniels because it’s “just as good,” before you know it he’s onto Early Times, bad gin and cheap wine. This is where the Scorps went with their later “experimentation” and “maturity.” When I saw them in ’84 the Jack was half gone.
I should have known where this was headed. The opening band was called “Bon Jovi.” They had a heavy-Loverboy hit in “Runaway,” and the singer used a lot scarves like the Aerosmith guy. The guitarist played like a cross between Joe Perry and Eddie VH. They all spoke American. The days were numbered for German guys in cheerleader tights jumping on each other yelling “Vee Luv Rock Und Roll” and singing about “a place we call the zoo.” Klaus Meine had the same genetic height profile as Ronnie Dio, and the same hat placement specialist as the AC/DC guy. MTV would not be kind to these refurbed relics.
Still, they could play real solid when they needed to. Apparently they have been doing so for years without me knowing. Oh well. File under Krokus. But way better. Go check them out on us if you want. I doubt they’ll repeat this gem from Tokyo Tapes, but I’m sure some of that patented unintentional German word play will shine right through: “Jew like Rock und Roll?? Jew like Rock und Roll? Jew ain’t nothing but a hound dog, cry-in alla time.”
The downtown LA show at Nokia Theater, but we have tickets to give away for their show with CINDERELLA on Thursday, July 29th at Citizen's Business Bank Arena in Ontario, just down the 10. If you want to enter the contest, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here. Contest closes at noon on Friday, July 16th. A Scorps anecdote will help your cause.