Klaus: It has been great so far. We have played all over Europe: London, Paris, Athens. Recently we played some shows in Brazil, Mexico and we are in Canada now and getting ready for the US. We are looking forward to playing LA. We have many, many friends there. We spent four months there recording or new album and it will feel great getting back with our rock n' roll family.
The Gauntlet: Do the Scorpions normally record in LA?
Klaus: Well, this was not the first time. We did many recordings of course in Germany back in the 80's. 'Crazy World' was done in Los Angeles and we did some stuff with Bruce Tavert in Vancouver. The last album, 'Unbreakable' was recorded in Germany. With this album we decided we wanted to work with Desmond Child and he is in LA.
The Gauntlet: The new album is amazing. It still has that classic Scorpions sound, but it is still fresh and not 80's sounding.
Klaus: That is what we tried to do. We wanted to make an album that is more mature as far as the lyrics go but keep that same signature sound. But at the same time we wanted a modern rock record without many experiments and getting lost in them. We wanted to present the Scorpions with the current sound like a rock band should be in 2007.
The Gauntlet: The last time the band tried to get away from the classic sound was with 'Eye II Eye' which wasn't well received by fans. Were you apprehensive in going into the studio this time around?
Klaus: No, we had a great producer this time around. Desmond Child is a legend in his own right. When you make the decision to work with a producer like Desmond, you know you have a producer that is top class with all these people around like James Michael. We had some of the best writers in rock to collaborate with. No, we weren't afraid at all because Desmond had a plan. When we met in LA last summer, he said 'you guys might have a German passport, but you are part of the international rock community. After 30 years, this band needs to be taken to the next level.' He wanted to make a record with us that carries a message of humanity. We loved it right away. After all these years, we don't want to still be writing about boys chasing girls. We have done all that. It is fun of course, like 'Rock You Like A Hurricane.' To make a record, we want to be taken seriously as an artist. We really want to make a point. We aren't a nostalgia act from the 80's. We have a view and hopefully this is another milestone record for us.
The Gauntlet: Being an international band, is it difficult writing lyrics that will be well received by everyone?
Klaus: With this album it was not difficult at all. It was such a collaboration with some of the best rock writers around. We never had the problem of having a chorus missing. It was never a problem as so many people worked on this record. But your question is such a good question if we take that back some albums ago. Of course it was a problem. I am a German singer who writes English lyrics. It was always not easy writing in a second language. I had to grow into this role. After many multi-platinum albums, we made it our own. It was fantastic working with all these great people this time. This was such a top operation with the best people around. The way Desmond worked with me on the vocals and the way James Michael worked with [Rudolf] Udo and Matthias on guitars is what made this album so special.
The Gauntlet: I understand that that the final song on the album 'Humanity' was a continuation of 'Wind of Change?'
Klaus: Yes, it picks up where 'Wind of Change' left off. It is a song of hope. The sole concept is that it portrays hope. Songs like 'Hour 1' and 'The Cross' are darker songs while 'Humanity' is a song of hope. We need to change something to save this planet for ourselves and future generations. At the end of the song, Desmond had the idea to play this New Orleans style band for the fade out. It is like the Titanic is going down and then this child says 'it's time.' This is what the whole album is about. It is a message, it is not a new message, but a message taken from the 60's, 'Make Love, Not War.' We all fear we are walking on the edge. Being artists that travel all over the world, we are in a position of being ambassadors of music. This is especially true when we play in Tel Aviv or Cairo. Music has a very powerful and healing effect. Music is connecting people. That is what we always did and that is what this album does. It is a very powerful and positive message. Hey, let's get our shit together so we can get out of this mess. The question is, where do we go from here to a time where we have more love and respect for each other.
The Gauntlet: Is this something a rock band from Germany can accomplish? Living in America, we seem to be so close minded to what the rest of the world is saying.
Klaus: [laughs] I don't think any rock band on this planet can make this change. Artist from all over the world are trying to do this. Look at the new Linkin Park record, 'Minutes to Midnight,' it is the same background. We are minutes from midnight. We must do something now to change. Can they change something as an American band? They have been putting out positive energy and giving out positive vibes to a world that has been out of balance since September 11th. And that's all we can do to effect world change. They are great artists with a message for action. We want to connect people with music, even if it is something little that we can do as artists, we must do it. We can change things and we can make a difference, even if it is a small part.
The Gauntlet: How did Billy Corgan's involvement come about?
Klaus: We know that Billy is a huge Scorpions fan and we were recording in the same place in LA. Billy was there with the Smashing Pumpkins. We asked Billy if he wanted to lay down a vocal guest part on the album. He said yes and it would be great. I bumped into him a lot. I told him to come up whenever he felt good about it. He is a great artist and great guy. I love his voice. It is very powerful. I love the new [Smashing] Pumkins album as well. I am happy he sang a part on 'The Cross.'
The Gauntlet: It is a great song. Actually the entire album is excellent. There is no filler material on the entire album.
Klaus: Thank you. That is what we tried to do. A lot of people thought that the Scorpions working with Desmond would end up with a pop record. We wanted to make an album with attitude. We wanted to make an album that fans could listen to from the beginning to the end. Not just taking care of the hit singles. We know there are a lot of people out there downloading just the singles they hear on the radio. We wanted to get the attention back and hopefully make an album with no filler like you said and create an body of work as an artist.
The Gauntlet: The guitars have an amazing attitude about them which isn't a typical Desmond Child sound.
Klaus: Yes. The balance between Desmond and James Michael was fantastic. James worked most of the guitar operation. He did an amazing job with what he got out of the guitars. Desmond was more focused with the vocals and he worked me very hard every day. It was a great experience and the whole treatment from trainers and vocal coaches was great. There were a lot of new things for me and I tried to be open minded. It was a fantastic experience. Having a chance to learn a lot of new things after all these years is just great and I think you can hear it when you listen to the record. Desmond has taken care of all these different issues around the record. That is why we enjoyed our four months in LA so much.
The Gauntlet: Did you record more than these 12 songs?
Klaus: There was a lot of stuff that was in the starting area when we all came together. When we were together and shaping up the songs we tried to find a good balance between those darker songs and those songs that have hope. Like Desmond said, there is no point to put 12 happy camper songs on the record. We needed this attitude and this darker side in the Scorpions. I think he was right. What can I say, it was a monster. We all came up with ideas and made it what it is.
The Gauntlet: With the title being �Humanity Hour 1,� are you leaving room for further volumes?
Klaus: Well, if this was the beginning of our career or the middle I would say yes. But the idea of Hour 1 is ten thousand years of mankind. With all of our achievements and technology, we are walking on the edge. We need to turn around if we are to survive and see hour 2. Hopefully there will be an hour 2 from a recording point of view. That would be great. We have been touring for a couple of months and it has been great to hear this kind of feedback. The album has just been released in the US and we are getting great feedback in the US. We aren�t doing a big US tour now in the US, but we will come back and do a much bigger tour hopefully next spring and hit all the states. It is great to see not only the loyal long time Scorpions fans, but this new generation of fans who know all the new and old songs, even songs before they were born.
The Gauntlet: �Rock You Like A Hurricane� has to be one of the greatest rock songs around
Klaus: It�s such an amazing rock anthem. This song is played every night by us. It is such a signature Scorpions song. �Wind of Change� is also a very powerful song. It became the anthem to the end of communism and the end of the Berlin Wall. When we play Russia and other Eastern Block countries, it is very emotional. The song has a different aura about a historic time to people.
The Gauntlet: You mentioned that the band didn�t want to be writing songs about boys chasing girls anymore, but just remember, they make great videos.
Klaus: [laughs] Of course. We aren�t changing completely. We have been doing this for such a long time. It has become silly. We are all growing older. We rock like crazy every night on stage. But as an artist to write a song as bad boys running wild, who can take that serious. You need to come up with something deeper than that. I am not saying we are missing any parties on the road. We are a lot of fun. I am sure we will have a great party tonight after the show. What is your favorite song?
The Gauntlet: My favorite song is �The Game of Life.�
Klaus: Oh, that song I wrote with some Swedish guys before I came to LA at a writing session. It was with Martin Hansen and Mikael Nord Andersson. They are the guys that produced The Rascals. There was one song that Desmond loved, but didn�t like the lyrics. So we started over and re-wrote the lyrical part. It became �The Game of Life.� It is more European sounding. It has that �Hurricane� riff to it.
The Gauntlet: �Hour 1� took me a little time to get into. Your vocal stylings took some getting used to, but now I love it.
Klaus: Yeah, it has a little bit of the numetal flavor to it. But you are right. We love that track. We start ever show with that song. It feels really great. It has some amazing drums on it. It is a very cool song. I know what you mean though. With �The Game of Life� you are back in Scorpions land.