“I am simply fascinated by single notes," says Michael Schenker. The German rock hero and former guitarist for UFO and the Scorpions is pondering what makes a great guitar album. According to Schenker, "it's like a combination lock: if you come up with the right single notes, then you put then in a beautiful, catchy pattern, and they work in that order. It's the same as discovering a series of numbers that unlocks the lock."
Schenker, who was already gigging by age 11, can't recall the first time an album made a huge impression on him from a guitar standpoint. As he puts it, "It all came in one wave. Suddenly, there was Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. All at once I got hit by these albums and this incredible guitar playing. I got swamped by them, and I loved it."
The guitarist admits that he might not be up on current players – he quit buying albums years ago, reasoning that his creativity flowed more freely when he concentrated on his own music. "I don’t want to be influenced by what other people are doing," he says. "The value is in ourselves to show our own true colors, and that’s a very individual pursuit. So, after a while, I had to shut everything out and hear my own voice."
Nonetheless, Schenker arrived at 10 selections (listed alphabetically by artist) that he considers essential from a guitar playing standpoint, stressing that "how things impact us depends on the moment and so many other variables. I don’t know if what I was affected by will matter to anybody else, but I would recommend these albums to other guitarists."
Michael Schenker: Temple of Rock - Live in Europe is currently out on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and Ltd Deluxe Edition by inakustik. Schenker’s Temple of Rock UK tour starts 9 April 2013. Book online here.