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Uli Jon Roth

Interview with Uli Jon Roth from Uli Jon Roth
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 07 December 2005, 9:10 PM

One of Rock's biggest guitar heroes was, is and always will be none other than ex-Scorpions (and much more than just that) magician Uli Jon Roth. A persona I was really looking forward to interviewing since you really never know what may hide behind the riddled mind of a maestro. A musician that has been praised and underestimated (mainly by the press) more times than one could memorize. Ladies & gents, here is my interview with Mr. Roth…

Hi Uli, greetings from magazine! Since we’re an online magazine, I’d like to ask you what your opinion is about the online Media, mp3 downloads and the Internet in general as means of communication.

Hello Metal Temple, I have no problem in general with the online media. It is the way of the future. Regarding mp3 – the format is handy, but sounds bad. I’m always amazed that people settle for such an inferior sound.

As a longtime guitarist, how do you feel about the younger generations of musicians nowadays? Do you feel they’re more about money rather than passion for music?

Every person is different – maybe we shouldn’t generalize like that. Of course, undeniably, there are always certain trends and I think that the majority of people tend to follow trends. This is particularly true when they are younger and haven’t yet defined their personalities. However, I feel that young people often still come to music through passion. But there have always also been those who were more interested in chasing after fame and fortune and who put these aspirations before their love of music.

In September - if I’m correct - you performed live together with your ex band mate, drummer J.rgen Rosenthal (ex-Scorpions) and you also performed together with the Scorpions for a few tracks in France. Was that a one off show? How was that for you? What was the general atmosphere; the crowd’s reaction?

J. Rosenthal was not part of that concert in September. Instead, he will join us on stage in Greece this time. It will be our first show together since 1974!  I am really looking forward to it. Regarding my appearance with Scorpions in Colmar – it is most likely going to be followed by similar events, because we all enjoyed our little on-stage trip into the distant past enormously. It somehow feels that the time is right for this now. Regarding the crowd’s reaction to the whole concert?  What can I say – just ask the Greek Scorpions fanclub – some of their members were there and they were certainly among the loudest and most excited in the audience, hehe…

Living in the era of reunions, I would like to ask you how you feel about reunions. For example Iron Maiden got back together with Dickinson 6 years ago, Judas Priest reunited with Rob Halford, Black Sabbath had done that before anyone else (I guess) etc. Would you for example rejoin Scorpions if they ever asked you to?

The idea is not to rejoin… the idea is to create some new and old magic together whenever the moment arises.

Apart from Scorpions, do you ever look back, in a nostalgic kind of way, at your very first bands like Dawn Road and Electric Sun? Compared to back then when it all began for you, how do you feel about today’s status? Would you rather be living back then again?

I am fond of many of my memories. They are very lucid and crystal clear. I feel I have had the privilege to experience many very interesting things and to meet some very special people. But the past is the past… Back then I felt artistically limited – and was often dissatisfied because of that – nowadays, in contrast, I feel artistically free and NOT limited. That is a MUCH more pleasant state of mind. While we had some great times back then, and if I may say so - had our moments of magic – I would not want change my present artistic wavelength with the one from those days. I am very much a person who tries to experience the presence as a living gateway to the future. We just have to always try to direct our energies towards the things most deserving of our attention. Sometimes it is hard not to get side-tracked.

What’s your inspiration? What’s your ever lasting fuel that keeps you going?

I would say there are many kinds of inspiration, which all together have the power to fuel my fire, but at the center of it all is that I believe and trust in God and I feel that I have a lifelong obligation to utilize the talents which He has bestowed on me in a way that is useful and constructive.

What do you think of your current touring lineup. Feel free to share a few thoughts with us about your team.

We have a great new band and we are having a great time on stage.

Which country is your favorite place for live shows and why?

Greece is obviously completely special, because the fans are so intense and sincere  without ever being obnoxious. There is no other audience for us like the one in Greece! Other than that I enjoy playing in many countries. I like to meet the people and talk to them.

What’s your relationship with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan?

We only met a few times, but I felt honoured to play on two songs of his new solo album Gillan’s Inn, which should  come out soon. I put a lot of thought into those two songs and am very pleased with the results. Ian is one of Rock’s true originals – one of the ones who created it all to begin with.

Do you have any unfulfilled dreams as a musician or as a person in general?

Way too many…

What pisses you off the most in the music industry? What would you change if you had the ability to do so?

The music industry is just a big joke these days. Nobody knows where to turn to. Record company executives are scared for their jobs… People are just hanging in there and don’t know what to do. New albums often cost more to make than they generate. Piracy in the industry has destroyed it all, but there were other factors, too. But maybe it’s not a bad thing, because everything was corrupt anyway and maybe something new, something more healthy or more genuine may develop from all the ashes. Who knows what this might be, though?…

Even though the magazine is in English and has readers from all over the world, since I’m Greek I want to ask you how you feel about playing in Greece soon. Are you looking forward to it? Will there be any special surprises for your Greek fans?

Yes, I’m definitely looking forward to it!  We will do a few things there, which we haven’t done before… That much I can tell you but I don’t want to take away from the spontaneity of the event – let’s just wait and see and make a couple of great concerts together – the fans and us.

Uli, thank you for your time. End this interview with a message to all our readers.

Let’s Fly To the Rainbow together in December! And Peace and Inspiration to all of You! Thank You.


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