German veteran band Scorpions going strong

The rock veterans are (from left) Rudolf Schenker, Pawel Maciwoda, Klaus Meine, Mikkey Dee and Matthias Jabs.
The rock veterans are (from left) Rudolf Schenker, Pawel Maciwoda, Klaus Meine, Mikkey Dee and Matthias Jabs. PHOTO: LAMC

Veteran German band Scorpions, who play here tomorrow, have constantly come up with new albums through the decades and are drawing in young fans

If there is one thing that Scorpions guitarist Rudolf Schenker would like to be known for, it is his role in heralding world peace.

Back in the early 1990s, Wind Of Change, one of the German veteran band's best-known songs, became the unofficial soundtrack to the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the socio-political revolution taking place in Eastern Europe.

Schenker, the band's 68-year-old founder and lead guitarist, says that he had been calling for the band to play in Russia even when it was very much a communist state.

"In 1982, I had said, 'Guys, we have to play in Russia'," he says in a telephone interview with The Straits Times from Tokyo, ahead of their concert at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre tomorrow.

"Everybody said, 'Are you crazy, there are no fans there, no record company, nothing.' But we wanted to show the people in Russia we are the new generation, we want to bring peace, we want to play music and celebrate a peaceful life."

The band eventually played in Russia in 1988. Inspired by the changes they witnessed in their second visit there the following year, Scorpions singer Klaus Meine wrote the Wind Of Change's famous lines, which includes references to important Moscow sites such as the Moskva river and Gorky Park.


  • WHERE: Halls 601 to 604, Level 6 Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Raffles Boulevard

    WHEN: Tomorrow, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $98to $168 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to

The song and its video, which depicted the fall of the Berlin Wall that separated east and west Germany, became a hit around the world.

"The song became the soundtrack of the most peaceful revolution ever and that's fantastic."

The rock ballad helped the 51-year-old band to become one of Germany's most enduring music exports.

Their show here tomorrow is part of the band's 50th anniversary worldwide tour, which started last year.

Schenker is the only one left from the founding 1965 line-up. Meine, also 68, joined in 1970, and guitarist Matthias Jabs in 1978. Bass player Pawel Maciwoda joined in 2004 while former Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee became a member this year.

Schenker says: "When I started the band, nobody thought that I could stay for 51 years.

"When I was 24, people asked me, 'What do you do?.' I tell them I do music and they said, 'Stop dreaming, learn something real and make a career out of it.'"

Far from being a nostalgia act banking on old hits such as Wind Of Change, Rock You Like A Hurricane and Still Loving You, Scorpions have constantly produced new albums through the decades.

Their newest album, Return To Forever, their 18th, was released last year and peaked at No. 2 on the German charts.

Schenker, who says he keeps up with modern music and listens to contemporary acts such as American duo Twenty One Pilots, takes pride in the fact that Scorpions have been pulling in new generations of fans throughout the years.

"It's great to see all these new fans be a part of the show. On Facebook, 80 per cent of our fans are between 18 and 28 years old - that's fantastic, a new generation who likes to listen to and watch handmade music."

In fact, he insists that the band are still at the top of their game when it comes to stage shows.

"It's like a German engine," he says. "When you have this great car, you want to drive it as fast as you can. So that's what we do when we go on stage, that's the reason we always try to get our engines serviced."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2016, with the headline 'Still rocking after 51 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe