Klaus Meine returns to the 80s -- for a while
Klaus Meine of The Scorpions called the Stuck in the 80s podcast this week for a chat and was very clear on one point: "We're not stuck in the 80s." OK, OK, Klaus. It's just that many of your American fans still are!
The Scorpions are in the middle of a short U.S. tour right now, promoting their new album "Humanity - Hour 1." The 12-track CD is a mix between a concept album and a "common theme" album, he says. Never mind the label, the point is that it rocks -- big time. If you want to give it a test-ride, tunes like "321" and "The Future Never Dies" are must-have downloads from iTunes.
During our half-hour chat, Klaus talked about the genesis of the new album, the role of super-producer Desmond Child and his thoughts on some of the band's classic tunes.
Click here for the full podcast interview with Klaus, but in the meantime, here are some highlights:
About the new album: "After 'Unbreakable,' we wanted to make an album that rocked -- with a lot of attitude. But we also wanted to make something that's not so much like a classic rock album, because we don't live in the past. We're artists and we're very much here and now. So we wanted an album that's more mature."
On producer Desmond Child: "When we met with him, he said, 'Hey guys, we gotta come up with something that could be another milestone in your long career.' .. When Desmond presented us with the idea of 'Humanity - Hour One' we thought this is great. ... You know, we didn't want to make another record with songs about boys chasing girls. I mean, come on, give me a break."
On his voice: "When you run through a major problem like we did in the 80s when we recorded 'Blackout,' I think after that after I survived two major surgeries on my vocal cords, you just take better care of your instrument. It's an ugly word in association with rock n' roll -- it's called discipline."
On Smashing Pumpkin's Billy Corgan contribution to the song 'The Cross': Actually, Billy is a huge Scorpions fans -- he grew up with our music. Since we were working in the same studio -- he was working with the Pumpkins and I was in the same place next door, we bumped into each other every day. I told Billy, 'Whenever you feel good about it, just come up and we'll record your part.' "
On playing in Cold War Russia: "It was amazing because we are Germans and we grew up in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. We grew up as a post-war generation. After all the success we enjoyed in the world, especially in the 80s in America, we wanted to go behind the Iron Curtain. We knew we had a base of fans there. ... We went there in '88 and the KGB was around us all the time. But we saw it was Scorpion-mania. Fans were coming from Siberia for 20 hours on a train to be part of a rock concert and to get a taste of the free world. A year later we went back to Russia and played the legendary Moscow Music Peace Festival and it was the moment of inspiration for a song called 'Wind of Change' that became the anthem to the coming down of the Berlin Wall."
Is the tune still emotional to play?: "It is, but it depends on where we play it. It was a hit in America too, but not so much with the hard rock audience. It's a totally different emotion when you play it in an Eastern Bloc country or in Russia. ... When I sing it, it still gives me goose bumps when people in front of me cry."
[Publicity photo from the-scorpions.com]