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[INTERVIEW] SCORPIONS: First Australian Tour; But, Not The First Time In Australia

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It’s amazing that some of the most legendary bands in rock history are active after all these years. After being together for over fifty years, one of Germany and the world’s most recognised and lauded icons of heavy music, Scorpions are still empowering and inspiring the world with their quintessential rock anthems alongside their great contemporaries.

While they’ve had plenty of incredible experiences and given their fanbase countless memorable shows, Scorpions have announced their first ever Australian appearance, performing at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne in mid-October. Chatting to guitarist Matthias Jabs, it just so happens that, even though the band will be making their debut in the country, they’ve not only had plans to tour here, but they managed to set foot on Australian soil quite some time ago.

“This is something we’ve been longing for, for a very long time,” says Jabs. “In the early 90s, we had a big song in Australia called Wind of Change, and around then, we had an offer to tour there, but for some reason, we were on the road for eighteen months or longer around the world. I think we decided with the promoter to do it next time, but next time never happened. In the following years and decades, when we played in New Caledonia, we visited Sydney for a day as a stopover on our way to Singapore. And this time, we’re playing Noumea again, but then, we perform in Melbourne for real, and then we return to Singapore. It’s been a very long time, but finally, it worked out!

“We started last year touring in May in China, and since then, we’ve been to the US and Europe twice, we’ve been almost everywhere. But now, we’re going to South America in September and then in October, we play all over Asia. And to complete this 50th anniversary, we’ve got Australia, and it fits perfectly.”

With Australia finally getting at least one gig from the German quintet, Jabs states that he and the rest of Scorpions do plan on returning to Australia for a proper tour down under and give a bigger show to a larger national audience.

“That would be the idea,” he replies. “I mean, there was only one show possible that got squeezed in between Japan and New Caledonia and all of the other countries we play after that. It gives everybody a taste of what Scorpions are about, and then hopefully, we can come back next year to play shows in other places like Perth, Sydney and Adelaide, hopefully.”

Despite the fact that Scorpions have just been given their first chance to perform one show in the country, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have never given Australian fans a dose of their onstage antics. It turns out that the band managed to play to at least 3,000 Aussies during a tour they did in Indonesia several years ago.

“We know that we’re not touring a country that is inexperienced with rock ‘n roll, I mean, we’ve been to some strange places like Latvia and the early years in the Soviet Union. You could tell that the audience had no experience regarding how to react when a band comes in. We’ve performed to a certain extent, to Australian fans when we played in Bali. There were so many people from Australia. I think 3,000 out of 10,000 there that were on vacation and mixed it up with a Scorpions show. The same thing has happened in New Caledonia, as well. It’ll be fantastic; I expect the reactions to be great, and we know from AC/DC that to them, it’s like their home turf. But, I’m pretty positive that this will be fantastic.

“I remember when the Bali Bombings went off three months prior our arrival, and normally, you do your read in the media and see pictures. But when you get there, you don’t see anything. People don’t talk about it unless you ask them. It’s kinda like that people forget quickly. The people of Bali may not be so much of rock n roll, but the 3,000 Australian fans that saw us then was amazing!”

At their age, most bands are usually in talks with each other about whether or not they’ll retire shortly. However, regardless of how long they’ve been active since their inception, Scorpions aren’t giving up anytime soon.

“The strange thing is, we almost feel better than ever,” Jabs says. “We’ve reached a certain age now, where decades ago, one person said ‘Oh, you can’t do rock n roll when you’re over fifty years old’. But we feel great, and we’re totally fit. And it’s fun because we’ve played four shows in five days, two in Finland, two in France, just got back yesterday, and we are going to China next week. We’re in great shape, and we have Mikkey Dee (Motörhead) with us now, who’s talked about Australia a lot because he’s been there. So, he’s playing with us since our drummer (James Kottak) had a few health problems like half a year ago and since then, Mikkey has been sitting in for him.”

So, with the fact that Scorpions are still feeling dynamic at their age, the chances of them returning for a real headline tour across Australia are looking very likely. As their first appearance, they’ll be marking another country off their bucket list by presenting their collection of anthemic rock hymns at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne. While their more likely to be seen with their crew and PR at sold-out arena concerts, the more theatrical settings are not foreign to them in this day and age.

“Usually, we play the bigger arenas, but just recently, we played in Las Vegas called ‘Residency’ at The Joint. That’s something everybody does, from Aerosmith to Santana and all of the other big bands. 3,000 people is a lot of people, and to see a number like that is great and big enough for the production, it looked great. And we played five shows in a row there, and that’s what they call ‘Residency’ – you live there and play there every day. But it’s also comparable between Melbourne’s venue and Las Vegas’ with the capacity.”

As Scorpions are continuing their legacy as one of their country’s most prodigious and successful heavy music acts, Jabs had a few words regarding his experience throughout his time with the rest of the group and the future of Germany’s next big thing in music. To him, it’s all about having a long, hard look to see who could be next to fill in those shoes.

“One thing is for sure; we were called Germany’s ambassadors of music for quite some time. I think it puts a nice image on Germany. We’re the only international rock band on that level coming out of continental Europe, if you exclude England, now. German bands, you know, there are plenty that is popular in Brazil and South America. And there’s Rammstein and Accept of course, but other than that, there’s no other band from Germany on that level. But you’d have to use a magnifying glass on the countries to see where all the bands are.”







Scorpions Australian Tour – Melbourne

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