"'STILL LOVING YOU' was a very, very big hit in France. We sold over two million singles there alone and it created a baby boom in 1985. Some of the parents even called their kids Sly, because they were [conceived while] making love to 'Still Loving You.'"
Sometimes rock stars say the silliest things. The Beatles claimed to be bigger then Jesus, Gene Simmons says he's bedded close to 5,000 women, and according to Rudolf Schenker, guitar player and founder of German hard rock juggernauts Scorpions, one of their infectious ballads created a spike in the French population. As farfetched as this fertile claim may appear, Scorpions' world domination is no mere fantasy.
Since the band's inception in 1965, they have released 17 albums, sold over 100 million units worldwide, and played on every continent except Antarctica and Australia—the latter of which the band plans on rocking sometime during their current two-year tour. As for the South Pole? It's a possibility. Schenker wants to ensure the band's legacy has "all the continents included."
For a group that has done nearly everything and played nearly everywhere, the logical final step in Scorpions' storied career is to announce their retirement before they shrivel into creatures rock and roll forgot. Considering how the Hannover band seems to have made all the right decisions in the past 40-plus years, with their aptly titled "Get Your Sting and Blackout Tour," and new album Sting in the Tail, the band is attempting to walk away from their illustrious run on a triumphant high note.
"You know, Klaus [Meine, the band's howling lead singer] and I are 62; it's a little bit difficult. We don't want to die in front of our fans. That could happen when you really overdo the momentum," Schenker confides.
The suggestion to wrap it up for good came courtesy of their manager while the band was mixing Sting in the Tail. "He saw our excitement and that the album was great, so he asked, 'How are you going to top this?'"
Sting is a return to the '80s-style melodic hard rock that the Scorpions perfected in the days before the Berlin Wall tumbled. Upon first listen, the album feels strained, like a band desperately forcing themselves to relive their glory days, but after another listen you'll hear a band that is still well in their prime. Naturally, Scorpions are still masters of the rock ballad. Meine sounds exactly like he did on Love at First Sting, and the rocking tracks on the album are as catchy as any of their singles from their big-hair heyday.
"We had to go back to what the Scorpions are all about: great guitar riffs, great melodies, and great vocals. That is what it's all about," Schenker says.
Even though this is officially the band's last hurrah, Schenker assures that this is not the last we'll see of Germany's bad boys running wild. The band plans to unleash their vast video archives and release footage spanning their entire four-decade-long career. If that wasn't enough for salivating fans, Schenker is also about to release a rock star-guru self-help book appropriately titled Rock Your Life. Future plans aside, Schenker is currently enjoying giving Scorpions fans the world over one last sweet fix.
"It's so much more fun now that you really know it's the last tour. The fans see us in a different way and we see them in a different way. We enjoy [being onstage] every night and celebrating our party with the fans. This is the final call."