MG: Hi, it’s great to chat to you, how are you?
Michael: I am great thank you!
MG: The new album 'Bridge The Gap' is out soon and I must say it’s fantastic. Was there a concept to the new album?
Michael: Thank you very much! I had the name 'Bridge the Gap' before we had started writing. It all started really when Francis joined the band as Pete Way wasn’t doing so well, we were about to do the European tour, so I asked Hermann to see if Francis could step in. He was available and happy to do it. We started the European tour it was so good and I thought it would be crazy to miss the chance of capturing the tour so we did a DVD.
The first leg of the tour was going to be finished by October 2012. Our next tour wasn’t til April 2013, so I had six months for me to do something, and it was a case of now or never. I finished writing by the New Year and went into the studio and made a demo of my work for Dougie to look at. While he was doing that I was in the studio laying down the rhythm guitar etc., then we did the drums and all the other instruments then Dougie was ready and came into the do the vocals we finished everything by the 31st of March. We then headed out on tour on the 4th of May, once we were finished we had a chance to finalise the recording process and added stuff to it, mixed and re-mastered it. And it’s turned out really good. So basically all I said to Dougie regarding the lyrics was “Bridge the Gap” and think Melodic.
This was the first time we had done anything together since the “Love drive” album. And there we were sitting in a studio together. So kind of bridging the gap over the years and I started using the seven string more by Wayne Findlay. Combining the old with the new as it were, more of a modern touch to it and then I was thinking heavy, and melodic. It’s a healthy balance of songs and guitars and has turned out to be good.
MG: 'Bridges That We Burn' is a brilliant song, does it tie in with the album title?
Michael: Yes I guess that’s one of the songs, when I said to Dougie, think 'Bridge The Gap', because we are in a 'Bridge The Gap' era. I mean things like poverty shouldn’t exist anymore we aren’t in the stone age. If you see the news and all the horrendous things going on in the world you know we should be bridging the gap, so no one is poor, homeless etc.
MG: Absolutely. So it’s going to be very difficult when you go back out on the road to choose a set list. I personally think you should just play the whole album live!
Michael: ha ha well maybe one day! We will be slipping quite a few numbers in for the next European tour; in fact on our last tour we played a few new songs live. When I go to America at the end of the year with Dougie and Wayne we will play some more songs off the album as we haven’t really been much over there. Then when we play Japan they have not really been presented with this line up. So the American programme will be completely different to the European programme. It can be difficult at times as there are so many songs and people always say why you didn’t play this song or that song. But we will be playing three or four new songs for sure.
MG: I see you are going to be doing a VIP package as well, can you tell us a bit about that?
Michael: Basically people can come to the sound check for about an hour, take pictures and sign autographs. Also special editions will be released vinyl, deluxe editions.
MG: So the band “The Temple of Rock” has become a super group was that the plan?
Michael: No not really, when I went into the studio in 2011 it was Michael Schenkers “Temple of Rock” Gary Barden had gone to Thailand, and I wanted to make a new record, at the time I was jamming with Pete Way. I did a demo and Michael Voss did some vocals I came back to the UK and played it to Hermann and Pete Way they wanted to do the rhythm section and that was the beginning of The Temple of Rock.
We had William Shatner doing an intro on the Temple of Rock album, which was amazing, we got a call and I was like yes! This is the guy we want Captain Kirk from Star Trek! I played on his record and we invited a lot of guests like my brother and many others to play on the first Temple of Rock opus. Then it came to touring the album, Michael Voss wasn’t available for touring so I had to figure out what to do Robin McCauley was singing a song on the album and so was Dougie White, and that’s how I ended up with two different line ups.
Robin McCauley did the American tour, Michael Voss the Japan one and Dougie White did the European. Then when Pete Way was not doing so well that’s when I got Francis in. And it’s all just developed in to a real event , you know we used the Michael Schenker thing as a platform and now for the next album Temple of Rock we need a manager as I can’t cope with all of the work load myself.
MG: It’s like you have a new lease of life, did you ever think you would still be plying your trade and still wowing audiences worldwide?
Michael: Yeah its really step by step you know, am just doing my part and as am confronted with what needs to be done next.
MG: Thank you ever so much for your time and look forward to seeing you on tour soon!
Michael: Thanks a lot!
Interview by: Seb Di Gatto