Michael Schenker Reveals ‘Immortal’ Cover Art

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Audiences are getting to see the artwork for this week for the next Michael Schenker Group record.

Schenker (UFO, Scorpions, Michael Schenker Fest) revealed the cover art for MSG’s forthcoming album Immortal Friday.  The artwork, created by Zsofia Dankova (Powerwolf) shows Schenker atop what looks like a mountain, guitar in hand atop the mountain and amps just below and a flag flying behind him in the wind.  The artwork seems to hint at Schenker being that proverbial “king of the mountain.”

The debut of Immortal‘s cover art comes less than a month after the announcement of the album’s release date an general specifications were made.  According to that announcement, Immortal is scheduled for release Jan. 8, 2021 through Nuclear Blast Records.  Its release will come more than a year after Schenker released his latest Michael Schenker Fest album Revelation.

The most recent information available states that as of Friday, Schenker has finished recording Immortal.

“We have a lot of guest musicians, who will undoubtedly help to make it an exceptional success. First of all I want to say that I am very grateful to any musicians that have helped to create a fitting tribute to my long career on this special release. I want to thank all of them for their incredible contribution.”

Nuclear Blast Records Founder Markus Staiger said in his own comments, he was looking forward to Schenker’s forthcoming MSG album.

“I am really looking forward to releasing this brand new MSG album, after the two excellent Michael Schenker Fest records,” he said. “At the age of 14, the self-titled MSG debut completely blew me away and helped to shape my taste, since then I’ve followed and loved his music and unique compositions. Those ten new tracks are pure magic!”

Immortal was recorded primarily at Kidroom Studio in Germany with Schenker’s longtime partner Michael Voss.  Voss co-produced the album with Schenker and provided vocals for two of the album’s songs.

Schenker praised Voss for his work.

“It is always a pleasure to work with Michael Voss, who works around the clock and is a phenomenal musician and producer,” he said. “He was composing the melody and lyrics for a power ballad I had written the music for, and he ended up singing along. It turned out so amazing, I did not think anyone else could have done a better job for this song. Truly great.“

Voss is just one of the individuals who will provide vocals for Schenker’s new MSG album.  Ronnie Romero (Rainbow) will provide vocals along with Voss, Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), and Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Deep Purple).  Joining the group for the album are musicians Steve Mann on keyboards, Barry Sparks (Dokken) on bass, and Bodo Schopf, Simon Phillips (ex-Toto), and Brian Tichy (Phill Rocker, ex-Godsmack, ex-Whitesnake) sharing drumming duties.

Schenker spoke highly of Tichy as he talked about the album’s lineup of musicians.

“Brian was thrilled to be part of it,” he said of Tichy’s involvement in the album. “He is a master of groove and ended up playing on six songs. I could not believe it: This man is something else. He is a true natural and very original. With his input, it made the album very solid and complete. So guess what – I am very happy.”

Also joining the collective for Schenker’s new MSG record is famed keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Alice Cooper).  Schenker said of Sherinian’s performance on the album’s opener,”Derek and myself trading solos, it sounds unexpected and beyond my expectation. Absolutely fantastic!“

Immortal will feature 10 songs, including one composition that Schenker created when he was a child, titled ‘In Search of the Peace of Mind.’

Schenker spoke at length about the song during his recent interview.

“I wrote this song when I was 15 years old, it was my first ever written piece of music which I recorded with Scorpions on our first studio album Lonesome Crow in 1970, getting released in 1972 – when I had already left Scorpions to join the British rock band UFO in June of 1972 – when I was 17,” he said. “We re-recorded this song for my 50th anniversary as a celebration and it turned out to be an epic; with an extra extension at the end of the song, which turned out absolutely fantastic with Simon Phillips on drums, doing his usual amazing stuff.“ The result is a true highlight and features even more surprises: “Gary Barden sings the first verse,  continued by Ronnie Romero – and in the end we have Ronnie, Doogie White, and Robin McAuley screaming their heads off, as a tribute to my 50th anniversary. Absolutely amazing. Thanks to the guys for doing this!“

Immortal will release as a standard CD and a limited edition expanded edition complete with the Michael Schenker Fest live recording Bang Your Head.  Schenker said of the recording, which was recorded two years ago in Balingen/Germany, “Unfixed, raw, pure and great! There’s a couple of small mistakes, but because the show and recording went so well, I decided to keep it the way it went on the night. It’s live, magic and pure.“

More information on Immortal is available now along with all of Michael Schenker Fest’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/michaelschenkerrocks

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Michael Schenker Announces Release Date, Specs For New Michael Schenker Group Album

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Michael Schenker Group will release what will be its first album in more than a decade next year.

The announcement was made Monday through a press release from Nuclear Blast Records.  The document stated Schenker (ex-Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Fest) is in the last stages of working on the album, titled Immortal.  Additionally, it states the album’s release is scheduled for Jan. 8, 2021 through Nuclear Blast Records, more than a year after Schenker released his latest Michael Schenker Fest album Revelation.

“It’s going very well,” said Schenker of the progress on the album’s work. “We have a lot of guest musicians, who will undoubtedly help to make it an exceptional success. First of all I want to say that I am very grateful to any musicians that have helped to create a fitting tribute to my long career on this special release. I want to thank all of them for their incredible contribution.”

Nuclear Blast Records Founder Markus Staiger said in his own comments, he was looking forward to Schenker’s forthcoming MSG album.

“I am really looking forward to releasing this brand new MSG album, after the two excellent Michael Schenker Fest records,” he said. “At the age of 14, the self-titled MSG debut completely blew me away and helped to shape my taste, since then I’ve followed and loved his music and unique compositions. Those ten new tracks are pure magic!”

Immortal was recorded primarily at Kidroom Studio in Germany with Schenker’s longtime partner Michael Voss.  Voss co-produced the album with Schenker and provided vocals for two of the album’s songs.

Schenker praised Voss for his work.

“It is always a pleasure to work with Michael Voss, who works around the clock and is a phenomenal musician and producer,” he said. “He was composing the melody and lyrics for a power ballad I had written the music for, and he ended up singing along. It turned out so amazing, I did not think anyone else could have done a better job for this song. Truly great.“

Voss is just one of the individuals who will provide vocals for Schenker’s new MSG album.  Ronnie Romero (Rainbow) will provide vocals along with Voss, Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), and Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Deep Purple).  Joining the group for the album are musicians Steve Mann on keyboards, Barry Sparks (Dokken) on bass, and Bodo Schopf, Simon Phillips (ex-Toto), and Brian Tichy (Phill Rocker, ex-Godsmack, ex-Whitesnake) sharing drumming duties.

Schenker spoke highly of Tichy as he talked about the album’s lineup of musicians.

“Brian was thrilled to be part of it,” he said of Tichy’s involvement in the album. “He is a master of groove and ended up playing on six songs. I could not believe it: This man is something else. He is a true natural and very original. With his input, it made the album very solid and complete. So guess what – I am very happy.”

Also joining the collective for Schenker’s new MSG record is famed keyboardist Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Alice Cooper).  Schenker said of Sherinian’s performance on the album’s opener,”Derek and myself trading solos, it sounds unexpected and beyond my expectation. Absolutely fantastic!“

Immortal will feature 10 songs, including one composition that Schenker created when he was a child, titled ‘In Search of the Peace of Mind.’

Schenker spoke at length about the song during his recent interview.

“I wrote this song when I was 15 years old, it was my first ever written piece of music which I recorded with Scorpions on our first studio album Lonesome Crow in 1970, getting released in 1972 – when I had already left Scorpions to join the British rock band UFO in June of 1972 – when I was 17,” he said. “We re-recorded this song for my 50th anniversary as a celebration and it turned out to be an epic; with an extra extension at the end of the song, which turned out absolutely fantastic with Simon Phillips on drums, doing his usual amazing stuff.“ The result is a true highlight and features even more surprises: “Gary Barden sings the first verse,  continued by Ronnie Romero – and in the end we have Ronnie, Doogie White, and Robin McAuley screaming their heads off, as a tribute to my 50th anniversary. Absolutely amazing. Thanks to the guys for doing this!“

Immortal will release as a standard CD and a limited edition expanded edition complete with the Michael Schenker Fest live recording Bang Your Head.  Schenker said of the recording, which was recorded two years ago in Balingen/Germany, “Unfixed, raw, pure and great! There’s a couple of small mistakes, but because the show and recording went so well, I decided to keep it the way it went on the night. It’s live, magic and pure.“

More information on Immortal is available now along with all of Michael Schenker Fest’s latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/michaelschenkerrocks

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Derek Sherinian Debuts New LP’s Lead Single

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Derek Sherinian debuted the lead single from his new album The Phoenix this week.

Sherinian debuted his new single ‘Empyrean Sky‘ Friday.  The full-on instrumental track is anchored by Sherinian’s keyboard work, drummer Simon Philipps’ time keeping and Jimmy Johnson’s bass line.  Armen Ra’s performance on the theremin adds its own touch to the composition, too, as does guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal’s performance along with the group.

The composition in whole lends itself to comparisons to work (both classic and modern) from the likes of Kansas and to works from Emerson Lake & Palmer.  It is a slight departure from the work that he has done with other acts with which he has recorded and performed.  That gives the song even more of its own identity.

Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Platypus, Black Country Communion) is scheduled to release his new album Sept. 18 through InsideOut Music.  It will mark the first time since 2011 that he has released a solo album, that most recent album being Oceana.

Sherinian talked about his forthcoming album in a recent interview.

“I truly feel that this is my best solo record to date,” he said. “[Drummer] Simon [Philipps] and I put a lot of energy into the writing, and I am grateful to all of the great players that contributed to this recording.”

“It is always an amazing experience to be able to work with Simon,” added Sherinian. “He’s been a hero of mine for ages, ever since I heard him playing on albums with Jeff Beck and Michael Schenker.  And he is such an invaluable part of the way this new record has come out.”

Along with handling drums throughout the record, Philipps also also co-produced and co-wrote the album with Sherinian.  He shared his own thoughts on the record.

Eight songs will make up the body of The Phoenix, among them a cover of Buddy Miles’ ‘Them Changes.’  It will be available as a limited edition digipack CD, 180-gram LP/CD combo pack and digital album.  The record’s track listing is noted below.

 

1. The Phoenix
2. Empyrean Sky
3. Clouds of Ganymede
4. Dragonfly
5. Temple of Helios
6. Them Changes
7. Octopus Pedigree
8. Pesadelo

 

The Phoenix will feature guest appearances by figures, such as bassists Billy Sheehan, Tony Franklin and Jimmy Johnson and guitarists Joe Bonamassa, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Sons of Apollo, Guns N’ Roses), and Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth).

Sherinian said of bringing Loureiro on board for the new album, “Kiko and I have known one another for about 20 years, but this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play with him.”

More information on Derek Sherinian’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.dereksherinian.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/Derek-Sherinian-Official-361589234010473/

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/DerekSherinian

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Derek Sherinian Announces New LP Release Date, Specs

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Keyboardist Derek Sherinian will tentatively release his new solo album this fall.

Sherinian (ex-Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Platypus, Black Country Communion) is scheduled to release his new album The Phoenix Sept. 18 through InsideOut Music.  It will mark the first time since 2011 that he has released a solo album, that most recent album being Oceana.

Sherinian talked about his forthcoming album in a recent interview.

“I truly feel that this is my best solo record to date,” he said. “[Drummer] Simon [Philipps] and I put a lot of energy into the writing, and I am grateful to all of the great players that contributed to this recording.”

“It is always an amazing experience to be able to work with Simon,” added Sherinian. “He’s been a hero of mine for ages, ever since I heard him playing on albums with Jeff Beck and Michael Schenker.  And he is such an invaluable part of the way this new record has come out.”

Along with handling drums throughout the record, Philipps also also co-produced and co-wrote the album with Sherinian.  He shared his own thoughts on the record.

Eight songs will make up the body of The Phoenix, among them a cover of Buddy Miles’ ‘Them Changes.’  It will be available as a limited edition digipack CD, 180-gram LP/CD combo pack and digital album.  The record’s track listing is noted below.

 

1. The Phoenix
2. Empyrean Sky
3. Clouds of Ganymede
4. Dragonfly
5. Temple of Helios
6. Them Changes
7. Octopus Pedigree
8. Pesadelo

 

The Phoenix will feature guest appearances by figures, such as bassists Billy Sheehan, Tony Franklin and Jimmy Johnson and guitarists Joe Bonamassa, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Sons of Apollo, Guns N’ Roses), and Kiko Loureiro (Megadeth).

Sherinian said of bringing Loureiro on board for the new album, “Kiko and I have known one another for about 20 years, but this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play with him.”

More information on Derek Sherinian’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.dereksherinian.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Derek-Sherinian-Official-361589234010473/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DerekSherinian

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Michael Schenker Fest Debuts ‘The Beast In The Shadow’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast

Michael Schenker Fest debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘The Beast in the Shadow‘ Wednesday.  The song is featured in Michael Schenker Fest’s latest album Revelation (2019).

The song’s musical arrangement is a classic old school rock arrangement, led by the work of Schenker.  Graham Bonnett, one of the singers who appears on the album, adds more depth to the song with his vocal delivery.

Schenker discussed Bonnet’s vocal performance on the song in a recent interview.

“It’s a great song that contains a very heartfelt performance from Graham Bonnet, and the video shows Graham in an even more heartfelt fashion, he said. “It´s a fantastic video with some very pure emotions being expressed by Graham. This song also presents the other side of the album – there are many upbeat rocking tracks that have not yet been heard by some listeners, by those who haven’t heard the whole album. I am very excited about the Revelation album – its one of my best to date. Listen to the album and you will see what I mean. Keep on rocking and stay safe. All my best to you and enjoy.”

The lyrical theme presented in ‘The Beast in the Shadow’ comes across as tackling the topic of mortality, as the song’s subject talks about the passing of all of the people he has known in his life.

‘The Beast in the Shadow’ is the fourth single produced from Revelation.  The album has also spawned the singles ‘Behind The Smile,’ ‘Rock Steady‘ and ‘Sleeping With The Lights On.’

The full track listing for Revelation is noted below.

 

Revelation tracklist (CD-Digipak, 2-LP, Digital)
01. Rock Steady
02. Under A Blood Red Sky
03. Silent Again
04. Sleeping With The Light On
05. The Beast In The Shadows
06. Behind The Smile
07. Crazy Daze
08. Lead You Astray
09. We Are The Voice
10. Headed For The Sun
11. Old Man
12. Still In The Fight
13. Ascension
Bonus:
14. Armed And Ready (live)
15. Bad Boys (live)
16. Rock Bottom (live)

 

Along with debuting its new single and video, Michael Schenker Fest has also announced new live dates rescheduled as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.  The group’s new live run is scheduled to launch Dec. 15 in London, UK and to run through Dec. 19 in Troon, UK.  The upcoming schedule is noted below.

 

15.12.2020 UK – London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
16.12.2020 UK – Leeds, O2 Academy
17.12.2020 UK – Newcastle, O2 City Hall

18.12.2020 UK – Wolverhampton, KK’s Steel Mill
19.12.2020 UK – Troon, Troon Concert Hall

 

More information on Michael Schenker Fest’s new live dates and its new video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Michael Schenker Fest Debuts New Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Michael Schenker Fest debuted the video for its new single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘The Girl With The Stars in Her Eyes‘ on Tuesday.  The song is featured in the band’s debut album Resurrection, which was released last year through Nuclear Blast Records. The band is named after its founder, former UFO/Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker.

The video features a young woman dancing in a variety of settings, such as a dimply lit club, an open space with flaming twirlers and against a starlit background.  The song itself boasts a very 80s influenced hard rock sound while its lyrical theme obviously is about a young woman.

‘The Girl With The Stars in Her Eyes’ is just the latest single to be spawned from Resurrection.  The album has also spawned the singles ‘Take Me To The Church,’ ‘Warrior‘ and ‘Heart and Soul.’

Michael Schenker Fest will release its sophomore album Aug. 23 through Nuclear Blast Records.  According to Schenker, the album’s title is Revelation.  He talked about that and the album in whole in a recent interview.

“Based on the fun that we had recording Resurrection, the success of the album and the surrounding tours we undertook that were just fantastic, I was deeply inspired to make a start on writing new songs for a new Michael Schenker Fest album,” Schenker said.  “It is even a step up from Resurrection, with amazing input from all singers and all musicians.  I could not ask for a better result.  The songs are blazing, snappy, energetic, melodic, and with drummers like Simon Phillips and Bodo Shopf we got amazing results.  this time we even managed to record three great mid-tempo songs with all singers involved, singing their hearts out.”

Schenker added, “The album title and cover concept expresses things that have happened in my past as well as what is still happening at the present time.  It’s about passion and purity versus greed and corruption.  There is much to say.  It’s about time I let people know about some of this.”

Revelation was co-produced by Schenker and Michael Voss.  It was mastered by Christoph ‘Doc’ Stickel for CS Mastering/Vienna, Austria.

 

Courtesy;Nuclear Blast Records

The video’s debut comes as the band has launched a new string of live dates.  the latest tour schedule launched Monday and is set to run through May 18 in Austin, TX.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Confirmed MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST North American dates are:

4/15/2019  Whisky A Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
4/16/2019  Whisky A Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
4/17/2019  Whisky A Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
4/19/2019  Palace of Fine Arts – San Francisco, CA
4/20/2019  Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA
4/21/2019  Revolution Hall – Portland, OR
4/22/2019  Vogue Theatre – Vancouver, BC
4/24/2019  The Palace formerly Flames Central – Calgary, AB CANADA
4/27/2019  Gothic Theatre – Englewood, CO
4/28/2019  The Truman – Kansas City, MO
4/30/2019  Bourbon Hall –  St Louisville, KY
5/03/2019  The Pabst Theater – Milwaukee, WI
5/04/2019  Concord Music Hall – Chicago, IL
5/05/2019  Lafayette Theater – Lafayette, IN
5/07/2019  Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON
5/09/2019  The Egg – Albany, NY
5/10/2019  The Palladium – Worcester, MA
5/11/2019  Irving Plaza – New York City, NY
5/12/2019  The Space at Westbury – Westbury, NY
5/14/2019  Ram’s Head Live 20 Market Place Baltimore, MD
5/15/2019  The National – Richmond, VA
5/16/2019  Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA
5/18/2019  Empire Garage – Austin, TX

A promo video for the trailer featuring Schenker is streaming online here.  Meet and Greet packages are available here.

More information on Michael Schenker Fest’s upcoming tour dates, album and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Gibbons’ New Solo LP Is 2018’s “Baddest” Rock Album

Courtesy: Concord Records

This year was a very productive span for the rock realm.  New offerings from well-known acts, such as Joe Satriani, Billy Gibbons and Stone Temple Pilots were joined by some enjoyable offerings from some lesser-known acts, such as The Magpie Salute, The Marcus King Band and Black Coffee to make for quite the selection of new offerings.

Simply put, the mainstream and the independent offerings turned out this year gave audiences plenty to appreciate. Many of those offerings made their way into Phil’s Picks list of the year’s top new rock albums, including and not limited to the offerings from the acts already noted here.

Topping off this critic’s list this year is Billy Gibbons’ new album The Big Bad Blues.  The ZZ Top star’s latest solo offering features some impressive covers of classic blues and blues rock tunes, while also offering some equally entertaining originals to round out the record’s body.  The whole is a record that is a solid listen from start to finish.

Taking second spot in this year’s list of the year’s top new rock albums is legendary guitarist Joe Satriani’s latest offering What Happens Next.  The full-on instrumental offering is everything that fans have come to expect from Satch, with touches of his past and present.

Third spot in this year’s list goes to Slash, Alter bridge front man Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.  The group’s new offering Living The Dream is a well-produced and engineered album with plenty of radio ready singles that go a long way toward displaying the group’s collective talents.  The lyrical themes are just as easily accessible as the record’s arrangements.  While not a perfect record, it is still enjoyable in its own right.

The remainder of this year’s list is noted below.  Also featured in this year’s list are new efforts from Black Coffee, Pop Evil and P.O.D.  As always, the list’s top 10 titles are the best while the five that follow are all honorable mention titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2018 Top 10 New Rock Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS

  1. Billy Gibbons — The Big Bad Blues
  2. Joe Satriani — What Happens Next
  3. Slash ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators — Living The Dream
  4. Clutch — The Book of Bad Ideas
  5. Michael Schenker Fest — Resurrection
  6. Black Coffee — Take One
  7. Black Stone Cherry — Family Tree
  8. Pompeii — The Secret Sessions
  9. P.O.D. — Circles
  10. The Marcus King Band — Carolina Confessions
  11. The Zealots — Only Rocks Live Forever
  12. Roine Stolt’s Flower King — Manifesto of an Alchemist
  13. The Magpie Salute — Highwater I
  14. Royal Tusk — Tusk II
  15. Stone Temple Pilots — Stone Temple Pilots

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Michael Schenker Fest’s “Debut” LP Proves The Magic Is Still There Between Schenker And Co.

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The magic is still with us.  That simple statement is exhibited in a window on the rear cover of the booklet included in Michael Schenker Fest’s debut album Resurrection.  It is a fitting statement (and placement) for that message to include in this record.  That is because while it may be the new super group’s debut album, it is hardly the first time that the group’s collective members – Michael Schenker (Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group), Graham Bonnett (Graham Bonnett Band, Rainbow, Alcatrazz), Gary Barden (Gary Moore, Praying Mantis, Statetrooper), Robin McAuley (Grand Prix, Far Corporation, McAuley Schenker Group), Doogie White (La Paz, Praying Mantis, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow), Chris Glen (The Michael Schenker Group,  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, John Martyn) and Ted McKenna (The Michael Schenker Group, Rory Gallagher, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band) – have ever performed together.  Each has performed with one another in one way or another more than once throughout each man’s career, and that familiarity and friendship shines through here.  The result of that long-running friendship is, in this latest effort – the debut LP from Michael Schenker Fest – another positive offering from the group.  This is proven throughout the record in its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  Its lyrical themes do just as much to make it enjoyable, and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus DVD that comes with the record’s expanded edition puts the final touch to its presentation.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to the whole of Resurrection.  All things considered, they make Resurrection not only another solid effort from Schenker and company, but a record that shows without any doubt, that magic truly is still with each member of Michael Schenker Fest.

Resurrection, the debut album from Michael Schenker’s new super group (of sorts), Michael Schenker Fest, shows itself to be another solid offering from Schenker and company.  It also shows without any doubt that the magic that has been with the longtime friends and fellow musicians, is indeed still present in this album.  That is proven in part through the dozen total arrangements that make up the body of the record.  The album’s opener, ‘Heart and Soul,’ is one way in which those statements are supported.  The song’s arrangement boasts a sound that will appeal to fans of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and other similar acts from the so-called “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” thanks to Schenker’s talents.  The added talents of Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett in the song’s “guitar jam” (as it is listed in the booklet) adds even more of that touch to the song’s whole.  The addition of McKenna’s solid time keeping and McAuley’s powerhouse, operatic vocal delivery and Glen’s low-end fills out the arrangement and pull listeners completely into the up-tempo rocker.  It’s just one of the works that proves the importance of the arrangements to this record.

The full-on instrumental track ‘Salvation’ is another way in which the record’s arrangements prove pivotal to the album’s whole.  Whereas the album’s opener was a tribute (intended or not) to the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal,” this more light-hearted arrangement is more akin to fellow guitar great Joe Satriani’s best works than any metal tune.  McKenna’s time keeping and Glen’s low-end once again do their own part to play into such comparison, with McKenna’s time keeping having a certain, almost jazzy bounce and Glen’s bass line keeping right in time with McKenna’s beat on the bass drum.  All things considered here, the group has crafted a work that shows even more why this record’s arrangements are so critical to its overall presentation.

As if ‘Salvation’ is not enough example of the importance of the records’ arrangements, ‘Night Moods’ shows in its own way, why the arrangements are so important.  Where the album’s opener was a decidedly 80s British metal style composition and where ‘Salvation’ could easily be compared to compositions from Joe Satriani as recently as the 90s, ‘Night Moods’ presents in its arrangement, a sound that blurs the line between the guitar-driven rock and roll of the 1970s and the more hair rock sound of the early to mid 80s.  That is thanks not only to the song’s instrumentation, but also to singer Graham Bonnett’s vocal delivery style.  Bonnett’s delivery is full on 80s hair metal style even in the arrangement’s more 70s rock and roll moments.  The pairing of the two sides makes this song another standout work that exemplifies once more the variety of the record’s arrangements.  When that variety is considered in the bigger picture of the album’s whole, it becomes even clearer why the record’s arrangements are so important to its presentation.  Of course the record’s musical arrangements are only part of what makes Resurrection proof that the magic is still there among Michael Schenker Fest’s members.  The album’s lyrical themes do just as much to support that statement as the album’s musical arrangements.

‘Warrior,’ Resurrection’s lead single, is one example of what makes the album’s lyrical themes so important.  Penned by Michael Voss-Schoen, the song seems to be a tribute to those military forces who put their lives on the line every day to keep the free world free.  This is inferred as Voss-Schoen writes in the song’s lead verse, “If you open the book/Turn the page-take a look/You’ll find the truth right between the lines/Read the story all in one/How it all just begun/We’ll admit it’s one of a kind/Giving protection with love and affection/Standing for honor and pride/Every now and then/It will always be the same/Born to follow and walk a fine line.”  He goes on to write, “You’re born into this world/To you/Believe in mankind’s destiny/Marching on the path of glory/When misery is all you see.”  This comes across as a statement about someone who serves no matter what.  As if that doesn’t infer that tribute enough, Voss-Schoen seems to drive the message home even more as he writes, “Under fire and attack/You hear a never-ending battle cry/the unsung hero stands alone/Waiting for the day to die.”  Soldiers, warriors, are those unsung heroes who give that protection even with misery all around them.  Keeping that in mind, one can’t help but figure Voss-Schoen was indeed paying tribute to those men and women who put it all on the line (including their own lives) to protect freedom and the free.  Sure, it’s not the first time that any act has ever crafted a song that seems to pay tribute to the military.  Even with that in mind, it still is just as moving and powerful here as in any other case.  It’s just one of the songs included in this album that points at the importance of the record’s lyrical content.  ‘Everest,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another example of the importance of the record’s lyrical themes.

Also penned by Voss-Schoen, ‘Everest,’ seems to use Mount Everest as a metaphor for something far deeper.  This is inferred as Voss-Schoen writes, “Holy mountain in the east/High up there where spirits meet/And the shiny clear horizon/Pretends to be the one/Find your destination/Now your trip has just begun/If you knew there was no tomorrow/Would you climb up to the sky?”  It’s as if he is writing here about someone trying to reach something perhaps unattainable and whether someone would try to attain that unattainable goal.  This is especially the case as Voss-Schoen writes in the song’s second verse that reaching Everest’s peak is called by some a “victory of the human spirit/Satisfaction guaranteed.”  He notes that it may be that, though in reality so much might not have been attained.  Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation.  It’s definitely an interesting lyrical work that regardless of what Voss-Schoen was trying to get across, this song certainly adds its own depth to the record’s presentation.  It isn’t the only song that succeeds at creating so much engagement.  ‘Messin’ Around’ is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.

‘Messin’ Around’ is the polar opposite of ‘Everest’ and Warrior’ in regards to its lyrical content.  Where the two aforementioned songs are deep and certain to generate plenty of discussion, ‘Messin’ Around’ comes across as something far more light-hearted.’  Co-crafted this time by Voss-Schoen and Gary Barden, this song is a celebration of life so to speak very much in the vein of Motley Crue.  This applies not only musically, but lyrically, too.  Voss-Schoen and Barden prove that as the pair writes, “Some might say I’m nasty/Some might say I’m a fool/But life’s a fight just to stay alive/So I forgot all the golden rules/The clock goes tick tock tick, tick tock tick/So come on guys, gotta get some action now.”  What more need be written for the song’s message to be pretty obvious?  The song continues, “So I’m cruising down to main street/Checking out the loverly dives/Give me a wall of sound/In this rock and roll town/It’s good to be alive.”  The song continues on lyrically in similar, upbeat fashion, and when that upbeat lyrical vibe is coupled with the song’s equally upbeat musical mood, the whole makes the song in whole another great addition to the record, and more proof of the importance both of the record’s musical and lyrical content.  When this is considered along with the lyrical content of the other songs noted here, and those not directly noted, that material in whole shows clearly the importance of the record’s lyrical themes.  When that importance is considered along with the record’s musical content overall, the two elements do plenty, collectively, to prove again, that indeed, the magic is still with the members of Michael Schenker Fest and that this record is another solid offering from Schenker and company.  Of course, it still is not the last of the record’s most important elements.  The bonus DVD that comes with the record’s expanded edition supports those noted statements, too.

The bonus DVD that comes with the album’s expanded edition is anchored by a lengthy behind the scenes look at the making of Resurrection as well as an interview held ahead of the band’s performance in Japan for its previously released live recording.  Both elements generate their own share of interest in part because of the humility exhibited by each musician.  Each man stresses again and again that there is no ego among the musicians.  That is made clear throughout the making of featurette.  Audiences also learn through this segment, how the album came together, from which vocalist would handle singing duties on which song to how arrangements came together and more.  Schenker even offers his own insight on how Michael Schenker Fest came to be, addressing rumors of band in-fighting with other groups playing into it and other items.  His Japanese interview offers its own interest, too, with Schenker talking about how Kirk Hammett came to be included in the new record and more.  The insights offered through each featurette itself collectively creates its own share of interest, just as does the album’s lyrical and musical content, and in turn insures even more, audiences’ maintained engagement in the album.  When this is considered along with the impact of the record’s musical and lyrical content, the end result is a record that once more proves why it is a solid new effort from Schenker and company, and why it also proves that the magic is indeed still among the group.  Keeping that in mind, the album in whole proves to be a work that fans of Schenker and his fellow musicians are certain to enjoy, and that they will also agree is deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

Michael Schenker Fest’s debut album Resurrection is a strong new effort from famed guitarist Michael Schenker and his fellow longtime musician friends included in the album’s creation.  Because Schenker and his fellow musicians are such good friends, it is obvious in hearing the album’s songs that the magic truly is with each man.  There is a certain magic in the album’s musical and lyrical content, too.  The bonus DVD that comes with the album’s expanded edition does plenty to show how alive that magic is among the musicians, too.  When this is considered along with the album’s musical and lyrical content, the album in whole proves without doubt why it is a welcome new offering from Schenker and company, and why it is arguably one of this year’s top new rock albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Resurrection is available online now along with all of Schenker’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.michaelschenkerfest.com, http://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

 

 

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Michael Schenker Announces New LP Specs, Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Fans of guitar great Micheal Schenker have a lot to celebrate this year.

The former Scorpions and UFO guitarist, who has had quite the success as a solo artist, too, will release his latest solo album next month with a support tour to follow its release.  Resurrection is currently scheduled to be released Friday, March 2 via Nuclear Blast Records.

The 12-song album will feature vocals from Schenker’s Temple of Rock front man Doogie White, and from Michael Schenker Group vocalists Gary Barden, Graham Bonnett and Robin McAuley.  Also taking part in the album’s creation were Steve Mann (guitar/keyboards), Chris Glenn (bass) and ted McKenna (drums).  Audiences can hear Resurrection‘s lead single ‘Warriors’ online now here.

Each vocalist will also join Schekner on his upcoming North American tour in support of the new record.  Because they will be part of the tour, it is once again being dubbed Michael Schenker Fest.  The nearly month-long tour is currently scheduled to launch March 6 in Silver Springs, Maryland and run through April 3 in Tampa, Florida with additional dates in Las Vegas, Nevada; Detroit, Michigan; Seattle, Washington and other cities.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

Courtesy: Chipster PR/Nuclear Blast Records

MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES:

03/06/2018  The Fillmore – Silver Springs, MD
03/07/2018  Carnegie Music Hall – Munhall, PA
03/09/2018  Berklee Performance Center – Boston, MA
03/10/2018  Irving Plaza – New York, NY
03/11/2018  Theatre of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA
03/12/2018  Club Soda – Montreal, QC CANADA
03/14/2018  Royal Oak Music Theatre – Detroit, MI
03/16/2018  Agora Theatre – Cleveland, OH
03/17/2018  Concord Music Hall – Chicago, IL
03/18/2018  Pabst Theater – Milwaukee, WI
03/19/2018  Cabooze – Minneapolis, MN
03/22/2018  Neptune – Theatre Seattle, WA
03/24/2018  Events Center – San Jose, CA
03/25/2018  The Grove – Anaheim, CA
03/26/2018  Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ
03/27/2018  House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
03/29/2018  Cervantes Ballroom – Denver, CO
03/31/2018  Vibes Event Center – San Antonio, TX
04/01/2018  Bomb Factory – Dallas, TX
04/03/2018  The Ritz – Tampa, FL

Meet-and-greet packages are available online now at http://www.michaelschenkerfest.com.  More information on Schenker’s upcoming tour, album and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.michaelschenkerfest.com, http://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

PBS’ Richard Sherman Studio “Concert” Hits All The Right Notes For Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

Experiencing a live performance by one’s favorite acts is a special experience.  The sights and sounds — from the performance itself to the enjoyment and excitement experienced alongside other fans — come together to make the live experience something almost as magical as it is memorable.  Of course it’s not always that easy to have that experience because of work, family or maybe other items.  Enter the live DVD and Blu-ray.  These recordings are pivotal for audiences the world over because people don’t always get to see their favorite acts.  They also often prove to give audiences an experience that is at least slightly different from that offered in their CD counterparts.  Keeping that in mind, it is fully justifiable for critics to present lists of the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays as well as live CDs.  That is exactly what this critic is doing here.

This year, as with so many years past, Eagle Rock Entertainment has proven to have the majority of the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays, once again proving why it is the leader in live recordings.  Of course it is not the only label represented in this critic’s list this year.  Live recordings from The Winery Dogs, The Dead Daisies, and even famed songwriter Richard Sherman (one half of the famed Sherman Brothers creative team) are all on the list, too alongside new material from Between The Buried and Me and Michael Schenker.  Those noted recordings are all from other labels.  In other words, this year saw a healthy range of new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  With that in mind, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2017 Top 10 New Live DVDs and Blu-rays.  As always, the list includes this critic’s Top 10 choices as well as five additional honorable mention titles, for a total of 15 titles.  Let’s go!

PHIL’S PICKS 2017 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDS/BDs

  1. Richard ShermanSongs of a Lifetime
  2. Tedeschi Trucks Band — Live From The Fox Oakland
  3. Slipknot — Day of the Gusano
  4. Mumford & Sons — Live From South Africa
  5. Between The Buried and Me — Coma Ecliptic
  6. Black Sabbath — The End
  7. Jeff Beck — Live at the Hollywood Bowl
  8. The Rolling Stones — Sticky Fingers Live at the Fonda Theatre 2015
  9. The Who — Tommy Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  10. The Winery Dogs — Dog YearsLive in Santiago and Beyond 2013 – 2016
  11. Eagles of Death Metal — I Love You All The Time — Live at the Olympia Paris
  12. Sting — Live at the Olympia Paris
  13. Spock’s Beard — Snow Live
  14. The Dead Daisies — Live & Louder
  15. Michael Schenker — Michael Schenker Fest Live Tokyo International Forum Hall

That’s all for this list and still not all for the live recordings.  Still to consider is the whole of the combo packs and the standalone recordings.  In other words, there is still a list of the year’s top new live recordings overall to consider.  Also still on the way are the year’s top new albums as well as a handful of DVD and Blu-ray lists.  As many as possible will be covered before the year lets out, so stay tuned for all of that.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.