Klaus Meine spoke to the SCORPIONS' official French fan club about the band's upcoming studio album. Tentatively due in 2021, the disc will mark the German hard rock legends' first release since 2017's "Born To Touch Your Feelings - Best Of Rock Ballads", which was an anthology of SCORPIONS' new and classic material.
Regarding how the coronavirus crisis is affecting the work on the new LP, Meine said (hear audio below): "We were supposed to start working in the studio [two weeks ago] and all of us are working in their own studios, but we're in touch. And we keep going and we try to make the best out of this isolated situation… The last week of March, we were supposed to start working here [in Germany] before we wanted to go out together with the whole band here in the studio in Hannover. Our producer from America wanted to come over here — Greg Fidelman — and then we had to change the whole plan. And it turned out we ended up with everybody doing his own thing, working on songs and working on stuff at his own studio. So, for me, it was good. With the support of [our recording engineer] Hans-Martin Buff, he [took] me through all the different stages to record myself — not only to be a writer and a singer but also become an engineer, recording myself. And it was a nice challenge —and it still is. Every other day, I come up with things and go, 'Hey, c'mon, Hans-Martin, you've gotta show me…' It's easy to communicate this way and get things done. That's, so far, the good part of this in this very difficult time. So I think we're very privileged that we can be at home and that we can spend time in the studio and do what we do anyway. But I'm sure, and I know there will be a point where it's about time for the whole band to join together and put things on the next level."
According to the singer, SCORPIONS "have a lot of songs" written for the upcoming album. "We started writing for this album early last year until June 2019. And then we had to go back on the road," Meine said. "At that point, we had a couple of great songs already, so the whole thing was in progress. It felt really good at that point. Now, coming back from Australia and Southeast Asia, it was about time to pick up the recording sessions and go back into it. I know when Rudolf [Schenker, guitar] came back, he went to Thailand — the last show was in Singapore in early March and he went back to his place in Thailand — so he picked up the songs and a couple of weeks later, there was a lot of stuff coming back from the riff master. [Laughs] It's a good creative mood, and it's really exciting.
"Every other day, I ask myself, 'Klaus, are we really doing a new album?'" he laughed. "'Is anybody waiting for a new album from the SCORPIONS out there? But at the same time, it's wonderful, after all these years, we're still excited to create new stuff and to create new songs and we're all into it. And having Mikkey [Dee, drums] in the band now, it's, like, 'Wow.' This could be an album where it's a little bit more on the harder edge."
Meine went on to say that he is looking forward to working with Fidelman, who began his career as the guitarist and songwriter for RHINO BUCKET before launching his career as a producer, engineer and mixer, finding an early mentor in Rick Rubin.
"[Greg] used to work with METALLICA and SLIPKNOT, so we feel we have the right producer to go into a production where it's all about attitude and playing together," Klaus said. "Which, unfortunately, right now is not happening — Greg can't come over here, we can't go over there to the United States — so right now it's all a little crazy. And we don't know how long it will take, really, to keep going and take this to the next level. But right now, it feels good. There's a lot of work to do, and I'm happy that I can work on new material, and every other day I have songs — I put my vocals on. And the fact I do it myself — this is what I'm most proud of."
Because the coronavirus pandemic has effectively shut down touring as people are being asked to stay home, Meine and his bandmates have been spending their quarantine time at home with their families.
"This is the time [when] solidarity and creativity are important, and to stay in touch with each other," Klaus said.
"When we came back from Australia and Southeast Asia, we came here [to Germany], and a few days later, the situation with the coronavirus became more serious every other day. And so we thought it's important to stay in touch with our fanbase around the world and also encourage them to stay at home in these very, very special times. It's so important that we all try to not to be too close to each other.
"I haven't been at home for such a long time in one run, so it's kind of unusual for all of us, I guess," he added. "But coming from this long trip, from Down Under, we spent so much time [on the road] in the last couple of years, so it's, in a way, nice to have a break. And right now, it's beautiful weather and [I get to] see a blue sky. I can't complain, because it's beautiful to be at home with your loved ones and spend some extra time together, and at the same time have a chance to be in my studio and work on new songs, write lyrics."
SCORPIONS' last full-length collection of new recordings was 2015's "Return To Forever", partially comprising songs the band had in the vault from the '80s. It was the final recorded appearance of SCORPIONS' longtime drummer James Kottak, who was dismissed from the band in September 2016. He has since been replaced by Dee, formerly of MOTÖRHEAD.
SCORPIONS were scheduled to take over the Las Vegas Strip in July with their exclusive headlining residency show at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.
The band previously played a Las Vegas mini-residency in May 2016, consisting of five shows at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.