By Martin Popoff

Idiots like me well to the outside can't begin to profess to know these people. But patterns emerge. With Mr. Schenker, you hear things about disappearances, drinking, road managers suffering mental collapse, vicious band melees, exploding tours, bizarre incidents in Manchester, altars set up in hotel rooms, multiple wives, loony wives, rip-offs, we're moving to Hawaii/we're not moving to Hawaii... and most persistent of all: loony Michael. Then there's reports from cohorts about brutal interviews, my own in the past being none too illuminating, none of them impolite, but all of them, well, halting. Plus it usually takes a few go 'rounds to actually find the guy and get him talking.

You have all these things you want to ask, but are unsure whether anything controversial might result in a three minute interview and an abrupt end to the proceedings. It's never actually happened to anyone I know, so it's not fair to think he wouldn't be fully forthcoming. So what gives? I mean, Michael has still retained his German accent, so maybe he still, somehow isn't comfortable with English. But man, the way he makes records, words just don't seem to matter at all. He's a music man, and a damn compelling one, and the people that float past his tight focus... they just don't seem to matter either.

The new MSG album, Be Aware Of Scorpions, is godly. I've played it, like 60 times, and that's a ton (you should see my office and the stacks I have to wade through). It is bright, airy, extremely musical, imbued with some of the most life-affirming hard rock solos, riffs and arrangements I've heard anyone dare to craft. Chris Logan is a fiercely bluesy vocalist with finesse. The rest of the band glows and glowers like the album cover.

MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP - Behind Locked Doors Page 2