ULRICH JON ROTH - Wails In Wales
by Martin Popoff

Few in the metal realm fit the tags "legend" or "artist" like Uli Jon Roth. Leaving Scorpions when all knew the filthy lucre was about to flow, Uli decided to follow his muse into an odd and still talked-about form of progressive, Hendrix-platformed rock that now, twenty years down the road has taken a decidedly classical turn.

Transcendental Sky Guitar (see http://yehao.com/UliJonRoth for more info) is a double CD that is seeing U.S. release, and the prospects of such have the man threatening to leave his 40 room manor house on a Welsh cliff to mount some sort of tour on these shores. These things are of course complicated, and first Uli has to finish a "rock" tour opening for UFO in Europe and then his next mammoth album. But backing up a bit, here's what the man had to say about the current axe-mad feast, beginning with a primer on the "sky guitar."

"Well, the title is a little bit tongue in cheek. I don't know how much you know about the sky guitar. It's my own trademark guitar which I designed in the early '80s. And it's basically an instrument that enables me to do all these things I've been doing recently on the guitar. As the album is guitar-based through and through, it is the leading instrument on this album. And I thought it would be a fitting tribute to have it reflected in the title. And the word transcendental, it's a very old word, and it means something like overcoming all obstacles, basically to the point where there are no obstacles, going beyond difficulty into a realm where that which should be difficult, or was once difficult, is easy and becomes second nature. I mean, I wasn't first to use this word in music. I think the first person was one of my mentors from the past, the great pianist and composer Franz Liszt, who is widely acclaimed to have given us no less than modern piano technique as we know it."

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