SCORPIONS originally intended to record the new album in Los Angeles with producer Greg Fidelman, whose previous credits include SLIPKNOT and METALLICA. However, because of the pandemic, most of the work so far has been done remotely, with Fidelman taking part via Zoom.
In a new interview with VintageRock Pod, SCORPIONS singer Klaus Meine stated about the progress of the recording sessions for the new disc (see video below): “When we started thinking about this album, which was actually last year — in the spring of 2019 — we said, ‘We want to go make an album with lots of attitude [and] power.’ And that was one of the reasons we picked Greg Fidelman, who used to work with METALLICA or SLIPKNOT. We wanted to make a harder-edged record. There might be one or two ballads on the record as well, since this is so much part of the SCORPIONS DNA, but the focus was really on the harder songs, uptempo songs. And so far, it’s been a good ride.
“We’ve been working at a studio here in Hannover,” he continued. “We couldn’t go to L.A., like it was planned, in May, so we found our way into a studio here [nearby], which is not too far away, like L.A., so it’s just next door, which was not so bad at all. And so the Plan B turned into a Plan A. We went through lots of rehearsals for the songs, where Mikkey [Dee, drums] and Paweł [Mąciwoda, bass] came in. There were also travel restrictions — Mikkey lives in Gothenburg, in Sweden, and Paweł in Poland, in Krakow — and there were travel restrictions, and we had to wait for the moment until the restrictions were gone and they could travel and come here. And then we had another session. And Greg joined us every evening our time and every morning L.A. time via Zoom, and we went through the songs, went through the arrangements and all that, and it’s been working out very well so far. Right now, we’re [at the] point where we take it to the next step, where we are actually into recordings. And here it will become more difficult when your producer is not in the same room like the band. It’s not so easy, but on the other side, we have to make a compromise and find ways to get the job done, because we have a lot of great songs, [and] we’re very motivated [to] nail ’em down.
“With Mikkey in the band, the band is in one room and we’re playing all together and really like in the old days — we really give it a go,” Klaus said. “And there’s really some rockers. And Mikkey is such a great drummer, it’s so much fun to play with him.
“We use this time, in the lockdown, and I work on my lyrics, and go back to them, and say, ‘Ah, maybe I can say this a little better. Maybe I can work on this and that.’ And I work also right here in my own studio, where I can record myself. I check out things.
“Right now, Matthias [Jabs] is doing guitar overdubs, so we’re moving.”
Regarding a possible release date for SCORPIONS‘ new album, Klaus said: “Hopefully sometime next year — hopefully in the spring, or maybe later. Who knows. It’s very difficult to make plans these days. But once we know that we can come to [Las] Vegas, once we know we have a chance to tour here in Europe, or to tour in the U.S., once this plan comes together, then we come closer to making the decision, ‘Okay, then the new album should be released exactly then.’ But nobody knows right now. All we know is we are very, very motivated. It’s a lot of fun, even in this kind of very difficult situation to work on new songs and really to hopefully come up with something where our fans go, ‘Yes! C’mon, SCORPIONS.'”
Asked if SCORPIONS already have a title for the new album, Klaus said: “Yeah, there are a few ideas, but it’s way too early to say, ‘This will be the title.’ Because with album titles, it’s like the very last minute, and everybody comes with ideas, putting some ideas on the table. But I think, yeah, we might have a good title. But it’s a little too early to talk about songs and titles.”
Meine then circled back to SCORPIONS‘ desire to really take the necessary time to make one of the best albums of the band’s career.
“Even in this weird pandemic situation, we’re excited, because we planned for 2020 to make a new album, and before corona started, we wanted to [take a break], because we’d been touring so much over the last years, over the last 10 years, that we went all over the world and we played every continent you can think of,” he explained. “So we said, if we wanna make a record, it’s quite a challenge after all these years, but if we do it, we have to take our time and really be serious about it. And that means no touring in 2020. So the Vegas thing was something we wanted to do, because it was nine shows, like a residency, and we said, ‘This will be fun. It will be cool to come back to the U.S.’ Fortunately, we didn’t have to cancel or to postpone too many shows this year, because it was planned to focus on the record.”
Meine recently told Talking Metal that the goal with using Fidelman to produce the new LP is to bring “the old vibe from albums like ‘Blackout’, ‘Love At First Sting’ or even ‘Lovedrive’. We try to focus on those albums and this attitude,” he said. “If we get there, who knows — it’s so many years later. But it’s the spirit and it’s the whole vibe around this album. This time, the focus is on the harder songs.”
According to Meine, SCORPIONS‘ new LP will feature “no outside writers at all,” unlike 2015’s “Return To Forever”, which was largely co-written by the album’s producers, Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen.
Fidelman 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.
SCORPIONS‘ last full-length collection of new recordings was the aforementioned “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.