The Michael Schenker Fest really is a collaboration of musical legends from over the years; starting with the namesake Michael Schenker who is well known for his past with The Scorpions and UFO just to name a few! As you continue through the impressive list, you will come across not one but four vocalists; one of which is Robin McAuley of Grand Prix and Michael Schenker Group fame.
When asked about the reaction so far to first single Warrior from the upcoming new album ‘Resurrection’ (available March 9th from Nuclear Blast), McAuley first responded with “oh my god; it’s absolutely amazing!” before going into greater detail:
“If you had told me some thirty plus years ago we’d be doing this with all the singers together, the reunion, making a record and touring, I’d have called you crazy; I think that it’s great that we’ve somehow managed to stand the test of time, make a great album and have a great single. So far the reception to it has been mind-blowing and incredible; that’s all I can say about it!”
As mentioned earlier, ‘Resurrection’ has McAuley singing alongside three other vocalists; speaking of the experience as a whole McAuley expressed how “it’s been absolutely great. Michael’s team first approached me about eighteen months ago and proposed the idea of the three original vocalists in Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet and myself. I didn’t hesitate and I said ‘what a great idea, let’s do this!’. I had done various tours with Michael through the McAuley/Schenker years and had the great honor of singing some of Gary’s songs and Graham’s songs plus classic UFO material; now here we are and everybody is doing their portion of their period; the whole show runs very smooth. It’s so different because Gary moves from his period to Graham, onto me and now we add Doogie from the ‘Temple of Rock’ period. There’s just so much material to work through and in addition to all of that, there’s the addition of a new record so there’s some fresh material to add to the tour!”
The Michael Schenker Fest has allowed McAuley to work together with Steve Mann, Chris Glen and Ted McKenna yet again. When asked about working with these three artists again, McAuley was quick to point out that “those guys haven’t missed a beat; they’re just awesome!” before going into greater detail about their working past:
“Steve and I got together about a year or so as a request from fans, as they were wondering why they couldn’t find Anytime from an earlier Michael Schenker Group period on iTunes; as iTunes wasn’t an option at the time, we decided to get together and re-record the track and make it available. I worked with Chris Glen in a band called GMT alongside Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy/Motörhead) and Philthy Phil Taylor (Motörhead) when they both left Motörhead; that later became Glen/McAuley/Taylor when Brian didn’t play with the group. Ted of course I’ve known since the MSG days and of course his whole history with Rory Gallagher. Ted and together Chris are the ultimate rhythm section; they’re like peas in a pod and are just solid!”
After casually quipping that “recording the record was VERY unconventional and “because we all live in different parts of the world, statistically it’s difficult to get everybody in the same place in the same time.”, McAuley pointed out how “when we played the festivals in Europe, Michael actually saw it as an opportunity to start recording; he had producer Michael Voss-Schoen bring his Pro Tools equipment and we basically recorded vocals in our hotel room whenever and as often as we could! Then when we played the Bang Your Head festival in Germany, Michael seized that opportunity to bring everyone in a day early; not only so we could do the shoot for the album cover, but also to shoot some video clips that were later used for Warrior. (7 minutes in!) It just shows off all our personalities as we were goofing off and having a great time; I’m actually surprised we got any work done as we spent most of the time telling stories about the past! If you were a fly on the wall, you’d get a shit load of information” before ending with a large heartfelt chuckle.
“Oh that’s not a fair question as I love them all; everybody is so unique in their voices and their personality.” Is how McAuley responded to being asked who was his favourite person to have worked with. McAuley then quickly pointed out that “I’m not trying to be diplomatic, but to have such a collection of personalities in the same room is amazing, we’re all so different and come from different places. I guess there is a joke there though, as there really is an Irishman, an Englishman and a Scotsman together in the same place” before letting out another massive laugh. McAuley then concluded with “given that scenario, it’s kind of out of control from the get go as you could imagine; Chris Glen, Ted McKenna and Doogie White are all from Glasgow, then you have Gary Barden who is more centralized in London. Graham is more from the middle north of England, then you throw in Michael Schenker who is German and this guy right here who is Irish; you put those together and that’s a lot of different kinds of alcohol right there!”
With the release of first single Warrior back on December 1st, it would be almost time for the Michael Schenker Fest to possibly be talking about releasing a second single; when asked if these talks were talking place, McAuley quickly replied with “not to my knowledge. That would be Michael’s decision and I’m sure he will make the right decision; I don’t know if he even has any plans to release a second single, you’ll hear it about the same time as me. It might be a situation that when we take it out live, the obvious track will stand out and we will take it from there; that just means that I’ll have to work harder for the ones that I sing on” before sharing yet another heartfelt chuckle.
When asked what the future holds after the upcoming US tour starting just after the album is released, McAuley expressed that “I’m not privy as to what dates or tours the future holds but I know that as the year progresses, dates are coming in; I hope that Australia gets included at some stage, as I believe that we should go for broke and do it all. I’ve never been to Australia whereas a lot of my musician friends have, so they keep asking if something is wrong with me!”
Before the interview ended, McAuley took a couple of seconds to pass some last words to Australian fans as he pointed out “I really hope that we can get to being the performance to Australia before too long and get to celebrate the project with everyone!”