In a brand new interview with AZCentral.com, SCORPIONS guitarist Matthias Jabs spoke about how his band was afffected by the the early 1990s rise of Seattle’s rock scene, which had a stripped-down aesthetic and a complete rejection of the glam metal visual style.
“I would say the ’90s in general were tough for all the classic-rock bands, ’80s bands, due to alternative rock and grunge,” Jabs admitted. “The SCORPIONS were doing quite well in the first half of the ’90s with the major success of ‘Crazy World’ and the next album, ‘Face The Heat’, and worldwide successful tours. But the second half was a bit tough for us, especially here in the States. We lost ground definitely. The people at the record companies said, ‘Ugh, man, forget it. That’s old-fashioned. Now we are on to a new trend.’ The same way with radio. Everything we had done so far was all of the sudden, ‘Blech, you know, forget it. That’s past.’ The same people say something completely different today, of course. Especially at radio. ‘And here are a couple of great tunes from the ’80s.’ [said in DJ voice] But there was a bit of a tough time and we produced an album that reflects that.
“We were insecure,” Jabs said. “The first time ever that the SCORPIONS didn’t know exactly what to do. We were listening to producers and record companies, which we had never really done. So we made the greatest mistake of all, to record the album ‘Eye II Eye’ and go on tour with it. We learned quickly that this is the wrong way. The fans told us. Then we made a comeback.
“Looking back, this was a good mistake because we realized it and we recovered quickly.”
Admitting that “Eye II Eye” was SCORPIONS trying to adapt to what was going on, Matthias said: “You can tell by listening to the music. I mean, not completely. There was an influence from the outside that was not within the SCORPIONS DNA, if I can call it that. It wasn’t really us. It was us plus all the crap and turmoil going on. Nobody really knew. Nobody had a direction. But everybody was trying to talk to us. [Laughs]”
Despite the fact that the decline in SCORPIONS‘ popularity was aided by the emergence of grunge, Jabs insists that he enjoyed some of the albums that were released by the leaders of the alternative rock movement. “I always liked NIRVANA‘s music,” he said. “I thought it was new and had a great attraction. What was following wasn’t always my cup of tea. But you know, it was a change I could understand also. The glamour rock of the late ’80s with the super production and you had more hairspray than fuel in the trucks, it got ridiculous towards the end of the ’80s, especially with those L.A. hair bands. The music of value wasn’t really there. But the show element repeated itself. And that wasn’t really appealing anymore.”
Still, according to Jabs, the “greatest music” was written in the ’80s. “If you think about bands like JOURNEY, AC/DC, and the great songs, they’re still very up to date today and will always be there,” he said. “You don’t hear that many ’90s songs played on acoustic guitar these days around the corner. But it had its right to be there especially because it was a counter move, you know? Against all the glamorous bullshit that happened before.”
SCORPIONS kicked off their North American tour with MEGADETH on September 14 at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The sixteen-date trek, dubbed the “Crazy World Tour”, celebrates SCORPIONS‘ 1990 LP of the same name. Two of the SCORPIONS‘ best-known songs, “Winds Of Change” and “Send Me An Angel”, both appear on “Crazy World”.
SCORPIONS have just finished recording a couple of new songs for a forthcoming compilation album that will collect the most popular of their ballad-type material.