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When was he asked?

The Ultimate Guitar has quotes from an interview with Michael Schenker, in which he explains why he refused to join Deep Purple, Ozzy, Thin Lizzy, and Motorhead (spoiler: he didn’t want to end up in somebody else’s band).

I didn’t go with Deep Purple, I didn’t go with Ozzy Osbourne, I didn’t go with Phil Lynott or Lemmy’s Motorhead – you name them, they all asked me to join them, but I did not think that I was the right person for that because there was a reason why I didn’t join the Scorpions, there was a reason why I left UFO.

Here endeth the fact and starteth the speculation.

One plausible theory is that his name was on the list of “acceptable replacements” for Blackmore, supplied to the band by Japanese promoters in order for the ’93 tour not to be cancelled. If so, it is quite possible that inquiries were made before the deal was struck with Joe Satriani.

Thanks to Liz and Gary for the info.

11 Comments to “When was he asked?”:

  1. 1
    Stergios Holydiver says:

    Michael schenker one of the best guitar heroes ever!!

  2. 2
    Keith Livingstone says:

    In his dreams….

  3. 3
    uwe hornung says:

    My countryman forgot the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith in that interview.



    I wouldn’t rule out that Schenker crossed the Purps collective minds as a Ritchie replacement at one time, but back then he was still notoriously unreliable due to his alcoholism and would have been a walking talking liability. And he is not really used to playing in a band with prominent keyboards – keyboards in UFO and MSG always had a strict backing function, in DP they are a lead instrument.

    It might have been interesting though, Schenker has a wonderfully melodic and fluid style and I also rate him as rhythm guitarist. Not a bad songwriter either.

  4. 4
    Boswell's Johnson says:

    I’ve never heard the guy play and I’ve only ever read one interview with him – this one – and to be honest, he doesn’t come across like an authoritative source of facts. One possible option is that he’s full of shit. Maybe not.

  5. 5
    Lars Larte Karlsson says:

    I don´t see any reason for Gillan, Glover, Lord and Paice to lie about they all had Satriani as their first choice.

  6. 6
    Ivica says:

    To me….Deep Purple has always been synonymous with classic British rock band..always a Blackmore replacement .. nonBritish guitar players!? .. Blackomore hard to replace on the GBisland… and one of the best British guitar players of all time

  7. 7
    Kerry Martin says:

    I read once that Schenker was on the short list to replace Ritchie in ‘75, but wasn’t a good fit since he didn’t speak English (yet), and UFO were at their peak. It’s my understanding that Bruce Payne already had Satriani on board, in case Ritchie walked out on the tour, which he inevitably did.

  8. 8
    Buttockss says:

    You did well on your own path Michael…….Congratulations!

  9. 9
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    Michael is a phenomenal player still somewhat under the radar after all of these years! As @3 Uwe alludes to, he was beyond unreliable and I witnessed it first hand during the Walk On Water tour. I saw them at a small (very small) club by the name of The Birch Hill Inn in New Jersey. When we arrived, the merchandise guy told us we were lucky that Michael was playing as he threatened to walk out on the band after a gig the night before. For whatever it’s worth, it was a stellar performance and that record remains right up there at the top of the UFO records. That would be in my humble opinion. :>


  10. 10
    Roberto says:

    Michael Schenker is not only a guitar hero, but one of the last! He was really mentioned to replace Blackmore back in 75, that’s true. However, right after Blackmore’s departure Schenker could mean “the problem is back”due his personality and “alcohol” problems. Never heard his name was mentioned in 93 to fill up the tour. He would never do that, needless ask him.

  11. 11
    uwe hornung says:

    With his classical melodic style, Schenker would have fitted right in with the Purps, personal issues aside. I don’t think that his German nationality would have been a problem even at the time – Germany is after all Deep Purple’s happy hunting ground – and yes he did learn English even with UFO, though it müst be said – even judging from the above interview – zät my cöüntreymän eeze not a natural tälent wiff ze English langwich, nein, wirklich nicht. Spiel lieber Gitarre, Michael.

    BTW: Scorpions lead guitarists tended to be kind of popular with the main acts when ze Scorps opened for pretty much any Germany touring American and English rock band in the 70ies. Schenker’s immediate successor Uli Roth had an offer from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (at a time when they were extremely popular in Germany, filling large halls) – he didn’t take it.

    Uli Roth wouldn’t have been a bad choice for Deep Purple either. There is something “Germanic/Teutonic” in DP’s music anyway, Blackmore’s penchant for German renaissance folk and classical music shone already through long before he met Fräulein Isralow at that soccer game. : – ) It also goes a long way explaining DP’s enduring popularity in Germany, their music strikes a chord with us, jawohl!!!

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