Gary James' Interview With Francis Bucholz Of
Back in 1984, Europe's favorite Heavy Metal act, since the early 1970s, The Scorpions had finally cracked the American marketplace. The group's album "Love At First Sting" produced the hit "Rock Me Like A Hurricane". When I spoke to Scorpions' bassist Francis Bucholz, the group was touring the world in support of that album.
Q - Francis, life for the Scorpions wasn't always hit records and sell-out concerts. How did you guys survive the early years, the lean years, the struggling years?
A - We always believed in the band. We were friends and still are friends. Because we are not a single (45) oriented band, we always put the music towards the albums and we don't concentrate so much on how we can have hits. We concentrate more on what we like to do and what we like to play. And that's the reason it's been slower.
Q - Who's more popular in Germany right now, The Scorpions or Accept?
A - Scorpions I think.
Q - Graham Bonnett of Alcatrazz feels that Metal music is guys' music and you rarely see a good-looking girl at a Metal concert. Have you found that to be true?
A - I find it to be true with specific Heavy Metal events like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. You'll find very little amount of girls, maybe 5 - 10%. But on more melody oriented bands like we are, you have many more girls. I think we have up to 40% girls in the audience. I think it depends on the melody and on the songs. Once you have better songs and more music, you also attract girls. The bands that are not so melody oriented attract less girls.
Q - So many groups seem to be endorsing products these days and getting tour support. So what are the Scorpions endorsing?
A - We were offered some companies but we didn't use the product. We also had the impression we shouldn't go for beer or alcoholic beverages because there's a campaign against drunk driving and we don't want to interfere with that. To have a sponsor on a tour helps a lot to cover the huge expenses on a headlining tour. You don't know how many people you are going to attract, so it's a big risk. On this tour we don't have a sponsor because the ones we tried didn't have the right product. I mean, there's not too much to believe in with Pepsi-Cola.
Q - Francis, you were not the original bassist in the Scorpions, Lothar Heimberg was. Why did Klaus and Rudy select you as their new bassist?
A - That was after the first album and Michael Schenker left the group to join a band called UFO. All of the rest of the band spilt and Rudolf and Klaus were left. They met Ulrich Roth, who was a guitar player in my band at the time and we put the new Scorpions together then for the second Scorpions album, "Fly To The Rainbow".
Q - For the longest time, RCA was the Scorpions record label. You're now with Polygram. Why?
A - We made five records with RCA and the contract expired. At that time we needed somebody who believed in the band and believed we could make it in the States, 'cause we wanted to go over to the States. RCA didn't believe in us that much and wasn't prepared to put out decent tour support for us to tour the States. So, we got Polygram and they put up tour support, so we were able to go over to the States.
Q - I've read that each of the guitar players in the Scorpions has a guitar roadie whose job it is to tune the guitars they use. Why can't the guys in The Scorpions tune their own guitars? Why do they need a guitar roadie?
A - That's a good question. Because we have such big equipment, everybody has his own roadie who is responsible for it. For example, my roadie puts up my bass equipment, makes sure all the amps are working and wireless things and changes strings. We don't have so much time anymore as we had in the old days when we put up our own equipment. So we have to have somebody put it up. When we go to the show, everything has to be 100% right. Most of the time we don't even have time for a sound check, so we have to have someone we can rely on and he gets you a new, tuned guitar, so there is not too much delay in the show. We want to make the show as perfect as possible, which means everything has to be 100% and you can't do everything yourself.
Q - What new trends do you see in Metal as we speak?
A - I would say Hard Rock or Heavy Rock is basically a music which does not change too much in itself. There are little bits of synthesizer tracks which are accepted by Rock audiences, but basically I would say there aren't too many new trends.