Uli Jon Roth on TITAN'S OF METAL

Miguel Trapezaris, an associate of Metal Temple in Cyprus, managed to squeeze in a chat […]
November 19, 2015

Miguel Trapezaris, an associate of Metal Temple in Cyprus, managed to squeeze in a chat with Uli Jon Roth on our behalf about the upcoming Titans Of Metal shows in Cyprus and Israel.

Hello Uli, good evening, I would like to thank you for taking this interview for Metal Temple Online Magazine. How have you been these days?

Hello! I'm traveling through Germany at the moment, standing outside of a cafe at the moment, dark and windy, the lousiest time of the year in this country unlike Israel and Cyprus!

Following your spectacular career of I believe 4 decades, along with your past and current achievements, and here you are, taking part of the Titans Of Metal productions both in Israel and in Cyprus. Please share what did you think when you were first approached about it?

Well it was an invitation that was very interesting for me as it was a chance to play in Israel for the first time, there were several invitations in the past and somehow they never worked out, and this time it was a chance to have a show in Tel Aviv so I wanted to go for it. This time I'll be sharing the stage with a lot of other people and everyone plays a few songs, normally I don't do that, normally I play a whole show, but this time it will be more of a guest appearance. It should be interesting, I'm looking forward to it.

After so many years in the business, and I know that have gone through a lot of special occasions in your life, which I am sure some are rather similar to this one here, are you excited about it?

At the moment I don't really know what to expect! I hope it will be fun, I'll do my best as always. It's a new event and new concept so it's good to support things like that.

Lineups of musicians, which some never played together live, performing classics songs, some of them songs of their current or past bands or even solo careers. What do you feel about the concept of such an event? Do you believe that it is event such as these are the true moments of unity in Rock and Metal music?

I hope it will work out alright! It's always a risk to play with people you haven't played with before, but at the same time I'd like to play with people I haven't played with before. Some of the people on the bill I have played with before, like Chuck Billy, we had a show together at the 70,000 Tons of Metal, we played one of my songs Sails of Charon, and he came on the stage and sang it, and that was great. Hope we can do that again!

Let's start with the Israeli show of Titans Of Metal. You probably noticed what is going on with BDS and their followers, and how they have been trying to convince artists, sometimes not in a sensible or humane manner, to cancel appearances in Israel due to their supposed beliefs and opinions regarding Israel. Where do you stand in all this? Do you believe that the power of music, as it is a form of art, shall triumph no matter what?

Well you see, I'd love to go to Israel because I've never been there, for me it's an extremely interesting country and all the Israeli friends I have are great people, in fact my sound engineer on the last tour is Israeli and he's got a great sense of humour and taught me a few words in Hebrew, and so I'm looking forward to broadening my horizons in that scope! I'm really the opposite of all that in that I see music as a force of good and bringing people together instead of dividing them. I don't believe in segregation.

Oh right! Because I believe you've visited Cyprus before, correct?

Yes actually, we played in Larnaca at the Savino club, and also in Limassol.

Well in Cyprus we have a kind of complicated history, with the division between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, but we very often see people from both sides at the big metal shows having fun.

Exactly, my experience is if you have people in the same room listening to the same music, they come together and forget about these divisions, a lot of the divisions are cultural and to do with upbringing, and also with political programming.My favourite people are the people who form their own opinions and thoughts. I believe in peace-making and not war-making. Music is the #1 tool for peace-making.

Have you heard anything about the Metal and Rock scenes in Israel?

Well no, I know very little about the scene! I've been told we have some fans there, but because I've never been there (I know the Scorpions have) but I personally have not been exposed to it.

So what do you expect the fans to be like? What kind of reception do you expect to get?

Well, being a southern Mediterranean, I'm expecting a warm reception. My experiences in all the southern countries are that they really get into the music and know how to enjoy themselves. I would hope it would be the same again! But having never played there before I can't really comment!

Let's move forward to Cyprus, Israel's neighbor and one of the doors to Europe. Titans Of Metal will be heading to Cyprus right after Israel in 18.12.2016 for a show in Nicosia. Have you ever played in Cyprus before? What do you expect from the Cypriots fans?

I'm expecting a really good reaction! I don't usually really 'expect' a reaction because that would be presumptuous, I just go and walk onto the stage and try to do my best and usually the reception is great, and it was certainly the case both times when we played there, so if I play well and everyone else plays well too, I think we'll have a great time.

Let's talk about you a bit. It has been decades since your departure from Scorpions, but there are still moments live when you are taking part in their shows if I am not mistaken, getting those old recollections of the past. Do you miss that era in the 70's?

No I don't miss it! it's part of my history, and I'm not really a person to look back. I really enjoyed that period for what it was, it was something unique and was a great time for us and I appreciate it. But my mind is different now so I don't miss it.

So you kind of left that behind and moved on, it was in the past and that was it.

Well you see, I feel I'm playing better now than I used to back then, but if I felt I wasn't playing as well as I did then then yes, maybe I'd miss it! (laughs). For me that was a time of learning, back then.

Well that actually leads into my next question. As someone who's followed your work, your style has changed a lot since then to the kind of thing you do now; you're got a very eclectic and artistic style now. What's the current new music you're working on like and what's the direction we can expect from you?

At the moment I've been writing some acoustic pieces, we did an acoustic tour in Greece in the summer and I really enjoyed that, and I'm going to do more of that, I'm getting a special guitar made with a flamenco neck and a regular electric neck. But when we play Titans of Metal I'm going to play the older Scorpions pieces that I wrote.

Uli, I wish to thank you for the interview, it has been quite an honor to interview you for Metal Temple Online Magazine, all the best in the coming shows of Titans Of Metal.

Thank you too! I hope to see you in Nicosia! Thanks very much!

Uli Jon Roth
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