Our career speaks for itself. We had too many hit songs, too many rock songs that we could perform live very good.”
W (NM): Hello, Mr. Rarebell. How are you?
Herman Rarebell: I’m very good, how are you guys?
W (NM): So, thank you so much again for such a quick reply. It was great to get in touch with you.
HR: Oh, wonderful. I’m anywhere for the next two weeks before the broadcast again. So where are you guys now?
W (NM): We’re in São Paulo now, I’m here with my other colleague, Daniel Dystyler.
W (DD): Hi, Mr. Herman, how are you?
HR: Oh, very good, thank you very much.
W (NM): So, as I said, we are the number one Heavy Metal podcast in Brazil and we are very honored to speak with you. We believe that Scorpions was not only the most important Heavy Metal band in the history of Germany, but also the most important Rock band in the history of Germany. Do you agree with us?
HR: As you know, I joined the band in 1977, in May. But before, of course, there were other bands in Germany, I don’t know if you know bands like The Rattles, is a really big band from Germany, Helloween is another one that comes out of Germany. And recently, Rammstein came out of Germany.
W (NM): Yeah, sure, but it’s great to speak with you since you were part of Scorpions for the most important period of the band, I believe, right?
HR: Yeah, absolutely. As you know I wrote a lot of lyrics for the band and other songs like “Another piece of meat”, “Passion rules the game”. So, of course, we were a good song writing team, you’re right.
W (NM): So, just to start, let us know, when you were younger, when you started playing the drums, who were your main influences?
HR: I started really playing the drums very early, when I was about 12, 13 years old, and in those days my main influences were, of course The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. And later on, as I became older, my main influence became Led Zeppelin, this was when I was about 16, 17.
W (DD) Yeah, Jon Bonham was a great drummer, right?
HR: Yeah, he was my favorite drummer. Of course, I liked very much Keith Moon, from The Who, but my love was really for Hard Rock, like Led Zeppelin, that really impressed me very much, before there was of course, Yardbirds.
W (DD): Since we are talking about those early days, can you tell us a little bit how did you join the Scorpions?
HR: Well, I lived in England from 1971 to 1977 and one day I heard from Michael Schenker, Rudolf Schenker’s brother, that the Scorpions were looking for a drummer. So I went for the audition and I gained the job in 1977, in the spring time, when I went to the audition.
W (NM): Talking about the song writing, like Neil Peart, from Rush, you were one of the main lyric writers of the band, during the most successful years of Scorpions. I guess you played an unusual part for a drummer. Tell me a little bit about the experience of being a writer.
HR: Well, first of all, when I joined the Scorpions my English was the best in the band, because, as you know, I lived in England before, where I met the Scorpions, for 6 years, so my English was fluent. And my first song became kind of a big song, “He’s a woman, she’s a man”. So the band then saw I could write lyrics in English and from this moment on and the next album came up and I just started to write and there was “Another piece of meat” and then “Don’t make no promises your body can’t keep” and then the next album suddenly with songs like “Falling in love”, and on the “Animal magnetism” was the famous “Make it real” and all those songs started by lyrics and then, of course, “Blackout” and “Rock you like a hurricane”, just to name the two big ones. But as you go to the early albums of Scorpions you see my name all over the place.
I think you people really know how to rock and roll and I would very much like to be back there, and play in your country.”
W (NM): You mentioned probably the two greatest Scorpions’ songs, in my opinion at least. What was the highlight of your career so far? Do you have one highlight of a couple of highlights you could mention?
HR: I think one of the highlights was obviously 1984, at the Rock in Rio show, which when you go to my website I still have the drums solo from the night in January of 1985 in Rock in Rio on my website, hermanrarebell.com. So that was definitely a big show for me and of course in the year earlier the US Festival in San Bernardino was a big thing for me and then, of course, you know, “Rock you like a hurricane”, playing in Madison Square Garden. I would consider them for me, my high points. Obviously, later on, there was good music, peace festival in London and Moscow when the wall came down in Berlin, all those political movements were very touchy for me.
W (DD): And since you mentioned Rock in Rio I, which was in 85’, I have a curiosity here. For most Brazilians, the first contact that we had with Scorpions or at least the first time we saw Scorpions live was at that year. Tell us a little bit of what you remember about those years since for us is such a great thing to remember.
HR: Well, for me the same, as I said. My drums solo on my website, I think it was the best drums solo I did in my entire career. That’s the reason I put it on my website. I had fantastic two weeks there. As you know, the first concert was on the 5th of January and the next again only two weeks later, and we stayed in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, I had a fantastic time, going out every night, partying. I think you people really know how to rock and roll and I would very much like to be back there, and play in your country.
W (DD): And you’re planning to come to Brazil with your project with Michael Schenker?
HR: Well, the thing is right now, Michael Schenker is doing a broad strike with three guitar players. I don’t know when me and Michael will get back together again . We did a tour together in England, I think it was very successful, we played together with Black Country Communion, we played in a concert for a big, big festival called “The High Voltage Festival” on the 24th of July. You get on youtube, Michael Schenker in “High Voltage Festival”, and you can see Rudolf Schenker also came on stage and played “Rocking like a hurricane” with us.
W (NM): Tell us a little bit about your relationship with Michael, since you still have contact with him and probably he was the one that got you to play in Scorpions in those early days.
HR: Yeah, he was the one who got me into the Scorpions, he was playing already then with the British band, the UFO, and one day we met at a park and he said “Look, my brother is coming over and he’s looking for a drummer, I think you should go and audition” so I went to audition and what he didn’t say to me was there were another 50 drummers there also to get the job. But in the end, to make the long story short, I got the job and then two weeks later I joined them in Hanover, in Germany and became their drummer and stayed their drummer for twenty years, as you see. And the most important thing here is, I think personally Michael Schenker and myself go back this long now, for over forty years. And then I played with him last week in England and we had fun together. So let’s see what this winter brings, maybe we’ll play again very soon, but right now I know he’s planning a guitar hero tour with another two guitar players, one is Uli Jon Roth and the other one is Leslie West, so they will tour, but I don’t know when I will play with him again, maybe next year, that could be very much possible.
W (DD): We hope for that.
HR: Now the Scorpions with Rudolf haven’t really played the songs as in the “The High Voltage Festival”, it could be a possibility, that something like this happens, but let’s see what future brings.
W (DD): We have a classic question on our show that we ask every single person we interview, can you tell us a song that makes you feel like headbanging whatever you might be, you can’t refrain yourself, you can’t stop headbanging, which song would that be?
HR: Well, this song for me definitely is “He’s a woman, she’s a man”, the typical handbanging song, you really wanna shake your head. “He’s a woman, she’s a man”.
HR: Another one, if there’s possibility, of course, “Another piece of meat”.
W (DD): Excellent, we’re gonna listen that on our show now, can you present the song?
HR: Yes. Hi, guys, this is Herman Rarebell from the Scorpions. Right now you’re gonna listen to “Another piece of meat”.
I played already with Michael Schenker, I played already with Rudolf Schenker, who knows what will come.”
W (NM): Herman, tell us a little bit about you relationship with the other members of Scorpions, since you guys got together again in the “Wacken Festival” a few years ago, right?
HR: Yeah. Obviously, we have a good relationship, I didn’t leave in bad terms. Don’t forget that I left the band after 20 years of staying friends, you know? Whenever we see each other, we play with each other. But right now, I think the relationship will transform into something else, I don’t know the future. The Scorpions are finished and now something new comes. As you know, I played already with Michael Schenker, I played already with Rudolf Schenker, who knows what will come, ok?
W (DD): And about your new projects, I think we heard that you had a record company, Monaco Records, is that true? Tell us a little bit about that.
HR: I had Monaco Records, I stopped Monaco Records when the internet took completely over, ’cause we were an old fashioned record company, who produced artists for big labels, and I sold this company already back, nearly now ten years ago… I had the company from 1996 to 2001, Monaco Records, yes. And we signed in 5 years, 5 different troupes and 5 different artists and after this we closed the company, because we didn’t get any business, ‘cause Internet took over completely, the world changed drastically in 2001, as you know.
W (NM): Tell us a little bit about your project, “Herman Ze German & Band”.
HR: Yeah, I have right now very, very little band performance in Germany, but if you go to my website, you can listen to the music. On this website, what I do right now, I have songs samples on it, also video on the record, taken of tons of sources in the name of Herman Rarebell. And also I finished book right now, which will come out the first week in October, the book is called “And Speaking of Scorpions” and in this book I will talk about my life with the Scorpions, behind the scenes of the Scorpions, how everything came, how the band became big and successful, how songs were written, how we recorded… all those things will be answered in the book. So I think is a must have for Scorpions fans.
W (DD): On our episodes – this one is a special one about Scorpions – usually we give away prizes to our wikimates, our listeners, and in order for them to win the prize we pose a question and the first one who finds the answer gets the prize. So, we’re probably gonna give away something related to Scorpions, would you mind proposing a question for our listeners and who ever gets it right will get it?
HR: In which year did Herman Rarebell leave the Scorpions?
W (NM): It’s a curiosity for me, how did you guys kept the band on the top for such a long time? You had in all your live albums, since “Tokyo tapes”, “US Festival”, “Rock in Rio” and the early 90’s when the band release “Wind of change”, also a huge moment for the band. How did you guys keep such a high level, such a high popularity for so many years?
W (DD): And also keeping the live performances as a key, I believe.
HR: I think, you know, our career speaks for itself. We had too many hit songs, too many rock songs, classic big songs, that we could perform live very good and I think that the band keeps coming out with good material, they keep coming out with good songs, keep coming out with good albums and then you have a long life and band.
W (NM): Could you choose one song from Scorpions for us to listen now that you’re really proud for having written?
HR: Well, I’m very proud to have written this song, “Passion rules the game”, and I hope you enjoy very much.
W (NM): It was a real pleasure to speak to you, Mr. Rarebell and thanks again, we just spoke to the legendary drummer of Scorpions for the most successful years of the band, Mr. Herman Rarebell, it was a real honor to speak with the drummer of the most successful band in the history of German Rock.
HR: Thank you very much, my friend. I hope to see you very soon.
W (DD): Thank you, Mr. Herman.
HR: Bye, bye, then.