Tag Archives: scorpions

The Icon That is Uli Jon Roth

By Andrew Catania

Uli Jon Roth has had an amazing musical career which comprised over 40+ years of dominance in the rock guitarist’s music industry. He had been an icon for all the metal guitarists and the younger generation. What a magic he has in his fingers which bends the strings in such a way that it emanates breathtaking tunes from his finger tip. Don’t you believe?

Trust me, listen to this The sails of Charon – from the album and feel how master this man is in playing the intricate nuances of the guitar.

Being a German guitarist, at a very early age, he became famous after taking the charge of Scorpions as lead guitarist. It was a very sudden decision when two lead guitarists of Scorpions band (at that time) left the band for joining UFO. Then the remaining band members merge with them to in order to sustain the band. Uli Jon Roth had a band with the name of Dawn Road at that time which he had to end the existence of Scorpions. In reality, Scorpions gave him more space and chance to explore himself as a lead guitarist, songwriter, and occasional singer. ‘Tokyo Tapes’ was there major hit, which was recorded in Japan and sold nearly 1 million copies all around the world.

By 1978, he left Scorpions and formed his own band by the name of ‘Electric Sun’. He released three albums through this band and all of them were dedicated to renowned public and social personalities. Then, later on, he started a new phase of his music journey as a solo career in which performed at various concerts such as at London Wembley Arena in 1998, Castle Donington in 2001, Wacken Open Air festival in 2006, Rock am Ring Festival Germany in 2007 and 2008. All of these concerts were mega hits and were leased on DVDs as well. In the meanwhile, he also worked on his exclusive full-length studio album as well named as ‘Under a Dark Sky’ and released it in 2007. Recently in 2015, he released a studio album by the name of ‘Scorpions Revisited’ which was recorded in Germany. The special thing about this album is that he added all his personal favorites from old Scorpions songs. This album was a huge success which led to a world musical tour as well for the electrical rock band music. After seeing this success and getting a too much positive response from the audience Uli Jon Roth initiated a second tour named as ‘The Ultimate Guitar Experience’ with his previous fellow guitarists. This tour again had a much positive feedback and response from the critics as well.

Apart from being a lead guitarist and songwriter, in the 1980’s Uli Jon Roth initiated towards the construction of custom guitars named as ‘Sky Guitars’. It had some additional frets in its construction for emulating the high notes of violin from the bass of the guitar. The first Sky Guitar, they used had almost 30 frets. They were quite popular and made in different shapes, sizes and with a number of frets according to the desired need

Uli Jon Roth: Master of the Sky Guitar

By Andrew Catania

Master guitarist, and an excellent keyboardist, a refined vocalist, and a virtuosic composer: Ulrich Roth aka Uli Jon Roth is an acclaimed German musician, whose name emerged and gained prominence in the early 1970s. Having tested his mettle on a variety of instruments, Roth finally landed on playing the guitar, which turned out to be just the right decision on his part. After that, it didn’t take him much to reach the stature of global fame and repute.

Uli Roth was brought up by his father, who instilled in him a love for aesthetic arts since a very young age. Uli grew up reading classic literature, writing poetry, painting, and learning about visual arts. It wasn’t until 1968 that he realized, his true potential lay in music. Electric guitars, in particular, caught his attention, and having realized what he was going to do in his life, he embarked in pursuit of his passion. Uli staged his first concert later that same year, with Blue Infinity, his first band. Progressing with his high school studies, and after-school music lessons in tandem, Uli partnered with a number of bands during that time, and also cofounded Dawn Road in the early 1970s.

While Dawn Road was still in its incubation phase, Michael Schenker of the famous ‘Scorpions’, was offered a permanent position in UFO. This might have been the end of the Scorpions, but, before leaving for England, Michael invited Uli to join the Scorpions in his place. The end of the year marked the merger of the Scorpions, and Dawn Road, and naming the joint feat after the Scorpions since they held a sounder name in the music sphere.

Uli Roth continued to play as the lead guitarist for the Scorpions. Along with the other members including Achim Kirsching, Jurgen Rosenthal, Francis Buchholz, Klaus Meine, and Rudolf Schenker. The Scorpions released four studio albums until 1977, and a live record titled ‘Tokyo Tapes’, which was recorded during their Taken by Force Tour to Japan. Tokyo Tapes was an ultimate hit and bagged an overwhelming response from across the globe. However, Uli decided to take the high road, and bid farewell to the Scorpions in 1978, before the Tokyo Tapes release.

Electric Sun turned out to be the next milestone in Uli’s career. Cofounded by Uli Roth, Ule Rigen and Clive Edwards, the band’s original lineup was changed after the departure of Clive Edwards. The band released 3 full albums titled ‘Earthquake’ in 1979 which was dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, ‘Fire Wind’ (dedicated to Anwar Sadat) in 1981, ‘Beyond the Astral Skies’ in 1985 and a tribute number titled ‘Enola Gay’ dedicated to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidents.

Aside from his band associations, Uli has also established an impressive solo profile over time, in multiple genres including the hard rock, neoclassical, progressive rock, heavy metal, and psychedelic. Some of his highly acclaimed solo feats include two Volumes of Transcendental Sky Guitar (2000), Sky of Avalon in 2008, A Metamorphosis of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (2003), Scorpions Revisited in 2015, and Aquilla Suite – 12 Arpeggio Concert Etudes for Solo Piano (1991).