Uli Jon Roth
Everyone knows Ulrich Roth from his trademark performances on the first five Scorpions releases, and the famous Tokyo Tapes. Most know him from his solo career and his work with Electric Sun, and the founding of his Sky Academy. Many don't know about his pictured life pursuit of the arts; like his oil painting, and writng, or his avid appreciation for Plato and Greek Philosophy, or even his being a vegetarian, and lover of animals.
Almost as if taken by force did we dialogue with one another about these very concepts. Polarized and mesmerized, in trance, all night long, it seemed we philosophized, in search of the peace of the mind. Then we momentarily discussed his new album - Under A Dark Sky, and his recent top of the bill US Tour. I invite you all to come sail in the season of sharing....
MettleAngel: I am pleased to meet you Uli, even though we had to wait until after the show to do this interview, and it is going on 3 a.m. I did not want to pass on an opportunity to wax poetic with you. I understand that you are really into Greek Philosophy. Who is your favorite ancient Greek Philosopher?
MettleAngel: What about all the other famous men, and even the Pre-Socratics? What about Plato's pupil Aristotle, who tutored Alexander The Great?
MettleAngel: Which of Plato's works do you find most interesting?
MettleAngel: What commonalities of Plato inspire you the most, his 'Theory Of Forms And Ideas', his 'Cave Principle' motif from The Republic?
MettleAngel: You mean like the Neo-Platonists like Plotinus and Origen. Gnostics, and free thinkers of the Third Century were too obsessed with the 'Fusion Of The Horizon' ideal, of adapting these thoughts to the early rubric of Christianity. When St. Thomas Aquinas penned his Summa Theologica, he misappropriated the essence of what Aristolte intended. Thankfully, the Orientalists preserved the sacred tradion; especially as far as Book I and II of his Poetics.
MettleAngel: This was brilliant, because he used Socrates as his main character contending with the Sophists, Cynics, and Skeptics to draw out truth from within them. Like Jesus in The New Testament, Socrates was fiction, and the actual life he lived, and what he may or may not have taught, was exaggerated in Plato's works. My favorite quote from Socrates is, "The only thing I know with absolute certainty, is that I know nothing at all!" This does not mean that ignorance is bliss, but rather ignorance is an illusion, and for many an excuse. Socrates was always guided by his own inner voice, his eudaimonia that is 'good demon'. This word translates as 'happiness' in Greek.
MettleAngel: You can bet that I don't have too many conversations with musicians about Plato either, but I love to wax on about him, and Greek or Latin Philosophy. In the interest of our audience, and your fans, we will discuss the music. Tomorrow, you will perform at B.B. Kings in New York, as the last leg of this US Tour. You will be joined on stage by Alex Skolnick, Chris Caffery, and Cincinnati's own Joe Stump.
MettleAngel: I wish you all the best! I also understand you are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of The Tokyo Tapes, a hallmark to your time well spent with the Scorpions.
MettleAngel: I did not even mention that, but the spirit is in the air. To be honest, Uli, I discovered the Scorpions in the '80s with Blackout. I did not know about the first five albums on which you played. I recall buying this Greatest Hits CD used about ten years ago, and I did not recognize most songs, as they were culled from the early days. The only songs I knew were from thrash bands who had covered the hits like Testament doing 'Sails Of Charon', or Helstar and Toxik covering 'She's A Man - He's A Woman'. Wendy and I did watch the 2006 Reunion Wacken DVD where you and Herman Rarebell rejoined the Scorpions to play some classic songs.
MettleAngel: I'm a huge fan of Michael Schenker, and I knew he left the Scorps, to join UFO, another amazing band, but I never purchased the early albums, until the remasters came out. After watching you perform this evening, I can see why so many musicians consider you as a main influence. Incidentally, Joe Satriani played House of Blues tonight in Cleveland, so many were in attendance; but I spoke with several fans, who chose to see you live tonight, rather than him. I know I'd chose you over him anyday, even if he did train Kirk Hammett.
MettleAngel: You have inspired the German Metal Scene, and laid down the grass roots of what became Power Metal.
MettleAngel: Besides being a stellar musician, I understand you do oil paintings. I admire how well rounded you are. You have such an awesome aura and countenance, the epitome of 'Mens Sana In Corpore Sano'.
MettleAngel: You have a sound mind and body, because you are a vegetarian, correct?
MettleAngel: I can almost hear the chorus singing 'The Magic Word', from Under The Sky, "Stop Killing!" So, am I to assume that you have been this way most of your life?
MettleAngel: You mean Idi Amin?
MettleAngel: That is noble. I was a vegetarian for over a decade. I was conscious of my health, and I also love animals. I know how meat is manufactured in First World Countries, so even though I now eat meat; I bless my food, and identitfy with the suffering of the animal. The meat industry is a far cry from our ancestors hunting and gathering; but I do not proselytize or preach that meat is murder.
MettleAngel: You mean the 'rabbit food'? Why do people assume vegetarians only eat vegetables? I know what a struggle it is. I love nuts, and when I was a vegetarian, I ate them for protein. I was appalled to discover that Planters Peanuts Company uses gelatin on their nuts. Gelatin is pulverized animal bones!
MettleAngel: I see you only wear eathen fibers, no leather. I admire you for your dilligent persistance. Most vegetarians I know were braggards who smoked, drank, and seldom exercised.
MettleAngel: I agree, I don't smoke either, I cannot stand the smell. My discomfort should not be grounds for violation of other's freedom. There is no evidence that second hand smoke causes cancer. I want everyone to live and let live, free of judgement and condemnation.
MettleAngel: Your abnegation is what makes
you so sincere and a qualified musician. A honest vegetarian does not
feel compelled to advertise or broadcast his choice.
MettleAngel: That what you resist, persists! But, enough with our personal beliefs, how did you get Mark Boals to sing on your new album?
MettleAngel: Yes, serendipity indeed! I love Mark's vocals, he sings on two benchmark Malmsteen CDs: Trilogy and Alchemy. You play quite differently from Yngwie, with more spirituality and alacrity. Mark matches your merit. What is interesting is that Tim 'Ripper' Owens now sings for Yngwie; both him and Mark are from Ohio. Tim from Cleveland, Mark from Youngstown.
MettleAngel: I also enjoy your Hendrix renderings.
MettleAngel: You play three hour sets each night, this has to become taxing. Do you ever get tired while playing?
MettleAngel: I watched you challenge my wife to a game of foozeball. I too believe in the energy and triumphant, magic power of music.
MettleAngel: Which is why even at 3 a.m. we both feel inspired in this conversation. Tell me a little bit about Sky Academy. I know you are fond of the Greek Philosopher Pythagorus, and implement his mathematical theories into musical practice. Your own invention, the sky guitar, even is based on Pythagorean Theorems.
MettleAngel: So is the experience of listening to music, and feeling the vibration while you perform on stage, for that matter. I know you like all types of music from all over the world, and all over the world, everyone apprecaites your music. Uli, thank you for your time, your patience, and you openess. I am truly grateful that we were able to do this interview.
MettleAngel: Yes, I am exhausted, but also enthusiastic, which in Greek renders as replete with the essence of God. Everyone knows Metal is my God, and I am all about being mettle!