Michael Schenker is a hard rock and heavy metal guitarist of UFO and a founding member of the Scorpions. He signed with Chrysalis Records in autumn 1979 after leaving UFO. He is the younger brother of Rudolf Schenker of Scorpions fame.
Michael was born in Sarstedt, Germany. He started playing in his early teens when his brother Rudolph brought home a Flying V guitar, which captured Michael’s imagination. His playing style is unusual in that he seems not to use conventionally practiced guitar scales but seems instead to improvise.
Schenker joined UFO under unusual circumstances. The band left the UK to play some dates in Germany. Their guitarist at the time; Bernie Marsden, forgot his passport and was unable to make the first gig. At the venue UFO spotted Michael playing a soundcheck with the Scorpions and managed to persuade him into playing that evening’s show. Despite the language barrier; he spoke no English and they spoke no German, something clearly “clicked” and Schenker brought the ellusive X factor to the band and took them to another level musically.
Schenker has had a turbulent career with UFO, often walking out mid song and causing shows to be cancelled. He is evidently as temperamental as he is gifted. Schenker says his playing with UFO is like chocolate: fantastic for a while but once you’ve had enough…
Clearly a musical prodigy, Schenker was one of the 1970’s most inspirational guitarists, influencing later musicians such as Kirk Hammett from the band Metallica.