Around this time, Michael was occupied with copying the Shadows and the Beatles. Michael formed his first band called THE ENERVATES with three of his schoolmates to perform on a school party. However, only in about three months, the band was forced to break up. This band was formed to play the Beatle songs, and Michael played a role of John Lennon. This was the first time and, at the same time, the last time Michael was a vocalist in the band.


Aiming at forming a band which is more advanced than THE ENERVATES, Michael and Holger Twelve carefully chose the members. This band, at first named CRY and later renamed CRY EXPRESS, was reputed as "first real beat band in Hanover" and "youngest beat group in Germany." With this band, Michael Schenker started his professional career.


After the troubles among members of Cry Express had come to light, Michael and his bandmate Holgar Twelve formed a new band with Klause Meine and Mike Grimke (both ex-Mushroom) who were introduced to them by Rudolf, Michael's elder brother. They named themselves THE COPERNICS. Their sound which featured a unique combination of Michael and Holgar's play influenced by British rock and psychedelic flavor added by Clause and Mike made the Copernicus earn fame in German music scene to some extent.


Scorpions was first formed around 1968 with Rudolf Schenker as its core member. After Michael Schenker replaced a former Scorpions guitarist who was arrested for drug carrying and Claus Meine joined the band early 1971, Scorpions started its truly processional activities. In October 1971, Scorpions and Metronome, a major German label signed a recording contract, and they completed a recording of their first album called "Lonesome Crow" in only seven days. This album enjoyed great popularity in Germany, and they were invited to appear on many TV and radio pops programs.

At one concert in Hamburg, Michael Schenker locked the door with his Les Paul in the room and he could not find the key before the show opened. Then, Rudolf let Michael use his Flying V. Michael felt this guitar fitted himself so well and it was never returned to Rudolf until Michael joined UFO later.

Michael used to love to play Ritchie Blackmore and Leslie West as his idols. However, soon after Michael joined Scorpions, in order to establish his own guitar-playing style, Michael stopped listening to their records and copying them.

UFO No.4

In June, 1973, Scorpions acted as a support band of UFO and Chicken Shack who performed at concerts in West Germany. Then, Michael played a pinch hitter role for UFO as Bernie Marsden, a then UFO guitarist suddenly disappeared. After that, Michael was forcibly hired away by UFO and moved to London from Germany with a new Flying V returning the borrowed V to Rudolf. Rudolf thought that the loss of Michael would affect the very fate of Scorpions, but he as a Michael's brother let him go for his big leap in the future with only one condition: to write some songs for Scorpions' second album. Actually, Michael provided the songs called 'Fly to the Rainbow', 'Fly People Fly' and 'Far Away' for Scorpions' "Fly to the Rainbow" album

In January, 1974, new UFO with Michael signed a recording contract with Chrysalis and immediately recorded a new album called "Phenomenon."

UFO Nos.5-7

In May 1974, Phil Mogg brought Paul Chapman into the band. However, maybe because of the existence of this second guitarist, or Michael's inability to speak English as fluently as he wanted, Michael for the first time disappeared for a very short period of time. His brother Rudolf later analyzed his disappearance as follows: "As Michael could not speak English fluently enough to communicate with other members, which led him to feel isolated in the band. Also, Scorpions was a democratic band, but UFO was under Phil Mogg's dictatorship, which made Michael die mentally. Moreover, Phil brought Paul into the band without telling Michael why he was needed for UFO, which made Michael feel that he was not trusted as a guitarist." In January 1975, to bring Michael back to the band, UFO dismissed Paul Chapman. Then, the band moved the place of their activities to the U.S.A. In July 1975, Danny Peyronel (ex-Heavy Metal Kids) officially joined UFO.

Album released by UFO No.6: "Force It"

Album released by UFO No.7: "No Heavy Petting"

UFO No.8

In July 1976, UFO dismissed Danny Peyronel who was replaced by Paul Raymnd (ex-Chicken Shack/Savoy Brown), a competent keyboard player who can also play guitar. Michael said, "Danny was a wonderful player, but we were not a rock'n'roll band. His playing style did not fit us. Phil for the first time which became the last time asked for my advice for this matter. But after that, he again become the king in the band." In July, 1977, Michael disappeared from UFO, which was the third time. He went back to Hanover, his hometown with his beloved wife Gaby. Around this time, it was reported that Michael joined a cult religious body called the Moon. UFO brought Paul Chapman back as a pinch-hitter to tour in Europe and the U.S.A.

In August, 1977, Michael temporally rejoined UFO. In September, "Lights Out" album marked big sales in the U.S.A., which paved their way to bloom in the American market. In June, 1978, UFO started their U.S. tour for live recording. However, Michael made his fourth disappearance in November. He again went back to Hanover with Gaby, and was virtually dismissed by UFO.

Albums released by UFO No.8: "Lights Out," "Obsession," and "Strangers In The Night"


After coming back to Hanover in November 1978, Michael happened to know that Scorpions that had just lost their guitarist Uli Jon Roth, was recording a new album. Michael joined the recording of their 7th album called "Love Drive" as merely a guest guitarist who would support Mathias Jabs. In February 1979, at the result of joining of Michael, Mathias withdrew from the band. On March 23, Scorpions started their European tour. Since Michael collapsed due to mental fatigue just before the concert in Cologne, Mathias returned to the band their concerts in Germany. Michael returned to the band for their Paris concerts. However, he again collapsed during their concert in Belgium, and he withdrew from Scorpions. He left for Marseilles with his wife Gaby, and then started their 14-day vagabond journey to Barcelona by motorbike.

Album released by SCORPIONS No.7: "Love Drive"


In order to finally start his solo project, Michael produced a demo tape, and, with this demo tape, Michael visited on August 25, 1979 the backstage of the 19th Reading Festival where Peter Mench who later assumed responsibility of management for Michael Shenker Group in the U.K. was introduced to Michael by Rudolf Schenker. He there determined to form his own band. He then started rehearsal with Billy Sheehan, Denny Carmassi (ex-Montrose) and Gary Barden which lasted four weeks. However, in January 1980, Michael was forced to leave London for Hanover, his hometown, to heal in the hospital his body and soul ruined by drug and alcohol. It was April 1980 that Michael made a miraculous recovery and came back to London to start a full-scale solo activity. Michael, together with Mo Foster, Simon Philips (both were studio musicians), Gary Barden and Don Airey (ex-Cozy Powell's Hammer-Colosseum II), started a recording of his solo debut album called "Micael Schenker Group", and it was released in August 1980.

Album released by MSG No.2: "Micael Schenker Group"


On August 8, 1980, Michael Schenker brought Cozy Powell (ex-Rainbow), a long-wanted drummer into the band. Michael, Cozy and Gary Barden soon started their secret rehearsal. Then, Paul Raymond (ex-UFO) and Chris Glen (ex-Zal) joined the band, and MSG No.3 was officially inaugurated. They conducted their first U.K. tour from September 2 to October 2, 1980 and first U.S. tour from November to December 22, 1980. They then started the recording of their second studio album called "MSG". In the intervals of the recording, Michael participated in a recording of Bernie Marsden's second solo album called "Look At Me Now" as a "guest clapper." They then went to Japan for their first Japanese tour (Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Osaka and Kyoto) from August 12 to August 20. Immediately after the Japan tour, they made their appearance on the stage of the 2nd Monsters of Rock festival. In September 1981, they again started their U.K. tour. On September 19, 1981, high words were exchanged between Michael Schenker and Cozy Powell, and Michael suddenly went back to London. Therefore, the gig in Bradford which was planned on the day was canceled and postponed to October 4. In November 1981, Gary Barden and Paul Raymond quit the band one after another. There was a rumor that political pressures made them leave the band, i.e., they were fired by the MSG management who was planning for the renovation of the band.

Albums released by MSG No.3: "MSG" and "One Night At Budokan"


In February 1982, Graham Bonnet (ex-Rainbow) joined MSG because he was asked by his old friend Cozy Powell. But immediately after that, Cozy mysteriously left the band (it was rumored that he was approached by David Coverdale about joining Whitesnake), and Chris Glen invited his former colleague Ted McKenna (ex-Greg Lake) to MSG as a new drummer in April 1982. In that month, Michael appeared on the stage of Hammersmith Odeon in London during the show of Scorpions. In June 1982, they, with Tommy Eyre (ex-Gary Moore) as a guest keyboards player, started the recording of the "Assault Attack" album at Le Chateau studio in France, and recording of vocal tracks and mixing were conducted at the Musicland Studio in Munich. On August 27, 1982, right after the secret "warming-up gig" at an industrial art college in Sheffield in preparation for the upcoming Reading Festival, Graham Bonnet suddenly left the band. It is said that behind amplifiers on the stage at the secret gig, Steve Casey, Michael's guitar roadie played a guitar, Andy Nye played keyboards, and Hugh McKenna, a brother of Ted McKenna sang as a backing vocalist. It is said that this was because MSG had lost Paul Raymond, a multi-instrumental player (guitar, keyboards and backing vocals) and they needed his substitute. Graham opposed to this methodology and he quarreled with Michael fiercely before the show. Furthermore, Graham pulled this hidden guitarist from the backstage and declared that it was this guy who actually played all the solos and not Michael. Bonnet proceeded to insult Schenker and it ended with a fist fight between Graham and Michael on stage.

Album released by MSG No.5: "Assault Attack"')


With the sudden withdrawal of Graham Bonnet, the Group urgently brought ex-vocalist Gary Barden back and, after rehearing for only two hours, they appeared on the stage of the Reading Festival on August 29, 1982. Gary appeared on the stage saying "Surprise! Surprise!" On September 14, they made their appearance on the stage of Golden Summer Night Festival in Frankfurt. After that, the vocal track of the single-cut tune "Dancer" was replaced by Gary's take in a studio in Germany. They actually planned to replace all vocal tracks of the Assault Attack album, but due to the contracted deadline of album release, Graham Bonnet version of the album was released (Thank God!!). In October 1982, Andy Nye "officially" joined the band and they started their European tour. During the period between January 13 and 20, 1983, they conducted their second Japan tour (Fukuoka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo). The Group toured in Europe as a concert opener for Judas Priest from March 20 to the end of April.

Album released by MSG No.6: "Built To Destroy (English Original)"


In 1983, MSG signed a management contract with CCC Management. In October 1983, with the direction of CCC, MSG brought Derek St. Holmes (ex-Ted Nugent, etc.) into the band and remixed the already-released "Built To Destroy" album at a studio in New York for its release in the U.S.A. The English version albums were then retrieved from the market instead. In October, 1983, the band toured in the U.K. and then in European continent. During the European tour, Holmes left the band. His post was replaced by John Verity for only a couple of gigs. From January 15 to 25, 1984, they conducted their third Japan tour (Sapporo, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo and Shizuoka). During this tour, Terry Slessa (ex-Crawler) acted as a backing vocalist "openly" behind the amplifiers.

Album released by MSG No.7: "Built To Destroy (American Remixed)" and "Rock Will Never Die"


During the U.S. tour with Ted Nugent which started in February 1983, Chris Glen suddenly quit the band in March. MSG hired Dennis Feldman (ex-Balance) to continue the tour. Then, in April, Gary Barden left the band. Michael later commented: "Chris was crazy and always did stupid things. When I was a drunkard, I was frisking and making a fuss with Chris. But, since I quit drinking alcohol six months ago, I can't stand the stupidity of the guys who give themselves over to drinking. It is just like seeing what I was six months ago." When the "Built To Destroy" line-up backing Ted Nugent cancelled the Baton Rouge, LA gig during the U.S. tour, it was rumored that Michael got into a fight with Gary Barden and Chris Glen because they were upset that the MSG management team would not pay for their wives/girlfriends to travel with them, while Michael's wife did travel with Michael.


In June 1984, Ray Kennedy (ex-KGB-solo), a new vocalist was "sent" to MSG. It is said that three songs ("The Hunted", "The Stranger", and "We're Gonna Win" all written by Kennedy) were recorded by this line-up in the Roundhouse Studio. MSG of this line-up conducted their 4th Japan tour in August with Scorpions, Whitesnake, Anvil, Bon Jovi). The tour was called "Super Rock '84 in Japan." After the tour, Ray left the band. Masa Itoh, a Japanese heavy metal commentator once commented: "Michael was deep in debt since he could not recoup the advance payment by Chrisalis. The management kept Michael for life on the plea of his debt and lured Michael with a bait of probable success in the U.S. to change MSG line-ups. The management team brought Dennis Feldman and Ray Kennedy into the band." In November, Andy Nye and Dennis Feldman left the band leaving only Michael and Ted in MSG. Michael and Ted continued auditions of other slots. However, Ted McKenna finally left MSG in February 1995 to form a new band called Blue Murder.


Back to Family Tree