Category: Michael Schenker Group

Michael Schenker Group – MSG

ARTIST: Michael Schenker Group 220px-MSG_II_-_1981

TITLE:  MSG

YEAR RELEASED: 1981

CHART ACTION: #81 US, #14 UK

SINGLES: Ready to Rock

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Attack of the Mad Axeman

LINEUP: Michael Schenker, Gary Barden, Cozy Powell, Chris Glen, Paul Raymond

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second MSG album, and first with his touring band, finds the formula the same as the first. However, there’s no exciting songs here, just journeyman hard rock.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The second Michael Schenker Group record finds the guitarist Schenker is decent form, sprinkling his riffs and solos through the eight songs here. The problem isn’t his playing.

The songs are just flat. “Attack of the Mad Axeman” has a swing to it, but Barden’s vocals sound out of place. Other songs, like “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”, “Looking for Love” and “Ready to Rock” are as clichéd as the titles, though the riffs are decent. The ballads and slower songs though…nah.

I know that you really don’t listed to Schenker for the singer or the lyrics, but they need to rise above something a bar band genius would write. I’m filing this under meh, and exiling a couple.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The producer, Ron Nevison, spent a lot of money on this album getting the sounds right (I don’t like the drum sound, but that may be because Cozy Powell overplays a bit) and drove the band into a big debt with the record company.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, live cuts and a ‘monitor mix’ whatever that means.

GRADE: C+: If there was just one song that rose above the pack I’d consider a higher grade.

Michael Schenker Group – The Michael Schenker Group

ARTIST: Michael Schenker Group 220px-Michaelschenkergroupalbum
TITLE: The Michael Schenker Group
YEAR RELEASED: 1980
CHART ACTION: #100 US, #8 UK
SINGLES: Cry for the Nations, Armed and Ready
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Victim of Illusion (actually I mixed that song a TON, but I don’t know how much it was played).
LINEUP: Michael Schenker, Gary Barden, Don Airey, Mo Foster, Simon Phillips
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Former and infamous UFO and Scorpions axe-man deals with getting sacked (or he quit, but why quibble) by those bands the only way he can – by forming his own group. He’s a damn fine guitar player, and as a songwriter he’s a damn fine guitar player.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Already known as a prima donna and a druggie, Schenker formed his own group and made his own music. First grabbing Barden (and only Barden as a true member of the group) he recorded this album with session hot shots Airey, Foster and Phillips. (Foster had played on records by disco legend Cerrone for cripes sake…)

Schenker was always known for riffs and tasteful yet rocking leads, and he keeps that up here. “Victim of Illusion” has an all-time Schenker riff, close to many of those he slung for UFO. The main issue is that the album is uneven. The ballad is…not good and the second side drags a bit. Barden wrote the lyrics and those needed a bit of help too. But you don’t really listen for poetry in this kind of music.

I believe this was kind of rushed – he recorded these tracks, then had to find a real band and go out on the road. The session guys play their parts; Phillips is always an interesting drummer. But they just played their parts for most of it. Still, this is an album for and by Michael Schenker, to that end it’s mostly successful.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was produced by Roger Glover, who knew a thing or two about tempestuous guitar players.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with demos and live cuts.

GRADE: B: The first side – darn good. Second side – not so much. Yet “Victim of Illusion” is so good to me I have to bump it up a bit. Excuse me, gotta play that track again!