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Uli Jon l. Roth
Uli Jon Roth performing in 2013
|Also known as||Ulrich Roth|
|Born||18 December 1954|
Düsseldorf, West Germany
|Genres||speed metal, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, neoclassical metal, progressive metal|
|Instruments||Guitar, sky guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, vocals|
|Labels||Silver Lining Music, SPV|
|Associated acts||Scorpions, Dawn Road, Electric Sun, Sky of Avalon, G3|
Uli Jon Roth (born Ulrich Roth, 18 December 1954) is a German guitarist, who became famous as Scorpions' lead guitarist, and is one of the earliest contributors to the neoclassical metal genre. He is also the founder of Sky Academy and inventor of the Sky Guitar. He is the older brother of fellow guitarist and artist Zeno Roth (1956–2018).
In the early 1970s, Roth formed a band called Dawn Road. In 1973, guitarist Michael Schenker left the Scorpions to join UFO. The two remaining Scorpions members, Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine merged with the four members of Dawn Road, (Uli Jon Roth, Achim Kirschning, Francis Buchholz, Jürgen Rosenthal) using the name Scorpions as they were more well known than Dawn Road.
During his tenure as lead guitarist, main songwriter and occasional lead singer for the Scorpions, the band released four studio albums between 1974 and 1977.
Roth formed his own band named Electric Sun, which released three albums. The first, Earthquake (1979), was dedicated to the spirit of Jimi Hendrix. A second album released two years later, Fire Wind (1981), was dedicated to Anwar Sadat (the assassinated President of Egypt who had tried to make peace in the Middle East), and featured a song called "Enola Gay (Hiroshima Today?)" about the atomic bombing of Japan by a Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber of that name, named after Enola Gay Tibbets, the mother of the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets.
In 1985, Roth released his third and final Electric Sun album, Beyond the Astral Skies , dedicated to Martin Luther King and to Roth's fans. That album featured ex-Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker, on drums and timpani.
After Electric Sun, Roth entered a new phase of creative work, composing four symphonies and two concertos, and sometimes performing with symphony orchestras throughout Europe. Roth used the name "Uli Jon Roth" for all subsequent album releases and concert appearances.
The G3 European tour of 1998 featured Roth playing with Joe Satriani and Michael Schenker. The tour show at London Wembley Arena also featured a jam with Brian May.
Roth played at the outdoor rock festival at Castle Donington in 2001 (also featuring original Scorpions lead guitarist Michael Schenker on the bill), and this was filmed and subsequently released on DVD.
Roth appeared in concert with the Scorpions onstage at the Wacken Open Air Festival in 2006 along with two other former members of the band. Billed as "A Night To Remember, A Journey Through Time", the Scorpions played four songs from the Roth era, most of which they had not played live since Roth had left in 1978. The concert was filmed and released on DVD.
Although this was meant to be a "one night only" special event, its success meant that the format was repeated on several tours afterwards.
On 2 June 2007 at the Rock am Ring festival in Germany, Roth joined The Smashing Pumpkins on stage for their epic closing song "Gossamer". He made another appearance with the Pumpkins upon their return to Germany on 26 February 2008.
In 2007, Roth had begun working on a new full-length studio album, which was to be released the following year. The title of the album would be "Under A Dark Sky" and was going to be the first official release in the long-awaited series of Symphonic Legends – a cycle of music written by Uli for his all-encompassing Sky of Avalon project.
Roth debuted songs from "Under A Dark Sky" on 18 July 2008 in his headline set at the G-TARanaki Guitar Festival in New Zealand, Roth's debut concert in the country. In the week previous Roth had taken his "Sky Academy" tuition classes to regional Taranaki towns in Waitara, Inglewood and Opunake with guests Vernon Reid and Gilby Clarke.
"Under A Dark Sky" was released in Japan on 20 August 2008 via Marquee records. The European and USA releases followed a month later on 20 September 2008 on the SPV record label.
In early 2015, Uli Jon Roth released a 2-CD studio album entitled Scorpions Revisited recorded in 2014 in Hannover, Germany, in which Roth revisited his personal favourites from the early Scorpions period. This CD was highly successful and led to a world tour by Uli with a full electric rock band. Following the success of this tour, Uli then led a tour called The Ultimate Guitar Experience with fellow guitarists Jennifer Batten and Andy Timmons. This tour was met by critical acclaim. Seemingly without much rest, Uli soon thereafter embarked on another world tour, this time playing The Tokyo Tapes, songs from the Scorpions 1978 tour of Japan and ensuing live album. In December 2016, a double CD and Blu-ray/DVD were released of a concert Uli and his band played in Japan in 2015 commemorating the anniversary of The Tokyo Tapes. In March 2017, Roth concluded a short, but very successful North American tour, highlighting songs from both Scorpions Revisted and Tokyo Tapes. In 2018, Roth participates a second time at the G3 European tour with Joe Satriani and John Petrucci.
Roth contributed an afterword to the 2017 book, Shredders!: The Oral History Of Speed Guitar (And More), by Greg Prato.
In the 1980s, Roth commissioned construction of custom guitars with additional frets from luthier Andreas Demetriou. Roth has had five of these "Sky" guitars made. To be able to emulate the high notes of a violin, all of the Sky Guitars contain extra frets. The first Sky Guitar (used on the album Beyond the Astral Skies) has 30 frets. Later versions of the Sky Guitar overcame the problem of the higher register frets becoming too narrow by widening the frets by whole steps for the highest notes. In an April 2001 Guitar Player magazine interview, Roth reports that the guitars are either fretless above the 30th fret or have whole step fret spacing above the 27th fret, with 35 effective (half step) frets. All of the Sky guitars with frets have scalloped fretboards. The Sky guitar's pickups are custom 4-coil humbuckers made by John Oram, with one guitar having an Oram pickup hidden under the 24th fret.For a time, Roth used a Framus Dragon amplifier, although currently he promotes Blackstar Artisan 100 & Series One 200 Watt heads. He has also used a stalk mounted Vibesware guitar resonator (sustainer) to introduce infinite sustain as on the instrumental Benediction on his Under A Dark Sky album. In 2011, Dean Guitars produced 25 Custom Sky Guitars based on Roth's custom models, with six and seven strings.
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In Roth's early days with Scorpions, his soloing style was based primarily on the blues scale, occasionally incorporating notes from other modes. However, by the time the band recorded the Virgin Killer album, he began incorporating more advanced compositional elements from European classical music, such as pedal tone sequences and intricate arpeggios. Beginning with Electric Sun, the classical influence began to dominate his playing style, notable in songs like "Cast Away Your Chains" and "Still So Many Lives Away". His style eventually became a fusion of blues-based rock with European classical sensibilities. Roth employs major and minor pentatonic, the blues scale, phrygian, harmonic minor, diminished, and the whole tone scale, notably in his famous "Sails Of Charon" solo.
Roth was romantically involved with artist Monika Dannemann who was with Jimi Hendrix when he died. Roth and Danneman collaborated on various songs including "We'll Burn the Sky" from the Scorpions' Taken by Force album in 1977.
Danneman also painted the album sleeves for all three of the releases by Electric Sun.
In 1996 Monika Dannemann was convicted of breaking a British High Court order not to repeat allegations that Kathy Etchingham was an "inveterate liar" for accusing her of playing a role in Jimi Hendrix's death. Etchingham asked the judge to jail Dannemann but she was released. Two days later Monika Dannemann was found dead in a fume-filled Mercedes-Benz near her cottage in Seaford, East Sussex, aged 50. Her death was ruled a suicide,but Roth publicly stated his opinion that her death had been the result of foul play. Roth dedicated later works to the memory of Dannemann.
Roth has been living in the UK for several years, his current home (2015) being in Powys, Wales, near the border of Shropshire, England.
Roth has been a vegetarian since the Scorpions days.
On 21 June 2019, Roth performed a charity concert of his Vivaldi Four Seasons in Saint Silin's Church in his home town. This was in efforts to raise money to help the church with paying bills.
Roth has been on the covers of many guitar magazines and has influenced many notable guitar players, including Billy Corgan,Kirk Hammett, Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Stump, Gus G, Andy DiGelsomina, Michael Romeo, James Byrd, Wolf Hoffman, and Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate.
|1974||Scorpions||Fly to the Rainbow||Studio|
|1977||Taken by Force||Studio|
|1985||Beyond the Astral Skies||Studio|
|2000||The Electric Sun Years Vol. I & II||DVD|
|1991||Uli Jon Roth||Aquila Suite – 12 Arpeggio Concert Etudes for Solo Piano||Studio|
|1996||Sky of Avalon – Prologue to the Symphonic Legends (with Sky Orchestra)||Studio|
|1998||From Here To Eternity||Compilation|
|2000||Transcendental Sky Guitar Vol. I & II||Live|
|2002||Legends Of Rock: Live At Castle Donington (DVD & CD)||Live|
|2003||Metamorphosis of Vivaldi's Four Seasons||Studio|
|2006||The Best Of Uli Jon Roth||Compilation|
|2008||Under a Dark Sky (Sky of Avalon)||Studio|
|2016||Tokyo Tapes Revisited - Live in Japan (DVD & CD)||Live|
|1992||Europa ex Favilla (symphony)|
|1994||Hiroshima de Profundis (symphony)|
|1996/97/98||Requiem for an Angel (dedicated to the memory of Monika Dannemann)|
Scorpions are a German rock band formed in 1964 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal. The lineup from 1979 to 1992 was the most successful incarnation of the group, and included Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker, Matthias Jabs, Francis Buchholz (bass), and Herman Rarebell (drums). The band's only continuous member has been Schenker, although Meine has appeared on all of Scorpions' studio albums, while Jabs has been a consistent member since 1979, and bassist Paweł Mąciwoda and drummer Mikkey Dee have been in the band since 2003 and 2016 respectively.
Michael Schenker is a German rock guitarist who has played in UFO and led the Michael Schenker Group. He was an early member of Scorpions, the band co-founded by his elder brother Rudolf Schenker. In the mid-1970s Michael joined UFO, playing lead guitar. He left the band in 1978 to found the Michael Schenker Group. He has rejoined UFO three times, producing an album each time. Schenker continues to perform and record. He has been called "a legendary figure in the history of metal guitar."
Michael Amott is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter, founding member of the bands Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, and Carnage, as well as a former member of the extreme metal band Carcass. He is the older brother of Christopher Amott. Some major influences in his music have been Tony Iommi, Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth and Dave Mustaine.
Monika Charlotte Dannemann was a German figure skater and painter. She was the last girlfriend of guitarist Jimi Hendrix, and later the wife of German guitarist Uli Jon Roth of the Scorpions.
Lonesome Crow is the debut album by German hard rock band Scorpions. It was recorded soon after Scorpions became a fully professional band under the production of Conny Plank, apparently in only six or seven days, and released 9 February 1972 in the United States and West Germany as the soundtrack to the German anti-drug movie Das Kalte Paradies, and May 1973 in the United States. The album's style is darkly melodic, typical for early Scorpions but unlike their later work.
Fly to the Rainbow is the second studio album by German hard rock band Scorpions, released in 1 November 1974 in the United States.
G3 is a concert tour organized by guitarist Joe Satriani featuring him alongside two other guitarists. Since its inception in 1995, G3 has toured most years and has featured many guitarists, including Steve Vai, Marco Ciaravolo, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci, Robert Fripp, Paul Gilbert, Steve Morse, Steve Lukather, Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker, Adrian Legg and many other special guests, including Tony MacAlpine, Johnny Hiland, Keith More, Chris Duarte, Andy Timmons, Neal Schon, Gary Hoey, Brian May, Billy Gibbons, Johnny A, George Lynch, Patrick Rondat, Guthrie Govan, Alejandro Silva, and Eric Sardinas.
Konstantinos Karamitroudis, also known as Gus G, is a Greek heavy metal guitarist. He currently plays with his band Firewind. He has also played in Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage, Arch Enemy, Dream Evil and for Ozzy Osbourne.
Francis Buchholz is a German bass guitarist best known as a former member of the rock/hard rock band Scorpions from 1973 to 1992.
Shred guitar or shredding is a virtuoso lead guitar solo playing style for the guitar, based on various advanced and complex playing techniques, particularly rapid passages and advanced performance effects. Music critics have stated that shred guitar is associated with "fast alternate picking, sweep-picked arpeggios, diminished and harmonic scales, finger-tapping and whammy-bar abuse", while others contend that it is a fairly subjective cultural term used by guitarists and enthusiasts of guitar music. It is commonly used with reference to heavy metal guitar playing, where it is associated with rapid tapping solos, fast scale and arpeggio runs and special effects such as whammy bar "dive bombs". Metal guitarists playing in a "shred" style use the electric guitar with a guitar amplifier and a range of electronic effects such as distortion, which create a more sustained guitar tone and facilitate guitar feedback effects.
In Trance is the third studio album by German rock band Scorpions, released by RCA Records in 1975. The album's music was a complete departure from the progressive krautrock of the two previous albums in favor of a hard rock sound of shorter and tighter arrangements with which the band would achieve their later global success and fame; extended suites in the vein of songs such as "Lonesome Crow" and "Fly to the Rainbow" are absent altogether. It is the first album by the band to contain the now-famous logo and controversial artwork.
Taken by Force is the fifth studio album by German band Scorpions, released by RCA Records in 1977. This was the first Scorpions album to feature drummer Herman Rarebell and the final studio album to feature guitarist Uli Jon Roth. Roth left the band in 1978 following the end of the album's tour, and was eventually replaced by Matthias Jabs.
Tokyo Tapes is the first live album by German hard rock band Scorpions and their final album released by RCA Records.
Matthias Jabs is a German guitarist and songwriter. He is best known for being the lead guitarist in the hard rock band Scorpions. He has played on all but the first five Scorpions studio albums starting with Lovedrive (1979) to Return to Forever (2015). He has a music store, MJ Guitars, in Munich, Germany.
Legends of Rock: Live at Castle Donington is a DVD released by German guitarist Uli Jon Roth. It features Roth's headlining show at Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England in 2001, along with his special guests Michael Schenker, Phil Mogg, and Pete Way from UFO, and Jack Bruce from Cream. Released in 2002.
Victory is a German heavy metal and hard rock band from Hanover, most successful in the 1980s. With extensive tours and radio airplay, the band also made a breakthrough in North America.
Zeno Roth was a German guitarist and songwriter, playing in a neoclassical/blues style. He was the younger brother of guitarist Uli Jon Roth.
Barry Sparks is the former bass player of Yngwie Malmsteen, the Michael Schenker Group, UFO, Dokken, and Ted Nugent, amongst others. Currently Sparks is part of the touring band for the Japanese rock group B'z, and has also contributed to several of their albums and singles.
Live at Wacken Open Air 2006 is a live DVD released by the German heavy metal band Scorpions. It was supposed to be released on December 18, 2007 but was delayed till February 12, 2008 for reasons undisclosed to the public.
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