The Scorpions Say ‘Hello’ to Lemmy Each Night With a Motorhead Cover
Ever since former Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee joined the Scorpions almost two years ago, the group have been covering "Overkill" live in concert as a tribute to Lemmy Kilmister. As founding guitarist Rudolf Schenker tells us, their friendship goes back to the earliest days of Motorhead.
"Somehow we were always crossing each other's paths," he remembers. "We played together on stage in big festivals. I remember actually [a festival] when Lemmy [had just] left Hawkwind and opened up with his new band, Motorhead. We've known each other for years, since '74, 75. We were always running into each other -- Metal Hammer Awards in London, the Walk of Fame -- so many times."
Dee and singer Klaus Meine figured out which song to perform, whittling it down from those to which Meine felt he could do justice. It's a fitting way to remember someone who showed them nothing but kindness over the decades.
"We always were very friendly to each other," Schenker continues. "He was pure rock and roll, he was living his life. He respected us, he said, 'You guys are a fantastic band and very powerful.' I remember Hellfest [in 2015]. I went to his dressing room to congratulate him for 40 years, and he said, 'Hey Rudy, congratulations to you for 50 years of rock and roll!' It's great to really give Lemmy, up in heaven, a little 'hello' and rock and roll for heaven."
Watch the Scorpions Play Motorhead's "Overkill"
The Scorpions are currently playing a few dates in the U.S. to make up for the shows that were canceled last year when Meine came down with a severe case of laryngitis. Queensryche are serving as the opening act, and you can see the dates below. For Schenker, it was important for the group to play those dates.
"I know, when I was a fan and I was in the same situation," he says, "looking forward to seeing a band that then somehow couldn't do it, that was very bad for me at the time. We always try to fulfill the thing we have in mind. The tour was starting very, very good. We are really looking forward to finishing the American tour."
While their sets are filled with their hits from the '80s and beyond, for the past few years, they've been combining four of their '70s classics -- "Top of the Bill" (from 1975's In Trance), "Steamrock Fever" (1978's Taken by Force), "Speedy's Coming" (1974's Fly to the Rainbow) and "Catch Your Train" (1976's Virgin Killer) -- into a medley. Schenker explains that, for them, it's the best way to both satisfy their longtime fans while introducing their younger ones to the rest of their catalog.
"That's a situation where we started this 50th anniversary tour, we asked fans what they'd want us to play," he says. "There were lots of people who wanted us to play '70s stuff. On the other hand, we got a lot of fans - young fans - in the crowd, who don't know those songs so well. So we said, instead of playing full-length, let's make a great medley, where the essence of the songs come across. We found out (through Facebook research of some sort) 80 percent of our fans are between 16 and 28 years old. So we have to make a setlist that makes everybody happy. So in this case, the '70s were a very important time in our career, we let the fans pick the songs they wanted to hear, and we got a good part of our history covered."
Watch the Scorpions' '70s Medley
Scorpions 2018 U.S. Tour Dates
9/2 -- Irvine, CA @ Five Point Amphitheatre
9/5 -- Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
9/7 -- San Antonio, TX @ Freeman Coliseum
9/9 -- Dallas, TX @ Pavilion at the Music Factory
9/12 -- Hollywood, FL @ Hard Rock Event Center
9/14 -- Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena