ULI JON ROTH (born ULRICH ROTH, 18 December 1954) is a German
guitarist , who became famous as the 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 .
* 1 Career
* 1.1 Dawn Road and Scorpions
* 1.3 Solo career
* 2 Sky guitars
* 3 Playing style
* 4 Personal life
* 5 Influence
* 6 Discography
* 6.1 With Scorpions
* 6.2 With
* 6.3 Solo and classical works (Progressive Rock)
* 6.3.1 Studio albums
* 6.3.2 Live albums
* 6.3.3 Compilations
* 6.3.4 Unreleased works
* 6.4 Guest appearance
* 7 References
* 8 External links
DAWN ROAD AND SCORPIONS
In the early 1970s, Roth formed a band called Dawn Road. In 1973,
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. In 1978, the Scorpions released the live album
Tokyo Tapes , which was recorded in Japan and sold nearly one million
copies and went gold in several countries. However, Roth had left the
band in 1978 following the end of the
Taken by Force
Taken by Force tour and before
the Tokyo Tapes release.
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 an airplane of that name .
In 1985, Roth released his third and final
Electric Sun album, Beyond
the Astral Skies , dedicated to
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King and to Roth's fans.
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
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
hadn’t 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
On 2 June 2007 at the
Rock am Ring
Rock am Ring festival in Germany, Roth joined
The Smashing Pumpkins
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 ,
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
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, Mr. Roth concluded a short, but
very successful North American tour, highlighting songs from both
"Scorpions Revisted" and "Tokyo Tapes."
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
Taken by Force album in 1977.
Danneman also painted the album sleeves for all three of the releases
by Electric Sun.
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
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 inside Wales at
Powys , Wales, near the border of
Shropshire , England.
Uli Jon Roth
Uli Jon Roth has been a vegetarian since the Scorpions days.
Roth has been on the covers of many guitar magazines and has
influenced many notable guitar players, including
Kirk Hammett ,
Marty Friedman ,
Yngwie Malmsteen ,
Joe Stump ,
Gus G , Andy
Michael Romeo , James Byrd ,
Wolf Hoffman , and Hank
Mercyful Fate .
Fly to the Rainbow (1974) - Guitar, vocals
In Trance (1975) - Guitar, vocals
Virgin Killer (1976) - Guitar, vocals
Taken by Force
Taken by Force (1977) - Guitar, vocals
* Tokyo Tapes (live recording, 1978) - Guitar, vocals
WITH ELECTRIC SUN
* Earthquake (1979) - Guitar, vocals
Fire Wind (1981) - Guitar, vocals
Beyond the Astral Skies
Beyond the Astral Skies (1985) - Lead/harmony vocals, guitar,
Electric Sun Years Vol. I & II (2000) (DVD, part of the
Historical Performances series)
SOLO AND CLASSICAL WORKS (PROGRESSIVE ROCK)
Aquila Suite - 12 Arpeggio Concert Etudes for Solo Piano (1991)
Sky of Avalon - Prologue to the Symphonic Legends (1996) (with Sky
* Metamorphosis of Vivaldi\'s Four Seasons (2003) (with Sky
Under A Dark Sky (Sky of Avalon) (2008)
* Transcendental Sky
Guitar Vol. I & II (2000)
* Legends Of Rock: Live At
Castle Donington (2002, DVD & CD)
Scorpions Revisited (2015)
* Tokyo Tapes Revisited - Live in Japan (2016, DVD ">
* ^ Klüsener, Edgar (circa 1990). Scorpions - Sting of Change.
Metal Attack Magazine. Scanned page 3/7. Archived at Uli Jon Roth
* ^ Angulo, Steve (April 9, 2009). Scorpions – Live At Wacken
Open Air 2006 DVD (2007) (Review). Hard Rock Heavy Metal blog.
* ^ "Sky Guitar". Retrieved 9 January 2014.
* ^ September 2000 issue of Young
* ^ "Blackstar Amps
Uli Jon Roth
Uli Jon Roth Quote". Retrieved 3 March 2015.
* ^ "Vibesware
Guitar Feedback Playing". Retrieved 9 January 2014.
* ^ "ULI JON ROTH SERIES". Retrieved 9 January 2014.
* ^ Braid, Mary (May 1, 1996). "A rock legend unto herself". The
Independent. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
* ^ "Uli gives pupils a rock masterclass".
Shropshire Star. 14 July
2015. p. 14. Report by Harry Leather. Describes visit to hold a
musical masterclass to eight pupils at St Martins School, Shropshire.
* ^ Pancella, Jon (February 2013). "Uli Jon Roth: The Best of the
TVD Interview". The Vinyl District. Chantilly, Virginia (published 10
May 2013). Retrieved 15 November 2016.
* ^ "Thirty Great Guitarists — Including Steve Vai, David Gilmour
and Eddie Van Halen — Pick the Greatest Guitarists of All Time". 5
June 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
* ^ "instrumentalcase.com". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
* ^ http://www.leviathanrecords.com/firewindiv22.htm/ "Uli Roth is
a big influence on me"
* ^ ""I\'ve progressively been more inspired by Uli Jon Roth...all
his Scorpions work and his more recent solo albums"". Retrieved 8
* ^ http://www.symphonyx.com/michael_romeo.html
* ^ "Official James Byrd Website". Retrieved 8 November 2016.
* ^ "I was influenced a lot by...Uli Roth. He\'s a guy who really
understands the fine nuances of playing. To bend the note the right
way or give it the right kind of tone. That sort of thing I spent a
lot of time on myself. And he\'s a master of it. That kind of stuff is
really hard to come by."
* ^ "Metal-Rules.com: Interview With Force of Evil". Retrieved 8