‘Beyond F*cked Up’ MICHAEL SCHENKER Burnt Down His Own House With Wife And Kid Inside Because He Couldn’t Get C*caine

Michael Schenker

In an interview with Full in Bloom, producer Ric Browde looked back on working on an “aborted” album with Michael Schenker in the early ’80s, when the guitarist was struggling with drug addiction.

“I did an aborted album in 1983 right after the first three albums,” Ric said. “He was more than a trainwreck. David Krebs — David called me and said, ‘I want you to go to England with Michael, a bass player named Chris Glen, and a singer named Ray Kennedy, and a drummer named Ted McKenna.’

“And I go to England, and Michael is beyond f*cked up, just ridicolous,” he continued. “We did three songs, first at the Roundhouse Studios, and then at Trident’s. Ray Kennedy was a total drug addict, he was drug dealing, and he and Ted were selling equipment — they’d sell a guitar for drug money and things like that. Ray was so f*cked up on coke, and Michael had a really bad coke thing.

“And I spoke some pretty fluent German, so once Michael comes up and he goes, ‘I don’t have any c*caine.’ ‘Tough sh*t,’ basically, and he goes, ‘I’m going to call David Krebs,’ and he calls David, ‘If you don’t get me c*caine tonight’ ù he gave him a three or four-hour time limit – ‘I’m going to burn my house down!’

“I wasn’t sure how good Michael‘s English was, and it actually was quite good, I was like, ‘Michael, don’t you think it would be a better threat if you burned down David‘s house than your house?’ And he goes, ‘No, that would be dishonorable. He won’t take me seriously, won’t repsect me if I burnt his house down.’ ‘OK…’ Drunken ramblings, coke ramblings, I think nothing of it, I go back to my hotel. In about 12:30 at night, my phone rings, and it’s the Oxford fire marshall going, ‘We have Michael Schenker here in custody, he’s burnt his house with his wife and kid in it. They’re fine, don’t worry.’

“He burnt his own house down. And I quit. I really quit and went back, that’s when I run into Werman. About three or four months later, they sent Michael to work with Fran Cosmo, and he was staying at the Holiday Inn, and Krebs got the same phone call, ‘You need to get me c*caine or I will kill myself!’ And this time Michael threw all of his guitars, and this is before video cameras and things like that, into the, ‘I’m going to kill myself and burn everything!’

“So instead, what he did, he didn’t get the c*caine, he pulled the toilet off the bathroom of his hotel room, flooding out the entire place, threw all of his guitars and video camera and all of his possessions in a swimming pool, the Holiday Inn charged him for having to empty the swimming pool and having to clean everything. I think there was like $15,000 worth of damage, plus all of his guitars and everything. Michael was really crazy in those days. There’s something about him — he was really difficult to work with, he really was, because he was just always testing you whether you were paying attention, like he’d mess up deliberately to make sure you caught it, ‘I can’t trust you again.’ It’s funny, every time I see him, he’s incredibly pleasant.

“The Schenker family — and there’s his sister who was more f*cked up than he was, Barbara, who was in a band called VIVA, really nice person as well. And they came from a weird situation where their father ran away, he was on the railroad and just disappeared. And you know, they had a tough life, and Rudolf started out as a car thief to finance SCORPIONS. Michael was crazy, he did way too much c*caine, drank way too much, but he was clearly talented guitar player.

Ric added: “He had the misfortune of choosing musicians that did not compliment him after UFO, I mean the best he had was Robin McAuley, but just never had the chance to escape all the problems, he always kept with people who were equally destructive in his hayday. Rage out, and you don’t have that big of an audience. Last I heard is that he was in Arizona doing things, but he’s a talented guy, no doubt about it.”