SCORPIONS have abandoned their plans to work with producer Greg Fidelman on their new album.
The German-Polish-Swedish hard rock legends spent the last few months recording the effort at Peppermint Park Studios in Hannover, Germany. Tentatively due later this year, the disc will mark SCORPIONS' first release since 2017's "Born To Touch Your Feelings - Best Of Rock Ballads", which was an anthology of new and classic material.
SCORPIONS originally intended to record the new album in Los Angeles with Fidelman, whose previous credits include SLIPKNOT and METALLICA. However, because of the pandemic, some of the initial work was done with Greg remotely, after which SCORPIONS opted to helm the recordings themselves with the help of their engineer Hans-Martin Buff.
During an appearance on MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn's "No Fuckin' Regrets With Robb Flynn" podcast, SCORPIONS drummer Mikkey Dee stated about the band's decision to proceed without Fidelman (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Unfortunately, because of this corona, we could not come to L.A., and [Greg] could not come to Germany. So we were trying for a whole month, via Zoom, to work on songs. And then he was with us [virtually] in the early evening, and we were working together on certain songs and arrangements. But it was almost impossible for him to get our feeling and for us to understand his feeling. So we decided that it was probably better that we were trying to do this on our own. And that's what we've been doing. But I'm sure Greg would have put his magic ears to this album, and it would have been fantastic too. But, unfortunately, we had to make the best out of the situation. We were even talking about breaking in the fall, maybe in October or something already. We talked about maybe breaking the record and then come back and maybe fly to L.A. in February or March. We thought it'd be open by now. But look, here we are — it's even worse than it was in October. So if we would have been sitting here now and broke the recording October, we would have wasted six months here."
Elaborating on the early recording sessions with Fidelman, Dee said: "He was listening and working on this with us. But it's really hard to get that feeling, of course. And when he wanted to change some stuff, we were sitting in the studio going, 'What does he fucking mean here?' 'But it sounds great here.' So it's very hard to communicate [virtually]. But maybe next record — who knows? [So] we decided to move forward and continue recording and do the best we could. And we have Hans-Martin as an engineer. He's brilliant, by the way. He worked on a lot, a lot of stuff for a lot of musicians. And he's so fast, and he has a great ear, and he feels everybody on their instrument, which is important. He knows drums, he knows bass, he knows guitars, and they speak German as well, so that helps out when they can go at it and work on some stuff. Now, with this done, I think this is the only way we have to do it, and I think we chose the right way. Because if we would have stuck to really have Greg on this, we couldn't even have started now. So who knows? Maybe we could have started in June or July [of this year]. We captured a moment when we all were fresh and really wanted to make a new album. Who knows what the feeling would have been if we started in June?"
According to Mikkey, the other members of the SCORPIONS should be completed with all the recordings in about two weeks, after which the album will be mixed by Michael Ilbert at the legendary Hansa Studios in Berlin, Germany.
Singer Klaus Meine previously told Talking Metal that the goal with using Fidelman to produce the new LP was to bring "the old vibe from albums like 'Blackout', 'Love At First Sting' or even 'Lovedrive'. We try to focus on those albums and this attitude," he said. "If we get there, who knows — it's so many years later. But it's the spirit and it's the whole vibe around this album. This time, the focus is on the harder songs."
According to Meine, SCORPIONS' new LP will feature "no outside writers at all," unlike 2015's "Return To Forever", which was largely co-written by the album's producers, Mikael Nord Andersson and Martin Hansen.
Fidelman began his career as the guitarist and songwriter for RHINO BUCKET before launching his career as a producer, engineer and mixer, finding an early mentor in Rick Rubin.
SCORPIONS' last full-length collection of new recordings was the aforementioned "Return To Forever", partially comprising songs the band had in the vault from the '80s. It was the final recorded appearance of SCORPIONS' longtime drummer James Kottak, who was dismissed from the band in September 2016. He has since been replaced by Dee, formerly of MOTÖRHEAD.