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Uli John Roth

The Scorpions, a German heavy metal band, date back to the ’60s. Around that time, the trend for hard rock guitarists was to break from the blues-rock tradition by playing fast, long, clean solos that raced up and down a fretboard. Tone was sacrificed for technique, but at arena volume, who cared? The early Scorpions were a showcase for a gifted, if troubled, teenage guitarist named Michael Schenker, brother of founder Rudy Schenker. At 18, Michael was turning heads, and when he split with the Scorpions to join British head-knockers UFO, he left a large gap. But it turned out to be a fortuitous move for the Scorpions, for Schenker’s replacement, Uli Jon Roth, would propel the band to the top of the heavy metal pile over the next five years.

Roth’s was the guitar style that would inspire younger shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen, and his songwriting on albums like In Trance, Virgin Killer, and Taken by Force created the Scorpions brand — driving, melodic hard rock decorated with monumental guitar solos. In addition, the Scorpions wrapped their albums in cover art in bad enough taste that one of them is still banned in the U.K.

Guitar heroes from that generation of rockers usually do not go quietly. Many of them are still out there, touring and getting loud whenever possible. Count Roth among them. He is playing better than he ever has, partially due to his own invention that he calls the “sky guitar,” an instrument jammed with electronics — it’s ugly, but it suits his purpose. Looking over Roth’s past set lists, one sees some old Scorpions hits, some of his own stuff, and a spate of Hendrix covers. Roth is still playing on fire, like it’s 1973, like he’s gotta fill Michael Schenker’s shoes.

ULI JOHN ROTH: Brick by Brick, Thursday, June 25, 8 p.m. 619-275-5483. $20 advance; $25 day of show.

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The Scorpions, a German heavy metal band, date back to the ’60s. Around that time, the trend for hard rock guitarists was to break from the blues-rock tradition by playing fast, long, clean solos that raced up and down a fretboard. Tone was sacrificed for technique, but at arena volume, who cared? The early Scorpions were a showcase for a gifted, if troubled, teenage guitarist named Michael Schenker, brother of founder Rudy Schenker. At 18, Michael was turning heads, and when he split with the Scorpions to join British head-knockers UFO, he left a large gap. But it turned out to be a fortuitous move for the Scorpions, for Schenker’s replacement, Uli Jon Roth, would propel the band to the top of the heavy metal pile over the next five years.

Roth’s was the guitar style that would inspire younger shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen, and his songwriting on albums like In Trance, Virgin Killer, and Taken by Force created the Scorpions brand — driving, melodic hard rock decorated with monumental guitar solos. In addition, the Scorpions wrapped their albums in cover art in bad enough taste that one of them is still banned in the U.K.

Guitar heroes from that generation of rockers usually do not go quietly. Many of them are still out there, touring and getting loud whenever possible. Count Roth among them. He is playing better than he ever has, partially due to his own invention that he calls the “sky guitar,” an instrument jammed with electronics — it’s ugly, but it suits his purpose. Looking over Roth’s past set lists, one sees some old Scorpions hits, some of his own stuff, and a spate of Hendrix covers. Roth is still playing on fire, like it’s 1973, like he’s gotta fill Michael Schenker’s shoes.

ULI JOHN ROTH: Brick by Brick, Thursday, June 25, 8 p.m. 619-275-5483. $20 advance; $25 day of show.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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