To those in the know, Uli Jon Roth is an immensely important figurehead
of rock guitar. He’s a founding father of neo-classical rock, and a
Hendrix devotee who jump-started an up-and-coming but wounded heavy
metal band and, over the course of numerous solo projects, evolved into
a colossally talented and influential guitarist and arranger.When Germany’s mighty Scorpions split up after Michael Schenker quit to join UFO in April of 1973, it was Uli Jon Roth (then known as Ulrich Roth) who provided the impetus for the band’s reformation a year later. Roth joined forces with rhythm guitarist Rudolph Schenker (Michael’s older brother) and released four landmark studio albums: Fly to the Rainbow (1974), In Trance (1975), Virgin Killer (1976) and Taken by Force (1977). They followed in 1978 with Tokyo Tapes, the smoking double live album that propelled the Scorps to even greater heights.
After leaving the group in 1978, Roth formed Electric Sun and released three records before embarking on a solo career that produced several albums over the course of a decade, most notably Transcendental Sky Guitar Vol. I & II. Roth assembled the Sky Orchestra to channel his love of both bluesy Hendrix stylings and classical music and reached a pinnacle with 2003’s Metamorphosis, which contains his astounding, virtuoso-guitar performance and arrangement of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.But despite his penchant for “old” music, Roth doesn’t dwell on the past. In fact, his official Web site, ulijonroth.com (a fantastic source for all things Uli), divides the wunderkind’s discography into three distinct periods (Scorpions, Electric Sun, and UJR albums), and states in no uncertain terms that while many fans love his first two periods, these are stylistically “not at all representative of where Uli’s musical mind is now.” In order to keep everyone happy, I’ve included roughly equal amounts of musical examples from Roth’s first and third periods, so don your headband and get ready to rock. First, you’ve gotta ...
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