Danny's Blog
6/15: The Scorpions’ Matthias Jab talks Final Sting tour

It’s been three decades since the Scorpions topped the U.S. rock charts with “No One Like You,” a soaring power ballad followed, two years later, by their first U.S. Top 40 single, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”

And yet, Matthias Jabs, the guitarist responsible for that signature opening lick on the single that took these German rockers to the masses here, is confident that they can represent those hits the way they should be represented on the tour that brings them back through Phoenix on Friday, June 15.

That’s why they’ve decided this should be their final tour, while they can still go out there every night and rock you like a proper hurricane. Lead singer Klaus Meine is 64, guitarist Rudolf Schenker, 63. Jabs, in his 34th year as a Scorpion, is somewhat of a schoolboy by comparison at 56.

Another album followed by another massive world tour would put Meine and Schenker much closer to 70. And Jabs can’t guarantee that they could pull it off.

The guitarist checked in from the opening night of the U.S. leg of their farewell tour. This is what he had to say.

Question: When you were here in 2010, it was your Final Sting tour. Now, you’re back.

Answer: We called it the farewell tour thinking — believing — it would be the last time we would play the USA, that wherever we played, that would be the last time. But the tour is still going, due to demand from the audience and promoters. We called it the Final Sting tour because you have to name the baby. But this time, it’s for sure. And it’s a very sad thought because the tour is going great. We have great shows everywhere we go, and it’s hard to combine the thoughts — you know, let’s get ready for a great show and at the same time, this is our last time here.

Q: So why are you stopping?

A: I’m in the band for 34 years now. And we’ve never had a break. I’m relatively young in comparison to my friends Klaus and Rudolf. And there’s a routine of making an album and touring the world for two-and-a- half years. It takes that long for Scorpions because we play from Thailand to Malaysia, Korea, Alaska, New Caledonia, the States, South America, Europe. We play everywhere. And we said, “OK, how can we go in the studio in 2013, Klaus will be 65, and then do another two-and-a-half-year world tour?” It might get shaky.

And we would love to be remembered by our fans as the band we always were — you know, sporty, fit, running around stage, presenting ourselves the way we’d like to be remembered. In the far future, we couldn’t guarantee it. And therefore, we thought, “Let’s announce it early enough that people get a chance to see us.” And after that, you know, we’ll go do different things.

Q: What kind of different things would you do?

A: I don’t know. Do you know what you’re doing three years from now? The Scorpions will not break up. We’re giving up the constant touring, into the studio, out of the studio, back on the road. At some point, you have to say “OK, thank you very much.” We have a project which we will probably release next year. We have so much film material. We will work on something like an anthology, some kind of box set. And nobody has said we’ll never hit the stage again, for one show somewhere in the world. Why not? If somebody wants to see us desperately, yes, OK, here we are.

There’s also the chance … that we would get terribly bored just sitting around at home, and we would call each other and go, “Let’s play a few shows.” But the intense touring, the way we’ve been doing it for decades now, it had to come to an end. The one-off show, fine.

We were approached to play for the opening of the World Cup Championships in 2014. That is not confirmed, but those opportunities, we would not let slip away. We’re scheduled until Dec. 15 this year. That’s the last show. It’s somewhere in a small town in Germany. After that, we don’t know.

Q: The project you have coming out, will it be new material?

A: The first three months of this year, we took off to work in the studio, resurrecting unfinished songs from what some people say was our best time, leftovers from the albums “Blackout,” “Love at First Sting,” “Crazy World,” “Savage Amusement,” all the albums from the ’80s and early ’90s. There’s so much strong material, but it hasn’t ever been finished, especially the lyrics. They’re like “Blah blah blah blah blah.” It was recorded like you would record a demo, no click track, anything. But the vibe is great because it’s from the time when we were starting out.

Everything I played back then, I remember when I found a new riff, I would get excited. It’s slightly different today because I know it all. I’ve heard it all. So it’s much harder to get excited about the simplest or sometimes half-genius riff. But there was a definite spark in those old recordings and the idea is to redo them with today’s technology and take it further as a tribute to the fans.

Q: You said some people look back on that ’80s stuff as your best time. What do you think?

A: You know, we’ve had a great career, but the moment where we really took off in terms of musically and commercially, those were the great times because it was exciting and still relatively new. We were a young band.

When: 8 p.m. Friday, June 15.

Where: Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix.

Admission: $39-$89.

Details: 602-379-2888, livenation.com.

Reach the reporter at ed.masley@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4495. Twitter.com/EdMasley