From power ballads, chopping rhythms to soaring fretboard forays, Matthias Jabs guitar work has been intrinsic to the hard-rocking Scorpions’ sound and repertoire since joining the band in the late ‘70s. Along with founder members Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker, he remains at the heart of an outfit that just keeps on rockin’.
Born in Hanover in 1956, Matthias Jabs had played with a couple of bands, Lady and Fargo, before winning an audition in 1979 for the lead-guitar seat with The Scorpions, as replacement for Rudolf Schenker’s brother Michael, himself a temporary replacement for Ulrich Roth who had been with the band since ’73. Matthias immediately went into the studio to help record Lovedrive, a breakthrough album for the band, particularly in America where it went gold.
The following year, after Michael Schenker had briefly rejoined then left again, Jabs’ baptism of fire - and amazing feat - was learning, literally overnight, the entire live set for a German tour supporting Genesis. As the band themselves said: “The Scorpions had finally found the lead guitarist whose creativity, virtuosity and enthusiasm continue to make a decisive contribution to the band’s success. With Matthias, the band achieved an even more solid sound.”
Ensuing years saw success build on success. In ’84 The Scorpions became the first German rock band to play three gigs in front of 60,000 fans at New York’s Madison Square Gardens, part of a triumphant two-year global tour. Then, in 1989, the band’s already smash-hit track, ‘Wind of Change’, from the mega-selling Crazy World album (on which Jabs wrote ‘Tease Me, Please Me’) became by coincidence of timing a worldwide hymn to glasnost and perestroika as a result of the fall of the Berlin Wall which occurred shortly after the single’s release.
The Scorpions approached the millennium with the highly regarded Eye to Eye album - signalling a change of image, with only Jabs and founder members Meine and Schenker featured on the cover - and working on a crossover project with the Berlin Philharmonic, culminating in the June 2000 release of the Moment of Glory CD. Summer 2002 has seen a hard-rocking three-month tour of the USA and the latest album, Bad for Good: The Very Best of Scorpions.