Actually Dieter Dierks doesn't like to be looked into the notes, but for eclipsed the great German producer made an exception. The trained actor, long considered the "sixth Scorpion", talks about Klaus Meine's voice, his meeting with Billy Joel, drinking bouts with Rory Gallagher, his inventions and a dream in the second part of our big interview.
eclipsed: Dieter, what do you appreciate about Scorpions singer Klaus Meine?
Dieter Dierks: Klaus is a top singer with an unmistakable voice. If you hear a Scorpions song on the radio that you don't know, you know from the first note, that's the Scorpions. Klaus' voice is as distinctive as for example Freddie Mercury's, Rod Stewart's and so on. I had a lot of fun working with Klaus. He is just as much of a workaholic and perfectionist as I am and he files and files and only gives up when there is absolutely nothing left. I can tell a nice story about that. The song "Still Loving You" starts with the line "Time, it needs time to win back your love again". If you listen to it consciously, you'll notice that every note has a different character, sometimes agitated, sometimes restrained, always full of colors. I am a trained actor. That is very helpful for me. I work with a singer like I work with an actor. The fans sense whether someone is just singing a text or also feeling it. Klaus is highly emotional and very sensitive. He would never just deliver.
eclipsed: How did you get the best out of him?
Dierks: Did I?:-) We had sometimes fought incredibly many hours. At one o'clock in the morning I once said to him: "Klaus, you can do even better!" That's when he freaked out and stood in front of me with his face white as if he wanted to strangle me, "I'm going to kill you! You're never satisfied!" At that moment the door opened and Rudolf's head was in view for a moment, checking out the situation and was gone in an instant. Maybe that was a touch too much. In any case, Klaus was unresponsive that night. I said, "We'd better listen to it again tomorrow." When I asked the next morning, "Well Klaus, would you like to hear it again?", he replied, "No, leave it. I'll sing it again straight away." The good thing was, he had internalized what I had worked out with him earlier in the evening overnight, so he now came across with his personal "feel". He then sang through the song almost in one piece, just as it is on the record
eclipsed: Is it true that you once let Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell play until he fell asleep behind his drum kit?
Dierks: That was on the song "The Zoo" in Studio 2. I was standing at the control room window and Herman was playing in the drum room where I couldn't see him. Behind me in the recording room were Klaus, Francis, Rudolf and Matthias. I always loved it when the musicians sat and played right next to me in the control room, so I had optimal contact with them. At about the hundredth time, I said to Herman, "I think we finally got it in. Come on in!" Silence. I thought he just took off and got pissed. Then when I went over to the studio, I saw that Herman had fallen off his stool, leaning his head against the wall. He was just exhausted!
eclipsed: Supposedly He Didn't Want To Play "The Zoo" At All ...
Dierks: It was the only time we had a fight. Herman is actually a kind-hearted person, we get along great, but that day he said to me that "The Zoo" shouldn't be on the record. "Herman, this is an insanely important song! I have the final decision, that track is going on it!" The Scorpions still play this classic song at every one of their concerts ..
eclipsed: What is special about "The Zoo"?
Dierks: The song is about a street in New York City. I flew over with a Walkman and walked down 42nd Street, also called the Zoo, in Manhattan, where I was constantly being approached by dealers: "Cocaine!", "Hash!", "Drugs!" I secretly recorded this, but one of the dealers overheard. Until then, I didn't know I could run that fast! The whole thing can be heard very quietly in the run-out groove of the "Animal Magnetism" album ...