Uli Jon Roth: Wikis

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Ulrich Roth

Background information
Also known as Uli Jon Roth
Born 18 December 1954 (1954-12-18) (age 55)
Düsseldorf, West Germany
Genres Hard rock, classical, heavy metal
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1968 - present
Labels SPV
Associated acts Scorpions, Electric Sun, Sky of Avalon, G3
Website Official website
Notable instruments
Custom "Sky Guitar"

Ulrich Roth (born 18 December 1954), more commonly known as Uli Jon Roth, is a German guitarist and one of the earliest contributors to the neo-classical metal genre. He is also the founder of Sky Academy and inventor of the Sky Guitar. He is the older brother of fellow guitarist and artist Zeno Roth.



In the early 1970s, Roth formed a band called Dawn Road. In 1973, guitarist Michael Schenker left the Scorpions to join UFO and the group disbanded. The two remaining Scorpions members, Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine merged with the four members of Dawn Road, (Uli Jon Roth, Achim Kirschning, Francis Buchholz, Jürgen Rosenthal) using the name Scorpions as they were more well known than Dawn Road.[1]

During his tenure as lead guitarist, main songwriter and occasional lead singer for the Scorpions, the band released four studio albums between 1974 and 1977. In 1978, the Scorpions released the live album Tokyo Tapes, which was recorded in Japan and sold nearly one million copies and went gold in several countries. However, Roth had left the band before the album’s release.

Roth formed his own band named Electric Sun which released three albums. The first, Earthquake (1979), was dedicated to the spirit of Jimi Hendrix. A second album released two years later, Fire Wind (1981), was dedicated to Anwar el-Sadat (the assassinated President of Egypt who had tried to make peace in the Middle East), featured a song called "Enola Gay" about the atomic bombing of Japan.

In 1985, Roth released his third and final Electric Sun album, Beyond the Astral Skies, dedicated to Martin Luther King and to Roth's fans.

After Electric Sun, Roth entered a new phase of creative work, composing four symphonies and two concertos, and sometimes performing with symphony orchestras throughout Europe. Roth used the name ‘Uli Jon Roth’ for all subsequent album releases and concert appearances.

The G3 European tour of 1998 featured Roth playing as the second guitarist, with Joe Satriani and Michael Schenker. The tour show at London Wembley Arena also had a jam with Brian May.

Roth played at the outdoor rock festival at Castle Donington in 2001 (also featuring original Scorpions lead guitarist Michael Schenker on the bill), and this was filmed and subsequently released on DVD.

Roth appeared in concert with the Scorpions onstage at the Wacken Open Air Festival in 2006 along with two other former members of the band. Billed as “A Night To Remember, A Journey Through Time”, the Scorpions played four songs from the Roth era, most of which they hadn’t played live since Roth had left in 1978. The concert was filmed and released on DVD.[2]

Although this was meant to be a ‘one night only’ special event, its success meant that the format was repeated on several tours afterwards.

On 2 June 2007 at the Rock am Ring festival in Germany, Roth joined The Smashing Pumpkins on stage for their epic closing song "Gossamer". He made another appearance with the Pumpkins upon their return to Germany on 26 February 2008.

In 2007, Roth had begun working on a new full-length studio album, which was to be released the following year. The title of the album would be "Under A Dark Sky" and was going to be the first official release in the long-awaited series of Symphonic Legends - a cycle of music written by Uli for his all-encompassing Sky of Avalon project.

Roth first debuted songs from "Under A Dark Sky" on 18 July 2008 in his headline set at the G-TARanaki Guitar Festival in New Zealand, Roth's debut concert in the country. In the week previous Roth had taken his "Sky Academy" tuition classes to regional Taranaki towns in Waitara, Inglewood and Opunake with guests Vernon Reid and Gilby Clarke.

"Under A Dark Sky" was released in Japan on 20 August 2008 via Marquee records. The European and USA releases followed a month later on 20 September 2008 on the SPV record label.

Sky guitars

In the 1980s, Roth commissioned construction of custom guitars with additional frets. Uli Jon Roth has (or at least has had) at least five of these "Sky" guitars. They are made by a British luthier, and also used by the guitarist from Fair Warning. The first three Sky guitars were as follows: One had 36 frets, another had 42 frets, and a third one is fretless which was used on the Beyond the Astral Skies album. In an April 2001 Guitar Player Magazine interview, Roth reports that the guitars are either fretless above the 30th fret or have whole step fret spacing above the 27th fret, with 35 effective (half step) frets. All of the Sky guitars with frets have extensive fretboard scalloping as is favored by Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen (who was influenced greatly by Roth) and many neoclassical metal guitarists. The Sky guitar's pickups are custom 4 coil humbuckers made by John Oram, with one guitar having an Oram pickup hidden under the 24th fret.[3] The guitars named Mighty Wing and Destiny each have 7 strings and the others have 6 strings. The 7th string is a low B string.[4] .The US company 18th Street Guitars made 50 commercial versions of the Sky guitar in 2004[5], each reportedly selling for $18,000 USD. Roth preferred amplifier is currently the Framus Dragon, and he uses a stalk mounted Vibesware guitar resonator (sustainer) to introduce infinite sustain during solos[6] both live, and on the song "Benediction" from "Under a Dark Sky".

Personal life

Roth was romantically involved with artist Monika Dannemann who had previously been Jimi Hendrix's girlfriend when he died. Roth and Danneman collaborated together on various songs including ‘We'll Burn the Sky’ from the Scorpions’ Taken by Force album in 1977.

Danneman also painted the album sleeves for all three of the releases by Electric Sun.

In 1996 Monika Dannemann was convicted of breaking a British High Court order not to repeat allegations that Kathy Etchingham was an "inveterate liar" for accusing her of playing a role in Jimi Hendrix's death. Etchingham asked the judge to jail Dannemann but she was released. Two days later Monika Dannemann was found dead in a fume-filled Mercedes-Benz near her cottage in Seaford, East Sussex, aged 50. Her death was ruled a suicide,[7] however, Roth publicly stated his opinion that her passing had been the result of foul play[8]

Roth dedicated later works to the memory of Dannemann.



With Scorpions

With Electric Sun

Solo and classical works (released)

Solo and classical works (unreleased)

  • 1987 - Sky Concerto
  • 1992 - Europa ex Favilla (symphony)
  • 1994 - Hiroshima de Profundis (symphony)
  • 1996/97/98 - Requiem for an Angel (dedicated to the memory of Monika Dannemann)


Notable public appearances

  • 1991 - Live TV Concert at E-Werk, Cologne "The Spirit of Jimi Hendrix" with Jack Bruce, Simon Phillips, Randy Hansen, John Wetton, Michael Flexig [9], Zeno and others
  • 1993 - Symphonic Rock For Europe - 3 hour concert with Brussels Symphony Orchestra and choir, performing Uli's first symphony "Europa Ex Favilla" and other pieces. The show featured 4 Rock singers: John Parr, Tommy Heart, Michael Flexig, Peter Goalby. Broadcast by German TV
  • 1998 - G3 Concert Tour in Europe with Joe Satriani and Michael Schenker (jam with Brian May at London Wembley Arena)
  • 1998 - G3 Concert at Monsters of Rock - Turin, Italy
  • 2000 - Performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Transcendental Sky Guitar (with Detmold Chamber Orchestra)(October)
  • 2001 - First Japanese Uli tour since 1978 (May)
  • 2001 - Legends of Rock Concert at Castle Donington. Uli played with Jack Bruce, UFO, Michael Schenker (23 June)
  • 2002 - Legends of Rock Tour of 13 UK venues with Frank Marino, Jack Bruce, Glenn Hughes
  • 2004 - First US tour (19 dates)since 1985. Co-head-lining with Michael Schenker (August-September)
  • 2004 - Jamming onstage with Deep Purple at Cardiff International Arena
  • 2005 - Scorpions reunion with Uli in France (September)
  • 2006 - Jamming with Deep Purple at Max Schmeling Halle, Berlin
  • 2006 - First U.S.A. tour as headliner since 1985
  • 2006 - 3 Sky academy Concerts at UCLA Los Angeles - Uli taught his approach to the guitar and to music. Uli Jon Roth and friends concerts were part of the Academy. Uli performed with guests including Jeff Scott Soto, Chris Impellitteri, Joe Stump, Graham Bonnett, Robbie Krieger and many others
  • 2006 - Scorpions Reunion at Wacken Festival in Germany (July)
  • 2007 - With The Smashing Pumpkins at the two ´Rock am Ring` and Rock im Park festivals performing their 28-minute epic song Gossamer
  • 2007 - With Scorpions at Paris, Nantes, Dijon, Rouen - France. (May 2007)
  • 2007 - With Scorpions at Sweden Rock Festival(9 June)
  • 2007 - With Scorpions at Karaiskaki Stadium in Athens - Joe Cocker as support (18 June)
  • 2007 - With Scorpions, London, Manchester (July 2007)
  • 2007 - 2 Sky Academy Concerts and seminar at the Hollywood MI - with Paul Gilbert, Robbie Krieger, Johnny Hiland a.o. (August)
  • 2008 - With Smashing Pumpkins (Billy Corgan) at Hamburg Colour Line Arena (February 2008)
  • 2008 - Sky academy New Zealand at the G-TARanaki Guitar Festival - UJR appears with his new band Sky Of Avalon (special guests: Gilby Clarke, Vernon Reid, Alex Skolnik)
  • 2008 - With Avantasia(Tobias Sammet) at Wacken Open Air Festival (1 August)
  • 2008 - With Sky of Avalon in North America (September-October)
  • 2008 - With Scorpions, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Southampton and Wolverhampton, Strasbourg (October 2008)
  • 2008 - With Sky of Avalon in Japan (November)


External links

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