Scorpions may be retiring from touring, but the music will go on -- with a new project already in motion.
Guitarist Matthias Jabs tells Billboard.com that the German headbangers have raided the vaults for "unfinished songs from the early '80s, leftovers from the 'Blackout' album, 'Love at First Sting,' which some people think is our best time." So far, he says, the quintet has worked on a dozen tracks with producers Mikael "Nord" Andersson and Martin Hansen, and more is on the way.
"We will dig in again and maybe have a selection of 16 to 18 songs and pick the best 12 from those," Jabs says. "It's actually very good material." The idea for the project, he adds, "came from the fans. They were the ones saying, 'There must be some extra material from those days,' and they were right." Scorpions are adding new parts to the existing recordings, while most of the songs "didn't have proper lyrics, just blah blah blah blah working lyrics. So in almost every song the lyrics have to be re-written."
And while he acknowledges that while "the time reflects on the music" from three decades ago, Jabs promises the group is taking pains to modernize the new recordings. "We're doing it the way we are recording albums today," Jabs explains, "but the basic ideas, the riffs, the feel, the way they were written and arranged, we try to keep as much from the old recordings as possible. Thirty years later no one would come up with these ideas we came up with when we were younger, so we want to keep that spirit in there."
Jabs says the album, which is so far untitled, will come out in 2013. The same year may also see a documentary about the band by director Katja Von Garnier, who's been tailing Scorpions for the past year and a half of its world tour, capturing some live footage but mostly interviewing band and crew members as well as other musicians and friends of the group. And Scorpions have been approached to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament in Sao Palo, Brazil, where, Jabs notes, "we are very popular. They flew over to London, England, to suggest this. They could've done it over the phone, but they wanted us to know it was serious. So we said, 'Yes, of course. We'll do it.' "
But, he adds, Scorpions have no plans to change their minds about retiring from the road after the tour's final concert on Dec. 15 in Oberhausen, Germany.
"We're not stopping making music or playing a one-off (show) or something, but this is the last tour," Jabs says. "We need to be realistic, and we can't continue like this for the next five to 10 years. We decided to stop at this point because we are still in great form now and would like to be remembered as a great live band by our fans forever. We don't want to grow old in the spotlight. But the sadness is there; mentally, it's not easy getting ready for a show and knowing it will be the last time in that place. That's a new experience, and it's not easy to cope with. I can't even think about (Dec. 15); I don't even want to think about what the emotion will be at the end of that show."