German Rock Band Scorpions Say Trump's Mexico Rhetoric Makes Them Think of the Berlin Wall

Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic
Guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs of Scorpions perform at Oracle Arena on Oct. 4, 2017 in Oakland, Calif. 

Scorpions have been singing about a "Wind of Change" since 1991, when the German heavy rockers celebrated the thawing of the Cold War in that Billboard Hot 100 No. 4 hit -- a song on their new compilation Born To Touch Your Feelings: Best Of Rock Ballads. But there have been winds of change this year, primarily in the United States with the Trump presidency, that have not been to frontman Klaus Meine's liking.

"It's hard to understand sometimes," Meine tells Billboard. "It's all kind of crazy -- Brexit with the U.K. and with the U.S.A., and when you see all the news over here coming from America between America and North Korea. It's frightening. It's really scary. We just toured America, and you can feel there are a lot of people who have question marks about the future, 'Where do we go from here?' It seems it's unpredictable."

Meine is also alarmed by the U.S. rhetoric regarding NATO and the decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. "America seemed to be our closest ally all our lives, our friends, and now nobody knows," he explains. "I mean, it's almost 30 years ago the Berlin Wall came down, and there's somebody in the White House now talking about putting new walls up. It's hard to understand. When the Berlin Wall came down we thought we were all moving closer together and it was more about one world, a united Europe and the United States working together, coming together, building bridges. With music we always try to build bridges. But now it seems like so much of that is falling apart. I never thought in my lifetime I would see that. It's like the clock ticking backwards.

"I think as Germans we owe America so much, so they will always be close to our hearts. No question about it. But it's hard to see how this president is acting. I just hope this change will come again when we are one world on the same side."

Meine and Scorpions, meanwhile, plan to keep building musical bridges for the foreseeable future. The group returns to the road March 22 with European dates booked into August. There's no more talk of retirement, as there was back in 2010 with what was purported to be a final album and a farewell tour that never quite took hold. "We learned our lesson," Meine says. "Back then we should have said, 'OK, we might need a break. Let's take some time off and let's see how that works instead of announcing this retirement.' At the end of the so-called farewell tour nobody was talking about it anymore. It showed we still enjoy what we're doing and we have a worldwide fan base and still, after so many years, so many fans want to see the band. There's such a strong demand, so we're going to keep coming."

Born To Touch Your Feelings, which came out Nov. 24, features a pair of brand new songs ("Melrose Avenue" and "Always With You") as well as a studio recording of "Follow Your Heart." But Meine says there are no firm plans yet for a full-scale studio follow-up to 2015's Return To Forever, which was Scorpions first new album in five years. "There are no plans, really, to go in the studio in the next couple of months, before (the tour) picks up again," Meine says. "Once you're in the studio and you have a feeling there's a couple of great songs, a couple of powerful riffs and some good ideas, you definitely want to go back and do it. I think you never get tired of that. It's very inspiring; You want to put it down and make the best album of your life. I don't think we'll ever give up writing new songs and playing for fans."

And after seeing Judas Priest nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, Scorpions are hoping they'll get their crack at the shrine as well. "It was good to see that finally they picked up some classic rock bands, hard rock acts," Meine says. "Deep Purple's in there. Bon Jovi just made it. Judas Priest is nominated. It's good. Of course we would love to be part of the Hall of Fame family at some point. It's a huge honor for every musician out there, and for us, being a European band, that would really mean the world to us."