[ENTERTAINMENT]A Unification Message, Heavy-Metal Style

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[ENTERTAINMENT]A Unification Message, Heavy-Metal Style

"I think that Korea should not be in a hurry, at least as far as reunification is concerned. To make a step-by-step effort is the best policy," Rudolph Schenker recently said.

Schenker is not a career diplomat or a prospective Secretary of the State. He is the politically-informed guitarist of the hard-rock band Scorpions. His particular interest in the problems of Korean unification led the band to choose South Korea as the starting point of its worldwide tour that begins Thursday.

A German, Schenker is reportedly interested in Korea for reasons that can be traced to his homeland. Germany, like Korea, also suffered an arbitrary division at the end of World War II. This is Scorpions fifth concert in Korea; their first visit was in 1991. The band also filmed the music video for their song, "What U Give U Get Back," in Seoul last year.

During the last 30 years, Scorpions has released 19 albums and a number of singles, selling more than 50 million albums worldwide. The youngest members of the band are now 39. This seasoned rock band has a five member lineup: Schenker, 52, on rhythm guitar, Klaus Meiner, 52, main vocals, Matthias Jabs, 42, lead guitar, Ralph Rieckermann, 39, bass and James Kottak, 39, drums. Except for Kottak, who is an American, all the band members are German.

Their most recent live album, titled "Acoustica," was compiled from concerts in Lisbon, Portugal, last February, the band's first unplugged performances. But for the most part, Scorpions has remained a hard-rock metal band with intricate guitar riffs and dynamic stage performances. The band also gained popularity with rock ballads such as "Still Loving You," which is enriched by Meiner's plaintive voice. Scorpions gained a number of Soviet fans in the 1980s and became a favorite Western European band among young people there. A concert in Moscow led Meiner to write "Wind of Change" in 1989, a song that tapped into the rapid changes in Eastern Europe as Communism began to tumble. Many were affected by the message of brotherhood in the late Cold War era.

At concerts in Seoul and Pusan the band will perform acoustic versions of classic favorites such as "Holiday," "You and I" and "Still Loving You." "Loving You Sunday Morning," a new song from "Acoustica," are also scheduled, along with renditions of other rock classics, such as Queen's "Love of my Life," Kansas' "Dust in the Wind" and the Cars' "Drive."

The promised highlight of the show is to be a song Scorpions will perform especially in the spirit of reunification for the two Koreas. But the group has yet to unveil which song this will be or how it will be presented.

Scorpions kicks off its world tour Thursday and Friday at 8 pm in Seoul's Chamsil Indoor Stadium, and then will be at the Pusan Convention Center on Saturday. For concert information, call 02-2187-7462 in Seoul and 051-583-2421 in Pusan. After Korea, Scorpions heads to Singapore for dates in August.

by Chun Su-jin

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