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5 famous bands the guitarist Michael Schenker refused to join

Michael Schenker


5 famous bands the guitarist Michael Schenker refused to join

The guitarist Michael Schenker was born in Sarstedt, West Germany back in 1955, when his older brother Rudolf was already 7. He first joined Scorpions in 1969 when the band was already existed for four years and remained as a member until 1973.


Schenker left the group to join the British band UFO, becoming a fundamental part of their sound and helping them to become one of the most influential Hard Rock bands from that era. He stayed with them until 1978 when he returned briefly to Scorpions before starting his solo career.

But over the decades Michael received many offers from famous bands to join them but he refused because he wanted to focus on his own career and music. So Rock and Roll Garage selected 5 bands that the guitarist refused to join and what he said about those offers.

The 5 famous bands that the guitarist Michael Schenker refused to join

Ozzy Osbourne

After being fired from Black Sabbath in the late 70s, Ozzy Osbourne managed to start a really successful solo career with the fundamental help of members of his solo band like Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley. But after Rhoads’ tragic death in 1982, he was looking for a new guitarist and Schenker was a name he and his wife/manager were interested in.

They’ve made an offer to the German musician and he was really interested. However, he finally decided it wouldn’t be the right thing to do in his career. So to not simply say no to Ozzy, he decided to demand things which they probably wouldn’t accept.

He recalled that in an interview with Nuclear Blast Records (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “I was tempted to do it. I said: ‘How can I get away from this? Then Cozy (Powell) was saying ‘You can’t do this, we just got Graham Bonnet. I thought (I should) just ask him for the impossible and he maybe would say no. That’s what I did. I asked for the impossible with the hope he would say no. Then I was off the hook,” Michael Schenker said.

The guitarist already said that he loves Black Sabbath and it would have been incredible to have joined Ozzy’s band. However, he said that his choice was to follow his vision for his career, which was freedom and peace, not to pursue fame and money.

Deep Purple

Another legendary Hard Rock group Michael Schenker refused to join was Deep Purple. The group was looking for a replacement for Ritchie Blackmore after he left the group for good in the early 90s. According to the German guitarist they first invited him before talking with Joe Satriani, who ultimately accepted the offer. However, Satriani didn’t stay too long with them and he was finally replaced by the American guitarist Steve Morse, who was a member of the band until 2022.

Schenker said in an interview with Wiki Metal in 2012, that he felt tempted to accept the offer, just like he felt when Ozzy invited him. However, at the time he reunited with UFO and he felt there was more potential in being with them again.

“Deep Purple asked me too, before they asked Joe Satriani. The thing is that I was always tempted to take part of it, and to do it. But something always told me: ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it. You have to do your own thing. You have to fulfill your own version and your dreams, and you have to experiment with your music. And you have to develop and experiment’ and do all of these things, which I couldn’t have done with them. But it’s very flattering that I left that much of an impression on those guys. What can I say? It’s flattering,” Michael Schenker said.

During those years reunited with UFO, Schenker recorded the albums “Walk On Water” (1995), “On With The Action” (1996), “Werewolves of London” (1998), “Covenant” (2000) and “Sharks” (2002).


In the late 70s, Schenker had already left Scorpions and got together with artists like Cozy Powell and Simon Phillips to form his own group. He invited David Coverdale to be the singer of his new band but the vocalist didn’t want to join the group but invited him to join Whitesnake.

He recalled that in an interview with VW Music in 2022. “At first, there was David Coverdale, he was in talks with us. I thought that would be great if he joined. But then he ultimately didn’t want to join the Michael Schenker Group, and I didn’t want to join Whitesnake. So I said, ‘Let’s go with Graham Bonnet.'”

“Peter said he liked the idea. At the same time, this was also when Ozzy Osbourne asked me to join his band. And then at the same time, we also lost Cozy Powell. Because I think behind my back David Coverdale persuaded Cozy to join him out of spite because I didn’t want to join Whitesnake,” Michael Schenker said.

The legendary drummer Cozy Powell was a member of Whitesnake from 1982 to 1985. With the band he recorded only one studio album: “Slide It In” (1984).

Thin Lizzy

The bassist and singer Phil Lynott, leader of Thin Lizzy, was also interested in recruiting Schenker for his band. As the German guitar player told Eon Music in 2021, at the same time he was also approached by Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter.

“It was actually Phil Lynott, and Ian Hunter, who approached me both at the same time. I had just moved into a new house in Watlington, outside London here in the UK. I got these two offers, and I said; ‘I’m sorry, I can’t do it’. You have to imagine; if you actually feel so strong to decline, there must be something going on within yourself that is much more important,” Michael Schenker said.


Another legendary band that wanted to have Michael Schenker was Motörhead. According to Schenker he knew the Lemmy Kilmister since he was a member of Hawkind and toured with UFO.

Schenker was invited by Lemmy when he was forming Motörhead and eventually joined the band as the guitarist was Larry Wallis. The German guitar player recalled in an interview with Metal Talk in 2016 that invitation.

“Yes, when he first put Motörhead together, Lemmy asked me to be the guitarist. It was many years ago, but we toured together when he was in Hawkwind and I was with UFO. We toured the States together. I saw Lemmy every day.”

“But later when he started to put Motörhead together, he approached me to be his lead guitarist. But I wasn’t interested. I couldn’t see that it would be something for me. I declined, I just couldn’t see how it would work,” Michael Schenker said.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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