Uli Jon Roth: “For me, the heavy metal direction was boring. I wasn't interested in it. I wanted to go in almost the opposite direction”

Uli Jon Roth
(Image credit: Neil Lupin/Redferns)

As an anti-hero shredder in the proto-metal age, German-born guitarist Uli Jon Roth set the world alight in the '70s with Scorpions. By combining classical elements with hard rock undertones, Roth unintentionally created a neoclassical style that would go on to be mimicked ad nauseam just a decade later.

“A ‘trendsetter’. That's what I've heard people call me, but I have no interest in these sorts of labels,” Roth balks. “The idea of people obsessing about the latest display of physical dexterity on a guitar, I find that quite boring. I'm really interested in saying something meaningful that can touch people in ways that go straight to the heart. 

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.