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Uli Jon Roth: Surviving the Scorpions Sting

by Jeb Wright, April 2006

Uli Jon Roth rose to prominence as the lead guitar player of Germany’s loudest export; the Scorpions. Roth’s experiments with the electric guitar caught the ears of many younger players who heard passion and fire in his playing. Both Eddie Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen have sited Uli as an influence. With Uli, the Scorpions took Japan and Europe by storm. In America, however, the band’s record company, RCA, did not see the commercial possibilities and they remained very underground on this side of the pond.

Internal dissent finally saw Uli leave the Scorpions, citing mostly musical differences. The band went into the studio to record what would become their first gold disk Lovedrive without Roth. The Scorpions became one of the top metal bands in the world and Uli Jon Roth slipped into obscurity in the United States.

Music still pumped through Uli’s veins and he went on to record several albums with Electric Sun. His playing continued to grow and he believes his best playing can be witnessed on albums that were not part of the record companies promotional machine. Therefore, many are not familiar with his music. In the new millennium, Uli continues to push the creative envelope. He created the Sky Academy and had released several albums of intense and emotional guitar related music. His playing has now reached the level of mastery. He is one of the best to walk the planet.

Uli has reworked Vivalidi’s Four Seasons for electric guitar and in the meantime wrote a concerto of his own. He is going to return to the US with full band in tow, including long time Scorpions bass player Francis Buchholz. Uli will perform concerts and offer his legacy to students of music in the hopes of sowing the seeds that may blossom and create a musical paradigm shift across the land.

In addition, to keeping his own musical legacy alive, Uli continue to defend and discuss the life of his friend Monika Danneman. Monika was a professional artist who was with Jimi Hendrix when he died. Her version of Hendrix death has fueled controversy since the day his lifeless body was discovered. In this interview, Uli discusses the death of the woman he very close with and her side of the events that led to Jimi’s demise.

In the end, this interview conjures up images of the past while it paints a picture of hope for the future. It is a glimpse inside the soul of one of rock’s most creative guitar players and gives hope that one day real music will once again be easily heard.

Jeb: Uli Jon Roth is playing with his former Scorpions band mate Francis Buchholz.

Uli: He has joined my band. We have already done a European tour and he is going to be with us in America as well in May. This is the first time since Tokyo Tapes that we have played together.

Jeb: Had you stayed in touch with Francis over the years?

Uli: I still have contact with virtually all of my friends from the past. There was the occasional meeting between us but this time it was really quite simple; we needed a bass player. I discussed the situation with my manager and we both felt that it was a great idea to have Francis in the band.

Jeb: You are going to be coming to America soon.

Uli: We are coming in May. The first gig is on the 12th of May, on the East Coast. After that we will go to the West Coast and finish the tour in Los Angeles. This is the first time I have been in America with a full band since 1985.

Jeb: You are basically introducing your Sky Academy to the United States.

Uli: At the end of May we are doing a seminar for the Sky Academy. It may be a little different from what you would normally get from a guitar seminar. I try to go beyond just talking about the technical aspects of playing guitar. Our seminar is designed for advanced players, guitar or bass or other instruments. I want to help musicians get to the next level; which is sometimes a hard thing to do. I have worked with players who are very good but when they get to a certain level they don’t progress as much. This gives me an angle to try and help them.

Sky Academy is a mixture of things that are connected to guitar playing. We will also do a series of concerts where the students will get to play in front of the students and myself. This will allow me to help them improve on what they are doing. In the same concert hall, in the evenings, we are doing another concert. These concerts will feature special guests of mine as well as the best of the students.

Jeb: Do you feel very satisfied working and helping guitar virtuosos?

Uli: I always enjoy working with other musicians, particularly when they are of a good caliber. I have always enjoyed teaching. Having said that, I have not done it that much. When I was a kid I used to teach classical guitar lessons. I had about 30 students but when I joined the Scorpions, I had to stop that and I have not had any students since. For the last few years I have been crystallizing the idea of the Sky Academy in my mind. This is really something that I want to do. I didn’t really know what kind of framework would be best to do this type of thing. It slowly grew in my mind and now we can make this thing manifest itself. I am already looking into the future. If it goes as well as I hope it will go, then we will make it an annual event.

Jeb: You have been creating the Sky Academy for some time. You are now making it a reality. This has been very close to your heart. Now, it appears to be growing faster. Do you feel this has come due to your hard work or is it more spiritual than that?

Uli: The costs of this thing are enormous. If I break even then that will be fine with me. The most important thing, to me, is to achieve a platform that I think is needed at the moment. There is a certain vibe and wavelength in music that is missing.

Over the last few years the sprit of music has been trampled underfoot. Very few people seem to be holding that flag up high. I don’t mean that in the sense that there is an absence of great players. There are a lot of great players who are inspired in their own right but the music industry has become a ridiculous nightmare for serious and gifted musicians. It is so bad that a lot of them are beginning to question the very foundation of their existence, in terms of actually being able to make a livelihood of what they love doing the most. Speaking for myself, making records has become pretty much a hobby. The production costs that we have are nearly as high as they used to be but record sales have virtually collapsed for everyone I know. That does not deter me to pursue this hobby but for a lot of people it becomes increasingly difficult to even exist as a professional musician.

The music industry may have collapsed because of a certain drive towards instant gratification within music. The music industry does not allow people to have their own vision anymore. If you want to do something different then you are stifled from the beginning. There are no large outlets anymore. There are some smaller outlets who are trying to do the right thing but they do not really compare to what it used to be. There was a time in the music business when it was enough for a player to have real talent. A really good player who had something to say would be able to go and make albums and find an audience.

Jeb: Are you saying that record companies want money more than creativity?

Uli: That’s a fact; of course they want money more than creativity. Creativity is just a necessary evil to most record companies. Most of them do not know what they really want. They want money but they are all floundering right now. Unless you are a top selling act then you are here today and gone tomorrow. A large part of why the record companies are struggling is of own doing. In the 80's, music just became a commodity. There was no deeper meaning or a spiritual aspect to music anymore. In fact, it probably got in the way of what they were looking for.

Jeb: Did you see this type of activity in the industry clear back in the 70's? Is that why you walked away from the Scorpions?

Uli: I didn’t see it as clearly when I was still in the Scorpions. I was totally occupied with different things; the business didn’t interest me then. It was more in the background and I didn’t pay attention to it. I was more into the artistic things at the time. I could see the trend at that time that eventually led to the things we are discussing now; it was already in the making.

Jeb: Once you left the band, you were not known at all in America.

Uli: Electric Sun was completely outside of mainstream America. Most of the bands in America were going in a different direction. Heavy Metal was getting more popular and things were really going away from Rock. Big hair bands, who wore spandex, were popular and the music they played went right along with their image. There were some great songs that came out of the 80's Corporate Rock scene. At the same time, everything was becoming more and more formatted.

I remember record companies becoming more and more obsessed with big drum sounds. Record company executives would call each other over the phone and play each other snare drum sounds. They would discuss certain producers and how they could get great drum sounds. The drums got so massive that when you put a record on all you could hear were the drums. It became fashionable and all the bands started sounding and looking the same. It became a trend to look or sound like that and if you didn’t look or sound like that then you would be passed over. I refer to that time as the circus. If you didn’t have that slightly angry look in your photo session then you would be ostracized by certain magazines and the record companies wouldn’t touch you. I think at that time a lot of things went horribly wrong. Some musicians survived but a lot more fell by the wayside. They became so enamored with that trend that they never could find their way out once the trend was over. People ended up laughing about that kind of music.

Sky Academy is not concerned about any of these things. Basically, we are about playing music for music’s sake. We want to make it pure and real. We do not talk about how to make a fast buck or how to become a star. We are about how to be real.

Jeb: In your eyes, can you be a real musician without formal training or must you be a virtuoso?

Uli: You don’t have to be classically trained, if that is what you are asking. Jimi Hendrix was not classically trained; far from it. Paul McCartney was not classically trained, although he sounded very classical sometimes.

You don’t need to be trained at all. There are some great players who are purely good. I would not be nearly the musician that I am if I didn’t have the knowledge of classic music that I do. It is largely what makes me tick. It gives me a very broad and solid foundation in music. To me, it is not a hindrance when I play the blues. My classical foundation does not get in the way. I grew up with the blues and nothing of that is alien to me. I feel at home in virtually any style of music.

Jeb: Let’s talk about Metamorphosis. You play "The Four Seasons" note perfect and then you have the other side of the album where you go off and do your own thing. What inspires you to rework a great masterpiece? Where does it come from for you to take that work of music and take it to another level?

Uli: That is an interesting question. It is a mixture of things that inspire me to do that. I have always had the desire to get better at what I do. I don’t mean just technically. I want to get a deeper understanding of things. From early on I was attracted to classical violin concertos. I studied quite a bit of that stuff and it gave me a deeper understanding as a composer and a player. Playing-wise, it also gave me a lot of challenges. I have to get into someone else’s mind and see where they are coming from and make it my own. You learn somebody else’s language. It is like I am an actor playing a different role. I love doing that. I don’t have the urge to only interpret songs that I have written myself; far from it. There is such a wealth of music to assimilate and study and listen to.

Part of the challenge of Metamorphosis was taking a work that was solely written for the violin and doing it justice in our field. Over the years, I have tackled stuff like that with or without orchestras. In the beginning I tried to be as close as possible to how a violin player would interpret such a piece and I learned a lot from that approach – translating the violin feel and thinking to the guitar. Once I had that out of my system then I started to see the guitar as a instrument that could rival the violin in it’s own right. It could actually do something the violin could not do while using the language of the violin. The vocabulary of the violin is very powerful and very multi-dimensional. It is rooted in a tradition that is hundreds of years old. The electric guitar is barely just a half a century old. This fascinated me and that is why I tackled the "Four Seasons" piece. The more I got into it the more interesting it became to me. I started to see all sorts of facets.

It was wonderful to get into the mind of Vivalidi, one of the best Baroch composers ever. This is a masterpiece that has fascinated all sorts of people since it was written back in the 1720's. That was one aspect of why I did it. I also found it challenging to translate it into my own. I gave it a full score. I tried to shine a new life onto the "Four Seasons" and that led me to write my own concerto, which is the "Metamorphosis Concerto." It grew directly from the "Four Seasons" and was even more transcendental. I was trying to look at the "Four Seasons" through all sorts of different eyes. I wrote one piece that was a variation in my mind of how Chopin might have interpreted Vivalidi’s "Spring." Another one was how Jimi Hendrix might have looked at it. I just let it grow and when it was finished; it was finished.

Jeb: How long did it take from start to finish?

Uli: For me this was a very vital step on my journey and I had to get it out. It was quite a process. The first time I ever tackled a part of it was back in 1992. I did a TV show for Europe called Symphonic Rock for Europe. The "Four Seasons" is actually four violin concertos, three movements each. You could say it is almost like 12 songs in our genre. They are all interrelated. We did the entire "Summer" back then. It was my first actual stab at it. In 2000, I had the chance to do it again and I played the entire "Four Seasons" with an orchestra in Germany. It was not quite finished but we played it regardless. Basically, it didn’t have all the sections we have now but it had most of them. We recorded it but I was not too happy with some of the sounds of the recordings. To make a long story short, I re-recorded it in my own studio with the Sky Orchestra and I finished it in 2003.

Jeb: Not many people would have the patience to do that.

Uli: It is just something that I had to do. There were certainly quite a few struggles. I was looking for certain answers and I was not finding them. Eventually, I did find them and that is when I released the album.

Jeb: You could have achieved more fame and fortune by not being who you are. Does that ever bother you when you look back?

Uli: If you are eluding to my leaving the Scorpions, I didn’t have any choice back then. I wanted to go in the direction that I did. For me, artistic choices are the ones that matter the most to me so in that way, I don’t have a choice other than the artistic one. I work that way; my mind works that way. Sometimes it is financially hard to go the artistic route. It would have been easier to sell out. I would call it selling out if I didn’t do the artistic choice. On the whole, my life has gone very well so far so I can’t complain.

Jeb: Do you have any contempt that you are remembered most for being a Hard Rock or Heavy Metal guitar player over being a total musician?

Uli: When I first realized that it kind of annoyed me. The entire perspective people had of me was for something I had done when I was basically a kid. All of the things that I was most proud of came later but these things were not in most people’s minds because they didn’t get the same type of circulation. Nowadays, I have come to terms with it. It is just the way things go. I am now proud of stuff I did with the early Scorpions. It is part of my history. It is what it is. In fact, I have even rediscovered a lot of the old songs and I am playing them live again and enjoying them again. In some aspects, I have come full circle.

Jeb: With Francis being in the band I would imagine you all pulling out a lot of the old songs.

Uli: We have pulled out a lot of the old music and we have rediscovered a lot of songs. We play very long concerts so we have time to play what we want to play. If we feel people want to hear some of the old Scorpions songs then we have no problem giving them to them. We are playing some Electric Sun songs as well. We can switch it up from concert to concert.

Jeb: Has your best work been done or is it yet to be?

Uli: I feel I am getting better all the time. If I didn’t feel I was getting better then it would be time to pack it up. It would be a gut feeling from within that would tell me that what I am saying is not relevant. I would not want to be a museum thing where I just repeat myself ad infinitum. I have to be able to say things that are new. Only then do I feel comfortable saying something that is old. The thing that gives me the greatest thrill is to be cutting edge. I feel the same way about the old stuff. I have to feel that it is relevant or else I don’t want to play it.

Jeb: What is your ultimate goal for Sky Academy?

Uli: I don’t even want to limit it with an answer at this point in time. I just go with the flow and let it develop. At the moment it seems like a lot of good things are happening with Sky Academy and through Sky academy. A lot of people are gravitating towards it. The response has been more positive than I had anticipated. It is quite a daring approach that we are putting in front of people and it could easily have been misconstrued. But so far, I am really pleased with the response we have gotten.

Jeb: You have a live version of "Voodoo Chile." Many people have played Jimi’s songs but few have been able to get into the spirit of Hendrix.

Uli: I do it slightly differently because I am trying to capture the essence of what it is and I am trying to inject a new spark of inspiration there. I don’t think it is needed but I think it is just what I am able to bring to the table.

Jimi’s music is full stock, fully spiritual. You don’t necessarily hear that in some of his early music but the underlying essence of Jimi’s music is totally spiritual and it is very powerful. The more he progressed on his brief but intense journey the more his spirituality came to the forefront. Look at the song "Machine Gun." It is an incredibly haunting painting of pure emotion based on just a few notes. The song takes you through all these different levels, right to the very core of music. It is totally unbelievable that he could do that.

Jeb: When you play music from the masters do you have to take a moment to put yourself in the correct frame of mind?

Uli: No, I don’t have to go and get in that state of mind as I am in that state of mind. It is like a light bulb; I can switch it on and off. I have to be in the right mood to do music and to channel these emotions and capture them and express them. I am not always in the mood for playing. Once I pick up the instrument then it is just there. If it is not there when I touch the instrument then I don’t want to play at all. When you have to play a concert you can’t actually choose a frame of mind. You have to be able to switch on that light bulb.

These are the kinds of things that I want to transmit to the students at the Sky Academy as it is not easy to do. I was not always able to do that. I gradually learned to be able to always capture that spark when it was needed and necessary – let me rephrase that. Almost always. There are days when I simply don’t want to be on that stage and it almost feels like a torture but they are very, very rare. I always play for the artistic success of every concert. It is like a communion with the audience. When it happens it is like we are all one and it is a very special type of thing. I feel very privileged to be on that stage and to be able to create that kind of moment with the audience and the music. On good nights, when you are able to capture the moments and capture that essence and hold on to it for long periods on time – sometimes for the entire concert – then a lot of people in the audience actually get into that same frame of mind with you and something extraordinary happens and it makes it even better.

Jeb: We have talked a lot about what is going on now. I want to ask a few about the Scorpions. Which Scorpions album do you feel shows your most creative and musical expressions for that era in your life?

Uli: Virgin Killer, then In Trance.

Jeb: Which Scorpions album shows you struggling the most as a musician?

As a person?

Uli: I don’t think I was "struggling" as such, but I had certainly already mentally disengaged from the band during and slightly before Taken By Force (1977) to quite a degree and had already indicated my desire to leave to some of the band members. The album has some great tracks on it, but as a whole, I have to say that my heart wasn’t in it any longer.

Jeb: Is it true Michael Schenker got you the Scorpions gig?

Uli: It’s true that Michael asked me to take over before he left, but I declined at first, because I was more interested in pursuing classical guitar at the time. He didn’t tell me about the UFO thing, though – only said he wanted to go to India and maybe quit the music business. But some time later Rudolf rang and told me that Michael had left for UFO, and he invited me to do a gig with the band, which they still had to fulfill before they completely disbanded. I so enjoyed this gig that I said to Rudolf "let’s do something together!" At that time – in 1973 - I was in a four piece band – Dawn Road, which included Francis Buchholz and Jürgen Rosenthal – and Rudolf was the only remaining member of what once was Scorpions. We then joined forces and a little while later I said to Rudolf "let’s see if Klaus Meine wants to be involved again". Klaus then came to our rehearsals and rejoined. This is how it all started.

Jeb: In a recent interview Herman Rarebell told me the Scorpions sound changed after you left. He said when you were there the guitar was always turned up to loud. What is your response?

Uli: Oh, well, Herman… He would say that, wouldn’t he? Musically, we are coming from two opposing ends of the spectrum, rhythmically as well as mentally. He doesn’t musically understand me and I don’t understand him, but otherwise there are no problems between us.  The problem was that the guitar wasn’t loud ENOUGH, particularly on Tokyo Tapes.  When the lead instruments have to struggle against the accompaniment, then the music becomes a strain to listen to, because each band starts to sound the same.

I never want to have to strain to hear the vocals or lead and harmony instruments getting buried under tons of drum and bass boom. That seems like the death of musical enjoyment to me. I get bored with this kind of sonic approach, which was the prevalent sound of the eighties. Today a lot of that sounds very overblown and unnatural today and is plainly out-of-vogue. I just hope this way mixing albums doesn’t return, but I don’t think it will.

Jeb: You had some wild album covers back then. Please share with me some information about each. Fly to the Rainbow: Who painted the cover and what does it mean?

Uli: Fly To The Rainbow – don’t ask me what that cover means… I disliked it from the beginning. It looked ludicrous to me back then and looks just as bad today. It was done by a firm of designers in Hamburg, who had actually done a good job on the Lonesome Crow album before, but I think that time they failed miserably. As for the meaning, I can only guess, but I’d rather not…

Jeb: Who is the girl on In Trance and is that your guitar?

Uli: She was a photo model from Hamburg, and the guitar was indeed my white Stratocaster, which is the same one as the one on the Fire Wind cover. I played it on all the Scorpions and Electric Sun albums from In Trance onwards, and it was my favorite guitar in those days.

Jeb: Virgin Killer was banned!! Who was the girl on the cover and whose idea was it to have a nude child with broken glass in that area? What a statement.

Uli: Looking at that picture today makes me cringe. It was done in the worst possible taste. Back then I was too immature to see that. Shame on me – I should have done everything in my power to stop it. The record company came up with the idea, I think. The lyrics incidentally were a take-off on KISS, whom we had just supported on a tour. I was fooling around and played the riff of the song in the rehearsal room and spontaneously improvised "cause he’s a virgin killer!" trying to do a more or less way-off-the-mark Paul Stanley impersonation. Klaus immediately said "that’s great! You should do something with it." Then I had the unenviable task of constructing a meaningful set of lyrics around the title, which I actually managed to do to some degree. But the song has a totally different meaning from what people would assume at first. Virgin Killer is none other than the demon of our time, the less compassionate side of the societies we live in today – brutally trampling upon the heart and soul of innocence.

I can’t blame Tipper Gore for brandishing the cover on TV as offensive, though.  She was completely right in doing so and she’s a good person anyway, although she probably didn’t make the effort to check out the lyrics, which put a different slant on the whole thing – can’t blame her for that either, because knowing what I know today, I would have possibly reacted in a similar vein. Incidentally, I read Al Gore’s book – Earth In The Balance – and I can only wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who loves this planet of ours. His vision is strong, clear and inspired there. Shame not enough people got to read it.

Jeb: What is the message behind Electric Sun's Earthquake album cover?  Who painted it?

Uli: It was painted by Monika, who did the artwork for all three Electric Sun albums, which was a true privilege for me. She was a great artist. As for the message – it is related to "Sun In My Hand".

Jeb: Electric Sun's Fire Wind: Where are you supposed to be in the painting?

Uli: I think it is a stylized depiction of Niagara Falls. There was an interesting version of the painting, which preceded the present one. An atomic bomb was in the back ground – relating to my "Enola Gay – Hiroshima Today?" song, which is on Fire Wind. But we decided against it and so Monika painted over it. I still have some photographs of the first version, though.

Jeb: Please explain the spiritual message for the cover to Beyond the Astral Skies.

Uli: It is modeled on the face of the Egyptian king Echnaton and is symbolizing a space traveler. An amazing painting – it is one of my all-time favorites by Monika.

Jeb: I recently watched a DVD that was sent to my house called Jimi Hendrix the Last 24 Hours that said Jimi was killed by the American Government. How do you feel about that? Have you seen the movie? If so, what is your take on it?

Uli: I have not seen the movie. There are numerous conspiracy theories about Jimi’s death. I am convinced that Monika’s version of events is the correct one, although there was a small window of about ten minutes or so, when she was not with him. It seems extremely unlikely that anything of that sort could have happened in that short window.

Jeb: In the film they talk badly about Monika Dannemann. I understand you recently lost her and if this is too personal please do not speak about it. But, do you feel the media treated her in a mean way and led to her death?

Uli: These people don’t know what they are doing. They’ve got it so hopelessly wrong. She was treated horribly by parts of the media and undeservedly so. The media split into roughly two camps – those who supported her - and those who were on the side of the camp, which followed her antagonist, who was a master of propaganda and media manipulation. Monika, on the other hand, never knew how to play the media. She was too innocent, too trusting for that. She was not equipped for all that kind of stuff. She didn’t know how to manipulate.

I have known Monika probably better than anyone, apart from her closest family, for a period of 20 years. I can testify that her version of the events that lead to Jimi’s death ALWAYS had the complete ring of truth to me. We spoke about it quite often – particularly when I first got to know Monika. I quizzed her thoroughly back then, because - of course - I wanted to know what had happened. In all this time I never had the slightest reason to doubt her regarding this whole thing. Everything had the complete ring of truth about it – and it was not even a glamorous story.

Nothing sounded made-up or fabricated in the slightest. It just felt true and very believable, particularly to those who knew Monika’s character and personality. And what’s more – and this is important – the story NEVER changed even one iota. It was always the same including all the minutest details. People who make up stories always get entangled in the detail, which keeps changing. This was absolutely NOT the case with Monika. Some people have pointed to alleged inconsistencies in the story by saying that she told different versions in different interviews. NOT SO! I have been present during at least 20 interviews of hers over the years, and I can testify that it was always the same.

People just don’t realize how inaccurate a lot of interviews are once they appear in print. I can tell you from my own experience that many interviewers back then and, in fact, also still nowadays, are actually only scribbling down notes while conducting the interview, and then they are trying to paraphrase what has been said from memory later on when they write the article. Some interviewers are so notoriously inaccurate at transcribing that it annoys me no end when I see something in print that I supposedly said, but is clearly someone else speaking (the interviewer), while trying to make sense of things in hindsight and getting it horribly wrong. Let me tell you, that this happened several times in Monika’s case as well, and the probably unintended bungling of a journalist, who just wants to get the job done without much fuss, can lead to all sorts of confusion later on. Don’t ever believe what you read in print without having at the back of your mind the possibility of a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of facts. A lot of journalists these days have a very lackadaisical attitude about accuracy.

Jeb: If I may press, do you feel her story about Jimi was true?

Uli: Monika’s story was true. But one has to put into perspective THIS: Jimi was multi-facetted – a complete creative genius, if there ever was one - but he certainly showed Monika his so-called chocolate side. She saw all that was good and spiritual in him. She did not understand his more earthly and his weaker side, which was an undeniable reality and which caused him (and his reputation) - and those who outlived him - no end of problems later on.

But that is fine – I, for one, am not interested in all the juicy revelations – I’m fascinated by Jimi the great artist, Jimi the musical innovator, the messenger. And that goes for a whole lot of other people, too, who are tired of seeing Jimi painted in One-D only by the media.

At least Monika emphasized the most valuable and precious aspects in Jimi’s persona and legacy, which without her wouldn’t really have been presented in a decent way. In my mind she single-handedly kind of saved Jimi’s spirituality in the eyes of the public – at least for those who believe in those things. By doing that she preserved perhaps the most important aspects of Jimi – other than what is in his music anyway, which can speak for itself. She pointed to the deeper meaning of it all – the metaphysical Jimi Hendrix. A man whose essence got buried under all these mountains of trash and gossip by the vast majority of the people who were around him, but who did him no favors and clearly did not understand him. While a lot of people talked about sex and drugs – Monika spoke of the message – a message whose existence some people deny – but good for them. We are all entitled to our own opinion. I, for one, am convinced that there was and is such a message – and that Monika is to be thanked for shining a powerful and clear light on it.

Monika left all the earthy stuff to those who were better equipped for all that. She didn’t really have a lot of understanding for all these earthly things in the first place – she was too pure and spiritual in herself.   She was a great artist, and Jimi sensed and recognized that in her immediately. She was his soul mate. And I firmly believe she was the only one who could have strengthened him to sort out the mess he was in towards the end. And, by the way - this how I see it – these are MY words – not Monika’s – she was never as presumptuous as to say this: Jimi needed Monika, because she had tremendous inner strength, and loyalty towards him. This was coupled with courage and spirituality galore. But, sadly – she came too late. They simply didn’t have enough time together to make it all work out. What could have been, what SHOULD have been, was not to be…

At least Monika left us all these amazing paintings and her beautiful books. We - that is all her friends – totally still miss her. She was unique, but too good-natured to be understood by the world. I don’t know why and how, but I have a feeling that one day Monika’s position will be totally vindicated. Apart from that, posterity will realize the tremendous value of her own legacy, which is in her paintings and writings. All the others, who have adorned themselves with the sparkle of Jimi Hendrix will just fall by the wayside, because they have left us little more than an assortment of superficialities and trifles about the legend that was Jimi Hendrix. Posterity will see through that.

Sometimes it takes a distance of a hundred years or more for people to get a more truthful and complete picture of events which at the time seem incomprehensible. Out of the entire circle around Jimi – many of whom have already died in sometimes mysterious circumstances - Monika is the only one, who – phoenix-like – did something really positive, deeply meaningful and constructive based on Jimi’s message – and precisely because of that she was the most hard-done-by.

Jeb: Lastly, you two shared such a love for Hendrix music it is a testament to the power of his soul. Is it any accident that the two of you were soul mates?

Uli: If Jimi and Monika were soul mates does that make me a member of the same tribe? Let’s say ‘brothers in arms’ - Destiny works in mysterious ways.