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Rock N America unloads a three-day package of hard rock on Zoo Ampitheatre

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Rock N America
Featuring Scorpions, Warrant, Twisted Sister, Ratt and more
Zoo Amphitheatre
2101 N.E. 50th
$49.50-$125 one-day pass
$125-$350 three-day pass

The most amazing thing about the bands booked for Rock N America isn't the collective history of packed stadiums, platinum albums and complete airwave ownership; it's that so many managed to survive.

Those that made it out alive proved to be a hardy breed. Ratts and Scorpions are hard to Slaughter, even with L.A. Guns " just ask Cinderella and her Twisted Sister.

All right, Enuff Z'nuff. Oklahoma Gazette caught up with some of the headliners so you know a bit of what to expect this weekend as the Zoo Amp revives a decade of decadence.
"Joe Wertz

Scorpions on the Plains
Forget tornadoes. It's 'Hurricane' season at the Zoo Amphitheatre.
by Rob Collins

9:30 p.m. Saturday
Main Stage

Quick quiz: Which German band has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide after forming in 1965.

Kraftwerk? Nein. Nena? Nope. Her "99 Luftballons" fall far short.

Assuming you haven't read the headline, the answer is Scorpions (and not "The" Scorpions, as music fans have mistakenly referred to the heavy metal band for decades).

In case you missed the group's farewell announcement, Scorpions are saying auf wiedersehen with a final tour. For Oklahoma City hard-rock fans, this means one more gig Saturday with the band famous for the "Rock You Like a Hurricane" anthem.

Guitarist Rudolf Schenker, 61, said the band members decided to call it quits on top of their game.

"In the moment, it is good," Schenker said. "That's the reason we decided to make the decision. The people are expecting this kind of '80s band, jumping, running, still kind of excitement onstage and also we have an outstanding kind of stage set (that) really includes the '80s and new technology of video. We like to give 150 percent, and when we can't give that, we feel we're cheating the people."

Schenker said the idea to call it quits arose when their manager suggested the latest album, "Sting in the Tail," was really great. Although the band thought the remark was a joke initially, the group decided to exit on a high note for its swan song.

"Now we can deliver what we want to deliver," Schenker said.

Schenker, who grew up idolizing The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, is familiar with pushing the envelope. Just take a look at the provocative and controversial Scorpions' album covers for "Virgin Killer" in 1976, "Animal Magnetism" in 1980 and the triple-platinum "Love at First Sting" in 1984.

The act worked with the design firm Hipgnosis to create the 1979 "Lovedrive" cover, which showed stretched bubblegum connecting a man's hand to a woman's breast.

"We tried to create something specially on the vinyl covers " a kind of magic, a kind of art " something which is different," Schenker said. "(We) had the possibility to work with Andy Warhol, but he did not allow us to use this on merchandise. This was the point where we said 'no.'"

Although Warhol didn't end up doing the artwork for the 1988 album "Savage Amusement," the group's "Winds of Change" power ballad released in 1990 became a worldwide hit single and is frequently heard in reference to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Schenker said he remembers a 1980s Oklahoma City gig when then-drummer Herman Rarebell "was falling in love with one of the girls from Oklahoma." Rarebell, who played with the band until 1995, decided to hang in the Sooner State during his off day while the rest of the band prepared for a gig in Miami. The band nicknamed him "Oklahoma Karl" after missing the first flight out of OKC.

"We were waiting, everything was there, standing there waiting for Herman," he said. "Ten minutes before the show, he came into the dressing room and jumped in his stage clothes, and there we were, rocking Miami."

Rarebell will be performing earlier Saturday with the Michael Schenker Group and will take the stage for a few songs with the Scorpions.

Outstanding Warrant
Glam-metal legends Warrant return to the stage with old friend Robert Mason leading the way
by Chris Parker

3:35 p.m. Sunday
Main Stage

When Warrant began looking to replace frontman Jani Lane a couple years ago, the members didn't have to look far. Robert Mason has been friends of the band since the early '90s, when he toured with the glam act as the lead singer of Lynch Mob.

Indeed, Mason and Lane were drinking buddies while Lynch Mob was recording its 1992 self-titled album, and it was during one of those hard-drinking nights that Lane invited Mason and his bandmates to open for Warrant on its 1992 world tour.

The seeds of this new union, however, were first planted in Oklahoma during Warrant's 2008 Rocklahoma appearance. Mason was there with his band, Big Cock, and ran into guitarist Joey Allen the night before Warrant's show. Lane was nowhere to found.

The Warrant boys hadn't seen Lane since his much-publicized drunken stage showing in Las Vegas a week earlier, where he showed up so addled, he could barely sing.

"Joey and I talked that night and then I showed up at Warrant's soundcheck the next morning. Lane wasn't there, and Jerry Dixon runs up to me and gives me a big hug," Mason said. "He asks, 'How many of our songs do you know?' I said, 'I think I know "Cherry Pie" " how many times you want me to sing it?'"

"He's like, 'I don't know, dude. I don't know if Lane's going to show.' I could see it in their eyes: four very unhappy guys wondering whether their mouthpiece was going to show up," Mason said. "Singers are like the shiny hood ornament on the car: The rest of the car is going to drive along, but you're going to notice there's something missing if there's no headlight and no hood ornament."

While Lane did eventually show (sober this time), the reunion lasted just another six weeks before the singer and band went their separate ways and Mason was called in. A born singer, he'd dance around the house to The Platters and always seemed destined for the stage.

Mason had just been released from a major-label deal that went nowhere when he was invited to audition for Lynch Mob, but the opportunity was short-lived, thanks to Nirvana and grunge, which precipitated the mass extinction of hair and glam-metal.

"I'm honestly not one of those guys that goes, 'Wah! Nirvana killed my life,'" Mason said. "We were writing the Lynch Mob record at the time, and we could see the writing on the wall. We wanted to make a heavier and darker record ... and Elektra really wanted them to be more radio-friendly. We were proud of that record, but it could've been a little less slick and a little darker."

Lynch Mob broke up after that album tour (they reunited with Logan on the mic two years ago), and Mason kicked around a variety of outfits (Cry of Love, Magnum, Alive) and worked as a session singer.

Warrant didn't fare much better. After two double-platinum albums, its 1992 follow-up, "Dog Eat Dog," only went gold. The group eventually was dropped from Columbia Records, and released a string of increasingly inconsequential albums over the next 15 years. (Don't expect to hear much material from either of those albums on Sunday, as Warrant's set is culled almost exclusively from the first three releases.)

After the ill-fated reunion with Lane in 2008, and eventual hookup with Mason, Warrant has slowly begun work on a new album. Indeed, the band has already slipped a new song, "Sex Ain't Love," into the set.

"There's no mystery or allegory in that title," Mason said. "People who dug the first couple or three Warrant records will like this other stuff. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, and we're just going to do the best we can. There's no pressure. When we have enough songs for a record, we'll record them and put it out. I promise."

That sounds like good news for those who grew up on Warrant's fun-loving, sex-obsessed world of perpetual adolescence. But Mason knows he has some big shoes to fill.

"A certain amount is lost that you have to give into not having the original singer, but if the original singer is not around or can't/won't do it anymore, that's where guys like me come in," he said. "I've got a certain energy onstage, and I like to run around and grab an audience, by the throat and go, 'Hey, believe this.'" "Chris Parker

Speaking of Chris Parker

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