Many will know Herman Rarebill from his time drumming with Scorpions between 1977 and 1995, which took in eight studio albums and numerous tours. To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of this, his debut album, Nip In The Bud has been remastered for release in 2021. It will also be available digitally for the first time.
Many of these songs were written by Herman in the early 1970s, and offered for use by the Scorpions when he was in the band but they were not used. This led Herman to think of them as the tracks for a debut album. The album was recorded live in a 16-track studio in Herman’s hometown of Lebach. He invited two musicians to join him on the album, Pedro Schemm, also known as George Philips, provides vocals and bass while David “DH” Cooper plays guitars. Herman and George were actually childhood friends and played together in bands such as The Mastermen and the legendary Krautrock band RS Rindfleisch with George as vocalist and Herman, not surprisingly, on drums. Both spent some time in England, where they played in various bands and met guitarist David “DH” Cooper along the way. Within a fortnight of the recording sessions beginning, the basic tracks were completed before the final overdubs were undertaken in Dieter Dirk’s studio near Cologne and then mixed by Gerd Rautenbach, who had been responsible for the unique sound on the legendary Scorpions albums Blackout and Love At The First Sting.
The resulting music is fresh sounding heavy rock, almost a lite version of Led Zeppelin. George’s vocal style is decidedly Plantesque, though without the power or emotional passion. That’s not to say it’s bad though. His bass playing is lithe and sinuous, but becomes a little lost sonically as the drums are so high in the mix. DHs guitar work has the licks and chops, and provides some sparky solos. But the sound belongs to Herman and his drums. They are front and centre on most of the tracks, with the tune Triangle being for the most part a drum solo, although the drum’s sound has been treated. The three musicians work well together as a unit. The production is clear and unbusy, the songs themselves well-crafted and pretty much typically heavy-rock-ish. Cheerfully dated might sum the lyrics up.
The artwork was created by Storm Thorgerson’s team at Hipgnosis, his company that also created legendary album covers for Pink Floyd, T. Rex, Electric Light Orchestra, Rainbow, 10cc, Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Led Zeppelin and many others. I think it’s fair to say that this one of the more straightforward of their output.
While this album may not be strictly progressive rock, there is enough about it to appeal to proggers who like the heavier end of the genre. The playing is very good, and there is enough swagger about the music to make it interesting. The songs are pretty much similarly paced, although the closing track, I’ll Say Goodbye, is more of an acoustic one and closes the album well. The casual listener might think this to be the best song.
There’s also a single available featuring two songs: I’ll Say Good Bye and Rock Your All.
“I’m extremely proud of this album,” Herman concludes. “Even after 40 years, the album sounds totally fresh and exciting and tracks like “I’ll Say Goodbye” or the ballad “Messing Around” are still absolute hard rock classics, even today.”
Having A Good Time
Rock Your Balls
I’ll Say Goodbye
Herman Rarebell – drums
DH Cooper – guitars
George Phillips – bass and vocals
Release date: 27th August 2021
Label: Aviator Management