Q’s With Rod MacSween, Co-Founder Of ITB & Scorpions Agent Outside The US

Rod MacSween
– Rod MacSween

Pollstar: Where did you first see the band perform live? 
Rod MacSween: 1985, Rock in Rio Festival.

Can you take us through the first meeting with the band? 
They were being managed in the early ’90s by Doc McGhee, who I’d been working with on Bon Jovi (and later with KISS). Doc had suggested to the Scorpions that I become their new agent outside the U.S., and that relationship with the band has lasted almost 30 years, with a couple different managers. During my initial meetings with the band, great, mutual enthusiasm was shown. I’ve maintained a close personal relationship with the guys and I’m really part of their extended family.  

If someone had told you then that the band would still be touring the world, strong as ever, more than 50 years later, what would you have responded?
At that time no one actually would have thought that far ahead, but I’ve always believed in their longevity as their great songs have stood the test of time and they have maintained their exciting and dynamic stage presence.
What’s the number one reason for the stability of your relationship with the band? 
Great band, mutual respect and we keep in close communication. Also, as well as business, we’re all great friends and they see me as family and confidante.
What were the first markets outside of Germany you targeted?
Russia, a huge market for the Scorpions, South America, France, Spain, Portugal and most of Europe. Asia has also always been strong for The Scorpions.

What were milestones that took their career to the next level? 
“Wind of Change” in 1990 was a massive worldwide song and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” is a rock classic, as is “Still Loving You.” These strong songs and others (too many to mention) have defined their strength and longevity. Rock in Rio in 1985 set them up in South America, that was a special show.

The number of German acts, who’ve achieved the kind of success abroad, can probably be counted on one hand. What’s the main reason for their international appeal?
The music, songs and brilliant performances.

It’s quite symbolic that the band finished its mammoth Crazy World Tour right before it really turned into a crazy world. What are your most present memories from that marathon? 
Just constant success and a great reception everywhere. The Scorpions are consistently more successful now worldwide than they’ve ever been.
The Scorpions with Rod MacSween
Courtesy Shamma Concerts
– The Scorpions with Rod MacSween
At a show promoted by German promoter Shamma Laiquddin.
Can you talk about upcoming tour plans at all, despite the situation?
The Vegas residency is being moved to 2021, along with a full-blown USA run. We’re planning some European festivals (current climate permitting) for summer 2021, then a fall 2021 European run, including an extensive German run.

How keen are you to get back on the road?
Very, for all concerned, and for the public to see once again what a great band they are.

How do the band members on stage differ from the band members off stage?
They all have strong personalities on and off the stage. They’re very friendly, modest and unassuming, and have a great sense of humor and an infectious enthusiasm.

Did you ever consider not working with The Scorpions at any point in history? 
No, they have always been one of my favorite bands.
Is there a market yet untapped that you and the band would still like to visit? A certain venue maybe or a festival that’s still on your bucket list?
They’ve never played in Dublin! That’s often mentioned, same for South Africa. they’ve been pretty much everywhere else that is on the usual touring circuit.
In your long career in this business, have you ever witnessed anything comparable to the current crisis? 
No. It’s a game changer. The strong will survive best, but it will be a different landscape altogether.

What will be the most important factors for this industry to get out of this situation as well as possible? 
A vaccine for COVID-19 and governments allowing public gatherings again.