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Call Me Adam

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The universe remains silent!

 A tomcat‘s perspective

As always, when things are not at all balanced in my life, I sit at the window of our posh luxury property and gaze questioningly into the starry night. What is wrong with the world? What’s happening here? But apart from getting breathtakingly intoxicated by the stars, the firmament has no answers to questions posed by a tomcat searching for meaning.

Who is spoiling everything for me and bringing a bitter note to my otherwise privileged life to date? Where has the beautiful, carefree life gone? Where? Humanity is divided into good and evil, black and white, loud and silent, those willing to work and those looking, speeders and brakers, vaccination supporters and vaccination opponents. There is no longer an inbetween factor; there are no shades, no nuances. Can we even recognise the grey tones at all in our society? For two years a pandemic has got the better of us, the economy has been destroyed and is only recovering slowly. Viruses and masks, with annoying rules in the meantime and human tragedies, are still determining our daily lives. Political disenchantment is running rampant. One scandal follows the other. Trust in our elected representatives is virtually at zero, if the surveys do not tell the right story they are doctored, warped or embellished with false assessments. Virgin forests are burning, the oceans are suffocating on plastic waste, the polar caps are melting and more than onehundred species are becoming irretrievably extinct each day, because profit and greed for power are widespread.

What has happened to humanity? What triggered it? Which chromosome is missing? The world will perish, if humanity no longer trusts that it is also worth living for tomorrow. How can we pull ourselves out of this situation and what is really keeping the world going and what will get the pulse beating again? I gaze at the skies for answers but the universe is silent. Silence. Pure silence. I suddenly notice a gentle rustling in the garden. I see a magic shadow on the wall, which quickly disappears from my eye cones. Quiet, careful advancing in the moist autumn leaves. I am beginning to think that I have imagined it, when a subtle but incredibly beguiling fragrance penetrates up to my nose and grows to an olfactory hurricane that is clearly and at the same time difficult to identify. My whiskers are vibrating, my ears are set for reception, and my tail is continuously whipping to and fro. What is happening here? I am wide awake and at the same time almost in a bewitching unconsciousness. Is it the answer from the universe or a sign from the cosmos? Then the moon slowly creeps over the edge of the roof and a beam of light falls into the night garden. Then I see her. She is sitting like a Madonna upright on the stone wall, elegant, angelic and not at all hidden, in the light of the moon. Unbearably slowly she turns her head and looks directly at me with a soft glance. I am mesmerized by her gaze. She gets up and slowly turns to the darkness of the garden. «No don’t go », screams every fibre in my body, but my voice remains silent. She turns around once more, looks at me challengingly and in a split second the spectre is over. The shockinduced paralysis dissolves like a spell. I push my head through the cat flap of the terrace door, follow up with a bold but elegant dive to immerse myself in the darkness and follow the scent trail that shows me the way to the only thing that makes the world go round. Love of course. Maybe the world will perish – someday – but not tonight! Meowwwwww!

*) In my stories I obviously address all genders (m/d/f).

 

Illustrationen Copyrights: Adam´s Tomcat, Manuela Dona

Clueso

“It is extremely cool here.” Clueso checking in at “Hotel California”

Pop Star Clueso (41), who became famous to the broader public through his collaboratin with Udo Lindenberg and Die Fantastischen Vier, on his James Bond “Album”, formatting his hard disk, his view of Zurich and his affinity for chilling in the bath.

You refer to «Album» as the result of your ambition to create your own James Bond. Which actor was your favourite, before you arrived?
(Laughs) What I meant with that statement was that I wanted to make a musical Blockbuster, which – like a Bond film – provided something for every taste. I still think Sean Connery is the coolest of all Bonds. Roger Moore was also cool, but he always had a touch of the granddad «fondling» the girls. In the old Bond films there were also other things that would be seen as no-gos today.
«Flugmodus» and «37 Grad im Paradies», the first songs on the album, elevate the listener. «Hotel California», like the Eagles title of the same name, deals more with the dark side of the American dream.

Which are the action scenes and which the love scenes on «Album»?
I have to think about that one … «Leider Berlin» and «Flugmodus» provide the action. We just finished playing the largest live concert in Germany, 7000 people were there. Without masks. The 2G rule or the 3G rule? I never know which one is which. (Laughs) In any case I noticed there that the public go crazy for the songs. The love scenes begin with «Sehnsucht …». I think it is beautiful story when we can generate a feeling chatting on a App, although all senses are removed. But that’s how we fall in love in 2021. The most intense moment is «Alles zu seiner Zeit». I wrote the song myself but cannot say when it happened or how. I only needed twenty minutes to write the lyrics.

A lot of hits are written quickly …
That’s a fable but it is true! Afterwards I looked at the wall and thought: «Cool that I was there!» (Grins) Now when I sing that song, the public are all ears. I love that. It is the only elegiac ballad on the album. I think about the question «What would be if …», because in my profession I get to meet so many people. Any one of them could become my friend or girlfriend.

«Flugmodus» and «37 Grad im Paradies», the first songs on the album, elevate the listener. «Hotel California», like the Eagles title of the same name, deals more with the dark side of the American dream.
It corresponds to what I have experienced in the music business since I was 19 and got a record deal. I have been offered everything that exists in the line of narcotics and stimulants, also from people who probably thought:«Now I’m going to get Clüsen wasted!» (Laughs) Fortunately as a child I found tablets and ate them. Afterwards I felt so awful that I stayed away from everything, except for smoking pot and drinking alcohol. Now and then I have even planned to reformat the hard drive. But otherwise I have always kept myself in check.

Anything else could cost you your career, or more.
In principle, however, I find both fascinating: When someone burns out like Jim Morrison and when someone is in complete harmony with himself like Sting. In Los Angeles I came into the studio where twenty rappers were hanging out in the vocal booths and forty cough mixture bottles were on the table. The guys were barely able to respond. The song is mainly about the fact that, if you are hurting, for example at the end of a relationship, you need a little distraction. Then you check in at «Hotel California».

In «Punkt und Komma» you realise from a distance that your love story at home has reached the final chapter. In «Alles zu seiner Zeit» you sing that you have never written a love story that ends well». How do you deal with that?
I am on the road a lot and my first love is music. That is difficult for a start. But I understand that people are incredibly interested in what is happening in my private life. However, I try to protect it. I do not talk a lot about it, I prefer to process it in my songs. The best are mostly autobiographical, because personal narratives touch you the deepest. I also find relationships that do not work more interesting. When I’m making music I am extremely fond of melancholy!

You are giving a concert in the Volkshaus on 31st January 2022. How well do you know Zurich?
A little. I still have to be driven around. I gave my first concerts in Kaufleuten. We were very torn because we were such an alternative clique and had to come to terms with the trendy types from Zurich. Then we were shown the club scene, which surprised us Thuringians a little. That must have been 15 years ago at least. It is extremely cool here and at the end of my promotional tour I have arranged to extend my stay by two or three days so I can go for some walks at the lake. I need that as the past few months have been flat out.

How do you spend your free time otherwise?
When I see a bath in my hotel room, I have to get into it. Even in the morning! Then I switch on the old series such as «Star Trek»; I don’t even have to watch just enjoy the mood, or I play music. I also love to go into the sauna. I even had one built in the studio, because it’s embarrassing when people recognize me and shout «Cello». Or I take my guitar and drone on a bit. For nobody. Music gets lost in noth-
ing. Playing is pure relaxation.

Fotos: Sony Music

Zero Waste

Sustainability in a feeding bowl

Have you ever stopped to think how sustainable it is to own a cat? No? Neither have I. I simply could not care less! Because it does not bear thinking about granting a cat access to our dignified male abode.

At the moment keeping a pet is mutating into a national sport. Does nobody for one second think of the consequences? Now mother, father and children are stuck at home with their home office and homeschooling, then on top of it they bring a hairy cat creature into their intimate universe that eats constantly and scratches everything.

Yes, and who gets the animal after separation? Wars have been waged because of a pet, because as soon as love dissolves, everyone pounces on what’s left to get their own back on their partner. Emotional booty like a cat fits the bill perfectly in the eyes of even a halfway intelligent warlord. As I said no one thinks of the consequences. Pets are only hoarded on a whim. Mankind is obviously suffering not only from the Corona pandemic, but also from an extremely contagious form of an amnesia mutation.

But I am digressing. Even if the positive ecological balance of a cat will never affect me, I recently led a heated discussion with Adam, my can opener, on cat food alucups. I hate those things. I would not expose my well-trained body to the disgusting stuff, I prefer to stick to my fresh salmon and well-matured dry-aged beef, but I took a sniff at one of those cans once and apart from the deplorable stink, an alucup simply cannot be sustainable. Zero Waste is allegedly the trend of the season and it is clear to even the most stupid that alucups, tin cans, cat litter, mink shampoo and fur mice are far from being Zero Waste. I don’t want to even think about the monster cat toilet – Yuck!!!

And scratching trees? My claws itch when I think of the constructions wrapped in sisal cord or the monstrosities covered in fleecy carpet that are set up in the living room devouring multiple square metres, while the cap takes a nap in the bed, the washing basket or in the Amazon box and sharpens her nails on the living room chair or the silk wallpaper. No, the world has to wake up and protect itself from these senseless money and resource eating monsters and the
industry behind them!

That was my thinking 2 hours ago, and then Adam came back to our upper-class villa, which is kept in tip-top condition, with a little kitty in his arms. The delicate little paws of the 12 week old, sugar-sweet ball of wool had barely touched the ground when she swirled up a tsunami in our sedate male domicile and brilliantly brought down my founded opinion on the sustainability of cats. Only a tomcat with a heart of stone could have resisted those naïve eyes. I am now clearing some space in the cupboards for an Armada of snacks, kitten milk and toys. Which reminds me, I’ll have to ring the carpenter about the scratching tree I ordered.

But no one should ever forget – sustainability concerns us all!

Illustrationen Copyrights: Adam´s Tomcat, Manuela Dona

Side Notes

Las Vegas consumes THE SAME AMOUNT OF ELECTRICITY as the entire country of PERU

THE GREENLAND SHARK (also known as the gurry shark) is the vertebrate with the highest life expectancy. It can live up to approximately 400 years old. In the animal world this age is only surpassed by the Arctica islandica (over 500 years old) and the Antarctic giant sponge (approx. 10,000 years old).

Scorpios can endure 200 times more RADIOACTIVITY than people.

“Yellofier is one of my best friends”

For more or less forty years the meticulous studio perfectionist Boris Blank and the ingenious improvisation bohemian Dieter Meier have been guaranteeing electronic soundscapes with charm and charisma. Both Yello characters spoke with ADAM The Magazine about their first concerts, the collapse of capitalism and their current album “Point”.

You call your current album “Point”(full stop) – and not “Comma”. Are you making a full stop behind Yello’s career after 41 years?
Dieter Meier: No, I see it as The Point of Yello. Like a headlight, focused on Yello.
Boris Blank: Or The Point of no return. We have arrived at a point from which we can no longer return. It always goes forward.

How did you come up with the idea of “Point”?
Blank: We always have dozens of ideas for an album title. The selection is an extremely difficult process. It shouldn’t sound stupid and has to have a certain swing. Dieter called me from Buenos Aires and asked: “Boris, are you busy? I have a title for the album: Point Yello” (clicking his fingers). And I said: “That’s it. That’s the beat.” There are hot spots, middle points and meeting points – and now there is also the Yello point.

Is this unity typical for Yello?
Meier: We discuss a lot, but we are not mavericks, simply eager to find a consensus. In everything! Otherwise we could not have done what we do, for forty years.
Blank: If there is any friction, we use our experience to alleviate the situation early on. Ultimately we always agree on something that is amazing, that we both enjoy. It was like that in the old days, but maybe now we have also mellowed a little with age.

Is the clear division of responsibility in Yello an advantage?
Meier: It is the only way it can work. Boris loves to fiddle about in the studio for years and to work on fifty sound pictures at the same time. I have a lot of other things going on so I don’t have any problem with not hearing from him for maybe three and a half years. (smirks)

Are you not curious?
Meier: Yes, I am, but it is quite dangerous listening to and commenting on a work in progress, as it could make your partner insecure in his creative process in which he is advancing slowly on unknown territory. This is the reason why it’s a magic moment for me when I’m permitted to listen. Something that is also specific to us as a team is that in the past four years I have only spent roughly 6 weeks in the studio and Boris maybe 220 … That’s the small difference.

“Point” is the first album since Yello gave concerts. Did the live experience inspire you?
Blank: Not in any way! As Dieter already said I have dozens of half-finished pieces. They have been waiting for a long time to be animated or resurrected.

But you are supposed to have said that you would have given concerts earlier if you had known how much fun it is?
Blank: We gave the concerts now because we thought that we had to do it as long as we are still young. Yello is a young live band. We still have a lot to do. Maybe even a proper tour, not with small instruments on the stage, but offering an audiovisual 360 degree all-round experience. A lot of people said you don’t need to have that many musicians on the stage. It was enough if you are there. But I didn’t want a fake tour premiere like the Pet Shop Boys offered, with Chris Lowe pretending to play music on his laptop. The people should experience our brass players. I could also imagine other concepts.

That sounds very analytical and controlled. What emotions did you experience?
Blank: It took a very long time until Dieter was able to motivate a hermit like me to come out of his shell and dare to get up on –>
the stage. I feared that we might be pretending to be something we weren’t. At the first concert my knees were still trembling but then I sensed how good Dieter felt on the stage and how the people
liked us. I was extremely impressed by this positive energy.
Meier: When I used to go on the stage with my band Out of Chaos, the name said it all. At that time I had a lot more freedom. I could sing the chorus twice and the musicians reacted accordingly. In the case of Yello it’s all measured down to the tenth of a second. You cannot improvise, nothing is spontaneous. It has a certain allure, but I hope that we can be more spontaneous on the next tour. The Yellofier, the fantastic App that Boris invented which even makes it possible for laypeople to compose fascinating pieces, also inspires us.

How did the happy single “Waba Duba” emerge?
Blank: That was an example of using the Yellofier. It’s one of my best friends. I always have it with me. When I’m out with the dog in the forest I experiment with the vowels and record it straight away. I can use fun random generators. In “Out Of Sight” I recorded my wife, Patrizia, enthusing while cooking in the kitchen: “Che belle, belle, belle!”

Am I right in thinking that in“Waba Duba” there is a quote from “The Race”?
Blank: It’s not the first time I’ve heard that. The baritone saxophone is one of the most significant sounds in Yello’s repertoire. I often use it, because I like it a lot.

“Way Down” sounds unusually relaxed, with swing and funky at the same time …
Blank: Yes, the electro-reggae really has a lot of influences. I’m not sure why. When I sent Dieter the demo version, he thought we would only have to record his vocals as my voice alone is too weak. The texts are completely Dadaistic. What’s that line again? “Bring that beef back home”?
Meier: What are you singing there? “Bring that beat back home!”(they’re having fun)

The shimmering, hypnotic counterpart is “Insane”. A hymn to craziness?
(Both of them say that they don’t know which of the twelve songs I’m referring to)
Blank: Dieter doesn’t know what he is singing either. He has a wonderful way of describing it: “Inspiration comes to me and when the song has been recorded it leaves me again.”

How important are the yearning for true love and hot eroticism as the driving force for your musical works?
Meier: Where do you see eroticism?
In “Hot Pan” …
Blank: Ok.
Meier: Interesting. I never saw it like that
Blank: Do you have a psychiatrist? (they laugh)

The song has a pulsating rhythm and you sing about “hardcore” and “shakin’ my body upside down”. Is my imagination really overexagerrating?
Blank: Not at all. Sometimes the critics write – I don’t know, whether it’s women – what an erotic voice Dieter has. Someone even wrote you could get pregnant listening to his voice.
Meier: Is that true???

Did you never make music to impress a woman?
Meier: No, no, no! That was never our impetus and we also never had groupies

But both of you have longer relationships than the majority of stars in the music business. What is your “secret”?
Meier: Our wives have their own ideas and fulfil them themselves. Independence has to be guaranteed. When my wife and I see each other, we always have lots to talk about. The conversations are very enriching.

Do you want to take more time in the future to do things together with your partners?
Meier: I don’t. I develop things with other people, but I have endless time. Whatever I do, agriculturally or oenologically, is my pleasure. Therefore I don’t experience stress. And my wife has handed over the responsibility for her company enSoie to our three daughters and retreated almost entirely into her private life.

Would you, as a musical visionary, also venture a prognosis, at which “Point” of Corona we currently find ourselves and where the development will lead us?
Meier: I am convinced that the world – when the problem has been solved on a medical level, and that doesn’t seem to be sorcery – will revolve just like before. And that would not necessarily be a good thing. The capitalist madness will continue.
Blank: I hope not!
Meier: Neither do I, but the only purpose of the system is the profitability of assets. The combustion of oils and coals has severe consequences, the contamination of the seas and the reckless handling of animals. Then there are the billions of debt that the states have accumulated. A total collapse is imminent. But the system will only change when we cannot breathe any longer.

Yello was founded in 1979 by the avant-garde linguistic artist Dieter Meier (vocals) and the techno pioneers Boris Blank and Carlos Péron (synthesizer). The single “Bostich” gave the Zurich band a club hit even in New York. They began their most successful period as a duet with the fourth album “Stella” and the releases “Desire” and “Vicious Games”. At the end of the 80s they released their goose bump ballad “The Rhythm Divine” with guest singer, Shirley Bassey, and the iconographic “The Race”. Yello only began to give concerts in 2016 as the sound tinkerer, Blank, doubted for a long time that his music could be reproduced adequately live. The current album “Point” bears the unmistakable signature of both techno legends. The songs are unconventional and the sound is brilliant.

Photos Copyrights: Universal Music

Godlike

Ophiuchus descendents amongst themselves.

Space – infinite expanse! Stargazing does not invariably mean you are moonstruck or a dreamer. Learned, scientifically interested and well-read as I am, it was only a question of time before I delved into astrology.

My passion began on an autumn day when Adam, my can opener, was sitting in front of a beautiful fire with a glass of Bordeaux and the newspaper, reciting his free horoscope amused. «It will be a great week! I will finally meet the love of my life, change my job and sell my CD collection from the 90s at a profit. The universe has a lot of secrets in store for us», claimed Adam spiritedly.  Gob smacked I looked at him. What was I supposed to say in the face of so much naivety? If only he had used the paper to light the fire. So I went into retreat, yawned in a bored fashion and sauntered to my seat at the window to stare into the pitch black garden. The last sentence hung like a distinctive fragrance in the air.  What did that nitwit know about the universe and the countless open questions that tortured my hyper-intelligent cat brain on a daily basis? I was something special, extremely unusual and, with the help of the stars, would prove it.  I went through the skylight in the spacious attic of our upper-class villa armed with a telescope to tackle the investigation into my past and future and it wasn’t long before it became clear to me that the Babylonians had been mistaken. The stars revealed the only possible opportunity. I was in the 13th constellation of Ophiuchus, born the serpent bearer and a direct descendent of Asclepius, the son of Koronis, the God of light. My ancestor, who had denied it to this day, was a healer who generally carried a serpent and a staff, which at some time in the past had led to his trademark becoming the symbol of the medical trade. Then it suddenly struck me. I had seen the only truth – I was…words failed me! Godlike I climbed from the observatory in the attic and proceeded to make the world aware of whom exactly they were dealing with. I only spoke to Adam when it was absolutely necessary and then looking down on him and otherwise I upheld my majestic stance. I relished my reputed superiority and posted countless sharp-witted comments of my theory on all significant astrology blogs. But I had no desire to begin long discussions, I wanted to rule and if it had been possible, I would have thrown bolts of lightning. Adam observed my change with suspicion and after a number of attempts to bring me back to reality, he finally pulled the rip cord. I was just giving a passionate speech on the senselessness of Gods cleaning their teeth, when he dialled the psychological emergency line and vividly explained to the lady on the other end that his best friend believed himself to be someone else. The lady immediately promised to send an ambulance with qualified staff and when the vehicle arrived shortly after I opened the door delighted. When asked where the patient was, I decided to lead the nice gentlemen directly to him myself, in the interests of efficiency.  «No, I am not the one you think I am. » «Of course not, replied the friendly gentleman, before they carried him off, strapped into a tidy package. «Please help my friend », I said urgently and wistfully watched the vehicle for a while.

«Are you listening to me at all? You’ve been sitting at the window for days, staring at the moon and the stars. It’s weird; you look like a zombie or a sun worshipper or something like that? » Adam‘s voice sounded like it was coming from afar! Majestically I sat on my brocade cushion at the window, my noble head resplendent with a solar corona. «A sun king? Why not?»

 

Copyrights: Manuela Dona

«Mum preferred WW to VW»

Shooting-Star Wincent Weiss («Feuerwerk») on «Irgendwie anders», his dream of children and a beard. And why he isn’t called Vincent.

Some Rock’n’Rollers would turn in their grave if they heard that they had to give an interview at 7.45 a.m. Are things so bad in the music industry that they have to get up so early?
Wincent Weiss: When we are promoting a new album, we make a sound check at 3.30 a.m. to be able to appear on breakfast television. Contrary to the sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll cliché, for me making music means more than anything a lot of work every day. This is a good thing. I prefer to get up early and get a lot done than to sleep all day.

Did you release «Kaum erwarten» as the single coinciding with the release of your CD because you consider this song to be the one that would stay in everybody’s mind?
It was important to me that I choose one song that represents the entire album. The previous singles «An Wunder» and «Hier mit dir» were made much earlier.

Which wishes and dreams, the subject of the song, have already been fulfilled, and which not yet?
Everything I envisaged for my music and career has already been surpassed hundredfold. It is simply unbelievable what I have been able to experience! To date I have always had too little time to fulfil my private and family dream: To be a daddy one day, and granddad. In the video to the song I’m wearing an artificial beard. Growing my own is probably my unrealistic wish. But we should never stop dreaming …(smiles)

Does writing the lyrics help you process difficult things like the separation from your girlfriend?
It always helps to keep busy. Some talk to friends or family, I communicate with my fans by writing songs. I was once asked: «Is it not silly standing on a stage every night being reminded again and again of your ex?» Not a bad point, but that’s how the process continues.

You can build yourself up again with songs like «Hier mit dir».
Exactly, it’s about a friend, who I have known for 26 years and who is like a brother to me. I can’t remember a time in my life without him. We were pushed around together in twin prams and I have never celebrated a birthday without him.

How did you two come together?
Initially we lived in the same city and were always close to each other – until I moved to Munich from the north of Germany to make my album. Our mothers were best friends. After kindergarten I often went back to his house, as my mum worked full-time. I was partly brought up by his parents.

How did the video in New York come about?
The record company said: «We are filming it there. Who do you want to take with you as extras?» I thought ok I’ll take my best friend then and we can show how our friendship was formed. I asked him if would have time. «I’ll collect you in three days. We are flying away for two days.» I waited until the last minute to tell him where we were going. He nearly didn’t get the time off, we had to work on his employer a bit!

«An Wunder» was filmed in Lisbon. Do you choose the venues as a replacement for holidays?
A little bit! (laughs) I haven’t been on holiday for a while and thought «Come on, if you at least have the chance to travel to a beautiful location to film a video then make the most of it.» We have nevertheless made the «Kaum erwarten» clip in Cologne, although it’s beautiful too. We’ve been to Japan and Cape Town as well.

How do you repower your batteries?
Not really at all. I work 95 percent and have 5 percent private life. I at least try to have one and a half hours a day for me. Then I go out on my motorbike, do sport or listen to music – and I don’t have to talk to anyone. I always intend to take a holiday, but I even cancelled one week’s holiday in April because I had band rehearsals. I’ll have to postpone it until after the tour.

Where did you plan to go?
Bali. After 13 years of skateboarding and snowboarding I really wanted to learn how to surf. As I have knee problems and a pending MRI appointment, it is unlikely that I could have fulfilled that wish.

How important is speed to you?
I like to drive fast but when I am snowboarding I have a more relaxed, technical approach and do tricks when I’m moving slower. However, I do love speed when I’m driving or on my motorbike. Unfortunately.

What do you ride?
A BMW 1000 RR. It does 316 kilometres per hour and I drive that too on the roads. Or 314 with my car, an S 63 Coupé, that I have at my disposal thanks to an advertising contract with Mercedes.

How much of your salary is spent paying speeding fines?
I drive with cruise control so I haven’t been caught on camera for the last two and a half years. It could also be attributed to the numerous motorways in Germany, which do not have a speed limit, but most of all I want to keep my license…

Do you take your role model function seriously?
Absolutely, but I refuse to play the role of educator, which is expected by the parents when they write: «I will no longer allow my daughter to go to your concerts because I read that you drink alcohol.» They do not see that I am 26 years old and have the right to celebrate a little, as long as I don’t ask ten year old girls to replicate that.

Today artists don’t get drunk anymore, if they want to be successful.
When I’m on tour I do not drink alcohol at all. The concerts are so huge; you have to deliver a good performance. I can’t go on the stage with a hangover.

How did the song «1993» come about?
I wrote it five years ago but it didn’t suit the style of the first album. That has changed now, as I reveal much more about myself on the second album. «1993» deals with my family situation. I grew up with my mum and without a father. I never missed him though. Nevertheless I would like to appeal to fathers and mothers through the song to look after their children and not simply to disappear.

That is understandable …
It is a song with quite a hard message, I say: «When I’m a father, I never want to be like you.» I wrote myself a reminder: When I become a father, I always want to be there for my child – regardless of how difficult it may be sometimes and whether I live with the mother or not. The least that parents can do is to be there for their children.

There are a lot of films dealing with children looking for one of their parents. Did you do that?
My mum always said she would give me the name and address and I could drive there at any time. But I haven’t felt the need at all. My grandfather was always there, my best friend’s father too, we played football and everything was perfect with mum.

What was different about writing the songs and recording the second album?
It felt more familiar and relaxed. When I was working on the first album I didn’t have any idea how it should sound, how I wanted to sound and what type of songs I wanted to make. I formed a set team for the second album with my producers and two songwriters, who have become my friends over the past few years; the team made it possible to work on a more personal level. Everybody knew about my childhood and my separation, so I could let down my guard and go deeper.

You are the first Vincent I’ve met who writes his name with W …
When I see Vincent with V, I find it weird. But I don’t know anybody with W! (laughs) Everybody thinks that it’s a stage name but that’s the way it’s written on my ID card.

Does it have any particular meaning?
My mum wanted the initials of my first name and surname to be the same. She preferred WW to VW! So I became Wincent. If I had been a girl, she would have called me Wendy. So I’m happy that I wasn’t born a girl …

Who inspires the live-Show, with which you are on tour in autumn?
I don’t have one particular role model, but I go to a lot of international concerts. I recently watched Taylor Swift on Netflix.
I find it so exciting how bombastic the American pop artist’s shows are. Every second something explodes sky high in her shows. She even flew through the air herself at one point! (laughs). Our shows will definitely be a lot more relaxed. My roots are based more in Metal.

Really? Have you ever played Heavy Metal or just listened to it?
I started out with Metal! When we covered the famous Metal bands a friend contributed all the shouts and screams and I sang. Today I still listen mainly to Metal and a little of what my colleagues are making.

What happened that you now make popular German pop for the radio?
I feel more at home when writing the songs because I express myself better in German and can package my feelings. But I haven’t ruled out taking on a small heavy metal project some day. Maybe I will tackle that in the near future and show my more powerful side.

Wincent Weiss:
«Irgendwie anders»
(Universal Music).
Live: 26.11.2019 Zurich
Samsung Hall.

 

Photos Copyrights: Christoph Köstlin

Racer Genes

The Tomcat strikes back.

I am officially coming out as a vintage car freak – yes, I have succumbed to my passion for classic vehicles. The feeling when the adrenaline that has accumulated during the day on Tuscany’s winding roads gives way to well-earned fatigue in the evening is priceless. I am quite simply a tomcat with petrol in my veins.
But, if there is one thing that gives me even more pleasure than winding up an alpine pass in a vintage car or cruising to Trieste for an espresso, it is polishing the exquisite fireball beforehand. The way it looks, the way it feels, the smell of leather, petrol and testosterone. Every screw, every eyelet and every leather thong gets its attentive loving care and pampering.
Fortunately the garage of our upper-class villa is amply equipped with well-maintained racing cars, because Adam, my can opener, also harbours a deep passion for classic cars. One fact that restricts our harmonious life together somewhat is that they belong to him and he is only on rare occasions prepared to swap the driver’s seat with me! This is a little unsettling if it is your dream to take part in a classic rally.
I repeatedly resort to tricks to keep him away from the garage. Fictitious appointments and dates are the more harmless traps that I have set for him just to get free passage.
Last Saturday morning the following happened: Adam came into the kitchen whistling and while he was making himself an espresso, explained verbosely that the vintage car rally that had been planned for six months would not be happening for me. After careful consideration he had decided to share this irretrievable experience with his latest love interest, as she been more than keen to go.
After a brief shock-induced paralysis, I shuffled slowly to my cushion at the window, draped myself with my back to him and prepared for a counter attack. In a quiet voice I explained to him that I completely understood his decision, as she had really earned the chance to go out with him and sniff the rally air. I was also completely aware that I would only disturb their time together as a couple. What can I say; he could not believe his luck. He had obviously expected more resistance. He quickly gulped his espresso down and shot off to pack.
While he stowed his luggage, I pinched his mobile and wallet with the identity documents out of the glove compartment, sent an iMessage to his current sweetheart and cancelled the weekend. Immediately after that I used the alarm system with a direct link to the police to trigger a silent alarm. Then I phoned the police emergency number 117, pretended I was a neighbour and reported that in the house opposite a strange man had just driven out of the garage in a wickedly expensive vintage car, although the house owner was away on a trip for the weekend. Just to be on the safe side I gave them the model and number plate of the cheeky thief. Then I removed the battery from Adam‘s mobile, threw it into a flower vase and put the telephone back in its place.
When Adam left a short while later, I waved goodbye to him from the window with a smile. I counted to 100, drank a perfect espresso and got into my favourite convertible with my travel bag.
At the second set of traffic lights there was a large contingent of police and in the middle of them Adam, completely distraught and undergoing a body search. I wondered briefly how he was going to identify himself and who else could identify him, but then I stowed my sentimentality in the glove compartment and drove past the scene without any sense of regret heading for a wonderful weekend and an unfulfilled dream on four wheels!

Copyrights: Manuela Dona

The great prince

PROFESSION: RACING DRIVER.

If you have not heard of Karl Wendlinger, please rest assured that is quite typical. The Austrian Racing Driver began his career over 30 years ago, proving exceptionally talented. And exceptionally silent. He never made a big fuss about himself.  That is really too bad. May we introduce: Karl Wendlinger. A modern driver and gentleman.

Flashback. Amused chuckling from my male colleagues: «You want to interview Karl Wendlinger? Good luck.» What the gentlemen of the press were trying to tell me almost 30 years ago in their own covert way was that trying to interview the promising pilot was like trying to get blood out of a stone. A difficult case. However, I ventured out on my long journey at the time in November 1989 to meet Karl Wendlinger in Macao, where he was taking part in a Formula 3 Championship, a city circuit, of which Niki Lauda, fellow countryman of my interview partner, had once said it was comparable to «navigating a submarine in a bathtub». Karl drove at that time for the RSM Marko Team (backed by Dr. Helmut Marko, who today advises the Red Bull Formula 1 Team and is responsible for driver training) with a Formula 3 racing car sporting an Alfa Romeo engine. Other famous names from the motorsport future were present in the starting field: Mika Häkkinen, Alessandro Zanardi, Gianni Morbidelli, Bertrand Gachot, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Michael Schumacher. No one, including Karl, managed to complete the race in the narrow streets of the Portuguese enclave. Wendlinger still became German Champion of the Formula 3 that season thanks to his previous excellent results. Wendlinger. Not Frentzen, who was 2nd. And not Schumacher, who came 3rd.

AUSTRIAN CONNECTIONS

The interview was to become one of the most impressive of my entire journalistic career. I met a thoroughly relaxed 21 year-old, who was completely cool about the hype surrounding him. Blood out of a stone? You just had to ask the right questions. The sportsman entitled «Crown Prince Karl» and the «new Lauda» (for the chroniclers: Niki Lauda is an Austrian motorsport racer, three times F1 World Champion, ending his active driving career in 1985. He owns 10 percent of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. The soon to be 70 year-old is currently recovering from a lung transplantation, necessary due to the long-term effects of his horrific crash in 1976 on the Nürburgring, in which he almost burned to death in his car and inhaled masses of toxic vapours) talked willingly of his childhood, his life, his worlds, his dreams. Of how his mother, Traudi, knew at the latest from when «the four year old boy crashed against the garage door on his first motorbike and flew through the pane» that he was unstoppable. His parents had a garage at the time, father Karl Senior was a racing driver himself for 20 years; like father like son. At the age of 15 Karl Junior got his first kart, drove in the POP junior class, became the South German Kart Junior Champion in 1984 and in 1986 Austrian vice Champion. A talent that did not go unnoticed to the Austrian Dr. Marko, who had previously taken part in Formula 1 and had a hotel in Graz. In conjunction with Formula 1 pilot Gerhard Berger, also Austrian, who provided his young friend with tips, he helped to accelerate Karl’s career.

SPEED SCHOOL

The development programme included a test contract with the Mercedes L-Team, as it was called at the time; three young talented pilots were teamed up with three old hands in the World Sportscar Championship Group C by the Swiss motor sport specialist, Peter Sauber. Karl‘s colleagues: Fritz Kreuzpointner and Michael Schumacher. The «teacher»: motorsport legend Jochen Mass. From this point on his career progressed rapidly, the experiment in Group C was successful, Wendlinger even won a World Sportscar Championship race in Spa in 1990. The quiet guy attracted attention, the following year he won again and prepared for the Formula 1; by the end of the season in 1991 he had driven in his debut for the Leyton House Team at the Grand Prix in Japan.

LIFE AS A RACING DRIVER

Cut. Late summer 2018. It somehow should not be taken for granted that Karl Wendlinger is standing in front of me in Arosa at the Arosa Classic Car Event. In 1994 he had a serious accident when training for the Formula 1 race in Monaco. On a racing weekend that proved from the outset anything but par for the course. The Friday before at the F1 Racing weekend in Imola, the Brazilian Rubens Barricello had a huge accident from which he miraculously survived with only minor injuries. On the training Saturday during the day Roland Ratzenberger, Karl’s fellow countryman, was killed in an accident and during the race itself Ayrton Senna. Also fatally. The entire Formula 1 Circus was still under shock eleven days later in Monaco and had to witness how Karl Wendlinger smashed into a barrier with his Sauber Formula 1 racing car. The one who always thought «Nothing will happen to me!» survived the accident but was placed under artificial coma due to extensive brain damage. In retrospect he reflects that his return to normal life was slow. Karl himself was the epitome of impatience. In the same way that being propelled through the garage window at his home could not stop him, he only wanted one thing now: To get back in his car as quickly as possible. «To the outside world it was nonsense», Wendlinger recaps today, «in June, only a few weeks after the accident, I was unable to recognize my parents and in September I was sitting back behind the wheel of the racing car.» Expert therapists, notably Professor Willi Dungl († 2002) did a great job; since then Karl has been dutifully performing his fitness programme, he did not used to be fond of sport. His team had kept their restless colleague’s place free in the racing car. «But my concentration was poor in 1995», Karl Wendlinger admits today. And his team colleague in the Sauber Mercedes Formula 1 team, Heinz Harald Frentzen, drove the better lap times. On top of that, the fully grown Wendlinger had a weight disadvantage compared to the smaller Frentzen. His Formula 1 career came to an end and Karl switched to touring cars. «In 1997 I was able to retrieve my full potential », says Karl Wendlinger, that is over 20 years ago now. Years, in which he drove in different motorsport championships on an international scale. Years, in which he also married his long-term girlfriend Sophie and had two children;, his son is 18 years old today, his daughter 21 years old. The younger Wendlinger generation does not have the racing gene, but their father supports them in everything they want to do. «As my parents supported me», it’s that simple. In the son’s case that’s football, Jonas Wendlinger plays for the 1st FC Nuremberg in the German under 19s team.

AMBASSADOR AND GENTLEMAN

Karl Wendlinger is talkative here in Arosa, no comparison to the restrained junior he was almost 30 years ago. He tells about his parents’ business, that he has now taken over the garage in Kufstein and still lives there. He travels as brand ambassador for IWC, pilots a Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing for the IWC Racing Team, however he is not a team member, not yet, he is practically on loan, and he has a contract with AMG Mercedes. This type of event includes taxi journeys, a select few get the chance to drive off with Karl Wendlinger in the unique Gullwing along 
7 kilometre long mountain racing circuits. The weather is poor, it is switching between snow and rain, although it is the end of the summer, «Karli» as his fans like to call him, doesn’t care. Motorsport is his vocation; he never wanted to do anything else. Do you not start to have doubts after such a horrific crash? «Everybody has their own path and it is set in stone», Karl Wendlinger attempts to explain and folds his 1.85 metres elegantly into the silvery Mercedes-Benz vintage car. «But you can shape a positive future.» Which he has, without a doubt, achieved.

FOLLOW KARL WENDLINGER ON INSTAGRAM: @KARLWENDLINGER

Photos Copyrights: © Dörte Welti, Pauli Mathieu Bonnevie, Dörte Welti, Pauli

Specification for the SL Mercedes-Benz 300 SL «Gullwing»

Year of construction: 1955
Engine output: 215 PS
Four speed manual gearbox
The car (and its sister model) is elaborately prepared by HK-Engineering in Polling (D) for the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center.