There could have been no better location than the Skylight Lounge at the Hanover Airport. In between the apron with lots of air traffic and a show kitchen right under the visitor platform of the airport. The reading series, called “AIRleben & AIRlesen”, in which prominent guests are invited with their books and stories out of their life’s in this exclusive location invited Thomas on the 12th of April 2016.
Freshly tanned from the Canarian sun of Gran Canaria Thomas flew in to Hanover and was looking forward to a relaxed interview. After an aperitif, the people could take their seats in the Skylight
Lounge and take a look of the apron. Take off, landing, Taxiing, boarding, pushback – everything could be spotted, the buzzing of the engines in range audibility. “Wonderful, simply in the middle
of life”, like Thomas commented the location later on.
Than, moderator Benjamin Waßmann started with the greeting and announced some statistics on Modern Talking “Number in 81 countries, over 400 gold and platinum awards”, well known facts for the die-hard fans. Yes, our Thomas is simply a global player. They started the event with a video of “Brother Louie”, from the Fanday 2009. As the last tones fell silent, a smiling Thomas entered the Lounge under big applause. “I am very happy to be here today”, he said and moderator Benjamin Waßmann started directly with the first question. “Mister Anders, do you like flying?” “Well, the older I get, the more I don’t like it. I fly over 400.000 km per year, nearly 6 times in the last 5 days”, Thomas narrated. “I am a friend of short ways. That’s way I have a house in Ibiza. 2,5 hours to fly is perfect.”
“How did everything start with you, Mister Anders” Let’s go back the rootes, right before the time of Modern Talking”. Thomas told, that he was engaged, at the age of 17, at the Moseltanzpalast in Coblence, where he should earn 400DM fee. “I arranged with my father, to get 10% of that right now. He thought that it wouldn’t be so many appearances. It went up to 300 gigs and now you can calculate. After that I was the prince in school”, Thomas laughed. Afterwards he told about his German language singles, which had been no success at all: “My first song was “Judy”, the photo session took place in the palm garden in Frankfurt/Main. Really nice pictures”, Thomas added ironical.
„How your stage name has been created?” the moderator wanted to know. “My civil name is Bernd Weidung. For the record company this was too complicated. Well, they didn’t know Christina Arguilera at that time. I got a list with names, which all were really bad. The former chief of the record company was called “Anders” with last name. They simply hoped for more budget with that plan.”
Thomas reports his first and last encounter with the German musician Christian Anders, who seemed to be really choked about the doubled last name. “I was at the Automotive Fair Frankfurt to promote “Judy”. I shared my cloak room with Christian Anders, a bad fortune. As he came in he just said a bit snarky: “There should be someone like Fritz Jürgens”, of course he meant me with that. I never have had the gift of the gab so I answered dryly: “Yes, but Fritz seems to be a better singer than Udo”. That produced lots of laughing in the audience of Hanover; meanwhile the sun was setting right behind the tower of the airport.
Thomas told us two more encounters, which he still has in mind: “My first TV appearance was on “Hätten Sie heut’ Zeit für uns” by Michael Schanze. They took 13 contestants out 719 candidates. That was in the German town Hof. It is a funny thing, that I never ever had an appearance in Hof again, since 1979. But this month, on the 30.04.16 in will return for the German television show “Willkommen bei Carmen Nebel.” Thomas narrated another story and the second encounter, this time with the German singer-songwriter G.G. Anderson: “At a gig in Mayen, near Coblence, I should be introduced to him. I was at his cloak room as a man entered. He introduced himself as Gerd Grabowski. We chatted a bit and after a while I asked for G.G. Anderson to arrive.” The audience laughed because G.G. Anderson is just the stage name of Gerd Grabowski.
„And then there was the first magical encounter with Dieter Bohlen, please let us join it”, the moderator Benjamin Waßmann replied. “In the past Dieter was producer for the record company Intersong. After a few German songs he told me, that there is an English demo tape, “You’re my heart, you’re my soul”. From that moment on, everything went remotely-controlled, at least in the beginning. That is why I have sympathy for all the contestants of casting shows, which suddenly have to fight with all that hype. For me casting shows are just artificial. It is just about audience rates, it has nothing to do with learning the job of a singer. And when you take a look at the current candidates, you may say that this is a one pound shop recovery”, Thomas smiled. As well as for Andreas Kümmert, who cancelled his participation in the Eurovision Song Contest for Germany in the last year, Thomas found clear words: “On the one hand side it is unbelievable strength, on the other hand it is unfathomable desperation.”
„Are there any phases in your life, in which you have simply nothing to do? “, Waßmann asked. “No, well there can be three weeks, in which I don’t have any shows, but I always have some stuff to do. My wife is asking me than:” Hugh, the good times are over?”, Thomas joked. “We need our “VeggieDays”, on which we are just laying on the couch. On Sundays I buy all the newspapers and magazines they have in the railway station in Coblence. You have to keep yourself informed”, Thomas said. Are there any good friend in shows business, which do you have for a long time?, the moderator continued asking. “In my life I have three very good friends; all of them are not in show business. There are many good acquaintances, but what does friend mean by the way? Friends are people, where you can be desperate from time to time, people that give you unconditional loyalty. One person from the business for sure is Ralf Morgenstern, we recently met on Gran Canaria. Even if we haven’t had contact for month, we never forget each other, “Thomas told.
In the following both spoke about the autobiography of Thomas „100% Anders“. There are some sharp tongues claiming that your book is just a tit-for-tat-response for Dieter Bohlen.
You still sell around 250.000 CDs with the music of Modern Talking per year and you are still in contact with Dieter Bohlen”, Waßmann noted. “It is just economic contact Dieter and I have. I don’t see a tit-for-tat-response. It is just a book from the middle of my life”, Thomas clarified. “How long took it to write the book?” the moderator wanted to know. “About one year from July 2011 up to June 2012. When I was on Ibiza, I always took three hours after breakfast to write. And sure I had writer’s blocks from time to time. But the publisher gave me temporal and with regard to contents independency, so this was no problem.
I am a human being, who lives the moment, always acts like his perception and also makes mistakes.”
By many projects from the past we know that Thomas moderated a few shows on TV. But how were his feelings about that? That was something the moderator Benjamin Waßmann wanted to know as well. “I have the highest respect on that job. You have to transport a given set of information in a given time space, that is not as easy as it may sound. A big project for me was the moderation of “Best of Formel 1”. In the first show they let me read my texts from a teleprompter. The director said that this was too stiff for him, so we tried without. That worked much better.” “Which format should be offered to you as a moderation job?” was the next question. “I think an ARD-advisor show about fan heaters wouldn’t be a good idea. It should have something to do with music or lifestyle. By the way, I will release a lifestyle cooking book in autumn 2017, where I give a culinary overview with some funny stories”, Thomas told. Also an international etiquette guide shall be included.
In the next Thomas told from his source of energy and inspiration, his house in Coblence. “All day long we listen to music, lounge or chillout, like in an escalator, for Claudias disapproval. Also in some bushes in the garden I installed loudspeakers for having good music right when I walk out. For relaxing I cook at home. I just discovered the sous vide cooking for me, which you do first and then deep-fryyour food. Like that you will get the best fish, mellow inside and crunchy outside. You may see, I am hungry”, Thomas laughed.
“Mister Anders, your relationship to Claudia now lasts for 20 years, without any scandals. What is the secret about your partnership?” “You may say that we are stuffy. Someone said to me, in former times you repair things, now you throw them away and that is true in some way. My parents will celebrate their diamond wedding soon, so 60 years. That is a rare thing. With Claudia I just have short disputes. I think, oh, now she is just freaking out a bit, but that will be over later on. We always will find a common denominator again and have lots a fun together, great sense of humor.” Also their common son Alexander was topic in Hanover. “He now lives in a boarding school. But he feels very comfortable; otherwise we would have brought him home again. We all suffered in the beginning, but now he is doing big steps in mental development. And he is technical gifted, what he did not inherit from me”, laughed Thomas.
Slowly the informative and funny event reached his ending, after over one hour excess length. Thomas told how important the Fanday is for him, to get to know how the fans react on different projects. Although he denied another comeback of Modern Talking sharply:” When you use the same teabag again for three times, the tee won’t be tasty.” Thomas commented the current case “Jan Böhmermann” with his smear poem about Erdogan:”For me it is no satire, it was just an insult. Everyone has his right to defend himself. Despite Germany should not produce a state affair out of this.
Right at the end Thomas announced two important dates for the fans to mark in their calendars: “On the 27th of May 2016 I will release a Tribute to Modern Talking album, on the 30th of September 2016 my first German-language album will be open to buy.”
After many autographs, selfies and photos, Thomas and the organizers released the people with a big smile on their faces into the mild spring night.
A big thank you to Hanover Airport for the relaxed and exclusive event and of course to Thomas for the informative and very witty anecdotes. For an early reunion and always happy landings.
Text: TAO/Andreas Unterberg
Fotos: TAO/Yvette Graßmann + Astrid Nast