„ The story of Modern Talking is so concise, that I wasn’t able to write a new one.” (cit. Thomas Anders)
Imagine human beings are products. You could offer them with marketing strategies, force them into a special image, increase their worth and finally take them off the market. But hold on – isn’t that reality? In economy they call it product launch, marketing, product diversification and product elimination; in media they call this simply reality. Thomas Anders, since 46 years on stage and since 38 years in professional business, focused on that topic, in his lecture “People as brands” (“Der Mensch als Marke”). He became so personally, as rarely before.
The beautiful Sports- and Watercastle Velen (“Sportschloss Velen”) in the “Münsterland” was the perfect setting for this event. The Remise (former tool shed and garage) filled step by step. They served drinks and little snacks, like ox cheeks, salmon and guinea fowl. Thomas longtime manager and organizer, Gaby Allendorf, said at the beginning: “An evening with Thomas Anders is always, also when he isn’t singing, very entertaining and something special.” The audience was excited, what they have to expect.
”Do media create stars? Is the human being a product?” With these questions Thomas started his lecture, the reading glasses by hand. Often he started to talk freely and opened the treasure chest with all the unbelievable stories around Modern Talking and of his long, long career. “Modern Talking officially stood for a bad taste. Some liked us, some hated us, but for no one we were resigned. ”550 Million Euros were eared with the music of Modern Talking for the labels. A proof, that the music couldn’t be that bad. “Our polarization was part of our success”, Thomas explained.
He determined that the media and the stars are interdependent. ”Some stars call the newspapers on their own, to get some new headlines. A current case is Nino de Angelo. How do the photographers get pictures of the wedding dress? Certainly they didn’t break into the house”, he told. Media exposure as well as the image is very important for a public person. But most of the stories of Modern Talking at its peak were imaginary.
Headlines have to create good rates and are irritating the reader and artist, at the same time. ”I remember a headline which was ´The last words of Thomas Anders and Dieter Bohlen´. I first
called my aged parents to clear some possible disaccords”, Thomas mentioned smiling. ”Where ends PR and where do slander start? The right handling with media is very complicated. Andreas Kümmert,
who cancelled his winning ticket for the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, live on German television, is hopelessly overstrained. Sure, he has a great voice. But only a great voice is not enough
for being a star. You need glamour, brilliance, discipline and power of endurance. He feels that he is missing some of those things. But he had the courage to remain true to himself. My wife’s
opinion is different to mine. But this would go beyond the scope of the discussion”, Thomas laughed, the audience did too.
In the following, Thomas showed the cover of the “The First Album” of Modern Talking. “It was distinctive. A patent leather shoe for me, a sneaker for Dieter. We got our marks, from the first moment. A masterstroke from the graphics department of our former record company. After the first break of Modern Talking in 1987, I made a three years long world tour, partly in front of 85.000 people in one show. I had a number one hit in Argentina, duets with the Pointer Sisters and Glenn Medeiros. But the German media was not that interested. The mark Modern Talking was too big. I see this with mixed feelings.”
“What is a star?” Thomas continued. He mentioned the deep distance between a star and his audience, in former times. Through social networks, with the Youtubers, bloggers and with all these different casting shows, the word “star” is disenchanted in our days. ”The loyalty of the fans has shortened rapidly. Today we have stars, temporary stars and starlets. Today the audience is bored more quickly and difficult to predict.”
Thomas always stopped at some stations of his life, like the production of “Großer Bruder” for Jürgen & Slatko, the talent contest of Radio Luxembourg, when he was a child, his favorite band
ABBA and his first favorite television show, the “Starparade”, with Rainer Holbe. “I am satisfied with what I am doing right now. I get applause, make music and earn money with that, therefore I
am grateful. In life, everything has its time; every person should have the right to change himself, also the public person. This is the only way to stay true to yourself. In Coblence I am the
one, I always was – Bernd.
In the question period afterwards, Thomas got asked an unexpected question. ”I noticed some bitterness in your lecture, what would you like to change in the future?” Thomas asked dryly:”Are you a journalist? If you noticed some bitterness, I made something wrong. I am thankful for everything and in all the years in business I generated a distinct awareness of reality.”
Another guest asked:” Mister Anders, how do you deal with the loneliness after the concerts on your hotel room?” Thomas began to trot out his upcoming appointments and those of the last days (of course with flight times, like we know from our organized Thomas ) “Yesterday I came back from Tenerife. The day before, I had a show in Switzerland. Tomorrow I will fly to Vilnius over Vienna, than Gdansk over Warsaw, afterwards back to Frankfurt/Main. In the hotel, I am never lonely, and not because there are always some groupies (laughing). I don’t know that, mostly I am just tired”, he laughed.
As no more questions were left, Thomas received a bottle of wine and a book about the castle, from the lord of the castle, Jakob earl of Landsberg-Velen. Then Thomas gave some autographs and took pictures, so everyone went satisfied into the foggy March night.
Thomas, I thank you for your open words in that really beautiful place. It was informative and quite funny. The team of Allendorf-Media a big thanks for the great organization and of course thank you to the hotel “Sportschloss Velen” for the nice location and the delicious snacks.
In this spirit, all the best Andreas Unterberg