“Touched a thousand times, nothing happened a thousand times” or “Fist on fist, hard really hard”: Klaus Lage made known rock with German lyrics. Now he turns 70 and moves to new genres.
Signs of age wisdom? “That would be nice,” says Klaus Lage and laughs. But he says: “I don’t want to make myself artificially young.” Today the songwriter and German rocker (“1000 and 1 night”) is 70 years old. He came to talk about how to do it in Bremen: by bike and a short ferry ride across the Weser.
There will be no celebration for the day of honor for the fourfold grandfather because of Corona. His gift comes after that. Because of the pandemic, he has already missed several studio appointments. “The day after my birthday, we go to the studio. And then we record a swing plate, ”said Lage of the German Press Agency.
“Maybe that’s not what I became known for in the 80s,” he says. Back then he played earthy rock with German lyrics, had hits like “Mit mein Augen” or “Monopoli”. Lage wrote the song “Faust auf Faust” for the first cinema “Tatort” from 1985 with Götz George as Commissioner Schimanski in the Ruhrpott.
Lage has been doing other music for several years now so that it doesn’t get boring. He released his first swing record of his songs, arranged for big band, in 2018. On the new record, lounge swing should sound with a small line-up: piano, bass, drums and vocals. “You come to a bar at half past eleven and a cool band plays there” – that’s how he imagines the atmosphere.
Other projects are also rather calm. In the duet with his longtime pianist Bo Heart, Lage wants to first stream a concert in autumn, then release it as a live record and go on tour.
For Lage, the softer tones have something to do with aging. He doesn’t want to give the wild rock’n’roll anymore. “I always find that a little ridiculous,” he says. He doesn’t want to give up his Klaus Lage Band entirely, but he also doesn’t want to be pushed into a corner with oldie rock from the 80s.
Musician with attitude
Some things do not change for the socially critical musician. He can get upset about the march of right-wing extremists in Chemnitz, about the racist attacks in Halle and Hanau. And currently in the United States: “When you see on TV how a police officer kills a black man, it is shocking.”
Lage has also been true to German song lyrics for decades. “I think it’s good when people sing in their language.” Of course, like all West German youngsters, he grew up with English-language rock and pop – with rockers like Little Richard (“He was a real siren”), with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or the Animals with Eric Burdon.
But when writing, he sticks to his own language: “You can simply express yourself better and more concretely in German.” At the same time, it was riskier, you couldn’t fool yourself when the audience understood every word.
Happy in Bremen
“I’m back home” is one of Location’s best-known songs: a young adult returns home. Each listener thinks of his own provincial nest. “For me, that’s Soltau,” says Lage. He was born in 1950 in the town on the Lüneburg Heath. As a young man he went to Berlin, was an educator and social worker before switching to music. Situation also lived in the Rhineland, but never in the south: “I am a northwest German”.
He has lived on the Weser since 2008. “I feel very comfortable in Bremen.” The city has everything a big city needs, “but without the hustle and bustle in cities like Berlin, Hamburg or Cologne”. In Bremen, Lage is involved as an ambassador for the German Society for the Rescue of Shipwrecked People (DGzRS) and dedicated the single “Volle Kraft zurück” to the sea rescuers in 2014.
Lage takes the ferry across the river again and cycles home. What does he want? He wants to spend the time sensibly, and that means for him: “Playing with good musicians. As long as the voice still holds, I’ll do that. “(Friedemann Kohler, dpa)
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200611-99-386176 / 3