The corner pub "freundschaft" in berlin-mitte. A good hundred people gather at the oval wooden counter in dim light and wait for the star of the evening to arrive.
Panic rocker udo lindenberg (72) has invited the audience to a reading on thursday – his biography "udo" has just been published. The program will include a short reading and a musical interlude. But lindenberg, as always with dark brown hat, black sunglasses and cigar in hand, first orders a non-alcoholic beer and has a chat with one or the other guest. At least the start of a "golden rocktober" is celebrated, as he explains on the sidelines, "with plenty of udopium for the sympathizers".
The three of them stand behind the bar as if they had been regulars at the "freundschaft" for decades: the rock star, the author thomas huetlin and the publisher helge malchow (kiepenheuer& witsch). The audience sits around them at the bar, almost familiar. "No one can imagine having experienced germany without udo," malchow declares with a lot of pathos in his voice. While he swarmed over the book, lindenberg looked around at the audience, his hat bobbing up and down as he did so. Until the publisher finally shouts "now we read" and hands over the microphone to the protagonist of the evening. Udo changes from sunglasses to reading glasses, the light is too dark.
"Imagine you’re giving a party, and the whole thing takes a little longer," the author writes at the very beginning of the book – and now the man whose life is being described is reading it aloud. "Not until dawn. Not two or three days. More like forty years. So exactly you don’t know it anymore. After all, it’s a party, and it can happen that you lose sight of what’s going on."For "udo", huetlin not only talked to udo, but also to family, friends, companions and members of the panikorchester. From gartenstrabe number 3 in gronau, westphalia, where the musician grew up, to the luxury hotel "atlantic" in hamburger, where he lives today, it goes through seven decades.
"Udo" tells the story of the rise and fall of an artist who has not only been in the music business since the 70s, but has also been more successful than ever since his comeback in 2008. Several books have been written about him, and many an anecdote from the rock star’s life has made headlines – from his life in the "villa kunterbunt" flatshare with otto waalkes and marius muller-westernhagen, to his secret affair with nena, to his alcohol excesses with 4.7 alcohol per thousand. For "udo" huetlin has not only collected a lot of material from this unusual life, for "udo" udo has also allowed many a closer look.
Even to particularly difficult times, such as the time in 2006 when he was lying on his bed, breathing heavily, after he had just heard on the phone about the death of his brother erich. Erich has been his mental pit stop, spiritual gas station and rescue vehicle. "The udoway was now only a highway without guard rails."About one and a half years later he sings about it in the title song of his album "stark wie zwei. He succeeds in making a comeback that hardly anyone had thought possible. Udo’s career was in decline, the alcohol had him in its grip. But he wanted to do it again – do the big thing again. But: "the rough thing only works without suff in the head."Only an egg liqueur should be allowed now and then.
Even in the berlin pub, the musician eventually swaps the non-alcoholic beer for the "party liqueur. People have not been reading for a long time. In best rocker style, lindenberg swings the mike like a lasso, lets the guests sing along and even jumps on the bar at the end. His friends toast him.
It could not be the last event in this "rocktober": the MDR will show on saturday (6. October/22.8 pm) the new tv documentary "udo lindenberg – panic time machine" by hannes rossacher. "Forgotten songs, unknown video clips and mysterious places of the artist give rare glimpses behind the scenes," the station announced. In the middle of the month lindenberg wants to present a new single and his second "MTV unplugged" album.