Konstantin Wecker is still on stage at the age of 75. In an interview with spot on news, after five decades of career, the musician looks back on a major change in his life: how he went from a "really stupid macho", as he says himself, to a feminist. When it comes to his sons, he says "with great joy" that they no longer come from a "macho generation" like himself. You have to "be lucky enough to be able to meet great women," says Wecker.
Konstantin Wecker: I have always dreamed and in all my songs and poems I have repeatedly spoken of a world free of domination and with equal rights, with people having equal rights. And what needs to be done now is to finally realize that those who have ruled us for millennia have been primarily male. What would a world look like in which it was like it used to be with the indigenous peoples - because that was there! - is there real equality between men and women? The equal world does not rule. Think about it - from Caligula to Trump and Putin! You and I could name a few hundred more rulers. It's all the same principle. We need to start defending ourselves against something like this.
Wecker: Maybe I should start with my own story. I come from a macho generation, there's no question about it. I notice that all the more clearly the more I see my sons growing up and experience with great joy that this is not a macho generation. The young people from Fridays for Future are just different. I was very fortunate that I was always smarter in my songs and in my poems than in my being and my ego. Even as a young man, as a really dumb macho, I wrote songs that were different because I was allowed to draw my poetry from another, deep source.
There were funny stories like the one that young women who really liked my songs and then experienced me a bit after the concert asked me: "Did you really write these songs?" They were completely amazed that a guy who looked like a mini pimp wrote such songs. This contradiction stayed with me for a long time. I developed my feminism over decades, also because of my poetry, which was able to guide me, and then of course through encounters with wonderful, great women. I hope it's different for the younger generation. I can see it clearly in my sons. But for us men it is also work that we finally, after millennia of not being equal, really acquire this equal rights. It works intellectually and emotionally and you have to be lucky enough to meet great women.
Wecker: My parents didn't necessarily make me this macho. My father was an amazing person, he was an anti-fascist. He actually raised me to be disobedient. That was great. He didn't educate me, he loved and guided me. My mother was much stricter. That was of course typical, also in her generation. But she was also an anti-fascist. I have to say that I was very fortunate in terms of my parents.
But of course it was different with the friendships among the young people. Back then, you really only knew boys as friends. You slept or tried to sleep with girls. But we didn't actually have platonic friendships between boys and girls like today. These were mostly potential sex partners. Thank God that never came out in my poems. And I have to say this again and again: the older I get, the happier I am because of this great gift that I am allowed to have through my poetry. My poetry has been wiser than me and is still wiser than me.
Wecker: Yes, of course a lot has improved. But I fear that there is currently a step backwards when I look at some female politicians, for example. I think they could be somewhere else! I was friends with Petra Kelly who I admired and still admire very much. She was a really rule-free woman, whose great concern, even as a politician, was not to be a ruler or to work her way into this stately office, but to describe it differently. I think a lot has changed. Especially when I look at the Fridays for Future movement today. But of course there are also men who think differently. This is not a question.
Wecker: Incredibly large, because unfortunately the peace movement is no longer an issue in the current discussion - something that the press has been looking at very well and with pleasure for decades. What makes me incredibly angry is that we are not finally offering deserters a better home. We could take in Russian deserters, but also Ukrainian ones. People keep forgetting that conscientious objection is not allowed in Ukraine. I think this is an issue that needs further discussion. There are people who want to be pacifists, people who have decided for themselves that they'd rather have them stand against a wall than kill themselves. You have to respect that and you have respected that for decades. I don't feel much of this respect anymore. That's my big concern.
I was and am a self-confessed anarcho, i.e. free from domination. The rule - very nice to see in the German word - has to do with "Lord". It's a male affair. And that's where we men have to work incredibly hard. Until that is abolished, we will not be able to create this world that we need in order not to perish and perish as humanity. It's about being true to your ideals, the ideals based on an idea and a utopia. That's what gives me courage. Yes, poetry gives me courage.
Wecker: I like to quote my verse from my song "To my children": "I never wanted to educate you. Educate? For what? For ambition? For greed? For the boss in the right camp? You know, I have a big heart for dreamers and losers." Actually, this is more of a call to parents who are coming now. Take your children in your arms. Please don't turn them into Christian Lindners. Don't give them the feeling that they always work, have to be nicer, better, have more likes than others. But give them the feeling that you have a heart for dreamers and also for failures. Because what does a loser mean? If I didn't happen to have an audience that carried me through life, including financially, where would I be with my poems? A failure in this society. I would certainly not be something "great" like the head of Deutsche Bank. And I say: I like being a failure in this sense.
Wecker: For me, a concert is like a meditation. That's why I plan to give concerts as long as my body allows - in the sense of my poem, which is perhaps the wisest poem I've ever written: "Every moment is eternal". Because in the moments on stage I have no ego. Not for three hours straight, but it happens to me again and again that I'm so into the music and the poetry that the moment is eternal. There are no thoughts chasing you.
You probably know the problem from yourself. If we think consciously, it's nice, but mostly it thinks us. Most of the time we are haunted by thoughts, of the future, of the past. That is why the Buddhists rightly say that one should always be aware that everything is transitory. The only chance really is to find the moment and be in the moment. I always manage to do that on stage. That's why I love being on stage so much. Buddha said so beautifully: "There are as many possibilities for meditation as there are people." And my meditation is to be on stage and be there for my audience.
Wecker: I think I was just very lucky. Because my father was an opera singer, I've been breathing properly since I was a child. I believe that most of our society breathes improperly. Proper breathing means belly out when inhaling and in when exhaling. And singing is also a constant breathing activity, a very beautiful and very important one. I don't know if you know how big the diaphragm is. It's an incredibly large muscle in the body. Of course, singing trains the diaphragm incredibly well and I think that saved me from a lot of unhappiness, including organic ones.
Wecker: I deliberately chose "I sing because I have a song" as the program title. Interestingly, that was one of my very first songs. "I sing because I have a song, not because you like it". That has remained the motto of my life. When I'm older I might even be more inclined to say: "I sing because a song has me." I will of course offer a cross-section. For example, a few songs from my record Liebesflug, which I so despised at the time. At that time everyone expected that I was now the singer of "Willy", that I should only sing "Willy" or similar songs. Then suddenly I came up with songs about love. People wrote me that they stomped my records back in the 80's. The newspapers ripped me off and to be honest, I didn't care. I knew what to do. A few years later there were a few newspapers that wrote: "... he had the courage to make this record 'Liebesflug'." But I didn't see it as courage at all. I just had this song and I had to sing it. And that's how it has been for me to this day.
Alarm clock: When my body no longer cooperates. Let's hope he sticks around for a while.
Konstantin Wecker turned 75 this year and is celebrating this occasion with a big anniversary tour. With his program "I sing, because I have a song" he will be on the road in numerous German cities from October 17th to the end of December.