FOREVER AND A DAY – on TV and on DW.COM
The Scorpions’ huge world tour was planned as a farewell to their fans. It actually relaunched the famous German band’s career. FOREVER AND A DAY, a film co-produced by Deutsche Welle, shows how that happened. The documentary will be aired on DW in two parts on October 9 and 16 and will be available on dw.com afterwards.
Stop while you’re ahead is an adage German rockers the Scorpions have taken to heart. After nearly half a century in the business, the five-man band from Hanover announced they would be embarking on a farewell tour in 2010.
It was the perfect opportunity to send a film crew to catch the Scorpions’ last hurrah. Working for Deutsche Welle, the team accompanied the band on their tour around the world over the next few years. In the resulting documentary, FOREVER AND A DAY the rockers reflect on their unparalleled careers and let viewers in on a secret: They don’t really want to stop.
These guys are passionate about what they do – and they didn’t sell 100 million records without working hard. It was particularly in the 70s and 80s they that established themselves globally with hard rock standards like “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and “Big City Nights,” and ballads like “Holiday” and “Still Loving You.”
From garage band to headliner
In the film, lead singer Klaus Meine and guitarists Rudolf Schenker and Matthias Jabs recall their highlights from half a century on the road together, and film director Katja von Garnier weaves together entertaining anecdotes with historical film footage. Right from the start, Schenker makes it clear that success didn’t just fall into the Scorpions’ laps. It all came down to discipline and determination. The five-some set their sights high – despite resistance from advisors, labels and promoters, and managed to play their way through Germany, then Europe and Asia – ultimately landing as headliners at top American festivals.
Every success story is strewn with setbacks, and the Scorpions are no exception. In 1981, for example, Klaus Meine lost his voice when they were recording the album “Blackout.” For the next 10 months, it wasn’t clear whether he would be able to sing again and even considered throwing in the towel. But Rudolf Schenker kept the group together and Meine went through a complicated vocal chord therapy.
Soundtrack to German reunification
Hardly a decade later, the Scorpions released their biggest hit of all time, “Wind of Change,” which would become the anthem of German reunification. Nevertheless, the 90s were not a particularly successful decade for the group, but things picked up again in the 00s with live gigs and a broadening fan base outside of Germany. At home, the band was often belittled as macho hard rockers, though their image in Germany has improved over the past two decades.
The price of life on the road
With things going so well, why do the Scorpions want to bow out now? You’ll have to watch FOREVER AND A DAY to find the full answer. But one thing is clear: Their lives on the road have come with a personal price. One particularly moving moment in the documentary is a drive through Paris in a limousine. Klaus Meine and his wife Gabi talk about how challenging it can be to harmonize a private life with a high-powered music career. Even though the singer had a secure home life for years, he painfully feels the consequences of his career choice. “Gabi is right when she says, ‘Now we can do something nice together, but you left your energy on the street and I only get the leftovers,'” says the rocker. While the disappointment can be felt, the couple also seem to have a deep sense of understanding for each other.
Rock concerts instead of retirement
The plans for their grand finale included their 17th studio album, “Sting in the Tail,” and a three-year world tour. The album became one of the bands most successful; the farewell tour was a triumph. They couldn’t stay away for long. In 2013, the Scorpions announced their comeback. In the summer of that year, the group performed two acoustic sets in the Lycabettus theater in Athens. That performance resulted in “Scorpions – MTV Unplugged,” and was swiftly followed by a tour of Germany. In February 2015, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the band released a new album titled “Return To Forever.” The Scorpions kept on performing on the world’s biggest stages throughout 2016. Their “2016 World Tour” started in September.
Despite the band’s latest projects, what’s portrayed in the film is in no way outdated. It’s rather a revealing contribution to the Scorpions’ ongoing story. The 100-minute film shows that at the beginning, they truly believed that they were embarking on their last series of concerts. Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker, both in their mid-60s, put the pedal to the metal for their “Farewell Tour.”
Fans of all ages then celebrated the band and their music with such enthusiasm that the German rockers realized they simply had to keep going. The images of the concerts and the special moments of the tour are so spectacular that at the end of the movie, one thing is clear: Stopping isn’t an option for the Scorpions. FOREVER AND A DAY rather makes you want to shout: Encore. (Author: Mikko Stübner-Lankuttis)
Euromaxx Report on the World Premiere
The Scorpions are one of the most successful rock bands ever. This year marks their unbelievable 50th stage anniversary. During their “Farewell Tour” they decided that they want to just keep on rocking. The documentary FOREVER AND A DAY which is co-produced by Deutsche Welle traces the band’s unique history. Here is a report on the world premiere of the film in Berlin.
World Premiere in Berlin
Just before 10:30 p.m., standing ovations greeted Scorpions in Theater 3 of the Kulturbrauerei (Culture Brewery) in Berlin. Saluting the decades-old style of the hard rockers from Hanover, many of the 600 visitors donned black leather with silver rivets. Scorpions have their loyal fan base, for whom being there for the premiere of the band’s first feature-length film was a must.
In 100 minutes, viewers get an inside look at the band’s dynamics and the musicians’ feelings. Over the course of the movie, the band members have a growing trust in the film makers and are rewarded for their honesty. Warm applause at the scene where it becomes clear that front man Klaus Meine has one of the few happy marriages in the rock business. The 66-year-old singer has been wed to his wife Gabi since 1977.
“It’s a great moment of moviemaking in the truest sense of the word,” said Rolf Rische, DW’s Head of Culture, after the screening. He’d had the idea for the film seven years ago and is gratified with the premiere. Klaus Meine also likes to recall their first conversation years ago, saying, “Now it’s 2015, we’re standing here and have gone through it all together!”
Peter Limbourg, DW’s Director General, was highly satisfied with “Forever and a Day,” saying, “With productions like these, we can show the kinds of great things Germany has to offer.” Limbourg elaborated on the parallels between the band and his international broadcaster: “Each, in its own way, is a kind of ambassador of Germany, and we do our part to carry that image abroad.”
“Forever and a Day” follows the long farewell tour of Scorpions, enthusiastically celebrated from Bangkok to Moscow. It’s no secret what happens at the end: the band hasn’t disbanded after all. Instead, they’re marking their 50th anniversary in 2015 with a new tour, a new album – and this movie. It was a long-term project: over a period of three years, the film crew met the quintet over and over again at stops on the tour in every part of the world. “They went in for the long haul – and that’s why we wanted a director with whom we had the right chemistry,” said Meine. That director was Katja von Garnier. Having first met the hard rockers over a dinner of asparagus at a countryside hotel, she discovered an interesting paradox: “They’re down to earth and on time,” said von Garnier, “Yet they live according to the motto ‘The sky’s the limit.'”
The complexity of making the film was clear when all the partners participating appeared on stage. Along with DW, they included the film distribution company Tempest Film, production company DOKfilm Babelsberg, public television broadcasters ZDF and Arte, Nordmedia Film Promotion and FFA, the German film promotion corporation. All had agreed from the start that the film wouldn’t be a run-of-the-mill tour documentary. Lead guitarist Matthias Jabs summed it up: “Who wants to know that a band has sold out another stadium?”
50 years in the service of hard rock
It’s a story about music and friendship instead, with the band’s secret of success being decades of mutual loyalty on the part of its members. The premiere audience was enthused: “The film is a salute to the band’s lifetime achievement,” said Marcel Schleiff, filmmaker and hardrock expert. Most impressive, he felt, were the Super 8 films from the band’s archive, never shown before.
Strong laughter was generated by band founder Rudolf Schenker’s memories of the early days – such as the story of a performance at a tennis club that had been arranged by the unemployment agency, or the German rockers’ overly punctual appearance at their first gig in Liverpool. The guitarist and songwriter felt in good hands with the director, saying, “She took off the Scorpions’ macho mask, and behind it, revealed an entirely different band.”
Most of all, the film is designed to appeal to its viewers – including those not otherwise interested in hard rock. It worked well at the premiere in Berlin. Klaus Meine admitted that his heart was beating a bit faster than normal. Also proud of the results, Matthias Jabs added with a smile: “If I know us, there will have to be a Part Two, ’cause we just never stop.” DW’s Rolf Rische is open to the idea: “Definitely – now that we’ve built a relationship of trust, you can work together in a completely different way.”
But first, it’s time for all the participants to collect their accolades. At every juncture of the 2015 world tour, the film will be shown in local movie theaters. With the premiere of “Forever and a Day,” Scorpions’ anniversary year got off to a ceremonious start.
The world premiere of FOREVER AND A DAY will be held in Berlin on 7 February. Here’s a little appetizer.
Sneak Preview in Hanover
The band was there when the first excerpts from the Scorpions documentary FOREVER AND A DAY hit the big screen at the Astor Grand Cinema in Hanover. The Musicians and invited guests were more than impressed. PopXport, Deutsche Welle’s music magazine, was there to catch the first reactions.
Singer Klaus Meine said: “In the past no camera team was allowed to come as close to us as during the making of this documentary. The film portrays not only the glamour and rock’n’roll of our live performances, but also gives an insight into the darker side of the music industry: self-doubt and personal conflict.”
Guitarist Rudolf Schenker added: “It is not just a music documentary, it is more. The film works on different levels and touches the heart also. What more can you ask for?”