Combative, poetic, untamed: Konstantin Wicker turns 75 | free press


Konstantin Wicker is considered by many to be a symbol of the resistance on the right. His story “Willie” about a young man killed by neo-Nazis in a bar fight is a cult song.

At festivals, vigils, demos and concerts, the singer-songwriter calls for the fight against right-wing violence and hate speech, and his music contains messages and criticisms of abuse. Superficial entertainment does not suit the native of Munich, he lived in too many depths for himself: imprisonment, drug addiction and financial collapse in the mid-1990s. The crises from which he pulled himself out again. On Wednesday, June 1, the musician celebrates his 75th birthday with family and friends in his second home, Italy.

Drug abuse and financial ruin

“You can also climb a ladder whose rungs are made up of defeats,” Wicker wrote 15 years ago in the preface to a book called The Art of Failure. In it, ruthlessly revealing his drug abuse, he pumped himself full of cocaine and crack and slept alone in his luxury villa in the posh Munich suburb of Grunewald. Then in 1995 he was arrested for drugs, years of court action and financial damage.

A crash that worked himself back up. Wicker went on tour again, composing children’s musicals and film music, writing stage shows, novels, poetry and songs, and putting poems by Bertolt Brecht to music. In 2018, he became a visiting professor at the University of Koblenz-Landau. There were also awards again, including the Bavarian State Music Prize. Konstantin Wicker is refined and mature in a certain sense. He summarized in 2007: “What society understands as failure does not necessarily mean failure of internal development.”

Second marriage, two children

In private, things were getting better. In 1996, the songwriter married the much younger Annick in his second marriage, and their two sons were born in 1997 and 1999. They separated in 2013, and after a few years there was talk of reconciliation again.

So now the seventy-fifth birthday – an important date in very troubled times. It was only on Wednesday that the Bavarian Administrative Court in Munich negotiated the Kreuzverlass, which Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) imposed in 2018. Then the cross must be hung in the entrance area of ​​the state authorities. Wicker was one of those who joined a lawsuit by the anti-religious Association for Freedom of Thought. A decision must be made in June.

Wicker also participated in the discussion about arms shipments to Ukraine and signed an open letter with others at the end of April calling for an end to the bloodshed. “We therefore call on the German government, the European Union and NATO countries to stop delivering weapons to Ukrainian forces and encourage the government in Kyiv to end military resistance — against the promise of negotiations on a ceasefire and a political solution,” the statement read. in it.

Songwriter unavailable due to illness

There are many questions for Wecker. For example, what would such a political solution look like that takes into account the security interests of the population and Ukraine’s desire for sovereignty. And how would he respond to critics who, in light of the suffering of the people of Ukraine, saw his demands as cynical, unrealistic or hurtful.

But the singer-songwriter is not accessible. His administration said the disease is forcing him to postpone all upcoming concerts until the beginning of June. Wicker himself writes, “I am deeply sorry for this and ask my supporters and all concerned organizers to understand the recovery period now imminent.”

Statement on the home page

Not an interview then, but a statement that Wicker posted on his website at the beginning of March, a few days after the outbreak of the war. It shows that the man from Munich, with his apparent penchant for contradiction and criticism, would rather offend than be unfaithful to himself or even submit to the zeitgeist.

“My feelings, thoughts, and all sympathy and solidarity with the people who have been injured and killed in Ukraine,” Wicker wrote in the statement, calling for support for the brave opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We must reach the hearts of millions of people so that Russian soldiers can flee and stop killing the brave people of Ukraine.” (dpa)

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