TANG – Art of Living between Music, Literature and Everyday Life
»If there is something like the »Art of Living«, then it’s perhaps the art of being perfectly happy without desire«. It says so on the back cover of his novel “Momoko” from 2007 and everyone who knows TANG a little closer, knows that this definitely matches his idea of life.
TANG was born on Valentines Day in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Carnival 1958 under the civil name of Bernd Walter – right into a musical family where singing and piano playing was all around.
Not surprisingly he received his first piano lessons at the age of 6 from his father, who unfortunately was a little impatient with his junior. So finally a private teacher was hired for the 10-year-old boy and for six years TANG was taught in classical music. One evening, when he was 16, some young musicians from the neighbor village knocked on his parents door, urgently looking for an organ player in their band. They didn’t only get him out of bed but into a new chapter of his life. In 1974 at least in Germany, the term »keyboardist« still was quite unknown, and talking about organs, most musicians were crazy about the legendary »Hammond«, or, at least, something in that sound class. Beginning with this evening a turbulent decade started for TANG, playing in local bands called »Forum« and »Welcome Home Band«. Along with studying music in Frankfurt, these were years of apprenticeship in composing and practical experience on stage. Live Performances took the band beyond the local region for example to Lyon/France, and a highlight of this period certainly was playing as the opening act in Germany for the U.S. soul legend »Maze – Featuring Frankie Beverly” on their first European tour in 1981.
TANG describes this time in his words: „Keeping together a band of up to 12 talented musicians aged from 18 to 25, all knowing that they were the best and greatest while same time everybody wanted to be direct democratic … this attempt was like trying to lead a pack of young wolves, where each one wanted to play top dog, not knowing of what’s important for the job. What a wonderful but exhausting school of life.«
In the mid-80s – after that experience – TANG worked as a studio musician. There were band projects as the «Orang-Ou-Tangs« or »PangoTango«, which unfortunately only saw the rehearsal room or studio lights but never met the light of day. Now you can make an educated guess where TANG found his artist name. In 1984 during a recording session he met Bernd Schütz and later on joined his band. This was followed by several recordings, a record deal with CBS Records, numerous live and television shows, and in 1987, the band made it into the preliminary round for the Eurovision Song Contest.
In 1988, TANG traveled to the US with a self-produced demo tape and some cool photos to introduce his own songs over there at various record companies. Contacts from his CBS days opened some doors, and finally – back in Germany – via Harold Faltermeyer and Michael Stark, the former manager of Jennifer Rush, he met Singer and Producer Annette Humpe and Photographer Jim Rakete in Berlin. It happened that these days the two were just starting their own music company ACT together with WEA-Record boss Sigi Loch. Unfortunately »ACT Music + Vision« died within a year, probably due to mismatching musical tastes of the three founders and supposedly the TANG project became a pawn in the game.
At the same time an opportunity opened up for TANG to join the company of his old friend and former band manager Manni Schacht, and suddenly he found himself in the role of Managing Director of »Performance Studios« in Frankfurt. This gave him two exciting years in the recording business and also the experience as a producer.
The connections to CBS Records – bought in 1988 by Sony Music – additionally provided some TV appearances for TANG as a background musician along with Opera Singer Deborah Sasson 1989 with »Passion & Pain« in the »Wetten Das Show« and joining U.S. star Michael Bolton with »Time, Love & Tenderness« in the »Geld oder Liebe Show« 1991.
The first trip to Hawaii in 1992 constituted a turning point in many ways for TANG. Nature and the aloha spirit of the islands did not only find expression in new songs but also years later in TANG’s novel »Momoko« from 2007.
In the 90s TANG performed some solo concerts with the piano and also with his band »TANG & THE POETS« before with the millennium the inner perspective on life and spiritual experiences opened up new ways of creative expression. Among other things it was mainly writing articles for magazines and giving own seminars regarding awareness, happiness and contentment in life. The personal encounter with the Dalai Lama in Italy December 2001 confirmed yet this inner change. These themes also appeared in TANG’s german books: “Momoko” 2007 and »Die zwei Leben des Herrn Richie« 2009. They both are telling in an entertaining way about the experiences on the journey into the inner world. But perhaps the biggest challenge of all was the exciting task and the experience of being a father of two sons.
TANG’s first love – Music – however, has never been forgotten and so it is not surprising that with “TANG – ME AND THE PIANO” we see him again back on stage in 2013.
»What really matters is the energy both the audience and artist can swim and dive in together.«