• The new B5TV.COM is here. We've replaced our 16 year old software with flashy new XenForo install. Registration is open again. Password resets will work again. More info here.

Chris Franke's name and why he left TD

Chris Franke\'s name and why he left TD

If you're interested, here speaks Christopher Franke and tells his feelings about the final years of his Tangerine Dream -period and why exactly he left. It's quite interesting even if this is just a excerpt from the huge interview.

As I recall, you once talked about the name (how do you pronounce it or something like that...). Anyway, in Tadream's discussion list, few people gave some info about his name. The conclusion is that Christoph Franke is his real name, but for the fans who speak english, it was quite hard to pronounce so he then "changed" his name into a more international version: Chris. In TD's Risky Business -soundtrack
he was credited (if I remeber correctly) as Christopher Franke. When he left TD and begun his career in soundtracks, he propably chose the name Christopher as it was known to the public because the big success of RB.



DW: How long were you thinking of going solo before you actually left?

CF: In the beginning, there was never a plan for me to leave
Tangerine Dream. What we had was a plan for the whole band to do a long creative break to improve the whole system and organism known as Tangerine Dream. This included restoring my own organism mentally and physically.

DW: Did TD seem like a production line to you in the later

CF: Production line, yes, and I didn't see that the production
line was IMPROVING at all. To continue at this level was not
worth all this stress for me. During my last years in Tangerine
Dream, I had lost my self-respect by delivering tracks that
weren't ready, creating film music that could have been done
better and by giving concerts that were poorly rehearsed.
Towards the end, there came a time when I didn't get back
anything from the audience when they applauded. There were no
warm feelings anymore, because I didn't think my music was as good as it could have been. It was not always this way. There were times in the past when the music was such a kick for me, when everything just flooded out of my fingers. I didn't have to force it out of me in the earlier years. I needed to experience this state again. I wanted that feeling back again. I personally needed a long break because I knew that after it was over I would have enough inner energy again to do anything. In 1988, I recommended to the group that this would be a perfect time for us to take a break. We would have enough financial funds to survive a very long rest. No record company would sue us because we had finalized all the contracts. 1988 was the first time this kind of break was possible since my early childhood.

The idea of a group break was pretty popular in Edgar's mind. He was seriously considering it. But with so many business
possibilities striking his office every day, he changed his mind
at the last moment.

Tangerine Dream is more like a company than a band in some ways. The problems at that time were just between me - as more of musician - and Edgar - who was more like a manager. Of course, our roles often overlapped, but by percentage, I did more music and he did more of the organizational stuff. To be honest, TD was like a car with three wheels and each wheel had its own STEERING wheel. That makes it difficult to accomplish anything. The decision to do a creative pause however, would only be made by Edgar and me. Paul had to accept whatever decision we would
make. Young Paul, of course, was never exhausted. He was always ready for anything.

Edgar kept going with his daily routine, which in my opinion
meant he had not learned anything. The chaos - which was
supposed to improve - started happening again. Certain personal problems happened again, equipment problems happened again, tour chaos happened again... (thoughtful pause) I was just tired of seeing the same mistakes repeated over and over again. For me, the cycle had to end. This is called "learning it the hard way". I was tired of learning it the hard way. Now I was ready to learn it the SOFT way.

Ultimately my idea of the whole group taking a long break did not get enough votes. So I started the break myself by just quietly backing off and not being much involved in the daily routine. Once I started, I became very much in love with my decision to take this break. As a result, I just started planning what I would do with it on my own.

The ultimate decision about my departure came at the point when Edgar decided to tour again. He came to me and said, "We can NOT just talk about this internally anymore". We had to say officially whether I was in or out. I said, "OK, I am out". I must say that by then, I wanted to be free. I wanted to be out, take a year off, then to go to America and to do it my way because I saw no improvement in the Tangerine Dream system.

DW: You once said that at the time of the actual split Edgar was like a father to you right at that moment.

CF: Yes. He always has a certain gentle, father-like way of
being. I am not the only one who has experienced that. It just happens in his nature from time to time. In that moment, he really tried to give me advice in order to do the right decision. That means not to get influenced by anybody. Not by him, not by my wife Doerte or anyone. So he really gave me some really good advice. He said "Think it over, and do what's right for yourself."

DW: Does the nine-year age difference between you and Edgar have anything to do with that?

CF: Probably that was one factor, but mainly it's because it's
just part of his general character. Anyway when I made the
decision to really split, he was surprised. He was not pleased
about it, at least at first. He expected me to be more practical and not be so risk-taking. Leaving the group, I would be leaving all the security of income and that sort of thing. Edgar did not calculate that my wish to improve the life and music quality within TD was so important that I would take the risk of flying away. He did not think that my internal pressure was so big... (pauses; makes a popping sound). He was probably already counting on my being back with him again to do our routine job. TD had changed so many times, I felt it would not be a disaster changing my influence within the group. My role was not so important anymore. Tangerine Dream could go any direction. The name was established. There were many people who would buy the albums because of the name no matter what.

DW: The split seems basically to be a natural part of the

CF: Oh, yes! It WAS a part of the evolution. Now neither Edgar nor I have any regrets. It was a natural process. Everything was talked over and thought over. It was a grown-up decision. It was nothing out of the blue and definitely not like a fight. In some groups there is a split because there is a girlfriend involved. Or maybe there's a personal element or a financial fight or whatever. But in this case, two organisms who are nine years of age apart just evolved and grew apart to seek their own separate futures. Edgar has found his future more and more. I have too.
Edgar and I still see each other and help each other. I mean,
it's so very BORING because there was no spectacular event or a huge reason!

DW: (laughing) Maybe we can make up a nice, big, dramatic
reason for you!