LA’s Iconic Synth Electro-Pop Pioneers, BERLIN finally announce their first headline Australian shows since 1985! Fusing provocative lyrics with an electronic sound that had as much in common with Donna Summer as it did Kraftwerk, BERLIN created a sound that was both familiar, yet unique. Few bands emerging from the era of BERLIN have achieved as far-reaching and long-lasting an impact and, rarely, such a timeless array of musical grooves. The bands provocative debut single Sex (I’m A…), No More Words, Dancing in Berlin and Like Flames were all chart hits in Australia with Like Flames reaching #18. But it was the unforgettable, intimate, and strikingly beautiful Giorgio Moroder produced love song, Take My Breath Away that took the band to another level. The ballad’s defining role in the Tom Cruise film, Top Gun, helped solidify BERLIN’s everlasting place in American pop-culture. The song was a #1 international hit and received both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for “Best Original Song” in 1986. Terri Nunn talks to Hi Fi Way about returning to Australia for their upcoming tour.
Hard to believe it has been six years since we last spoke for Totally Eighties?
2016! Yeah, it changed my life!
Are you looking forward to coming back to Australia for your own headline tour?
Yeah. It’s probably one of my top three favourite places in the world. I brought my husband there. After that tour, I brought him back in 2018 and just wanted him to see it because he had never been and I love it there. When we get this offer, it was an instant yes.
Did you manage to venture out further out than the capital cities?
No, we didn’t ! We didn’t but it’s okay. There’s so much to see we’ll be back. Actually, he is going to join me because we start in Australia, we do five shows there and then we’re doing two in New Zealand. I’ve never seen New Zealand. I’ve played there, but I’ve never really seen it. So he’s flying over and we’re going to spend about ten days in New Zealand after the tour is over.
Do you have a lot of great tour memories and stories from last time that you were here?
Memories and stories? Well, maybe the one that comes to mind probably wouldn’t be that interesting to you because you live there, I don’t know what city it happened in, but a lady who worked for a hospital for kangaroos and koalas brought both to our hotel. For the first time I was able to actually hold a koala and I can’t tell you what it was. It was like being on a drug. I was instantly, it felt like, oh god, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a quaalude, but it felt like that, this koala was so relaxed on me and it put me in this state, this high holding this animal and that was a highlight.
Is must be really exciting doing your own headline tour here and knowing that there are a heap of excited fans here ready in anticipation?
Having the original band back together it’s also changed everything for me. For the people who come to hear Berlin and see us, it feels like it’s full circle. We’re actually celebrating forty five years anniversary this year. John started the band in 1977, I joined in 1979 and then David Diamond came in in 1981 and the three of us really got the thing going and then they were not part of it for a long time. Now they’re back in the band, I don’t know how much longer we’ll be doing this, be playing. I’m just so grateful that we’ve gone this long, but it does feel like a starting and an ending with the three, the originals John, David and myself together. It hit me one at a show a while back and I teared up, because it hadn’t really come to me like that before, that it’s a full circle thing.
How did you get to that full circle? Was it purely the anniversary or was there a bit of a coming together and saying, well we can’t keep doing this forever, let’s make peace?
It was a conglomeration of all that we’ve been playing together now, for god, John came in like 2018 maybe. So, we’ve been playing together a while and it really is coalescing. We lost two years in there where nobody played with COVID, but it feels like it did when we were solid before finally. There’s also that realisation that I know that we’re near the end of this, this is not going to keep going forever. That makes it all that much more precious.
Was that a hard period when the band originally did disband and working out what your own way would be and what you would do next?
Yeah, it was. Looking back on it now, if we had just taken six months off, we probably would’ve kept going. The problem was we were working all the time and I’ll speak for myself. I had no life. I hadn’t had sex in four years because I don’t do one night stands and there was no time to have a relationship. I had friends, but I never saw them because I was never home. There was just this constant, make a record, go on tour, make a record, go on tour. The record label was pushing that hard and I don’t blame them for it. It’s a business and they wanted the gravy train, to ride it as long as it would go and they didn’t know how long it would go. So, we fell apart, we were exhausted and we turned on each other. We had to split up, we had to just stop. It was hard. It was hard to find my way again and I had a lot of searching to do, but it had to happen.
Did you feel a lot stronger, maybe more invincible, once you were able to rise above all the things that were going on?
No, eventually, but that took a long time because then it was about, what kind of music do I want to do if I’m not doing Berlin, trying different things and failing at a lot of them. Then marriage, marrying someone and that it was a good marriage until it wasn’t, he finally realised that he didn’t really want to be married to a singer, to a musician and especially one that travelled. I realised that I wanted a child, and he didn’t. After about seven years that fell apart. The beauty of that is I met the man I’m with now and we’ve been together twenty-four years. It was meant to be, but I’m telling you all this because you asked if I felt stronger and invincible. That took a long time to feel, I don’t feel invincible, but I feel stronger.
Forty-five years as a band is something that really does need to be celebrated. Are there any plans to celebrate and commemorate the occasion?
We’re released a song and a video from Transcendence, On My Knees, because we really didn’t finish touring it when COVID hit everybody hard. We actually had two albums that we were touring Transcendence and then another one where we played our music with two Philharmonic Orchestras, it’s called Berlin Strings Attached, which is out now.
The powerful and enduring legacy that your music continues to create is incredible. Do you feel like pinching yourself when you see how much those songs mean to a lot of people?
It’s great to do shows because I get to watch that, when the song starts people, I just watch the crowd and they go into a zone. I feel that music gets into our DNA because when we hear a song, we remember where we were, what we were thinking, what happened, what we were eating, the smells, the taste, the sights, the sounds, it just puts us there. I think it’s literally in our bodies, this music that, that touches us. I watch people, they’re just there they’re wherever they were, and it was somewhere important because they love the song. All the stories, it’s a wedding or their first baby or the first kiss or their first fuck or their first graduation, it’s something that it’s attached to. That’s really special to them and they go there, and I watch it while I’m singing that song. It’s really cool.
Are there plans for another album?
What is coming up next after these two releases have played out is a Christmas album, a holiday album. Right now we’re, we’re working on some original Christmas songs. That will probably be our next release. It’s mostly done, we have nine tracks done, we just have the originals that we’re working on right now. So that’ll probably be next year.
How much fun was that?
I love Christmas. I think Christmas is a reason to live. I’ve been wanting to do this a long time and it’s finally, finally coming together.
What do you love about Australian fans?
Well we do plan to pay tribute in the show to Olivia Newton John. I didn’t really get her until the song Magic and then I got it. I had the opportunity with Dave Navarro from Jane’s Addiction to perform for her. We actually had to do it on video because we couldn’t be there, but she was being honoured by the Angel Foundation. We played and sang Magic for her and I plan to do that in our concert in 2023 in Australia. We also love AC/DC so we might be doing a song of theirs also.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Tour has been cancelled…