Trivia: Alphaville


  • Artist Disillusionment: One of the reasons why Frank Mertens left Alphaville after Forever Young. Even before the band took off, he rarely gave interviews and was absent from most press appearances. Once the first album became a hit, he was totally unprepared for all the attention. He formed another band called Lonely Boys just to record enough songs to honor his contract with the record company, then gave up being a musician.
    "I am shy and I don't like to talk. I prefer to look and listen. Marian and Bernhard talk quite enough." -Frank Mertens, 1984
    "Frank began to show the white feather. He was not ready for all this." -Marian Gold, 1995
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: While Alphaville's studio albums are easily available, most of the early singles haven't been released since the mid-80s, and a lot of early b-sides are hard to track down. Considering songs were often mixed differently from studio album, to 7-inch single version, to 12-inch single version, it's difficult to maintain a comprehensive collection, as what rereleases there are are rereleases of just one mix. Even the so-called Singles Collection is very sparse on material. The Dreamscapes box set includes several rare b-sides, but Dreamscapes itself is extremely rare and expensive.
    • Also applies to their music video anthology, Songlines. Only released on VHS and LaserDisc, and long out of print.
    • A new compilation album collecting the band's b-sides and 12-inch mixes has been announced for October 2014. Maybe a Blu-ray of Songlines will follow.
  • No Export for You: The single "Sensations" was only released in Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Swizterland. The 12-inch version contains two mixes of "Sensations," both of which sound very dissimilar from the album version except for the vocals.
  • Old Shame: According to Marian, "Sounds Like A Melody" and "Universal Daddy" were written only because the record company wanted more singles. He's come to like "SLAM" over the years, but not "Universal Daddy."
  • Screwed by the Network: The band and their European label, WEA, clashed over the band's refusal to go on tour. Rumor has it that the poor marketing behind The Breathtaking Blue and Prostitute was WEA's quiet way of punishing them. Eventually, Marian Gold went on tour with a backup band that did not include Bernhard Lloyd or Ricky Echolette. Members of that backup band eventually became official members of Alphaville after Lloyd and Echolette departed.
  • Troubled Production: According to Marian, he and Bernhard fought a lot during production of The Breathtaking Blue. The building of a new studio, which the band designed and financed themselves, was meant to allow the band to record as soon as they wrote material, without the extra process of making demos. This had the effect of getting the band extremely meticulous over every detail of the recording and mixing. Klaus Schulze, who co-produced the album, said he was surprised at how perfectionist Alphaville were, and that the few weeks he intended to work on the album turned into a year and a half. Additionally, while Alphaville's first two albums had a cohesive direction planned from the beginning, there was little idea of what direction The Breathtaking Blue would take. Marian has said that when the album was finished, Alphaville couldn't imagine working together again, and none of the band members spoke to each other for two years. Prostitute came about only after Ricky Echolette insisted that they record another album.