On stage like in a brightly colored jacket, at home unspectacularly in jeans and a black shirt with a black vest: “Come on in,” says Olaf der Flipper and opens the door to his house in Bretten near Karlsruhe. Ten years after the end of the legendary pop trio Die Flippers, one of the most successful pop bands ever, he appears solo as “Olaf der Flipper”. Olaf Malolepski will be 75 years old on Saturday.
The new and ninth solo album “Liebe ist” will be out in the summer. Of course, he also sings about his wife in it.
Malolepski is not exactly his age. “I jog, golf, go for a walk, play tennis, ride my bike,” he says. And as always, Olaf the Flipper has beautiful hair. His wife blows the blow dryer, the curling iron and tint do the rest, he says tidily. He thinks it’s silly that some older celebrities or politicians say they don’t color their hair, even if they obviously don’t.
But why does he still do the whole touring circus at his age, the studio recordings, the traveling? “I enjoy it and it is fun, very simple,” he replies. In his own words, Malolepski has retained the pinball style to this day: “The happy sound. Music that is catchy and that you can sing along with straight away, where nothing bothers you,” is how he describes the typical characteristics of the songs.
The Flippers were one of the most successful German pop bands, sold millions of their no less than 46 albums and filled large halls until they were dissolved ten years ago, got 31 gold and seven platinum and had mega hits. Since Olaf the pinball machine has been solo on stage, he is still half singing old pinball songs. “Otherwise the audience would be angry,” he laughs. All-time hits from the flippers such as “Don’t cry, little Eva” or “The red sun of Barbados” should not be missing from any show.
“I have four generations of fans now,” he says. On Facebook there is a lovingly cared-for page from “fans for fans”, as it is called there. On average, 1,000 people still come to his concerts. His record label Telamo speaks on its website of an “unbelievable success” Malolepski as a solo artist after a sensational band career.
“The music of the flippers set fire to us as musicians at the beginning of the 80s,” says Michael Gutjahr, singer of the hit band “Die Stromberger”, who recorded several records in Malolepski’s studio. “Olaf has remained loyal to this style of music as a solo artist, he has further developed it and the new titles are simply super great.” This is consoling for fans inconsolable after the Flippers breakup, who are now loyal to Olaf, says the 55-year-old Gutjahr.
Despite the pandemic, which has put his tour plans on hold and ties him to the house, Malolepski seems mentally unaffected by the rigors of isolation. He maintains contact with the fans with the help of his daughter via Facebook and Instagram. He recently addressed his audience on Facebook on International Women’s Day and wished the women “all the best”. First of all, they are his most loyal fans. The advance booking for his birthday tour in October is going great.
Stop, he doesn’t think about that. Sure, the stage has gotten a little big since he stood there alone, without his two bandmates from before, one of whom died a few years ago. “Everything is now on my shoulders,” he says, albeit with a wink, because it is not really a burden to him. In a new song called “Die Bühne” he deals with his stage career, looking a little back and a little forward in a kind of chant with a sung chorus. “That was not my life. It is,” it says. Olaf the pinball machine wants to go on for a long time. “At least until the 85th!”, He says in parting.