Interview with Andre and Pierre Rieu
Johannes B Kerner show.
September 27, 2003
You can believe it or not but the man who comes now will celebrate in this
coming year his 25th anniversary on the stage. For reinforcement he has
brought his production manager, that is not just anybody, but his son Pierre Rieu!
Please welcome Andre and Pierre Rieu. Have a seat please.
Hello's all around
Andre Rieu has two sons and Pierre is your production manager.
Pierre is the production manager, Pierre what is a production manager in a concert company?
Pierre: There are concert companies and then there is the Andre Rieu concert company!
Is there a lot of difference?
Pierre: Yes, I think so.
Then what is the difference, is it better with him or worse?
Pierre: Well, I have never worked for another, but I have looked around and noticed that there is big a difference.
What is so special about this company?
Is it more strenuous, is it a lower salary?
Andre: ta ta ta ta ta (Andre is laughing with protest)
Or are the working hours especially long lasting?
Pierre: The working hours are very long, but it is a lot fun too. This man has a million ideas and he wants
them carried out immediately and preferably by yesterday.
Oh, I see. And you are the one who separates the good ideas from the bad?
Kerner to Andre: Since when does he have a vote? Since when does give his opinion?
Andre: To be honest, since he was 14 years old.
But he did not realize it?
Andre No, at the time we were still small and local and he has always been part of it, but always backstage. He was
never in the audience; he was backstage and he would do what he is doing now
all the time. He has been doing the job now professionally for two years, and he is the youngest production
manager worldwide. I am so happy to have him on my side because I listen to him.
So what does he do exactly? A production manager on TV usually also has the control of the money.
Andre: Everything you can see on stage is under his control, including a lot of money.
It means the lights, the equipment, the musicians.
Pierre: No, the musicians are his part.
Andre: The musicians are my responsibility and the contracts and so on. I mean I have people to do that for me.
But the whole engineering part and such?
But, can you do this by yourself, especially when on tour? How many people do you have with you?
Pierre: We tour with about 50 crew members and then we hire about 60 local people. It is always takes a team of
over 100 people to set up the stage.
Now imagine this. Andre comes on stage and during the sound check, he has an idea. He wants a
chandelier here and another one there, and Pierre says:“that costs 10.000 Euro and that costs 10.000
Euro. Who prevails then?
Andre: That depends.
Pierre: Sometimes I can persuade him and he realizes that is a lot of money for maybe 5000 people, but other times
he is right
Since we have been talking together, you both have constantly been smiling. Yes I get the impression,
the message that there is a very good understanding between you. But when, let me ask you, when do
you fight? When do you argue? Or do you?
I would say that too on TV. Honest?
Andre: (to Pierre) Am I lying?
Pierre: What do you call stress? Between us, there is…..
Andre: Last week for instance we worked on a TV special taped in Italy. In Tuscany and I had my eye
on a small village fairly high in the mountains. It is very romantic and has dreamlike scenery. I took
Pierre with me and he cursed me. (Laughing) All the equipment had to be dragged up the mountain,
but we all did it, with about 170 people and we cried when it was over. . We worked so enormously
hard, all of us, but everything went in such a beautiful atmosphere. .
I see it's a sort of common thing and there are no arguments.
As a father have you ever though it would have been nice if my son had become an artist too? Learning
to play an instrument on stage?
Andre: Yes, both of them, they were 5 and 3…..no, 5 and 7 years old when I gave them violin lessons.
Did they want that?
Andre: Yes, yes we both liked it. We bought violins.
Pierre: Both”, means my parents.
Andre: Okay, then at one point Pierre, he is the younger, destroyed his violin on his brother's head. That
was the end of his violin career.
Pierre, you really did not like it? I guess we should be happy it
was not a tuba.
Andre: He is now playing the trumpet; he studies hard and is making
very good progress. His teacher is our first trumpet player. And I
promised him that I would continue until he plays in the orchestra.
So you do want to be an artist too?
Pierre: I want to do it both. In the morning we set up the stage, then
I play in the orchestra and at night we take the stage down.
Oh, I only can say;” good bye Marie. That will only work for a
short time when you have lots of energy. It has to be an obsession.
Andre: He will make it. (Very proud)
The talent for music is not automatically inherited. But both sons are..……
Andre: Indeed, both are unbelievable musical. Marc mine elder son is a
walking music encyclopedia. When I want to know something about a composition I only have to call him.
Andre: Classical music, all music. For example, he is collecting film music. But he does not only have a
collection, he has all that stuff in his head. Give him a note and he can tell you the title.
Pierre: Track 13, length 3 minutes.
Andre: Both of them are unbelievable musical and both of them love my music!!!!! (Smiles from ear to ear)
Does that surprise you?
Andre: I am very proud of it.
Pierre, was it hard for you in school to be the son of Andre Rieu?
Pierre: When he hit the big time, I was about 14. That is the age you go through puberty and the time of
fights between boys. And at that time being his son was a good reason to get clobbered.
Does that mean that you where annoyed about being the son of the Waltz king?
It is crazy. How can a boy defend himself against that, at that age you do not have knowledge about the
worth of music.
Pierre: You cannot.
Andre: It was difficult.
Pierre: It was not easy.
Andre, where you aware of those things?
Andre: Yes, of course. We always were very interested in their school and we were aware of the problems. We
found another school in Maastricht for them, an international school, a school where children from all different
nationalities go and also different languages are spoken, both changed to that school and the problems were over.
But in fact: the start of your big career, starting with the performance at the soccer match in Amsterdam,
was the start of some suffering for you boys.
Andre: Yes, too much. We were very worried about it.
Yes, at least chancing schools helped.
Andre: And I tried to show them that I still was the same as before. We talked a lot about that.
Now, you have your 25th anniversary on stage. And you want to do this very special thing for you fans. I
heard about a CD and that there is a big problem with it. You want to add a free CD to your latest CD.
But the market wants to sell it as a double CD.
Pierre: That is one of the ideas.
Do you want to prevent him for doing that?
Pierre: No, No not at all.
Andre: I had the idea and the record company liked it too. Then I heard, I didn’t know this, but the market
can do whatever it wants to do. They are able to sell the second CD too, if they want to. I was very upset about
that, because I really want to give the second CD as a present. (Looking in the camera) So if you have to pay for
it, leave and go to another store!
Pierre, how old are you now?
You still live at home?
And you want to stay at home?
Pierre: I hope so.
Most young people want to move out when they are 18.
Pierre: I know, I know.
Why don't you?
Pierre: I do have a place of my own, since thee years now. I have slept there maybe once or twice. We are
constantly on the road. In the first year I was away from home for about 300 days and to then
when you return to sit home alone. No, thanks.
Yes, and at home by mom the fridge is full and the laundry gets done and so on. But as production
manager you should be frugal and save, you can sell your place.
Pierre: There are things with which you should not be economical. I may need it some time.
And what do the parents think about it, that the boy is still at home?
Andre: We think it is fantastic; it is nice when he is at home. He has a hobby and sometimes he does not get home
until 5:00 AM
What kind of hobby?
Andre: Ask him (laughing) then we tell him, can you be quieter please and then the dogs join him and it is a mess.
But it is so nice and cosy to have him home.
So you are not going to throw him out?
Andre: No, of course not.
What about that hobby, Pierre?
Pierre: I like to restore transportation vehicles from World War II.
Why, most people would say it is good that those are broken than we cannot use them anymore.
Pierre: Yes, but I do not want to use them.
From World War II?
Why do you have such an interest in that? Is it only the technical side of it?
Pierre: I have an interest in the whole war, but men and their cars are a special subject.
I do not know the Rieu home, but I think you may have the room for it.
Pierre: Fortunately I have a father who has a warehouse.
What kind of things do you have? A truck?
Pierre: No, I have twelve.
Andre: And not small ones either.
Heavy ones, too? Do you have a tank?
Pierre: Yes. I have a tank.
I do not know of any 22 year old boys who tinker at a WW II tank.
Andre: You should smell him when he gets home.
You restore them and then...
Pierre: Then I drive them.
Andre: The fun is to take it apart and reconstruct it in its original condition.
So, if you ever see a tank drive through Maastricht, it is probably Pierre Rieu at the wheel. A rare hobby.
But you are not that keen on the military?
Pierre: As I said, I am interested in war that is all. I do not want to go in the army. No thanks.
I see, very interesting. When does the new tour start?
Andre: We are constantly on tour. Now we will be going to Japan for a month, then rehearsal, then Ireland and at
the end of November, we start in Germany again.
Good luck, have fun on stage, backstage, under stage. Have fun in, under and behind the tank.
Sometimes things come out in interviews that are really fun.
Thank you for being our guests, Andre and Pierre Rieu.
The boy who restores with war II vehicles
also has a teddy-bear.
Doesn't that bear look familiar?
Pierre with Cassandra and Sonja
Working hard in the background
Pierre on the trumpet during a
Pierre and Rene Henket,
Andre's first trumpet player