"Really shit": What happened to Tic Tac Toe?!

November 21, 1997 is a day to remember. And not because the wall fell or world peace was proclaimed. Only with a press conference does a German pop band burn itself into the collective memory. But what actually happened to Tic Tac Toe?

“You guys are really good at lying, really.” When Ricky, alias Ricarda Wältken, slams this sentence in the face of her comrades-in-arms Jazzy (Marlene Tackenberg) and Lee (Liane Wiegelmann), the press conference of the pop trio Tic Tac Toe on November 21, 1997 in Munich finally escalates. “That’s the end of the show,” Jazzy raged that she was about to leave the stage. And Lee rages: “I will not let anyone call me a liar.” In the direction of Ricky, she poisoned back: “If we were friends, then you wouldn’t do that shit at all. You’re ruining everything for us, I swear.”

Even before this legendary showdown occurs exactly 25 years ago, the three singers offer the gathered group of reporters a bizarre spectacle in which they attack each other. Ricky also advises that it might be better to talk to a lawyer, as Jazzy attests to her fellow campaigner: “She would need her psychotherapist to meet us and talk to us.”

The press conference was actually scheduled to do exactly the opposite. After ugly headlines – about Lee’s alleged past as a prostitute – had made the rounds, the unity of the trio should be put on display demonstratively. But puff cake! The result is such a catastrophic shot in the oven that even the “daily topics” report about it in the evening.

Is everything different in retrospect?

And it is the provisional final chord in the short pop history of Tic Tac Toe. In 1995 the band met at a hip-hop event in the Ruhr area. At least that’s the legend. In truth, the trio is probably the casting result of resourceful music managers. Either way – success is not long in coming. The first single by Tic Tac Toe already reached number 3 in the German charts. “I find you shit, really shit,” countless teenagers can roar along at the time – and probably many adults still do today.

The songs “Piss off” and “Why?” even turn out to be number 1 hits. Just like the group’s second album called “Klappe die 2te”, which was released around half a year before the groundbreaking press conference. While the street image and the snotty language of the girl combo caught the young target group very well, some parents turn up their noses at it. Others, on the other hand, only have a weary smile for the targeted provocations according to rap scheme F.

Wrongly so, as the youth magazine “jetzt” of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” found in retrospect just last year. Tic Tac Toe were “one of the most progressive and coolest bands” ever, it says. After all, the group was already rapping “against racist stereotypes and sexist clichés”. In the end, the band “wrote Afro-German music history in an incomparable way”.

“Not finished yet”

But Tic Tac Toe are miles away from making history after their breakup. Jazzy and Lee look for a new comrade-in-arms in Sara Brahms 2000, but the project, first called Sara[email protected] Tac Two and later Tic Tac Toe again, cannot build on the earlier successes. And Ricky’s hope of starting out as a soloist is also not fulfilled.

Tic Tac Toe on RTL+ Music

(Photo: picture alliance/United Archives)

Looking for Music from Tic Tac Toe? Songs, albums and information are available on RTL+ Musik.

In view of their spectacular departure in 1997, it was almost a sensation when Tic Tac Toe actually attempted a comeback in 2005 with the original line-up. “We’ve gotten older, we’ve talked a lot about what happened back then,” explains Ricky, explaining how the miracle became possible. Beyond that, however, the three cannot perform miracles. The aptly titled “Comeback” album flopped. Only the single “Spiegel” reached number 7 in the charts. The group breaks up again. Forever this time?

Maybe not. In any case, comeback rumors are making the rounds again in 2019. It should be as far as 2020. But nothing will come of it. In 2021, however, Jazzy fueled speculation again in a “Musikexpress” podcast. “Unfortunately, the book isn’t finished yet,” she explains meaningfully. Maybe there will be a stage request, “maybe we’ll do it ourselves, maybe not at all, we all have our lives,” she leaves the future open.

“Goodbye Germany”

And indeed, since Tic Tac Toe, the lives of the three have developed further and in apparently completely different directions. There is no question that Jazzy is without a doubt the member of the band who has been betting on making any progress in the show business for the longest time. She also tries to be a solo singer several times – most recently in 2013 with the song “Immer auf die Face”, for the video clip of which she even stripped down to a pair of nude-colored panties on Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm.

Jazzy takes on various radio jobs and appears in the musical “Starcut” in Hamburg from 2010 to 2011, but also works as a waitress in a restaurant in Berlin-Friedrichshain to make ends meet. She also does not shy away from appearances on reality TV. As early as 2004 she hoped for another career boost in the show “Comeback – The Great Chance” – in vain. This is followed by assignments at the “Perfect Celebrity Dinner” (2009), in the jungle camp (2012) and even at “Celebrity Boxing” (2013), where she just beats up Georgina Fleur.

Finally, in 2015, the now 47-year-old was the protagonist of the Vox format “Goodbye Germany! The Emigrants”. Because: After she had lived in Mallorca for a year and had a daughter in 2014, she emigrated bag and baggage. Since then she has lived on the Côte d’Azur near Cannes. “I’m fine in the south of France with my daughter and my husband,” she says in the “Musikexpress” podcast in 2021.

“I was depressed”

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It wasn’t nice: in 2013, Jazzy and Georgina Fleur knocked each other out in “celebrity boxing”.

(Photo: picture alliance / Geisler-Fotopress)

Ricky also seems to be doing well today. In 2012, the now 44-year-old appeared again in front of the camera together with Jazzy for an advertising campaign. Otherwise, however, the niece of Swedish Eurodance pop star Dr. Alban, who once undressed as the only tic-tac-toe member for “Playboy”, no longer cares too much about the limelight. She dropped out of her studies to become a primary school teacher in mathematics and Protestant theology. She now works as a trained occupational therapist. She lives in Dortmund with her partner and her daughter, who was born in 2003 and comes from a previous relationship.

In 2019, Ricky spoke to the magazine “Stern” about her past and the current situation. “I was very, very bad for a few years. I had depression, couldn’t go to university anymore. Everything came up that I didn’t really process with Tic Tac Toe,” she explains in the interview about the demolition their studies. Therapy finally got her back on her feet. Asked if she misses the time on the red carpets, Ricky replies: “Spontaneously I would say no, because I’m so happy. But I’m already thinking about the great moments with Tic Tac Toe, which also existed. But I don’t really miss this life.”

“Don’t know where Lee is”

The only question left is what happened to Lee, who certifies Jazzy in the “Musikexpress” podcast to have been “the most talented of us”, “especially in the rap area”. She first did an apprenticeship with a security company before the “Bild” newspaper found her in 2009 at the cash desk of the Cologne Zoo. “I like doing the job at the zoo. I’m happy. I gave up my apartment in Berlin and now live in a shared apartment in Cologne,” she quoted the newspaper at the time.

And today? In fact, almost no one knows that. Rumor has it that the 48-year-old is completely withdrawn in England. But even her former band colleagues can’t be sure. “The year before last I met Jazzy at the Christmas market in Dortmund. We write to each other from time to time. But we don’t know where Lee is,” says Ricky 2019 in the “Stern” interview. And Jazzy affirms in 2021: “We really don’t know where Lee is, but we respect that.”

The band will probably never remember themselves by making a comeback together. What remains, however, is the memory of November 21, 1997. And of course: “I find you shit, really sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-shit…”

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