On the world’s stages with Rammstein

Whoever’s in search for the mythical Prenzlauer Berg as the home of the art- and music scene, will still find a lot of it here. The musicians from the band, Rammstein, for example. Our reporter Dörthe Nath met up with the keyboard player, Christian “Flake” Lorenz, in his own neighborhood.

I meet Flake Lorenz in a cafe, just around the corner from Teutoburger Platz. A tall, slender man, dressed in sneakers and a hoodie. He drinks a Chai-Latte before we take a stroll together down his memory lane. Past the site where the Pfefferberg Brauerei was once located, just next to the square. He tells me he’d worked there when he was in the 7th grade.

“They often had a lot of fun, trying to shock us well-mannered school kids when we came here for our FDJ [GDR youth scouts] practice, drinking Schnapps and whatnot.”

Those good manners were over and done with a bit later. In the middle of the 80s, his friend Aljoscha Rompe started the punk band, Feeling B, just one street down from here. Flake Lorenz combed up his hair, wore self-made stickers and became the keyboard player in the band.

The lyrics of the hit song, “Mix mir einen Drink“ read: “Make me a drink, that will take me somewhere else…“ It sounds a lot like GDR criticism, just like the lines from another song: “We’re sailing on the ship of death.” I ask Flake Lorenz if this was intentional. “I guess so. I played along with it even more since I enjoyed it all; this sailor feeling, too. I didn’t have such a problem with the GDR as a lot of other people did.”

We linger in front of a corner building, right beside Teutoburger Platz. “I used to live there, at the 3rd floor, where the flowerpots are.”

Before the Turning, the Stasi would’ve spied on the citizens of those apartments from down here – on Bärbel Bohley and likes. And after the wall came down, Flake Lorenz lived here with his band mates. “It was a wonderful time, lasting several, long years.”

Years, in which he and his flatmate, Paul Landers, became world stars with the band, Rammstein. At the end of the 90s, they filled the Berliner Wuhlheide and, in 2010, the Madison Square Garden in New York – the 12,000 tickets were sold out in 30 minutes. We sit down on the steps leading down to Teutoburger Platz.

“Do you ever have to pinch yourself, or has this become normal, everyday life?”

“Even if it doesn’t sound all that romantic, it’s all normality. It’s quite simply my job, and I love to do it. There are a lot of professions that are important and where you deal with a lot of people. I don’t think that musicians are more special or fancier or whatever.”

“Sounds modest.”

“Nah, I’ve done this for a while. I know what I’m talking about.”

flake

 

Flake Lorenz is often here at the “Teute“ – he’s spend a lot of time by the swings with his children. He still lives nearby. Nevertheless, it’s not without a certain melancholy he tells me about how the square has changed during the past 25 years, and how different the people are who now live here.

“It’s sometimes hard for me to walk through here, since I remember how nice it once was. But then I pretend I’m a tourist on sightseeing, and then I think it’s all OK again. Because if I would come here as a tourist, I would find it marvellous. It all looks a lot prettier, but I don’t feel I belong here like I used to.”

 

Original Source: Inforadio
By Dörthe Nath
Translation by Murray

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