The Rammstein keyboard player, Flake Lorenz, likes to reminisce about his youth in the East, a lot of alcohol and Hiddensee. And now, he’s publishing a book. At almost 400 pages, he accounts for his unusual career as a “Keyfucker”.
A thin, pale boy with strong, excessively large glasses kneeling in front of his electric organ at the Ostsee beach – this is what Flake Lorenz circa 1989 looks like in Lutz Seiler’s novel, “Kruso”. Now, the musician, who then played in the punk band, Feeling B, and later with Rammstein, has portrayed himself. At almost 400 pages, he accounts for his extraordinary career as a “Keyfucker”. This is how he describes his art, playing with Feeling B: with his left hand, he shredded the bass lines on his Casio, with his right, he played as piercing melody as possible.
In the book, “Mix mir einen Drink“, Lorenz and his colleagues have already brought together a lot of memories. In his autobiography, Flake Lorenz, whose given name is Christian, goes all the way back to his early childhood. His stuttering and naïve countenance is still there today: “I’m still astonished about a lot of things,” he says in the interview. His father was a great influence: the jazz fan hung out with famous artists and the family liked to go and search the garbage dumps for antiquities. Lorenz emphasizes how much he liked being brought up in the GDR, a land that promised to keep developing.
The limitations provided him with a sense of security: “Children like to sleep in cribs.“ As a punk musician, he never had the feeling that the GDR was restricted, quite the contrary. “As a punk in the GDR, you were accepted by the workers, while it was an attitude and not a musical genre,” he stresses. That he, by his refusal to join the army, neither could graduate nor was allowed to study, is a circumstance he doesn’t blame the State for: “It was my own free choice!” He motivated his conscientious objection with personal reasons: after his experiences as the victim of bullying, he was scared of harassment from the soldiers.
In several amusing episodes, Lorentz depicts the interactions within the East Berliner music scene, the constant exchange of ideas and instruments, but also the perpetual drinking that Feeling B hailed with the battle cry, “Mix mir einen Drink – der mich woanders hinbringt” (Mix me a drink that takes me somewhere else). “In the GDR, alcohol was ubiquitous and readily accepted. Beer was served at noon in the workplace canteens.” Today, Lorenz describes alcohol as a dead end. “90 percent of the time you are drunk, is wasted time.” With his wife’s support, he hasn’t drunk a drop of alcohol for five years. But it wasn’t just the booze, but, above all, the music that brought him somewhere else. On Hiddensee, Lorenz and his cohorts spent carefree days. He fully agrees with sense of freedom that Lutz Seiler describes in his novel, “Kruso” – and he extends it to the island of East Berlin: “We felt as free here as we did on Hiddensee.” The “B” in Feeling B stands for “Berlin”. He didn’t feel that the fall of the Wall was some kind of big liberation. He didn’t have any wanderlust — “I hadn’t exhausted what was possible” – and the music of the West was there anyway. When he went to see his former idols, the Stones, at the Olympiastadion, he almost felt betrayed: “There were just empty shells of people up there on the stage.”
Despite the fact that he’s made an international career with Rammstein, and sold millions of records, Flake Lorenz doesn’t rave over capitalism. “What’s so good about working against each other, until the strongest prevails and defeats the others?” he asks in the book. He doesn’t care much for money, that’s obvious.
He describes how he lost a lot of money on an enterprise with Old-timers and American street cruisers– but it was a lot of fun while it lasted, nonetheless. Today, he only collects Match Box cars, lives with his family alternately in a house in Brandenburg and an apartment in Berlin. He sometimes feels like a tourist in his old neighborhood, Prenzlauer Berg. Though he can move around undisturbed here, he’s more likely to be recognized abroad while touring.
Even almost 25 years after the German Unity, he doesn’t feel at home in the “welded-together country“. He keeps getting reminded of how supposedly restricted he once lived, and that has annoyed him so much that he’s shot above the target in his defense of the GDR, which he admits in the interview. Even his colleagues in Rammstein view the GDR as a harsher place. But in any case, he had so much fun writing the book, that he now would like to write a Rammstein book, “But I haven’t figured out how to bring together the views of all the musicians.” Or if it was all that clever to describe the band’s live show as a “gigantic, embarrassing sideshow”?
Original Source: Berliner Zeitung
By Torsten Wahl
Translation: Murray / Edited by Schnitz