Oh, the joy of being out of the media spotlight, away from inquiring minds that want to know a celebrity’s every movement. Living in a another country and speaking a different language is a great way to maintain your privacy– even after you’ve reached star status. The members of the (formerly East) German industrial rock phenomenon known as Rammstein have worked their lack of knowing the English language better than any hard rock band in recent memory.
Call up their US record company to try and find out something about Rammstein, and the publicist will say, “Let me get back to you.” That return call never comes.
Key touring slots on the ’98 Ozzfest and Family Values tours were invaluable in helping guitarists Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers, vocalist Till Lindemann, keyboardist Flake Lorenz, bassist Oliver Riedel and drummer Christoph Schneider break their debut album, Sehnsucht, in the States — without singing a word in English. This questionable ability to communicate (yes, they speak English when they need to), has allowed the group to savor the privacy that groups like Nirvana and Pearl Jam craved more than life itself.
Onstage, Rammstein may be pyrotechnic-crazed industrial cabaret performers, but when they went into the studio last September to record their next album, they demanded peace, tranquility and privacy. Hey, how can you create your own brand of chaos if there’s a riot going on outside your window?
“The last two years, we were on tour and it was very hard to write new songs, during that time,” Christoph admitted. The day-to-day existence during two years of touring in a land that does not speak their native language, left the band with a minimum of creative energy to write new music. “It’s too hard to write songs on the bus,” Christoph declared. “The only time you have on the tour to make music is during sound check, but we are too lazy for that.” Perhaps too lazy is a language faux pas. Have you ever spent the day trying to communicate in another language? A simple conversation about your favorite songs can leave you totally exhausted because of all the thinking you have to do to try and understand and communicate ideas. “You don’t find the peace and quiet to work on new titles on the road,” Flake confirmed. “We have to sit in one room and concentrate.”
So, after releasing the live album, video and DVD title Live Aus Berlin, in August, (An industrial rock tirade culled from homecoming shows at Berlin’s Wuhlheide Stadium), Rammstein retreated to the relative comfort of their native Berlin to create their next opus, which should see the light of day before the end of 2000. If you were impressed with the throbbing neo-anthemic muscle of Sehnsucht, practice your goose step, because you haven’t heard anything yet! “We will try to make the record a little bit more hard and not so much pop in it,” Flake admitted.
“We were very satisfied with Sehnsucht,” noted Christoph. “But now, we try something new and try, how Flake says, to make the music a bit harder like the earlier days.”
If the pulsating beats of Sehnsucht upset your parents, Rammstein’s new material may very well send mom and dad over the edge. Of course, they’ll think it’s a bad influence, even though this “ramming stone” is sung in German, and you probably can’t understand a word they say. “When we play live, it makes me wonder why people sing along if they don’t understand the German lyrics,” snickered Till. “We sing in German and don’t want to translate it into English.”
The language barrier has made details of Rammstein’s life a well-kept secret. Last summer, when Till got into a nasty car accident on the Autobahn during a thunderstorm (the car reportedly slid into oncoming traffic and collided with another car), we had to find out information from The Undercover Web site (at www.undercover.net), which took the news from German radio. FYI: Neither Till or his two passengers were seriously injured. The cars were reportedly demolished. Stateside representative for the band had no clue about the incident until they were duly informed by members of the local media.
The air of mystery that surrounds them has only increased Rammstein’s impact. Since their appearance on the 1998 Family Values tour, these German industrial rockers have been seducing fans in this country while infuriating authorities. In true hard rock style, they’ve become no strangers to the police. Anyone who has seen them live got to experience the explosions, flames, crunching guitars… not to mention the giant dildo that spurts milk. Shocking at first glimpse, but after the milk has been spewing over the audience for the better part of five minutes, the whole thing becomes a giant joke– a bit like pissing on society. “The music of Rammstein and the show elements are joined together in our band, and it will always be like that,” Christoph observed. “We are not an unplugged band.”
For all their somewhat sordid on-stage antics, frontman Till Lindemann and keyboardist Flake Lorenz were arrested after a concert in Worcester, Massachusetts, and charged with lewd and lascivious behavior. According to Sgt. Thomas Radula of the Worcester police department, Rammstein’s thirty-year-old frontman, was simulating sex with Flake onstage using a “fake phallic object that shot water at the crowd.” Both men were clothed. The two were held overnight and released on $25 bail. Shortly after, these Teutonic terrors chose to retreat to their native Berlin and began work on the next opus. Like former releases, Sehnsucht (Hunger) and Herzeleid (Heartache), this new opus will be in German. Till has been studying English since elementary school and speaks our language rather well, but he’s just not willing to sing in a foreign tongue. It’s Rammstein’s way of maintaining their mystique.
Source: Hit Parader Magazine
Date: April 2000