We all thought they were over and done with, the right-wing rumors. We have heard it all to death. It has been written about so extensively, and debunked so brilliantly, that the very subject of Rammstein and Nazi allegations, is like flogging a dead horse: you cannot squeeze any more sensationalism out of it.
Or so we thought.
For some strange reason, the March 2017 premiere of the concert film, Rammstein: Paris, produced a wave of articles and reviews that were crying wolf once again. It was like 2001 redux. The old troll under the bridge, named “Music To Invade Poland To”, had reared its ugly head.
When Rammstein first gained international success, the imagery courtesy of Leni Riefenstahl, and the 1936 Berlin Olympics, along with the hard-driving, militaristic music, could have been misconstrued as being neo-fascistic. Perhaps. Maybe. “If it’s stomping, German and I don’t understand the lyrics, it has to be Nazi, right? Right??”
No, but thanks for playing.
But Rammstein suddenly became everyone’s favorite Neo-Nazi darlings. It was tantalizing, and fascinating to examine the band’s music from the fascist point of view. Additionally, at that point in time, what could be more punk rock than that? And it sold newspapers. Fear sells…and we buy it, to paraphrase Dave Mustaine.
The whole hysteria came to an end sometime around 2005, much to every fan’s relief. Maybe that dampened the shock value a bit, but the fear of getting beaten up for wearing a Rammstein-tee was reduced by half. Rock music has always been given the blame for moral decay and insane acts of violence and Rammstein has had their fair share of that too. These days, Rammstein are more likely to wind up in a cultural context [Süddeutsche Zeitung] rather than a political one. Fortunately, the novelty has worn off for the moral guardians, and instead, they keep busy being horrified about some new video game or internet trend.
All was well.
The fans read articles about poetry, solo projects, biographies and enjoyed the music and tours. Several DVDs were released, among them the concert film and documentary, Rammstein in Amerika, featuring what must have been one of the largest German flags ever made. Not a single word about anything else other than music.
And then, from stage left, in marches Der Spiegel:
“Rammstein are the fountain head of [political movements such as] Pegida and Alternative für Deutschland, and the fact that they are sprung from East Berlin and the punk scene cannot change that, not even when they state that they are on the left side of politics, when asked.”
The entire article is an unoriginal, cut-and-paste piece of recycled bunk, spewing hatred in between the stolen buzzwords from the most aggressive articles from the early 00s. We have read, and heard, it all before. Literally. Word for word. Granted, most often in non-German speaking press, and that is the only thing that is the least original about this piece, that this time, the attack comes from the band’s home. Sadly, other publications took cue from Der Spiegel and jumped on the fascism bandwagon in their attempts to shout the loudest. As far as reviews go, the film is hardly even mentioned.
There is nothing wrong with not liking the latest creation, Jonas Åkerlund’s “Rammstein: Paris”, a film that is almost too much Rammstein even for some fans, but since when is it common practice to drag up that old bag of fascist dicks just because you don’t like a film? One would say, never.
However, Der Spiegel’s tasteless article is only the latest manifestation of what is happening in the Western world, with Alternative für Deutschland, Ukip, Dansk Folkeparti, the Dutch PVV and other fascistic political parties on the move, and right-wing propagators such as Marine LePen, Norbert Hofer, and, not least, Donald Trump, having invited themselves into the halls of power.
Whether we like it or not, the far-right is once again a force to be reckoned with, and xenophobic opinions have entered the mainstream. Humanity, solidarity and common fucking sense are no longer the stuff of headlines, but fascism sells papers and puts food on the table. Although it should never be contested to report about this phenomenon – extensive, often, and a lot – it has also become fashion. So does this give a distinguished publication, such as Der Spiegel, the right to accuse Rammstein of Nazism to sell more magazines?
You be the judge of that.
But I think I can speak for almost everyone when I say that I hear a tired, outdrawn sigh throughout the fan community: “Enough already….”
References: Der Spiegel *
Video source: Niklas Magnusson (rammsteincollector.com)
* A complete list of references can be obtained from Rammstein Press.
* We would like to point out that we are a non-political, unaffiliated entity and that the opinions herein are personal and in no way a reflection of the band.