A new album and the beginning of the legendary band's Europe Stadium Tour mark a new chapter for the band. But why the fascination for these shock rockers?
There are tons of surprising anecdotes surrounding Rammstein. Although they've been revealed many times already, it's still fun to mention that singer Till Lindemann once learned the furniture crafting and basket weaving trades — and that he nearly competed at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow on the East German swimming team. Or that the six musicians have their roots in the underground punk scene of former East Germany, and have played in all manner of obscure bands. And that the band members are upright citizens with families — and indeed grandchildren.
Rammstein shocks and provokes
The whole concept of the band was — and remains — to shock and provoke the music world. And no band has done it quite like Rammstein. Their hard-as-nails beats, heavy guitar riffs and militaristic stage show punctuated by explosions and pyrotechnics are backdropped with ever-more provocative video clips — as the recent "Deutschland" single proved.
Even Till Lindemann's vocals are provocative, sounding as "German" as the harsh, clipped, guttural speech with the rolling "r" we are thoroughly familiar with in films documenting the Third Reich.
But incidentally, Rammstein is not right-wing at all, as clearly demonstrated in the 2001 song "Links, zwo, drei, vier" (Left, Two, Three, Four). In a later interview with the newspaper Die Welt, guitarist Richard Kruspe said they're much too clever to belong to the right end of the political spectrum.
The nether regions of the mind
Till Lindemann's lyrics often concern the abysses of the human experience, including incest, pedophilia and necrophilia — for example, someone who unearths his dead wife once a year to have sex with her.
Sadomasochism and submission are to be found in the band's lyrics, as is the longing for death or love. Quiet notes in their repertoire are rare but can be found. Fans still get goose bumps over the Rammstein classic "Seemann" (Sailor) from the band's first album Herzeleid (Heartache, 1995), with Lindemann's vocals almost tenderly conveying the dark, romantic lyrics. Nina Hagen and Apocalyptica covered the song in 2003.
A team from the word go
Loud or soft, shocker or ballad, Rammstein's six members have stayed true to themselves across 25 years. And they seem inseparable. Guitarist Richard Kruspe says this longevity is facilitated by communication: "We certainly spend 70 percent of our time together conversing."
They also have a good time. "We play all over the world, we're always sold out," says guitarist Paul Landers. "It's a lot of fun. I can't think of anything better."
Ready for another round of fun, Rammstein begins its Europe Stadium Tour in Gelsenkirchen on May 27, wrapping it up on August 22 in Vienna, with 22 cities in between including Luxemburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen and Munich. Of the 30 performances, all but five are sold out.