1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Rammstein singer Till Lindemann turns 60

Silke Wünsch
January 4, 2023

Rammstein's singer has been shaping the sound of German metal music for decades. The rock star has been flirting with controversy for decades. Now a statue for his 60th birthday has been stolen.

Till Lindemann singing during the Rammstein Stadium Tour 2022 in Mexico. He is painted red and wearing a conductor-style hat.
Till Lindemann in his element during the Rammstein Stadium Tour 2022 in MexicoImage: Ismael Rosas/eyepix/Zuma/picture alliance

As Till Lindemann turns 60, there are few signs he is easing himself into retirement. 

As the frontman of the band Rammstein, he writes shocking lyrics depicting brutality; at times, they are so grotesque that anyone not familiar with the band may quickly turn away in disgust. But there's generally a message hidden behind those lyrics. It's part of how Rammstein has built a huge fan base around the world.

Those fans include an anonymous street artist who goes by the name Roxxy Roxx, who set up in Rostock a statue depicting Lindemann on the eve of the rock star's 60th birthday. 


However, the informal monument was stolen within 24 hours, as police reported on Wednesday (4.1.2022).

Reacting to the theft, the artist told German tabloid Bild, "I was expecting that to happen, but my hope was that the statue would at least stick around past his birthday."

From the water to the stage

Born in Leipzig on January 4, 1963, Lindemann's love of lyrics began at an early age. He penned his first poem at age nine.

As a teenager, he became a successful competitive swimmer and in 1980, he was shortlisted to participate in the Olympics for the GDR (East Germany). During the Junior European Championships in 1978 in Florence, he snuck out to see the town, which was part of the reason he was disqualified for the games.

Lindemann briefly worked as a carpenter and then discovered his love for music in the 1980s, especially that of the underground music scene in East Germany.

He played drums and sang in his first band, a punk group called First Arsch. Lindemann's future Rammstein bandmates, Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers, were also in the group. 

A few years later, Rammstein formed and the group set out on a musical journey that would result in a massive fanbase that continues to grow today.

'German nationalistic redneck rock'

Barking the lyrics with his deep voice, Lindemann began to roll the letter "r" when singing, which would become his trademark.

Rammstein Band
Landers, Lindemann and Kruspe in 2019; they had already made music together in the GDRImage: Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance

The band's first studio album, "Herzeleid," came out in 1995 and raced to the top of music charts in Germany. The album's original cover showed the band naked from the waist up, with oiled torsos.

It caused plenty of controversy. Some newspapers wrote that the musicians were portraying themselves as "Herrenmenschen," which is a Nazi term for a race of people superior to others, something lead guitarist Richard Kruspe brushed off as "stupid."

The content of the record was also criticized by the media. German magazine Musikexpress referred to it as "German nationalist" and "redneck rock," and blasted the band's sound and "lyrics peppered with (...) dull, violent metaphors and shocking statements of violence."

'Love' is Lindemann's favorite word

In interviews he gave at the time, Lindemann defended himself against the Nazi accusations and against the fact that the band was constantly accused of breaking taboos. The frontman said Rammstein's music had nothing to do with such controversies, and maintained it was steeped in love, in all its beautiful and dark forms.

He told German music channel VIVA in 1997: "It's actually about making a blatant statement, but paraphrasing it with allegories. A little bit flowery like the old 60s hit songs where they say, 'I'll stay with you tonight,' but everybody knows they want to have heavy sex."

"Love" and "heart" are two of the words that turn up most frequently in texts by Rammstein — at least statistically, as revealed by an analysis of individual words vocalized in the songs on the band's seven studio albums.

The context in which the words are used, however, is rarely affectionate. And so Lindemann and his Rammstein colleagues continue to flirt with many topics considered inappropriate, breaking taboos. 


Till Lindemann in Berlin wearing a suit that makes him appear to be overweight.
In the video for 'Keine Lust' (2005), the band wore outfits that made them appear overweightImage: Soeren Stache/dpa/picture-alliance

Burning ambitions

Lindemann gives fewer interviews these days. But on stage he doesn't hold back and often wears outlandish costumes, ghoulish makeup and makes use of pyrotechnics. 

In an interview with a Swedish TV station in 1997, he explained: "Between my verses and choruses, I get bored otherwise. I also can't dance. That's how I started pyrotechnics."

Fire on the stage in Düsseldorf during a Rammstein concert.
Fire is never far away with RammsteinImage: Malte Krudewig/dpa/picture alliance

After several accidents, Lindemann finally decided to train formally as a pyrotechnician and now loves to show off his skills on stage. At a Rammstein concert, columns of fire repeatedly spray up into the air, and flame throwers are ignited on stage. At times, jets of fire even appear as if they are spraying out of Lindemann's back.

 Rammstein Singer Till Lindemann in Prague with flames appearing to shoot out of his back.
When attending a Rammstein concert, you can also book a spot in the 'fire zone'Image: Matthias Matthies

Moving on to his solo project, 'Lindemann' 

Though still performing, by 2010 the band had entered a recording hiatus.

Nevertheless, Lindemann remained busy, and in 2015 he teamed up with Swedish metal musician Peter Tägtgren to create the album "Skills for Pills."

Lindemann sang in English, with a notable German accent. 

The lyrics were — unsurprisingly — hard stuff.

Till Lindemann and Peter Tägtgren look at one another.
Till Lindemann and Swedish musician Peter Tägtgren have had a fruitful collaborationImage: Jens Koch/dpa/Universal/picture alliance

Pain, blood, flesh, sex, death and tears; necrophilia, rape and other abysses of human existence — these are the worlds that Till Lindemann conjures up. "The more people get upset about it, the more it spurs me on to write even worse poetry," he once said in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt.

In 2019, the second Lindemann/Tägtgren collaboration "F & M" was released and in German.

Till Lindemann, singer of the band Rammstein, takes off a white hat and sticks out his tongue.
For some, Lindemann is the perfect frontman, while others find him offensiveImage: Gonzales Photo/Nikolaj Bransholm/picture alliance

Poetry and Russian appeal

Outside of his collaboration with Rammstein, Lindemann has written plenty of poetry.

In 2002, his first book of poems, titled "Messer," was published. The second, "On Quiet Nights" ("In stillen Nächten" in German) followed in 2013.

Lindemann's poetry has been translated into several languages, but like his lyrics in Rammstein, his words divide opinion.

He has maintained a popular fanbase outside of his homeland, in particular in Russia, where there is one of the largest Rammstein fan communities. 

In 2021, Lindemann sang an orchestral ballad from the 1930s, "Lubimiy Gorod" ("Favorite City") and was praised for it. He shot music videos for his solo projects in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and performed at a military music festival on Moscow's Red Square in front of an enthusiastic audience.

February's invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops has changed all that though, as Lindemann subsequently canceled all Russia concerts.

Lindemann at an autograph session in Moscow in 2016
Lindemann at an autograph session in Moscow in 2016Image: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

In March, via a statement in German, Ukrainian and Russian, the band said it was particularly saddened by the suffering of Ukrainians. "Each member of the band has different experiences with the two countries; all musicians have friends, colleagues, partners and fans in Ukraine and Russia."

The band said it was aware of the despair that many Russian fans feel in the face of their government's actions, and they wanted to "remind people of the humanity that Russian and Ukrainian citizens share."

Lindemann joined the volunteers helping at Berlin's main train station when many Ukrainian refugees arrived.

Going wild with Joey Kelly

A long friendship connects Lindemann with Irish-American musician Joey Kelly. Together with Kelly, a renowned lover of extreme sports, Lindemann traveled around Alaska in a canoe in 2017 and went to the Amazon in 2020. They published a book, "Amazonas," about the experiences, complete with dramatic images from their travels.

Meanwhile, Lindemann has devoted time to solo projects. In 2014, he wrote a song for another friend, German pop singer Roland Kaiser. 

Time is not up

In April 2022, a new Rammstein album, "Zeit," (time) was released. Fans fear it will be the last, as many of the songs sound like a farewell. But despite lines like "Man soll gehen wenn es am schönsten ist" (You should leave at your peak) or the album's last song "Adieu," Rammstein are set to continue.

The band is currently on a stadium tour which will finish in August 2023. 

The album cover of "Zeit" by the band Rammstein features the band members standing in a line.
Some have said 'Zeit' might be the band's last albumImage: Universal/Rammstein/dpa/picture alliance

With their eighth studio album, Till Lindemann can celebrate his 60th birthday with added vigor, safe in the knowledge that "Zeit" is the year's best-selling album in Germany.

This article was originally written in German.

Update: First published on January 3, 2023, this article was updated a day later to report the theft of a Till Lindemann statue.