In 1997, Rammstein released their second studio album, Sehnsucht, a follow up to their 1995 debut record, Herzeleid. The Sehnsucht era saw Rammsteing embrace new creative territory with the release songs such as Engel and Klavier, as well as a haunting set of album covers featuring each band member glad in pale makeup, wearing strange metal objects twisted around their heads and faces. With hardly a day to breath or relax between their extensive Herzeleid tour finishing in 1997, only to be followed by the Sehnsucht tour in the same year, Rammstein would stay on the road for close to 4 years in support of the new record.

it was virtually forbidden to make amateur music and not to work at the same time
- Paul H. Landers

Rammstein was, and still are, one of the most unique bands of the time so their rapid success came as a surprise to all, especially considering how controversial they had become in terms of their lyrics and artistic expression. Rammstein was born at a time when Germany was undergoing a political revolution with the fall of the Berlin wall. “If you didn’t pay your rent, you could sometimes end up in prison” explains Rammstein Guitarist, Paul H Landers. Landers says it was almost impossible to create a career as a musician during a time where it was essentially illegal to not work.

Work was everything in the GDR, as Christian "Flake" Lorenz explains: “I went to rehearsals right after work, slept for a bit and went straight back to work”. Landers explains what it was like to be a musician in the late 80s: “The ‘Officially recognised’ musicians in the GDR were all educated people. Those of us involved in the amateur scene had to have a ‘proper’ job at the same time and it was virtually forbidden to make amateur music and not to work at the same time, you had to have an alibi job.”

Something that doesn’t appear to have changed that much in the western world. Of course, it’s not forbidden to create amateur music, however, aspiring musicians don’t exactly get any support when it comes to paying the bills, especially those that are often on tour and can’t hold down a full time ‘normal’ job. Rammstein lived in what was know as the GDR (German Democratic Republic) which was essentially East Germany. It was known to be a communist or socialist state and existed from 1949 until 1989 when the Berlin wall was pulled down. “It was easy to live in the GDR providing you didn’t have too many wants,” says Flake. “The food was cheap, the rent was cheap and you were left in peace, as long as you had a token job, at least on paper.”

One Rammstein member that experienced living on both sides of the Berlin wall was guitarist Richard Z Kruspe. “Part of the problem in the East was the lack of information we had with regards to new trends and directions” Kruspe explains. “Although we did get to hear about them, we didn’t experience them directly in our own lives”. It wasn’t until the collapse of the Berlin wall that Rammstein could really thrive and commit to what would become one of the most influential bands on the planet. “At the time, Till was - and still is - a friend who I asked to sing in the band,” says Kruspe. “He’d been involved in other projects where he played the drums and sometimes sang. He didn’t want to do it at first but I persisted and eventually persuaded him to come to Berlin where we rehearsed for the first time. This was basically the beginning of Rammstein”

Rammstein was a side project containing members that were all heavily invested in other bands at the time, however, they all wanted to be part of something new.

The urge to expand their creative juices is ever-present in the modern era with Till Lindemann about to release his second album with Peter Tagtgren, and Richard Z Kruspe having recently released his 3rd record with the side project, Emigrate. A group that has seen guest appearances from the likes of Lemmy, Marilyn Manson, Ghost frontman Tobias Forge and even Peaches on studio albums.

“Women want men to chase them” explains enigmatic Rammstein singer, Till Lindemann. “That’s the normal mating ritual and it’s true throughout nature. The man is attentive to the woman, he courts her, they fight with each other and the woman, or female, waits for something to happen, they allow the men to charm them, so one is pursuing a woman, it’s the most natural thing in the world.”

Lindemann is set to release his second solo record ‘F & M’ November 22nd.

Interview source: VIVA JAM Archive 1997

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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