Rammstein (German pronunciation: ) is a German rock band from Berlin, formed in 1994. The band consists of members Till Lindemann (lead vocals), Richard Z. Kruspe (lead guitar and backing vocals), Paul H. Landers (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Oliver "Ollie" Riedel (bass guitar), Christoph "Doom" Schneider (drums and electronic percussion) and Christian "Flake" Lorenz (keyboards). They are widely accepted as part of the Neue Deutsche H?rte scene, alongside bands such as Oomph!, Eisbrecher, and Die Krupps. Their sound has been dubbed as Tanz-Metal (lit. "Dance Metal"). Their songs are usually in German, but they have also performed songs entirely or partially in other languages such as English ("Pussy", "Amerika", cover of Depeche Mode's "Stripped, Spanish ("Te quiero puta!"), French ("Amour" and "Fr?hling in Paris"), and Russian ("Moskau"). As of 2005, they had sold over 10 million records worldwide. Rammstein's entire catalogue is published by Universal Music Group. Since their formation in 1994, Rammstein has had no changes in their band line-up nor have any members left the band.
Rammstein takes their name indirectly from the German town of Ramstein-Miesenbach, the site of the flight show disaster on 28 August 1988. The band's signature song, "Rammstein", is a commemoration of the Ramstein airshow disaster. The second "m" in the band's name makes it translate literally as "ramming stone" to convey the Teutonic sound of their music. In a short period before the band became well known, they performed using the name "Rammstein-Flugschau" (literally meaning "Rammstein-Airshow").
Although the majority of their songs are written in German, Rammstein has had success across the world. It was confirmed in 2007 that the band had re-united from their vacation and had begun working on their sixth studio album, Liebe ist f?r alle da, which was released on in Europe.
Formation and early years (pre-1994)
Rammstein was founded by guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe. In 1989, he escaped to West Berlin and started the band, Orgasm Death Gimmicks. At that time, he was heavily influenced by American music, especially that of Kiss. After the Berlin Wall came down, he moved back home to Schwerin, where Till Lindemann worked as a basket-weaver and played drums in the band First Arsch.
At this time, Richard lived with Oliver Riedel, of the band The Inchtabokatables, and Christoph "Doom" Schneider (of Die Firma). Richard realized that the music he had previously created did not properly suit him; He envisioned something that would combine machines as well as the sound of hard guitars. The three started working together on a new project. Richard soon found it extremely difficult to write both music and lyrics at the same time, so he persuaded Lindemann to join Rammstein. Richard first discovered Till when he overheard him singing while he was working.
A contest was held in Berlin for amateur bands in 1994, the winner of which would receive the opportunity to record a four track demo CD in a professional studio. Kruspe, Schneider, Riedel and Lindemann entered and won the contest, which caught the attention of Paul H. Landers, who wanted in on the project upon hearing their demo. To complete their sound, Rammstein then attempted to recruit Christian "Flake" Lorenz, who had played with Paul H. Landers previously in Feeling B. At first Lorenz was hesitant, but eventually agreed to join the band.
Rammstein using pyrotechnics during one of their most notable songs, "Feuer frei!" at the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden in 2004.
Rammstein began to record their first studio album entitled Herzeleid in March 1995 with producer Jacob Hellner. They released their first single Du Riechst So Gut on 17 August and later released the album on 24 September 1995. Later that same year, they toured with Clawfinger in Warsaw and Prague. Rammstein headlined a tour of their own through Germany from 2 December to 22 December consisting of 17 shows which helped to boost the band?s popularity. They then went on several tours throughout early 1996, releasing their second single entitled Seemann on 8 January 1996.
On 27 March, Rammstein performed on MTV's Hanging Out in London; their first performance in the UK. Rammstein's first major boost in popularity outside Germany came when music director Trent Reznor chose two Rammstein songs, "Heirate mich" and "Rammstein", for David Lynch's film Lost Highway. The soundtrack for the film was released in the US in the fall of 1996 and later throughout Europe in April 1997.
Rammstein then went on to tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland from September to October 1996, performing an anniversary concert on 27 September called "100 years of Rammstein". Guests to the concert included Moby, Bobo and The Berlin Session Orchestra, Berlin director Gert Hof was responsible for the light show.
Sehnsucht and Live aus Berlin (late 1996?2000)
Rammstein started recording Sehnsucht in November 1996 at the Temple Studios in Malta. The album was again produced by Jacob Hellner. The first single off of the album, entitled Engel was released on 1 April 1997 and later reached gold status in Germany on 23 May. This prompted the release of a fan edition of the single, named Engel - Fan Edition. This contained two previously unreleased songs, "Feuerr?der" and "Wilder Wein". Release of the second single from the album Sehnsucht was "Du hast", which hit the German single charts August 1997 at number 5. Rammstein then continued touring in the summer whilst Sehnsucht was released on 22 August 1997. The album reached number 1 in Germany after only two weeks in the charts. Simultaneously, Herzeleid and both the singles off Sehnsucht ("Du hast" and "Engel") were in the Top 20 of the German charts. Rammstein continued to headline sold out shows throughout Europe in September, October and November 1997 before releasing their cover of Kraftwerk's "Das Modell". The single included another unreleased song entitled "Kokain". On 5 December 1997, Rammstein embarked on their first tour of the United States with KMFDM.
On 22?23 August 1998, Rammstein played to over 17,000 fans at the Wuhlheide in Berlin; the biggest show the band have ever played there up to that date. Supporting acts were Danzig, Nina Hagen, Joachim Witt and Alaska. The show was professionally filmed, intended to be released on their upcoming live DVD, Live aus Berlin.
Rammstein embarked on a live tour with Korn, Ice Cube, Orgy and Limp Bizkit called the Family Values tour in September through to late October 1998. To further continue their success in the US, Sehnsucht received Gold record status on 2 November.
The Band was nominated at the MTV European Music Awards for Best Rock Act and performed "Du hast" live on 12 November that year.
Rammstein had further success in 1999, starting off the year in February with a nomination for Best Metal Performance at the 42nd-annual Grammy Awards. A year after it was filmed, the Live aus Berlin concert was released on CD on 30 August 1999, with a limited edition double CD also available. Two weeks after it was released, Live aus Berlin went to number one in the German Album Charts. On 13 September and 26 November 1999 the video and DVD versions of the concert were released respectively.
The recording of Rammstein's album Mutter took place in the south of France between May 2000 and June 2000, and it was later mixed in Stockholm in October of that year. During Christmas 2000, Rammstein released an MP3 of "Links 2 3 4" as a taster for their new album.
2001 was a busy year for Rammstein, starting in January and February with the band playing the Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand. January also heralded the shooting of the video for their upcoming single, "Sonne", recorded in Potsdam at Babelsberger Filmstudios from 13?15 January 2001. The video was released on 29 January 2001. The single for "Sonne" was released on 12 February 2001 in Europe, featuring an instrumental version of the song, two remixes by Clawfinger and "Adios" from the upcoming album.
Mutter was released on 2 April 2001, sparking another Rammstein tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On 14 May, the second single off the album, "Links 2 3 4", was released, along with a video of the single on 18 May. After a tour throughout Europe in June, the band then toured the U.S., Canada and Mexico from June to August 2001.
"Ich will", the third single from the album, was released on 10 September 2001 and a Tour edition of the Mutter album was released, featuring alternative artwork and live versions of "Ich will", "Links 2 3 4", "Sonne" and "Spieluhr". From 8?12 January 2002, Rammstein traveled to Prague to participate in a minor scene for the film xXx. The band is seen in the opening scene, performing their song "Feuer frei!" in a concert. "Feuer frei!" was released across Europe as the first single from the xXx soundtrack on 14 October 2002. Rammstein released two remixes of the song. Furthermore, the single's track listing included "Du hast" and "B?ck dich" cover versions by Battery. The video for the single was edited by Rob Cohen, which contains part Rammstein performance at the beginning of the film and part snippets from the film itself.
Reise, Reise (2003?2005)
Rammstein recorded Reise, Reise at the El Cortijo studio in southern Spain between November 2003 and December 2003, it was later mixed at Toytown studio in Stockholm, Sweden in April and May 2004. The first single from the album was "Mein Teil", released on 26 July 2004. The video was shot in the Arena, in the Treptow district of Berlin. Outdoor shooting took place at the Deutsche Oper (Opera House) U-Bahn station on Bismarckstrasse. The director was Zoran Bihac, who also filmed the "Links 2 3 4" video. The video for "Amerika" was filmed on 6?7 August 2004 in the ruins of the former cement works in R?dersdorf near Berlin, Germany under the direction of J?rn Heitmann (who also directed the "Ich will" video, among others). The space suits for the moon scenes were borrowed from Hollywood and 240 tons of ash were needed to create the moon landscape. The video premiered on 20 August 2004.
The second single from Reise, Reise was "Amerika", released on 13 September 2004. With the album released on 27 September, it went straight to top 10 charts throughout Europe. According to the Billboard charts, Rammstein were now the most successful German-language band of all time. Rammstein then toured Germany through November and some of December 2004, releasing the single "Ohne dich" on 22 November.
In February 2005, Rammstein toured Europe again. By 28 February 2005, Rammstein had played 21 concerts in front of more than 200,000 spectators in ten countries. It was on this tour that the band was faced with several lawsuits resulting from severe fire breathing accidents involving audience members. "Keine Lust" was the fourth single released from Reise, Reise on 28 February 2005.
From 27 May to 30 July 2005, Rammstein played festivals across Europe. Footage from these concerts eventually ended up on Rammstein's live DVD V?lkerball, released in November 2006.
Rosenrot and V?lkerball (2005?2006)
In August 2005, Rammstein revealed the name of their next studio album: Rosenrot. Their first single from the album, "Benzin", was released on 5 October 2005, with its video premiere on 16 September 2005. The album Rosenrot was released worldwide on 28 October 2005. Directly following the release, the album continued the success of its predecessor, Reise, Reise, placing on top 10 charts in 20 different countries.
16 December 2005 marked the release of the title track on the album Rosenrot. The video for "Mann gegen Mann" was released on 6 February 2006, with the single being released on 3 March. On 19 February 2006, Rammstein had an asteroid named after them, 110393 Rammstein.
On 17 November the first Rammstein Live DVD since Live aus Berlin from 1998 was released. V?lkerball shows concert-performances by the band in England, France, Japan and Russia. The Special Edition is extended by a second DVD, which contains the documentaries "Anaconda in the net" by Mathilde Bonnefoy and the "Making of the album Reise, Reise" by Rammstein guitarist Paul Landers. The limited edition was released as a large black and white photo-book with photos by Frederic Batier, who had accompanied the band through their recent tours. The photo-book edition contains two DVDs and two live albums.
Liebe ist f?r alle da (2007-Present)
The band took a time out in 2006, and began work again in 2007. In an interview with German rapper Bushido (who contributed the "Electro Ghetto remix" of "Amerika") on 21 January 2007, Bushido reported recording a song with Rammstein, called "Vergiss uns nicht" ("Don't forget us"). In this interview, Bushido also mentioned that he was unsure whether it would be on their "Best of" album or not. This was the first mention of a "Best of" album, or the new album all together. On May 6, Rammstein announced a European Tour dates on their website. In addition, keyboardist Christian "Flake" Lorenz confirmed this in an interview with Metal Hammer Germany in November, stating that they would have most likely released a new album in 2008. The band did not tour during 2007 due to album production. Their website confirmed work on a new album, but no word of a "Best of" album has yet been mentioned. In January 2008, guitarist Richard Kruspe confirmed on the Talking Metal Podcast that Rammstein was recording an album as they spoke, during that same interview he confirmed a "big world tour" following the next album to contain U.S. dates.
On 4 November, the band finished the pre-production in Berlin and went to the Henson Studio in LA. After 7 intensive weeks they had recorded the drums, guitars and most of the vocals.
Two very short (less than two minutes) "making of" videos have been released during the development of the album. One video, released on the band's website, shows drummer Christoph "Doom" Schneider recording drums for one of the tracks ("Mehr"), and the second, released on the band's MySpace page, features keyboardist Flake Lorenz practicing notes for another track.
The June '09 release of Metal Hammer featured an interview with Rammstein-manager Emanuel Fialik. In regard to the upcoming album Fialik quoted "Musically, it has the force of Mutter while the beauty of the melodies of Sehnsucht ? Just so it has fixed in my ears." and also that it will feature two soft ballads and the rest will be "hard as a rock". He even went as far to say that the disk is the biggest surprise since the birth of his son. The interview concluded with Fialik stating "It is musically the best Album, which until now has Rammstein recorded!"
In July 2009, the title track "Liebe ist f?r alle da" leaked onto the internet, along with promotional materials. This has led Universal Music to take action against certain fan sites.
It was confirmed in August 2009 that the new album will have 11 tracks , and mixing of the album - which was taking place in Stockholm - has been completed . On , 2009, it was confirmed on the band's website that "Pussy" will be the first single from the new album. On the same day, The Gauntlet posted a promotional video for it. The video also confirmed the new album title, Liebe ist f?r alle da. Later, the title was confirmed again in an interview with Paul Landers for RockOne magazine.
The music video for "Pussy" was released 30 minutes early on September 16, 2009, at 20:30 GMT, released especially for the adult website Visit-x. The video contains graphic scenes of male and female nudity as well as women engaging in sexual activity with the band members. Metal Hammer released an edited version of the video onto their website.
"Ich Tu Dir Weh" has been confirmed as the second single off the album by Paul and Flake, in a recent interview for Radio Eins.
A sample of Rammstein's older style and Till Lindemann's deeply voiced lyrics.
The range of Rammstein's style and Till Lindemann's vocals are demonstrated in "Ohne dich".
"Zwitter" is an example of the subject matter and sense of humor in Rammstein's lyrics.
Although Rammstein is often generalized as Neue Deutsche H?rte, its music spans a variety of related styles, including Techno Pop industrial hard rock, heavy metal, grunge and electronic music with influences of punk rock, pop music and gothic rock, due to their use of keyboards to emulate strings, choirs or pianos. The band was influenced by Laibach, a Slovenian neo-classical and industrial group. Other influences include Oomph! and Ministry, but the contrast between individual songs, such as "Du riechst so gut", "Bestrafe mich", "Ohne dich" and "Te quiero puta!" makes the band difficult to classify, though most simply refer to them as industrial metal.
The band has a flair for costumes of all sorts, both in live shows and in videos. In the "Keine Lust" video, all members of the band except Flake were dressed in fat suits. In the "Amerika" video, all members of the band wore space suits. Live, the band experiments even more with costumes. In the V?lkerball concert, among others, Till changed costumes between songs, dressed accordingly for each. For example, in "Mein Teil", he was dressed as a butcher, in "Reise, Reise", as a sailor. The rest of the band each wore their own preferred costume, but none as outlandish or themed as Till's.
Rammstein's style has tended to divide critics, some of whom have responded with memorable comments. Jam Showbiz (April 2001) described Mutter as "music to invade Poland to". New Zealand's Southland Times (December 17, 1999) suggested that Till Lindemann's "booming, sub-sonic voice" would send "the peasants fleeing into their barns and bolting their doors", while the New York Times (January 9, 2005) commented that on the stage, "Mr. Lindemann gave off an air of such brute masculinity and barely contained violence that it seemed that he could have reached into the crowd, snatched up a fan, and bitten off his head." Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic commented that "their blend of industrial noise, grinding metal guitars, and operatic vocals is staggeringly powerful." "We just push boundaries", said Till Lindemann in an interview with rock magazine Kerrang!. "We can't help it if people don't like those boundaries being pushed."
Vocalist Till Lindemann singing Rammstein.
Nearly all of Rammstein's songs are in German. However, the band has recorded English versions of "Engel" ("Angel"), "Du hast" ("You have", which is most commonly confused with "You hate", since "hast" and "hasst" sound phonetically identical. In the English version of the song, the lyric is translated to "You hate" for stylization purposes.), and "Amerika", as well as covers of the songs "Stripped" (Depeche Mode) and "Pet Sematary" (Ramones). There is also a cover of a song "Schtiel" (originally by Aria) entirely in Russian. In addition, the songs "Amerika", "Stirb nicht vor mirDon't die before I do," and "Pussy" contain lyrics in English. The song "Moskau" ("Moscow") contains a chorus in Russian. "Te quiero puta!" is entirely in Spanish. Oliver Riedel commented that, "German language suits heavy metal music. French might be the language of love, but German is the language of anger".
The lyrics of Rammstein and above all their utterance by singer Till Lindemann are an essential element of music and shape the perception by fans and a wider public. This is, among other things that are often very controversial, and taboo subjects such as sadomasochism ("B?ck dich", "Rein Raus" and "Bestrafe mich"), homosexuality ("Mann gegen Mann"), intersexuality ("Zwitter"), incest ("Laichzeit" and "Spiel mit mir"), pedophilia ("Wei?es Fleisch" and "Halleluja"), incestuous pedophilia ("Tier"), necrophilia ("Heirate mich"), pyromania ("Benzin" and "Hilf mir"), cannibalism ("Mein Teil"), religious images ("Asche zu Asche", "Engel") having sex and violence ("Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?", "Rein Raus). Rammstein also uses lyrics of classical German literature, e.g. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's famous poems Der Erlk?nig (1778) and Das Heidenr?slein (1771) for the songs "Dalai Lama" and "Rosenrot", respectively.
Wordplay is a fundamental component of Rammstein's lyrics. In many instances, the lyrics are phrased such that they can be interpreted in several ways. The song "Du hast", for example, is a play on German marriage vows (Willst Du, bis der Tod euch scheidet, treu ihr sein f?r alle Tage? ? "Will you, until Death separates you, be faithful to her for the rest of your days?"). In the song, the traditional affirmative response, Ja ("Yes"), is replaced by its negation Nein ("No"). The final repetition of this line further perverts the meaning of the original vows through a minor change in the wording Willst Du, bis zum Tod der Scheide ... (Will you, until the Death of the vagina ...). The song starts, in fact, with a play on words: Du... Du hast... Du hast mich... meaning "You have me". This line is often mistaken for "You hate me", because in German, there is only a very subtle (if any) distinction (hast may be pronounced slightly softer than hasst) between the pronunciation of Du hasst which means "you hate" and Du hast which means "you have". The wordgame is later resolved as the line is completed; Du hast mich gefragt ("You asked me"). Confusingly, the band did also make an English version of the song named "You Hate" which was not translated directly from "Du hast". While many arguments about "Du hast" are around, it is known that Rammstein used this wording to mislead and create humour in the song. It was a play with the pronunciation of words, causing many non-native speakers of German to be confused.
Rammstein has achieved particular fame (not to mention notoriety) for its hugely over-the-top stage show, using so many pyrotechnics that fans eventually coined the motto "Other bands play, Rammstein burns!" (a quip at Manowar's song "Kings of Metal", which states, "other bands play, Manowar kills"). After an accident in the Arena in Berlin where some burning decoration parts fell on the audience (27 September 1996) the band used professionals to handle the pyrotechnics; Lindemann himself is now a licensed pyrotechnician who spends entire songs engulfed head-to-toe in flames. He has suffered multiple burns on his ears, hair and arms.
Rammstein is known for frequent pyrotechnic use.
The heat is so intense that on occasion, people have been carried out of Rammstein concerts suffering from heat exhaustion, and lighting gantries have been seen glowing red-hot from repeated fireball hits. The variety of the pyrotechnics can be seen in a recent concert playlist, which includes such items as "Lycopodium Masks", "Glitterburst Truss", "Pyrostrobes", "Comets", "Flash Trays" and "Mortar Hits".
The band's costumes are equally outlandish. During the Reise, Reise tour, they wore Lederhosen, corsets and vague military uniforms with steel helmets, while during the Mutter tour the group kept to the themes of the album artwork and descended onto the stage from a giant uterus while wearing diapers.
According to Kruspe, the on-stage wackiness is entirely deliberate (Rammstein's motto according to Schneider is: "Do your own thing. And overdo it!"). The aim is to get people's attention and have fun at the same time: "You have to understand that 99 percent of the people don't understand the lyrics, so you have to come up with something to keep the drama in the show. We have to do something. We like to have a show; we like to play with fire. We do have a sense of humor. We do laugh about it; we have fun... but we're not Spinal Tap. We take the music and the lyrics seriously. It's a combination of humor, theater and our East German culture, you know?"
Their onstage antics have also led them to trouble. During their stint on the American Family Values Tour 1998, alongside acts such as rapper Ice Cube, Korn, Limp Bizkit and Orgy, the band was arrested for indecency. In one of the more infamous moments, Rammstein's vocalist, Till Lindemann engaged in simulated sodomy with the keyboardist, Christian Lorenz, during their performance of "B?ck dich" in Worcester, Massachusetts. They were subsequently arrested and fined $25 and spent one night in jail. The band attempted to appeal the fine, and spent more in legal fees and court fees than the $25 fine.
Covers and adaptations
Rammstein's songs have been covered by a number of other artists, These include:
"Engel" has been covered by several artists:
The group Gregorian reworked it as a Gregorian chant for their album The Dark Side.
German singer Hildegard Knef recorded a cover of the song.
Belgian girls choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers recorded a very quiet, brooding version, contrary to the original.
Chilean aggrotech/industrial metal band Vigilante covered it on their 2008 remix album.
An obscure Engel parody called Tr?ffelschwein became available over the popular p2p networks of the 1990s. The song is often credited to be the work of one of two bands; Knorkator, or Urinstein, although no reliable source has been provided to support either claim.
"Mein Herz brennt": German composer Torsten Rasch has produced a classical symphonic song-cycle entitled "Mein Herz brennt" ("My heart burns"), based on the music of Rammstein.
"Seemann": by Apocalyptica & Nina Hagen. This cover impressed Rammstein so much that they took Apocalyptica as co-headliner on tour with them in Spring 2005, and invited the band on stage to perform "Ohne dich" ("Without you") and "Mein Herz brennt" ("My Heart burns") together. The "Benzin" single also featured a remix of the song, called "Kerosiini" by Apocalyptica.
"Ohne dich": remixed (and new vocals added) by Laibach
"Wei?es Fleisch": by the German death metal band Debauchery covered the song for their Back In Blood album.
"Rammstein": a parody by German radio DJ duo Kai & Baltzi renamed "Rindfleisch" aired on Delta Radio around 2001 and was later available as download.
"Mein Teil": a bluegrass version appears as a bonus track on the band Hayseed Dixie's 2007 album Weapons of Grass Destruction.
"Ein Lied": German pop singer Nena (author of "99 Luftballons" ("99 Air Balloons")) covered the song on her covers-album Cover Me.
A Norwegian tribute band called Rammsund plays Rammstein's songs with lyrics translated into New Norwegian.
Rammstein has also done several covers themselves, including "Das Modell" ("The Model") by Kraftwerk, "Stripped" by Depeche Mode and "Pet Sematary" by Ramones (sung by keyboardist Christian "Flake" Lorenz). Cover version of "Schtiel" ("Calm") by Aria was released by vocalist Till Lindemann and guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe as a side project, due to disagreement with Universal records label.
Till Lindemann appears as a guest singer on the Apocalyptica album Worlds Collide. They took on David Bowie's song "Heroes", which was also released in German as "Helden". Lindemann sings the German version, making his song the only German-language song on Worlds Collide.
Rammstein singles traditionally also have a great quantity of remixes, particularly often from Clawfinger and Meshuggah.
The original Herzeleid album cover.
The New York Times described Rammstein's music as a "powerful strain of brutally intense rock? bring gale-force music and spectacular theatrics together". The members have not been shy about courting controversy and have periodically attracted condemnation from morality campaigners. Their stage act earned them a night in jail in June 1999 after a liquid-ejecting dildo was used in a concert in Worcester, Massachusetts. Back home in Germany, the band has faced repeated accusations of fascist sympathies because of the dark and sometimes militaristic imagery of their videos and concerts, including the use of excerpts from the film Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl in the video for the Depeche Mode song "Stripped". Their cover of their debut album Herzeleid, released in Germany in 1995, showed the band members bare-chested in a style that resembled Strength Through Joy in the eyes of some critics, who accused the band of trying to sell themselves as "poster boys for the Master Race". Rammstein have vigorously denied this and said that they want nothing to do with politics or supremacy of any kind. Christian "Flake" Lorenz, annoyed by the claim, has remarked that it is just a photo, and should be understood as such. Herzeleid has since been given a different cover in North America, depicting the band members' faces.
The song "Links 2-3-4" (Links being German for "left") was written as a riposte to these claims. According to Kruspe, it means, "'My heart beats on the left, two, three, four'. It's simple. If you want to put us in a political category, we're on the left side, and that's the reason we made the song". On the other hand, this is also an allusion to a military marching cadence since "Links-2-3-4" is typically heard during marching practice in the German army with "links" referring to the left foot. The song is also a reference to the saying "the heart beats left", repeatedly used by Oskar Lafontaine, in 2001 a famous member of the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany), now leader of the Left Party (Die Linke), and almost the title of a book written by him (the title is Das Herz schl?gt links instead of Mein Herz schl?gt links ? "The heart beats left" instead of "My Heart beats left")..
According to the German online music magazine Rammstein, through this song, positioned themselves on the side of Oskar Lafontaine. They write:
Rammstein binden den Lafontaine-Spruch "Mein Herz schl?gt links" in ihren Text ein und zitieren eine Zeile aus einem alten Hannes Wader-Arbeitersong ("Links, zwo, drei, vier; links, zwo, drei, vier; wo dein Platz Genosse ist, reih Dich ein in die Arbeitereinheitsfront, wenn Du auch ein Arbeiter bist"). (Rammstein embed the Lafontaine saying My heart beats left into their lyric and cite a line of an old Hannes Wader workers' song ("Left, 2, 3, 4; left 2, 3, 4; where your place is comrade, line up into the Workers' United Front, if you are a worker").)
Christian "Flake" Lorenz recently stated on an online chat that the song was created in order to show that the band could write a harsh, evil, military-sounding song that was not about Nazi ideals.
Relation to violent events
Rammstein were cited in relation to the Columbine High School Massacre in 1999, when photos of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wearing Rammstein T-shirts were revealed. Though there was no evidence to correlate the two events, the band felt obliged to issue a statement:
"The members of Rammstein express their condolences and sympathy to all affected by the recent tragic events in Denver. They wish to make it clear that they have no lyrical content or political beliefs that could have possibly influenced such behaviour. Additionally, members of Rammstein have children of their own, in whom they continually strive to instill healthy and non-violent values".
Coincidentally, on September 10, 2001 the single and video clip of Ich will ("I Want") was released which portrays the band as bank robbers who want to get a message across and receiving a Goldene Kamera (Golden Camera) award, a German version of the Emmy award, for their "actions". In the United States the video clip was broadcast only late at night after the attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York City although many media officials and politicians requested the video to be pulled from broadcast completely.
Following the conclusion of the Beslan school hostage crisis in Russia in September 2004, the Russian authorities claimed that the terrorists had "listened to German hard rock group Rammstein on personal stereos during the siege to keep themselves edgy and fired up". The claim has not been independently confirmed.
Band members said this about the issue:
"There's been a lot of talk about that, but if there are radical feelings in people anything can wake them ? a painting, a picture, whatever. It's just a coincidence that it happened to be our music. It's important to think about what caused them to make their decisions, how they became animals, not their taste in music. Whenever something like this happens it's like 'Okay, let's blame the artist'. Such bullshit. (Till Lindemann).
"Our music is made to release aggression, and people listening to it are also needed to do that, but it's not our fault. Should we stop making hard music because bad people might like it?" (Christoph "Doom" Schneider).
Pekka-Eric Auvinen, the perpetrator of the Jokela school shooting in November 2007, also included Rammstein in one of his favorite bands. He noted, though, that the music among other things was not to blame for his decisions.
In 1995, they released a video with their first single Du Riechst So Gut and they changed the single and the video in 1998 and re-realeased both of them. The band members are werevolves in this video. Moreover, they follow a young woman into a castle, make her werevolf too and escape at the end of the video. It's really a gothic video and thanks to this video they achieved to show their differences in their first video.
In October 2004, the video for "Mein Teil" ("My part") caused considerable controversy in Germany when it was released. It takes a darkly comic view of the Armin Meiwes cannibalism case, showing a cross dressed Schneider holding the other five band members on a leash and rolling around in mud. The controversy did nothing to stop the single rising to No. 2 in the German charts. Meiwes (who was convicted of manslaughter in 2004, then retried in 2006 and found guilty of murder) brought suit in January 2006 against the band for infringement of rights to the story. The outcome resulted in a loss for the band of $5.5 million.
The band's own views of its image are sanguine: "We like being on the fringes of bad taste", according to Paul H. Landers, while Christian "Flake" Lorenz comments "The controversy is fun, like stealing forbidden fruit. But it serves a purpose. We like audiences to grapple with our music, and people have become more receptive".
The video for "Mann gegen Mann" ("Man against Man") from their fifth studio album Rosenrot may have caused some controversy, as most of the band members are naked in the video. The lead singer Till Lindemann is wearing what can best be described as a "latex panties". In addition, there are multiple naked men in the video, with clearly visible buttocks, though genitalia could be seen at 32 seconds into the video on Christian "Flake" Lorenz through the arm of the guitarist (Richard Z. Kruspe) and below the keyboard. He is wearing a flesh-colored thong to prevent this. The video has been played uncensored on MTV in Europe. The video has been rated FSK 16 in Germany and therefore can be played on television only after 10pm.
The video for "Pussy" was released September 2009. It features graphic scenes of nudity along with women engaging in sexual activity with the band members.
Richard Z. Kruspe - lead guitar, backing vocals
Paul H. Landers - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Till Lindemann - lead vocals
Oliver "Ollie" Riedel - bass guitar
Christoph "Doom" Schneider - drums, percussion
Christian "Flake" Lorenz - keyboards, samples