RAMMSTEIN: A Brief History
Throughout their nearly 30 years of existence, RAMMSTEIN have never swerved away from their roots. One of the first bands known for being part of the Neue Deutsche Härte “New German Hardness” in English (NDH), the band has continued to be commercially successful and critically acclaimed.
Formed in 1994 in Berlin, the band’s six-member lineup has not changed, and neither has their consistency. Their signature sound is filled with influences from techno, rock, metal, goth, and industrial, just to name a few. By appealing to a vast array of music fans, RAMMSTEIN is one of the few non-English singing bands to repeatedly hit the charts in North America. The band gained their third Billboard Top Hard Rock Album No. 1 spot with “Zeit” in 2022.
A Very Condensed Origin Story
With a history spanning over 25 years, getting into this iconic German band can seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. Here is a very quick history lesson:
In 1989 Richard Kruspe escaped East Germany, coming to West Berlin and started the band Orgasm Death Gimmick. Once the Berlin Wall came down, Kruspe moved back to Schwerin, where vocalist Till Lindermann worked and played drums in the band First Arsch. Kruspe was heavily influenced by American music at the time and went with Lindemann and Oliver “Ollie” Riedel to America in 1992. After realizing he did not want to make American music, Kruspe then started working on crafting a unique sound that was uniquely German.
The First Demo
In 1994, a contest for amateur bands which featured the prize of a week in a recording studio was won by band members Kruspe, Lindemann, Oliver Riedel and Christoph Schneider with a 4-track demo tape with versions of songs from the band’s first project, “Herzeleid”, written in English. This demo got the attention of Paul Landers, who wanted to join the project. The band then recruited Christian “Flake” Lorenz, who had played in the band Feeling B with Landers. Lorenz agreed, and RAMMSTEIN was later signed to Motor Music.
One of the band’s earliest songs was titled “Ramstein” with one ‘m’, which was about the 1988 Ramstein air show disaster. According to a 2019 feature in Metal Hammer Magazine, after the song was released, people started to refer to them as “the band with the Ramstein song” and “Ramstein band.”
Spelling the band name with a double m was reportedly a mistake, however, “RAMMSTEIN” with a double m literally translates to “ramming stone”. Which is fitting for a band whose history is littered with strong political statements, bans due to obscenity, who perform live shows featuring BDSM, cannibalism, bazookas firing fireworks, and an exorbitant amount of pyrotechnics. (frontman Till Lindemann is a certified pyrotechnician)
Fire. Lots And Lots Of Fire
According to a 2021 interview with Ultimate Guitar, Nikolai Sbottka who works the pyrotechnics for the band and is their tour and production manager said that per show, roughly 1000 litres (265 gallons) of fuel is used. From fire shooting into the air from mechanical angel wings to Lindemann wearing a metal tunic that had flames crawling up the arms to masks that made members look like they were breathing fire, this band plays with fire in a way that few artists dare.
The Show Goes On
Having recently released their eighth studio album, the band members continue to thrill live audiences and listeners alike.
A timeline from 1995-Present
The group started recording their debut album “Herzeleid” in 1995 with producer Jacon Hellner. Their first single, “Du riechst” arrived in August of that year, with the full album being released in September. The band toured with CLAWFINGER in Warsaw and Prague in 1995 and then headlined a tour through Germany in December.
1996-1997 Second single and Lost Highway
Throughout 1996, the band continued touring and released their second single, “Seemann“, in January of that year. In March 1996, the band performed on MTV’s Hanging Out in London, which was their first UK performance.
1996 also saw the band’s first boost of popularity outside of Germany. Director Trent Reznor (NINE INCH NAILS) chose two of their songs, “Heirate mich” and “Rammstein“, for David Lynch’s film “Lost Highway“. The soundtrack to the film was released in the US in 1996 and throughout Europe in 1997.
The band members found themselves touring throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, performing an anniversary concert on September 27, 1996, called “100 years of Rammstein”. Guests to the anniversary show included Moby, Bobo and The Berlin Session Orchestra.
1996-2000 Gold Status, Live aus Berlin, and Family Values
Recording for the album “Sehnsucht” started in late 1996. The album was again produced by Jacob Hellner, with the first single “Engel” being released in April of 1997 and reaching gold status by May 23, 1997. The fan edition of the single “Engel” contained two previously unreleased songs, “Reuerräder” and “Wilder Wein“. The second single from the album, “Du Hast“, hit the German single charts at the number 5 position.
The band continued touring, and their second album was released in August 1997. The album reached number 1 in Germany after two weeks. In 1998 “Sehnnsucht” received Gold record status in November.
In 1998, the tour saw the band play their biggest show yet, with over 17,000 fans in attendance. Supporting acts were DANZIG, Nina Hagen, Joachim Witt and ALASKA. The show was professionally recorded and released as “Live aus Berlin” in 1999. Two weeks after its release, it went to number one on the German album charts.
The group’s third album was recorded in the south of France in 2000 and was released in April 2001. The second single off the album “Links 2-3-4” was released along with the music video. “Ich Will” was the third single released from the album and was followed by a tour edition of “Mutter” featuring alternative artwork, and live versions of the tracks “Ich Will“, “Links 2-3-4“, “Sonne” and “Spieluhr“.
The band appears in the opening scene of the 2002 film “xXx“, performing their song “Feuer Frei!” during a concert. The video of the song contains parts of RAMMSTEIN’s performance from the film, and snippets of the film as well.
2003-2005 Reise, Reise
The group recorded their next album “Reise, Reise” in southern Spain between November and December 2003, which was then mixed in Sweden. The first single from the band’s 4th studio album was “Mein Teil“, which was released in July of 2004.
2005-2006 Rosenrot and Völkerball
“Benzin“, the first single off of the band’s next album, “Rosenrot” was released in October of 2005, with the music video making it’s premiere in September. “Rosenrot” released worldwide in October, and place on the top 10 charts in 20 different countries. During the February of 2006, the group had an asteroid named after them called “110393 Rammstein“. “Völkerball“, the first live DVD since 1998 was released in November of 2006.
2007- 2010 Liebe Ist Für Alle da
In 2007 the band began working on their new studio album and did not tour at all in 2008. In 2009, the “Liebe Ist Für Alle da” album was released with the band heading out for an extensive tour throughout Europe. RAMMSTEIN also played their first North American show in 9 years in 2010 in Quebec City for the Festival d’été de Québec.
2011- Made In Germany 1995-2011
The group released their first best of album called ‘Made In Germany 1995-2011‘ in the December of 2011. The compilation contained an unreleased track “Mein Land” which was also be released as a single on November 2011, along with another song titled “Vergiss uns nicht”.
2019-2020 Album #7
The band’s seventh album, “Album #7″, arrived in 2019, 10 years after their last studio album, although RAMMSTEIN had released a live album “Rammstein: Paris” in 2017.
The band’s eighth studio album, “Zeit”arrived in 2022. The band is currently touring the effort with several shows rescheduled from 2020 and 2021due to the global pandemic.
The group continues to tour in support of “Zeit”. The band’s individual members have also been consistently working on new music and have even teased that a new album may be released in 2023. The group have also hinted that they may retire after their next album.
Listen to RAMMSTEIN on Loaded Radio.