Who the hell are Rammstein?
This page updated January 26th 2006
In 1950, Fender - one of the USA's biggest guitar makers - had begun to mass produce electric guitars, amongst them the Telecaster; much favoured by a certain Mr Hendrix.
Move on about 30 years, to one evening when a guy called Sven Kruspe is being pestered by a girl to play a guitar he'd bought in Czechcoslovakia to sell back in East Germany. It's doubtful that it was Fender or a Gibson. Even so Sven tried to play a tune. It probably sucked; but we assume it was good enough for him to get the girl, and many years later, we got Rammstein.
The band came into being in 1994 when Sven, soon to be known as Richard Z.Kruspe - guitar,
Christoph 'Doom' Schneider - drums, and Oliver Riedel - bass guitar, managed along with help of a good quantity of alcohol, to persuade Till Lindemann to sing on some songs they had recorded for the Metro beat music competition in Berlin.
They won the competition and the prize was studio time to make a more professional recording,
and with Paul Landers - guitar, and Christian 'Flake' Lorenz - keyboards, now also part of the band, the product of that studio time duly turned up at the record company Motor Music, who thought them good enough to sign.
It was also heard by one Emanuel Fialik, band booker at The Knaack club and manager of Bobo in White Wooden Houses, who would eventually become their manager. A relationship that continues to this day.
From those first songs and demo came 'Herzeleid' which was released on September 24th 1995. It was the first of five albums, 'Sehnsucht'(1997), 'Live aus Berlin'(19990, 'Mutter'(2001) and 'Reise Reise'(2004) which punctuate a career that has now lasted more than a decade.
They were an entirely new metal sound; a combination of hard guitars, militaristic drums and pop-style keyboards that complimented each other perfectly.
Over time that sound has evolved to become less abrasive and more 'organic', but it still retains the same initial ideas today.
2005 sees them flying high with huge CD sales across the world, extensive touring all accompanied by a vast amount of respect and considerable regard with the continued quality of their work, not just from fans but by other musicians as well.
2006 is expected to be a quiet year, with R&R;, Richard working on his own projetc of 'Emigrate' and no touring or live dates for at least the first 6 months.
They have courted controversy and refused to 'play the game' in many ways of the record industry world, something that may have cost them revenue, but gained them a serious amount of kudos.
They continue to be uncompromising in their attitude to the quaility of their performance as those who have witnessed frowns on faces during technical gaffs on the recent tour can attest to.
Where as other bands say, 'That will do'; Rammstein say 'That WON'T do'. 'It' has to be better than good to pass the Rammstein test.
For fans the waiting can be hell, but the reassuring knowledge of the quality of a peice of work, whether it be a single, an album' a video or a tour, is enough to soothe the most fretful of souls.
Calling Rammstein 'a rock band', is like saying Picasso 'painted a bit'.
Another good source of information is Wikipedia.com
This page updated January 26th 2006
The first thing to say is, these bios are not to be taken as an exact record. I have never met any member of Rammstein. The information contained here is merely a collation of facts available from interviews, and the official information that is known.
Rammstein have been accused in the past of being difficult to talk to or that difficulties arise in translation. This maybe true, however there are good sources of information, you just have to find them.
I have included links to some of those good sources. More are available in
Some interviews have been translated from German to English, and we all know what that does, in terms of interpretation. Even the best of translators have problems.
I have not included height, weight or other similar details as I believe these to be irrelevant. I am sure they all put on a few pounds over Christmas like the rest of us, and height is a relative concept. To me, at just 5ft, they are all just very, very tall!
Thank you to the many people who helped me over the past 18 months to compile these, with information, source material, translations and the odd kick in the pants to get them finished!
Do not take these bios as definitive, for they are only meant to provide basic information.
Corrections are very welcome. Please mail me with details of source material minx
These bios were compiled and put up in July of 2005, updated in November 2005. Additions and alterations will be made from time to time.
Richard Kruspe |
Christian 'Flake' Lorenz |
Oliver Riedel |
Paul Landers |
Christoph 'Doom' Schneider |
Till Lindemann |
Images of Richard
Full name : Sven Richard Kruspe.
He was born 24th June 1967 / 06.24.67 in Wittenberge.
His parents divorced when he was young. His mother remarried and he did not get along with his step-father. He moved to the village of Weisen when he was young.
Children: Two known, as of Oct 2004. (He quoted the number of children each band member had in the Radio UNSER DING (Saarbrücken) on 23rd September 2004.
. Till 4 – Flake 3 – Olli 2 – Paul 2 and Schneider has none. Richard said he had 2)
One is Khira Li (the girl in the performance of 'Tier' in Live Aus Berlin), her mother is Till's ex-wife.
He wanted to be a rock-star from an early age, and he says he had a particular love of the band Kiss.
Richard took up wrestling in his early teens. He says this helped him channel his aggression. Didn't do his physique much harm either!
He worked as a cashier and a salesman, and cleaning the apartment for an older woman who had her pet poodles stuffed (one for every year).
Began playing guitar at 16, one of his first bands was Orgasm Death Gimmick.
He attended a music school for four years to practice jazz guitar.
In 1993 Richard made his first trip to the USA with Till, and Olli. He realized that he didn't want to make American music and then begins to concentrate on creating unique 'German' sounding music working with Schneider and Olli, creating the Rammstein sound. Till begins to write lyrics.
'Till: 'I used to drum in a punk band that consisted of bass and drums. We used to work with guest-guitarists, usually Paul and Richard. We did a short tour where I changed instruments with the bassist in the encore, that was such a success, that Richard insisted on starting a project in which I would sing. Other people joined the band, but only when I left Schwerin for Berlin did it take serious form.'
In 1994 along with Till Lindemann, Oliver Riedel and Christoph Schneider, he entered and won the Berlin Senate Metro beat contest that allowed them to professionally record a four track demo. Paul Landers joined the band fully, then finally Flake Lorenz.
It's well documented they all had girlfriend problems about this time, which undoubtedly contributed to the feel, quality and subject matter on 'Herzeleid' which was released in September 1995.
Richard took the name Bernstein, in 1999 when he was married to South African actress Caron Bernstein. He met her after the New York show (06.04.99 - New York NY, Hammerstein Ballroom) proposed soon afterwards and married her on 29th October on Long Island New York.
The ceremony was Jewish and Richard composed the music for it.
They are believed to have divorced sometime in 2003/04.
Richard is a self-confessed 'control freak'. This fact nearly led to the band splitting up after 'Mutter' as he has confessed that his need to control all aspects of Rammstein caused huge problems.
Richard began work on a solo project around this time, entitled 'Emigrate' and work continues on it to this day. He has said he wants to record an album in 2005. No other Rammstein band members are involved.
The 'Z' in his name is for Zven/Zvenn. Credits on albums before Rammstein name him as Sven Kruspe.
'Saddle up' - First Arsch
Richard has said he likes: Kiss, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Big Black, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Suicidal Tendencies and Jeff Buckley.
Richard is a very self-possessed man. Charming and very sincere. He takes himself very seriously and Rammstein even more so. He speaks perfect English, having lived in America for several years.
Articles and Interviews with Richard that are worth reading:
Messitsch – Orgasm Death Gimmick (1992)
Maximum Ink (1998)
Metal Hammer – Polish edition(2001)
Metal Hammer (2004)
Christian 'Flake' Lorenz
Images of Flake
Born: 16th November 1966 / 11.16.66.
Brought up and in the Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin. Quoted as saying when he goes to rehearsals he 'passes his old school building'.
Has one brother, three years older.
Children: Three, as of October 2004, at least one girl.
He began piano lessons at 9/10 years old and consequently is a well-educated pianist.
How come you ended up playing the keyboard?
Flake: A childhood friend of mine played the piano and so I also wanted to learn. I only play keyboard and am not that good.'
Apprenticed as a toolmaker on leaving school.
He wanted to be a surgeon/Doctor but 'Since I refused to go to the army, I wasn't allowed to study. In East Germany, refusing to go was serious infraction. So I lived illegally, and the only trade I could have was to be musician.'
Former bands: Magdalene Keibel Combo, Frigitte Hodenhorst Mundschen and played in Feeling B with Paul Landers 'a fun punk band' for about 10 years from about 1983.
Flake lived in an apartment with Paul, during their early years. When they weren't playing gigs, Landers and Flake, would sell jackets made from cut-up bed sheets and dusters on the black market. Two jackets a month meant as much money as an average salaried worker.
'It was quite easy to make a living; not to work and stay out of trouble," says Landers,"You only got problems if you were caught.'
In 2002 he was involved in a project with Paul to produce a book, 'Mix mir einen Drink' - Feeling B by Ronald Galenza /Heinz Havemeister and published by Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf
He likes Napster, Poland and Polish food, despises McDonalds, and seems to dislike much of American culture. He used to write frequently (and is much missed) in the FanArea logbook at Rammstein.com
From his entries in the logbook, he comes across as being extremely articulate, very astute and with a wicked sense of humor.
amateur painter and likes classic cars.
He is quoted as saying he likes to listen to Coldplay, Placebo, Johnny Cash, PJ Harvey, System of a Down, Ministry, Prodigy and once remarked that he would've liked to have been the sixth Rolling Stone.
He is said to be humorous, amusing, witty and a bit eccentric (...but then I suppose you have to be to have your arse hanging out of your trousers every night on stage!)
He used to 'crowd-surf' in the boat during 'Seeman' until 2002, when Olli started doing it. It is not known why the change occurred but in St Petersburg in 2001 Flake was tipped out of the boat and almost completely undressed by the crowd.
There are two schools of thought on the the 'Weisses Fleisch' dance. One says it was to relieve the boredom on stage, the second is that one night while doing the dance he caught fire and had to leap around to put it out. Both may be correct.
He once wanted to be a surgeon, hence the 'Doktor' tag sometimes used on his name.
In Worcester, Massachusetts Flake and Till were arrested on account of alleged obscene stage acting during the song "Bück Dich" They were charged with lewd and lascivious behavior and they were held overnight and released on $25 bail. After three rounds of negotiations, the sentence was reduced to $100 and six months' probation.
Articles and Interviews worth reading with Flake:
English chat November 2005
A day in the life...(2001)
Berliner Zeitung December (2002)
Break out (2004)
Images of Olli
Born in Schwerin 11th April 1971 / 04.11.71.
he was an only child.
'Interviewer: Did you have a lot of problems with your parents?
Oliver:Not a lot at all. My parents are quite young, which is good. Because the age difference isn't that big, we had it good with each other. My father and mother also liked the same music as me. We were almost more like friends the family. Interviewer: But of course you did tease your brothers and sisters...Oliver:No, because I don't have any, too bad. But if I would have had them, I would definetly have teased them!'
Virtually nothing is known about Olli during his childhood and teenage years, when he learned to play guitar/bass or where he went to school, presumably in Schwerin.
'But you did learn something (at school)?
Oliver:Not much. My mother thought it was ridiculous that I had such terrible teachers and she knew I hated school. I didn't need to do my homework for her, isn't that great! Instead of that I played sports'
Olli played in folk-fiddle band called The Inchtabokatables.
Olli says he likes: photography and sports, especially skateboarding and surfing.
Trained as a plasterer after leaving school.
Has two children, one is a girl.
There is a website that states his father and brother we killed when he was in his teens, this is incorrect.
Olli rarely appears at after-show parties.He appears shy and softly-spoken.
Articles and Interviews with Olli that are worth reading:
Images of Paul
Full name: Heiko Paul Landers.
He was born in Berlin (not Belarus as commonly believed) on 9th December 1964 / 12.09.64 - second oldest in the band.
He has one sister, three years older.
Children: Two – one boy, Emil (born approximately 1991) and one girl (born approximately 2001).
Real/former name Heiko Paul Hiersche. He said in an interview that he lived in Moscow for a short time as a young child. Father was a language teacher, his Polish born mother a teacher in a special school.
Paul had piano lessons at 12/13 years old.
He married Nikki Landers at 20 and took her surname and began to use his middle name. Divorced approximately two years later.
Played in Feeling B, and other bands for around 10 years from about 1983. Feeling B was a very popular band in East Germany and regularly drew large crowds to concerts. There is a lot of information available on the band:
The film 'Flüstern und Schreien'(1988) features Feeling B among many other East German bands.
Paul says he likes: Pantera, Metallica and The Sex Pistols.
Former job boilermaker/ telecommunications mechanic.
Played in Feeling B, First Arsch, and die Firma.
Speaks Russian, and has done so in interviews.
Paul is humorous, and seems to genuinely care about fans he meets.
Articles and Interviews worth reading with Paul:
Rock sound 2001
Christoph 'Doom' Schneider
Images of Schneider
Born on 11th May 1966/05.11.66 in Berlin.
His parents are professional musicians. He has one brother, Stephan, older than him and five sisters, including one, Constance who did design their stage costumes at one time. Schneider is the second oldest.
No children of his own.
His brother made him a drum kit made of trashcans at 14.
Apprenticed in communications engineering (installing telephones) on leaving school.
He did compulsory Military service for 9 months, the only member of the band to appear to have done so.
Left his apprenticeship to apply to go to Music University, but was rejected twice. His father would not support him, going through school to learn to play drums. (His parents wanted him to learn a classical instrument and disapproved of the drums. He did contemplate learning to play the trumpet.)
He has been divorced.
He prefers the name Schneider.
He had a few private lessons but mostly taught himself to play drums.
Former bands: Keine Ahnung, Frechheit, Die Firma, Feeling B.
Likes heavy metal bands.
Learned English at school.
Schneider rarely appears at aftershow parties. He is softly spoken, appears sincere.
He married in May of 2005 in Potsdam.
Articles and Interviews worth reading with Schneider:
Images of Till
Till was born on the 4th January 1963 / 01.04.63, in Leipzig.
He grew up in the village/small town of Wendisch Rambow near Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,in East Germany. Father- Werner Lindemann (writer), mother-
Brigitte (Gitta) Lindemann (journalist)
He has one sister younger than him.
Till went to a boarding sports school and was a good swimmer who became junior vice-European champion (not Olympic)
'As a teenager sport was obviously important to you. You were a successful swimmer at the Rostock Sports Club, junior vice-European champion nonetheless.
Lindemann: I never liked the sport school actually, it was very intense. But as a child you don’t object.'
Leaves sports school in 1979. His first job was at a peat cutting company, but he was fired after three days. He worked as an apprentice carpenter, and also worked as a basket weaver and a gallery technician.
He started to play drums for First Arsch (note: also known as 'First Art' a play on words to distract the authorities perhaps?), a Schwerin-based punk band. They made one album called 'Saddle Up'.
Till also played on a Feeling B. song called "Lied von der unruhevollen Jugend".(Rammstein played this in St. Petersburg,Russia in 2001)
In the November of 2002, Till's own project, the poetry book 'Messer' was published. It consists of 54 poems, compiled by Gert Hof (who is the author of the book 'Rammstein', and has been the band's pyrodesigner for the last seven years)
Messer review (2002)
As of October 2004 he has four children. Two girls and at least one boy. Nele is the eldest child born 1985, Marie-Louise (born approximately 1993) The gender of the fourth is unknown.
No longer smokes, having given up in the last few years.
Till says he likes: Chris Isaak, Marilyn Manson, Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Mike Oldfield, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Type O Negative, Limp Bizkit and Placebo, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Sisters of Mercy, jazz in the park on a Sunday afternoon and eating raw minced meat.
Till is a qualified pyrotechnician. After an accident at the Treptow arena, Berlin, on Sept 27,1996 where a burning stage prop fell into the audience, Rammstein began employing a professional pyrotechnical crew and Till learned/trained with them. Till is quoted as saying that each band member is specially instructed on the pieces of pyrotechnical equipment they use on stage.
Till holds a green belt in Judo but had to give up the sport after breaking his knee.
Till was essential in the early years of the band as a source of transport. He owned a Trabant (famous communist glass fiber car) and took them all to gigs in it. Also Till's house was 'party central' according to Paul.
Articles and Interviews worth Reading with Till:
Sonic Seducer (2003)
Heavy Oder was? (2004)
These bios are the creation of Minx/Rammimages.com but they can be used on other boards, webspaces, or websites. Please add a credit to your posting.
Corrections are welcome. Please mail me with the details of source material.
©2003-9 text by Minx - theme by Minx - gallery by Coppermine - pictures/images by respective owners