Max DE, 1998 - Interview with Richard
Thanks to Ramjohn for the scans!
Martial lyrics, videos with Riefenstahl images and flamethrowers on stage. What critics in Europe dismiss as Nazi aesthetics, the Americans think is great - and nominated the pop group for a Grammy.
The British magazines hit it hard. “To hell with the Germans!” headlined Select magazine, and another, Q, fumed at 'the Krauts triumphant'. It is well known that Germany often has to take a hit from the Insel press. But what happens this time? Rammstein, flagship of the Teutonic rock wave, underlaid the Depeche Mode song 'Stripped' with scenes from Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda film 'Olympia' - causing a scandal in England. Dance music guru Goldie demanded:”You should shoot the guy who gave these Nazis a record deal.”
Negative headlines are not new to Rammstein. Because of their macho image, the coquettish game with right poses, Till Lindemann's rrrolling Feldherrn-Rs and a brute-bombastic brutal show, the band is controversial in Germany. Again and again the heavy metallers are pushed close to the right camp. In the MAX interview, guitarist Richard Kruspe, 31, wants to clean it up.
MAX: Rammstein was nominated for a Grammy, the music industry's Oscar. Is that a satisfaction after all the criticism?
Richard: We are happy to be nominated for the biggest music award in the world. A German band with German lyrics has never been nominated for a Grammy. Rammstein can handle criticism well. But when other musicians become unobjective in public, we find that unprofessional and pure provocation.
That's Rammstein's business too.
I don't think Rammstein just provokes.
You really want to say that lyrics like 'bend down, turn your face away from me' or 'rammstein, a person is burning' shouldn't provoke anyone?
I don't hope that we only live from that, but that our music counts. I consider our lyrics to be honest poetry.
Rammstein has repeatedly distanced himself from the right-wing scene. Then why do you play with the suspicion of fascism by using Leni Riefenstahl images in your video 'Stripped'?
I think that image and music merge fantastically in this video. When I saw the pictures for the first time, I didn't even know who they were from. I was only overwhelmed by the visual aesthetics. However, I did not expect these reactions. Since we only unnecessarily poured grist on the mill of our critics, we now believe that this video was a mistake. However, Rammstein is an apolitical band that has never had anything to do with the right-wing scene.
What is Rammstein then?
Rammstein is theater and show with heavy guitar music. We don't need an attitude, because we make entertainment.
Is that why you're so successful in America?
Certainly. People go to concerts there to have fun. A distorted guitar riff is a kind of religion there, the lyrics don't interest in this context because singing and words are felt more as instruments.
That sounds as if Rammstein was invented for America.
We were on the road for six weeks and played to sold-out halls almost every night. Sometimes in front of 16,000 people. There were actually only problems with our pyrotechnics. In America there are fireworks marshals who control everything. In Chicago, for example, we weren't allowed to perform with fireworks. In New Orleans it was then "Good show, no penetration ".
You have to explain that.
Our singer Till wears a dildo during one song, from which he squirts water into the audience. However, one regulation of the American authorities read: "No liquids may be discharged from the abdomen into the audience.” So we could forget about the dildo show.
Does a Rammstein concert work without a fire spectacle?
If people would only come to our concerts for some effects and fireworks, then we would have done something wrong. We've had concerts without effects before. The people stayed anyway.
Do you think your music is innovative?
We have created something unique. Hard guitars with melancholy melodies. Now we were nominated for a Grammy, our music can't be that wrong.
What luck are you still missing?
Almost all members of Rammstein have children, but the mothers are missing. What intelligent woman is waiting for someone who is only at home two months a year and then in a bad mood. Only the 'Girlfriend' model works. But maybe a harmonious life would also be creative death, because suffering and pain are also part of our inspiration.