After Olli left his previous band, The Inchtabokatables, Richard asked him to join his new project, to which he agreed. After that, he would also ask Schneider, who also joined the band. This three-piece started jamming and built up early versions of songs. Remembering the recordings of Till’s singing that he made two or three weeks earlier, Richard also asked Till if he would be part of the band. Till came to Berlin and did not get a single note out until he drank a bottle of liqueur. He then went away with a tape full of music, to which he started singing English lyrics.
Noticing that success, Paul Landers heard of the band. At first, Schneider did not want to play with him in a band. He was in different bands with him before, like Feeling B and Die Firma. Schneider even took it so far, that he said he would leave the band if Paul would join. This was due to Schneider leaving Feeling B after a disastrous concert, promising to himself, to never want to see any of them again. But he still liked Paul and stayed in the band.
The band also wanted Christian “Flake” Lorenz to join, because they wanted his instrument and he was different from other keyboarders. After a while, the band wanted to take band photos, to which Flake agreed to be on. The band later told Flake that they would really like him to be in the band, but if he did not want to be a member, then there was no way back. The only demand Flake had, was that the band wouldn’t sing in English, but German.
The band agreed, and, with the previously won studio time for one week, they recorded a few German songs. It is during this time in the studio that the band discovered that by dampening the 1kHz frequences in the mix, it would emphasize the guitars and push them forward significantly. The studio’s sound engineer would then later recommend this technique to other bands using the studio.
Up to that point, the band was called Tempelprayers. The name Rammstein comes from an early idea of Schneider, Flake and Paul. They wanted to have a band and call it Rammstein-Flugschau. They had that name already written inside their Robur Lo during their time in Feeling B. Accidentally they wrote Rammstein, with two M’s instead of one. Before agreeing on Rammstein, the band also had other names in mind: Milch (milk), Erde (earth) or Mutter (mother).[
Their real first ever concert must have been in February 1994, while the band was still called Tempelprayers. The band must have been playing as a four or five-piece (it is not known if Paul was already a band member at that point), in front of a group of people from the music industry and journalists. It is also not known if this performance was part of the prize for winning the competition as well, or if it was part of the competition. One member of the audience was Tatjana Besson, who had played in the band Die Firma together with Schneider.
The first real Rammstein concert was held on 24 March 1994. Their first show was as the unannounced support for the band Acker Selection (sometimes also referred to as Golden Acker Rhythm Kings), which was the band of Flake’s brother. The people were shocked by the band, who were a complete contrast to Acker Selection, which was more fun and comedy-driven. After the show, Flake also played with the band of his brother.
During the first concerts, Till wore two sunglasses over another to hide his anxiety and for the audience to not directly recognize him.
Record label and Manager
One of the first record labels to approach the band and offer them the possibility to record a demo tape was the label K&P-Musik. The band went to their offices and was listening to their first demo together with employees of the record label. But the songs were not hard enough, so the band got a CD of Tass, and left.
Their soon-to-be manager Emu already knew members of the band from the German Democratic Republic. He knew Richard from Orgasm Death Gimmick and Paul and Flake from Feeling B. In 1993, the band approached him and asked him to be their manager. They played four songs for him (known songs were Schwarzes Glas, Feuerräder and Rammstein). He declined, but he took the demo-tape home and listened to the songs over and over again. He only agreed to be the manager of the band after he saw them during a concert at the Knaack club in Berlin. The band was still interested in working with him, so he became their manager.
Now having Emu as their manager, the band had a contract with his company, Pilgrim Management. Pilgrim sent out demo tapes to many different record labels in 1994, but only after Motor Music showed interest in the band did other labels repond as well. The band went with the first because the contract was only about three albums.
Now with a management and a record label behind them, the band was ready to record their first album. The problem now being that they had no producer. To find someone for the job, they looked at who produced their favourite bands. Their first choice was Greg Hunter, who had worked with Killing Joke. The band invited him to Berlin to watch them rehearse. After the first few songs, he did not say anything. After a few more, the band saw him asleep on the couch. After they listened to the album Deaf Dumb Blind by Clawfinger, and liked the sound, they decided on getting Jacob Hellner to produce the album. He happily agreed, but would only work in Sweden. The band recorded the album in the Swedish Polar Studios, built by the band ABBA. They were in the studio for about a week, where they did the drum tracks, before moving to Jacob’s own studio.
The band took about three months to record the album. After the recording was done, the first decision was to let Jacob also mix the album. After Richard, who was the only band member left there, listened to the mix, he called every other band member, their manager Emu and people of their record company to have a meeting about the mix, because he thought it was too bad. They decided to get it mixed by Ronald Prent instead. Richard thinks that Ronald saved the album.
For the cover, the band decided on a group photo and a flower in the back. Nowadays, the band really doesn’t like the cover anymore. In 2005, Till said: “Oh, the broilerphoto (Broiler is a Berlin slang-word for fried chicken). That’s the worst cover we could imagine today.” The band also faced a lot of criticism for the cover. In a 1997 interview with a German TV station, Flake said: “It was the best of a bad lot. Later you could read in the papers that we were portraying ourselves as members of the master race.”
The following Herzeleid tour started with a show on 8 August 1995. This tour led the band through all of Germany and to their first-ever concert in Switzerland. The tour went on from August to December 1995, but was interrupted by Rammstein playing as a support for KMFDM on their αΩ tour for a total of 15 concerts in August and by playing as a support for Clawfinger for two shows in November which were both shows in countries they had never played in before: Poland and Czechia. One notable concert took place on 8 September 1995, the band was playing at a fashion show, during which the models were walking past them, showing off different clothes. At the time, the band already started playing an early version of the song Sehnsucht. Also, during a concert in December, the band played two unknown songs: Sonne and Tiefer gelegt.
The following year started off with Rammstein once again being the support for Clawfinger. The band supported them for three shows, the first two being their first performances in Austria. Following that, Rammstein supported the Ramones on their farewell tour in Germany after playing two shows of their own headlining tour, which was continued after being the Ramones support. During that tour, the band made their first official TV appearance. On 27 March 1996, the band played two songs on English MTV. During Du riechst so gut, Till hit his head with the microphone, to let a small blood capsule explode, which sent blood-red water down his face. After that, the show was interrupted.
Another notable concert took place on 2 May 1996 in Hong Kong. The show was a showcase to represent the label, Motor Music. And while Hong Kong is a territory in South China, it was under British Crown rule from 1842 to 1997, which means that Rammstein played in the United Kingdom, not in China. That show was also the reason for Rammstein to cancel a month of planned shows in Germany in May.
In November 1996 the band began recording their second album Sehnsucht. The album was recorded in the Temple Studios in Malta, and was again produced by Jacob Hellner and Ronald Prent. Many of the songs that were performed on the previous tour were reworked and finalized. This includes Bestrafe mich, Bück dich, Tier and Spiel mit mir from 1996, Sehnsucht from 1995 and Alter Mann, which is known to already have been played once in 1994.
1997 marked the start of the Sehnsucht tour, during which the band played some of the album’s songs for the very first time. Du hast debuted on 9 April 1997, with Engel debuting one month later, on 6 May. Technically Engel was already played in April, but it was during a TV show on the German TV station RTL2 and played as a full playback performance. On 8 May 1997 another TV show followed, during which playback songs of Engel and Rammstein were played.
In August, the album Sehnsucht was released in a variety of different formats. As both a CD and MC, but also as a limited edition, which was a package of the standard CD and a T-shirt. Another limited edition was a cross-shaped digipak of the album. In other territories of the world many other versions were released with differing bonus tracks. Versions of Engel and Du hast, sung in English, were released in different countries, sometimes as hidden tracks, other times mentioned on the tracklist. Stripped was a bonus track in Australia, where a limited edition was also released with a second CD. France got a digipak with three bonus tracks, and in 1998 another German edition followed with Du riechst so gut ’98 as a bonus.
After that, a few festivals followed in Europe, as well as the band’s first ever concert in the USA. During the concert, a stunt went completely wrong. Flake did not know that the neon lamps he used to break on Till were thicker than the lamps he was used to in Germany, so he had to smack the lamp on Till’s back over and over again, who immediately started bleeding. After breaking the lamp, Flake threw it across the room, hitting Schneider’s arm, where it got stuck. The concert was also visited by Wayne Pighini, who worked for London Records at the time, and who really did not want to sign the band after seeing the show.
After the festival tour ended, the band began their headlining tour in Germany. The tour started on 26 September 1997 in Emden. During that concert, the roof of the venue burned down. It may have also been the only time that the song Eifersucht has ever been played live (but that information is from an article of the German teen magazine BRAVO, who were also famous for delivering wrong information). A day later, the band played in Hamburg, and a few snippets of their performance were broadcasted on a TV show in Germany.. A month later, on 23 October, the band played their show in Düsseldorf. The band was supported by the industrial band KMFDM and while they played their song Liebeslied, Richard and Till came on stage and threw something into the crowd. Multiple songs were also recorded during this concert, with the song Spiel mit mir later getting released on the DVD Lichtspielhaus.
Mid-November the band started their European tour which sent them to Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Poland, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands. Their show on 29 November 1997 was broadcasted in full on the Dutch radio station Kink FM. In December, the band started their USA tour as a support for KMFDM. The show on 14 December 1997 was attended by Michael Arfin, who afterwards agreed on being their US agent.
In 1998, the Sehnsucht tour led the band to the USA again. For their show on 4 May, the band was not allowed to use any pyrotechnics, which makes it one of their only concerts played without any pyro. The songs Heirate mich and Du hast of the show on 31 May at Rock am Ring, were released on Lichtspielhaus. On 9 August, the band played their first ever concert in Hungary. During the band’s show at the Zillo-Festival, someone got married on stage during the performance of Heirate mich. On 22 and 23 August, the band played two shows at the Berlin Wuhlheide. Both shows were recorded and released a year later as Live aus Berlin on VHS, DVD and CD.
In September 1998, the band started their participation in the Family Values Tour, which was created and headlined by Korn. During this tour, Rammstein got in trouble with the local police. At their show on Halloween, the band members played almost naked and were dragged off stage one by one, which led to the concert ending after three songs. On 12 November, Rammstein performed Du hast live at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Assago, Italy. This was the band’s last performance in 1998.
1999 was supposed to start off with Rammstein playing at the Big Day Outs in New Zealand and Australia during January. After the festival appearances, Rammstein would have performed in Japan and Germany. All of these dates ended up getting cancelled because Schneider perforated his ear drum and was not allowed to fly or be exposed to loud music and explosions for well into the year.
Despite the aforementioned injury, Rammstein already resumed playing in early April. The band appeared as a support for KISS during their “Psycho Circus” tour in Latin America, while also having one headline show themselves on 21 April. Their first show on 10 April was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was the band’s first performance in the country, and their whole show was broadcasted on an Argentinian radio station. Parts of some songs were also broadcasted on TV. Their next show on 15 April marked the band’s first performance in Brazil. At their next Brazillian show, on 17 April, the audience acted very displeased with the band. They booed them, showed their middle fingers and threw junk onto the stage.
Their headline show on 21 April marked the band’s first performance in Mexico. At an unknown date, a press conference took place at a record store, with a signing session for fans afterwards. When the band arrived, a big riot was going on with armored police keeping people at bay. The band managed to get into the store, where the local police chief urged them to go to the roof and speak to the fans in order to calm them down. If they did not comply, they would get arrested. Till spoke jumbled Spanish into a megaphone from the store’s roof, and the fan riot eventually calmed down.
In June, the band returned to the USA for another headline tour. Their fully English song Stripped debuted during this time. The band also ran into trouble with the police on multiple occassions. On 5 June, both Till and Flake were arrested for “Public Indecency” after the show, due to their performance of Bück dich. They had to stay in jail for five hours, after which their bail got paid. The incident did have repercussions for the both of them, as they had to return to Worcester’s court throughout the tour, and later, every time they entered the US again. On another occassion, Till was put in a police van by local police officers for urinating between two garbage bins behind the stage in Texas. Finally, on 15 June, the band’s performance was cut short after city officials sent police officers to the scene.
From September 1999 the band rented Haus Weimar in Heiligendamm. The house had absolutely no interior so the band had to install a kitchen and toilets, buy beds and cupboards. During the time all songs, which were written here, ended up on the album. According to Flake “90% waste” were recorded, too. The band stayed here until December 1999 and went to Berlin afterwards, where they kept on working a little bit on the songs. The band was also searching for a recording studio. Olli explained the requirements: “It is supposed to be abroad. The drums should be able to be recorded there so we can play together and change things. And it should be beautiful.”
On 16 April 2000, the band played a concert exclusive to members of their official fanclub. All the songs performed were early versions of songs that were to be released on the following album(s).
In May 2000 the band went to Studio Miraval in Correns, France. The band recorded all songs here in six weeks. During the recordings, Richard became such a control-freak, that the band nearly split up. Schneider stated: “We reached the limit when it became impossible to mention the name “Richard” without adding an “idiot” or “asshole” ! It’s strange that there were no personal complaints. But as soon as it came to music, Richard was the last person we wanted to listen to. He needed a good lesson!” For one song, not known which, Till wrote 24 different lyrics before finally, everyone in the band agreed.
In June 2000 the band went to the Galaxy Studios in Mol, Belgium, to get the album mixed. The band got help from Ronald Prent, who also mixed both previous albums: Herzeleid and Sehnsucht. The label invited journalists to the studio to listen to six different songs, one of them being Sonne, then still known as Klitschko. But the band thought that the mix was too common and not spectacular enough. They wanted to get the album mixed by Andy Wallace or Dave Ogilvie, but they were not available at the time. Before getting a new mix for the album, the band played their first concert in Japan on 30 July.
The band moved to Stockholm in October 2000. Stefan Glaumann was available to mix the album. Flake says that he was very good and very slow. He needed five days for one song and two days rest. During that time the band moved into the flat of an elderly couple that had just died. The son wanted the band to not change anything so that he can get over the death of his parents. The band went out in Stockholm and met Peter Tägtgren (which later led to forming the band Lindemann). Flake nearly started a fight with other people in a bar and Peter helped them to calm the situation down. Finally, the mix was done and the band was happy with it.
During a second listening session, eight songs were premiered: Sandmann (working title of Mein Herz brennt), Ohne dich, Mutter, Sonne, Nebel, Adios, Pastor (working title of Halleluja) and Rein raus.
On 18 January 2001, the band performed in New Zealand for the first time. Finished versions of the songs Links 2-3-4 and Sonne debuted at this concert as well. On 21 January, the band played in Australia for the first time.
- ↑ Jump up to:1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Rammstein book by Gert Hof
- ↑ Jump up to:2.0 2.1 Mix mir einen Drink, page 372
- ↑ Jump up to:3.0 3.1 Mix mir einen Drink, pages 374–375
- ↑ Mix mir einen Drink, page 373
- ↑ Jump up to:5.0 5.1 Heute hat die Welt Geburtstag, page 193
- ↑ Motor Music
- ↑ Jump up to:7.0 7.1 7.2 Mix mir einen Drink, page 374
- ↑ Jump up to:8.0 8.1 Mix mir einen Drink, page 376
- ↑ RammWiki conversation with the sound engineer of the studio
- ↑ Jump up to:10.0 10.1 10.2 Mix mir einen Drink, page 377
- ↑ mail conversation between Flake’s brother and RammWiki staff
- ↑ Jump up to:12.0 12.1 12.2 30 Jahre naTo, page 168
- ↑ Mix mir einen Drink, page 386
- ↑ Metal Hammer Germany, Rammstein special 2004, page 8
- ↑ Orkus Magazine Germany, 1997, page 136
- ↑ Loudersound.com – Rammstein: the story behind their debut album Herzeleid
- ↑ Metal Hammer Germany, 11/2005, page 37
- ↑ Rammstein – Who are they?, minute 27
- ↑ British Hong Kong, Wikipedia
- ↑ Breakout magazine 3/97
- ↑ Jump up to:21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 21.7 Rammstein in Amerika documentary
- ↑ Die Zusammenkunft Forum
- ↑ Stars Aktuell 1997
- ↑ KMFDM performance of Liebeslied
- ↑ Chicago Tribune article
- ↑ Announcement from the official Big Day Out website
- ↑ Rammstein’s Act Lands Two Members In Jail
- ↑ Rock Hard Magazine 2004