Founding and Herzeleid (1989–1996)
Rammstein's logo (top) and typeface, both of which have been used since the start of the band's discography
In 1989, East German guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe escaped to West Berlin and started the band Orgasm Death Gimmick. At that time, he was heavily influenced by American music, especially that of rock group 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 (loosely translated as "First Ass" or "First Arse"). At this time, Kruspe lived with Oliver Riedel of the Inchtabokatables and Christoph Schneider of Die Firma.
In 1992, Kruspe made his first trip to the United States with Till Lindemann and Oliver "Ollie" Riedel. He realized that he did not want to make American music and concentrated on creating a unique German sound. Kruspe, Riedel and Schneider started working together on a new project in 1993. Finding it difficult to write both music and lyrics, Kruspe persuaded Lindemann, whom he had overheard singing while he was working, to join the fledgling group.
The band called themselves Rammstein-Flugschau (Rammstein Airshow) after the 1988 Ramstein air show disaster. Guitarist Paul Landers said the spelling of Ramstein with the extra "m" was a mistake. After the band became popular, the band members denied the connection to the air show disaster and said that their name was inspired by the giant doorstop-type devices found on old gates, called Rammsteine. The extra "m" in the band's name makes it translate literally as "ramming stone".
A contest was held in Berlin for amateur bands in 1994, the winner of which would receive access to a professional recording studio for a whole week. Kruspe, Riedel, Schneider, and Lindemann entered and won the contest with a 4-track demo tape with demo versions of songs from Herzeleid, written in English. This sparked Landers' attention, who wanted in on the project upon hearing their demo. To complete their sound, Rammstein attempted to recruit Christian "Flake" Lorenz, who had played with Landers in Feeling B. Though initially hesitant, Lorenz eventually agreed to join the band. Later, Rammstein were signed by Motor Music.
Rammstein began to record their first studio album, Herzeleid, in March 1995 with producer Jacob Hellner. They released their first single "Du riechst so gut" that August and released the album in September. Later that year, they toured with Clawfinger in Warsaw and Prague. Rammstein headlined a 17-show tour of Germany in December, which did much to boost the band's popularity and establish them as a credible live act. They went on several tours throughout early 1996, releasing their second single titled "Seemann" on 8 January.
On 27 March 1996, Rammstein performed on MTV's Hanging Out in London, their first performance in the UK. Their first major boost in popularity outside Germany came when Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor chose two Rammstein songs, "Heirate mich" and "Rammstein", during his work as music director for the David Lynch 1997 film Lost Highway. The soundtrack for the film was released in the U.S. in late 1996 and later throughout Europe in April 1997. Rammstein 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, while Berlin director Gert Hof was responsible for the light show.
Sehnsucht and Live aus Berlin (1996–2000)
Rammstein started recording Sehnsucht in November 1996 at the Temple Studios in Malta. The album was again produced by Jacob Hellner. "Engel", the first single from the album, was released on 1 April 1997 and 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, "Feuerräder" and "Wilder Wein". Release of the second single from the album Sehnsucht was "Du hast", which hit the German single charts August 1997 at No. 5.
Rammstein then continued touring in the summer while Sehnsucht was released on 22 August 1997. The album reached No. 1 in Germany after two weeks in the charts. Simultaneously, Herzeleid and both Sehnsucht singles ("Du hast" and "Engel") were in the Top 20 of the German charts. Rammstein continued to headline sold-out shows throughout Europe in September and October. On 5 December 1997, they embarked on their first tour of the United States as the opening act for KMFDM. In July 1998, the band released a cover of the song Stripped, originally released by Depeche Mode in early 1986; it was included on the tribute album For the Masses, the Rammstein version obtained moderate success in Germany and Austria.
On 22–23 August 1998, Rammstein played to over 17,000 fans at the Wuhlheide in Berlin; the biggest show the band had 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. Continuing their success in the US, Sehnsucht received Gold record status there 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 41st-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 No. 2 in the German Album Charts. On 13 September and 26 November 1999, the video and DVD versions of the concert were released respectively. Further popularity ensued with the inclusion of "Du hast" in The Matrix: Music from the Motion Picture.
Rammstein's album Mutter was recorded in the south of France in May and June 2000, and mixed in Stockholm in October of that year. During December 2000, Rammstein released an MP3 version of "Links 2-3-4" as a teaser for their new album.
2001 was a busy year for Rammstein, as the band needed to finish off the Sehnsucht Tour ending in January and February with the band playing the Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand and playing some concerts in Japan. January also heralded the shooting of the video for their upcoming single, "Sonne", recorded in Potsdam at Babelsberger Filmstudios from 13 to 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 the song "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 from 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 (the cover of which is red) was released, featuring alternative artwork and live versions of "Ich will", "Links 2 3 4", "Sonne" and "Spieluhr".
From 8 to 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 "Bück dich" cover versions by Battery. The video for the single was edited by Rob Cohen and contains part Rammstein performance at the beginning of the film and part snippets from the film itself.
Reise, Reise, Rosenrot, and Völkerball (2003–2006)
Rammstein recorded Reise, Reise (meaning "journey, journey", or as a command "travel, travel", but also an archaic Reveille) at the El Cortijo studio in southern Spain in November and December 2003; it was 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. 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 the second single, "Amerika", was filmed on 6 and 7 August 2004 in the ruins of the former cement works in Rüdersdorf, near Berlin, under the direction of Jörn Heitmann (who also directed the "Ich Will" music 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, while the single was released on 13 September.
Rammstein performing along with Finnish act Apocalyptica
Reise, Reise was released on 27 September 2004 and went straight into top 10 charts throughout Europe. According to the Billboard charts, Rammstein were at that stage the most successful German-language band of all time. Rammstein 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, 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" the fourth single from Reise, Reise, was released on 28 February 2005. From 27 May to 30 July 2005, Rammstein played music festivals across Europe. Footage from these concerts can be seen on Rammstein's live DVD Völkerball, released in November 2006.
In August 2005, Rammstein revealed that the follow-up album to Reise, Reise would be called Rosenrot. Their first single from the album, "Benzin", was released on 5 October, with its video premiere on 16 September. Rosenrot was released worldwide on 28 October. Directly following the release, the album continued the success of its predecessor, Reise, Reise, placing on top 10 charts in 20 countries. 16 December 2005 marked the release of the title track on 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. Völkerball 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 the band's 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 für alle da (2007–2011)
Rammstein performing at the Gold Coast Big Day Out
The band took a hiatus in 2006 and began work again in 2007. The recording process reportedly took two years. In July 2009, the title track "Liebe ist für alle da" leaked onto the internet, along with promotional materials. This led Universal Music to take action against certain fan sites.
It was confirmed in August 2009 that the new album would have 11 tracks, and mixing of the album – which was taking place in Stockholm – had been completed. On 1 September 2009, it was confirmed on the band's website that "Pussy" would be the first single from the album. On the same day, The Gauntlet posted a promotional video for it. The video also confirmed the album title, Liebe ist für alle da. Later, the title was confirmed again in an interview with Paul Landers for RockOne magazine. 46,7
The music video for "Pussy" was released on 16 September 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 acts with the band members, although the actual sex scenes were performed by body doubles. The women featured in the video are German pornographic stars. Metal Hammer released an edited version of the video onto their website.
"Ich tu dir weh" was confirmed as the second single from the album by Landers and Lorenz in an interview for Radio Eins. Although censorship of the song in Germany prohibits any advertisement, broadcast or public display, the video to "Ich tu dir weh" was released on 21 December 2009 on the adult website Visit-x, just like the video to "Pussy", after advertisement on the band's official German website; it depicts the band on stage in a similar configuration as on their 2009/10 tour. Any references to the video on the official website have since been deleted. In Europe, the single was released on 15 January 2010, and in the U.S. on 19 January 2010. Like the video "Pussy," this video was also directed by Jonas Åkerlund. On 23 April 2010, Rammstein released their video "Haifisch". Unlike the video for "Ich tu dir weh", it contains more of a narrative rather than a performance. The single was released during May and June 2010.
On 8 November 2009, Rammstein began the first leg of the Liebe ist für alle da Tour in Lisbon, Portugal. As part of their European summer tour, Rammstein performed at the 2010 Rock AM Ring Festival on 4–6 June 2010. They also headlined several shows across Europe on the Sonisphere Festival, including their first ever outdoor UK performance at Knebworth Park, performing the day before Iron Maiden. On Sunday 18 July 2010, Rammstein played in front of more than 130,000 people in Quebec City on the Plains of Abraham as the closing show for the Festival d'été de Québec. It was their first North American appearance in nine years. The band announced that their last tour dates of 2010 were to be in the Americas. After several South American dates, the band returned to the United States for a single show at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York City – their first US show in over ten years. The tickets sold out in a very short time (under 20 minutes).
They also performed at Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on 9 December. This concert sold out within the first hour of tickets going on sale, indicating a high demand to see Rammstein in North America. The band then played at Big Day Out 2011 from 21 January to 6 February in New Zealand and Australia. The band also visited South Africa for the first time in early 2011 and played two sold-out concerts in Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively, indicating another territory eager for the opportunity to enjoy the band live. On 16 February 2011, Rammstein announced that, after the massive success of their sold out Madison Square Garden show on 11 December 2010, they would be touring North America after ten years.
Rammstein played in New Jersey (East Rutherford) Izod Center, Montreal Bell Centre, Toronto Air Canada Centre, Chicago Allstate Arena, Edmonton Rexall Place, Seattle Tacoma Dome, San Francisco (Oakland) Oracle Arena, Los Angeles The Forum, and Las Vegas Thomas and Mack Center, Mexico City's Palacio de los Deportes, Guadalajara's Arena VFG, and Monterey's Auditorio Banamex to a total of six US dates, three Canadian dates, and four Mexican dates. Tickets went on sale 25 and 26 February to great response, with many shows completely selling out, making this tour a complete success. On 20 April 2011, the band also won the Revolver Golden God Award for Best Live Band, their first US award.
Made in Germany, video releases, and side projects (2011–2017)
Rammstein performing in 2012
Rammstein released a greatest hits album titled Made in Germany 1995–2011 on 2 December 2011. It contains one previously unreleased track, "Mein Land" which was released as a single on 11 November 2011 with another track, "Vergiss uns nicht", that was released at a later date. The compilation is available in three different editions: The standard edition; this includes a CD with normal songs from their back catalog. Special edition; has the same CD from the standard edition and an extra CD with Rammstein songs that have been remixed by different artists such as Scooter. Finally, the super deluxe edition; has the two previously mentioned CDs and three DVDs with interviews and the making of videos from different music videos.
The video for the song "Mein Land" was filmed on 23 May 2011 at Sycamore Beach in Malibu, California. It premiered on the band's official website on 11 November 2011. A full European tour in support of Made in Germany began in November 2011 and spanned all the way to May 2012. It included a North American tour that began on 20 April 2012 in Sunrise, Florida and ended on 25 May 2012 in Houston, Texas that visited 21 cities throughout the US and Canada. The Swedish industrial band Deathstars supported the band during the first two legs of the European tour. DJ Joe Letz from Combichrist and Emigrate was the opening act for the North American Tour.
Rammstein, minus Till Lindemann, performed "The Beautiful People" with Marilyn Manson at the Echo Awards on 22 March 2012.
On 21 September 2012, it was announced that Rammstein would be headlining Download Festival 2013, along with Iron Maiden and Slipknot. Twelve additional festival performances for summer 2013 were announced the same day, including Wacken Open Air festival and Rock Werchter. Rammstein announced new tour dates starting for spring 2013 in Europe, including a 2-day return to Kindl-Bühne Wuhlheide, the location of their first (official) live DVD, Live Aus Berlin.
On 22 November 2012, Rammstein announced via Facebook that they will be releasing a video collection featuring all music videos entitled Videos 1995–2012, plus two unreleased music videos for "Mein Herz Brennt", originally featured on the album Mutter. The first video premiered on the band's Vimeo, while the second premiered on a promotional website. Both videos were directed by Zoran Bihac. The first was released on 7 December 2012, and featured the newly recorded piano version of "Mein Herz Brennt". A single of the song was released on the same day, which included an edited version of the original and a new song titled 'Gib Mir Deine Augen' as a b-side. The explicit version's video leaked onto the internet on 11 December 2012 but was officially released on 14 December, in conjunction with the video collection DVD.
In July 2013, guitarist Paul Landers revealed in an interview the possibility of a Rammstein documentary and a live DVD. He indicated that the band may "start thinking" about a new album in 2014.
In September 2014, band co-founder Richard Z. Kruspe (then working with his side band, Emigrate) said the band was preparing some more live DVDs and that they were taking some time off from the studio. The band would meet again in 2015 to decide if the time was right to return to the studio. In May 2015, Lindemann confirmed in an interview with MusikUniverse that Rammstein would start pre-production on a possible new album in September of that year, and that production would most likely go on until 2017.
According to Peter Tägtgren – who works with frontman Till Lindemann on their side-project Lindemann – Till would be regrouping with his Rammstein bandmates later in 2015 to start pre-production on a new full-length album, which normally takes two years to be released.
In early August 2015, Rammstein released a trailer for an upcoming project, titled "In Amerika". On 15 August, the band announced Rammstein in Amerika, a video release that includes a 2010 concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City and a documentary made from archived footage recorded during the band's career. Rammstein played several festivals in Europe and North America during 2016, and in November announced plans to perform at a similar string of European festivals in 2017. On 18 January 2017 Rammstein announced a new live video release titled Paris, a recording of a March 2012 concert that took place at Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in Paris. It premiered on 23 March in selected cinemas, and was released worldwide on DVD/Blu-Ray and CD on 19 May 2017.
Untitled seventh album (2017–present)
In an interview in March 2017, Richard Kruspe said that Rammstein had about 35 new songs that were close to completion, though the release date of the band's seventh studio album was still an open question. In May, Rammstein started touring once again. Also in May, it was revealed that Sky van Hoff would be working with the band on their next album. In a July interview with Resurrection Fest, Kruspe said that the upcoming album could perhaps be the band's last.
On 18 June 2018, it was announced via StubHub's ticketing website that Rammstein would play songs at their Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, show from their forthcoming album, then set for release late in 2018. On 17 September 2018, the band announced through Facebook that they were "almost done" recording the album, as they were recording orchestra and choirs in Minsk. On 2 January 2019, guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe announced that recording of the album wrapped in November 2018 and that the record would be released in April 2019, along with five music videos.
Rammstein released the first single from their seventh album, "Deutschland", on 28 February 2019 and announced the release date of their untitled seventh studio album, 17 May 2019. Rammstein also revealed the album cover which consisted of a single, unlit match which fans say represents their love of fire and simplicity. On 26 April 2019, Rammstein released the second single from the new album, "Radio". Shortly after its release, the album reached No. 1 in fourteen different countries. On 28 May 2019, Rammstein released their third single and music video from the album, this time for "Ausländer".