I haven’t posted in MONTHS.
I have been working on a Steampunk book for, oh, far longer than I ever intended to. It is my day-in-day out obsession, and it’s been a four-mile trek on broken legs; but I see the finish line. The main agent of resistance calling me away from my work has been music. Specifically, Rammstein.
I joke that Till Lindemann is my spirit animal, but that’s only half a joke. I wish I were as big as him, both in stature and in presence. I wish I were as brave as him as an artist. I wish I could channel my own monstrous or rapacious nature the way he has. I don’t know him personally, and I will probably never meet him; but that’s fine. The man is not the idea.
He’s said in several interviews that he gets stage fright really badly and hates being looked at.
Turns out that he’ll be on a lot more people’s minds than mine in a little bit. Till Lindemann of Rammstein is coming out with a new album in May. It’s a solo project, in English, so I’m wary. But, I love how he channels his insanity and monstrosity into something that’s both vast and beautiful; and simultaneously childish and silly. To get a sense of what kind of writer he is, I offer up translations of both Rammstein’s lyrics, and a rough translation of his book of poetry.
I have heard that Rammstein developed their songs music first, lyrics second. The band would put something together, and then it would be on Lindemann to create words to go along with it. For his solo project, he collaborated with Peter Tagtgren who is Swedish. Eschewing the rougher, stronger German lyrics, this time Lindemann writes in English so that Tagtgren would understand the feel of the subject matter and match the music. I’m excited to see what they come up with, but I’m nervous about it too.
Richard Kruspe’s solo project, Emigrate, was its own creature and felt totally different from Rammstein. He is an amazing guitarist and musician, but his vocals don’t command the same attention that Lindemann’s does. It was both musically lighter, and lyrically more vulnerable than his work with the band and reminded me somewhat of VAST. Kruspe was always the prettiest and most done-up, his costumes had the most flare (without actually being on fire). Comparing Lindemann to Kruspe made me think about the rest of the band. It’s so easy to assume a band is its frontman; but it never is. It’s a collaboration. Lindemann would have no one to play with if Flake weren’t there; and I would suggest that his keyboard work supplies the core of Rammstein’s musicality — from the iconic whistling in “Engel,” to the haunting outros of “Reise, Reise” and “Sonne.” The same goes for Paul, Oliver, and Schneider, each one a fucking metal ninja even if they’re not pushed the the forefront through stage antics.
There are a lot of antics.
I have also heard it told that they remained a band through a combination of talent, united vision, lots of therapy, and respecting each others’ wishes when someone says they need a break.
Each one, individually, is a master artist. When they unite as Rammstein, they are gods.
Find a group like this. Find it in sports. Find it in writing. Demand the best of yourself, and of your friends.
Back to the steampunk book. If anyone needs me, I’ll be hanging with Till by the Victrola.