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German Music

Press: Beautiful Sons


By Andrea Nieradzik
Translated / submitted by Susie Hermansen

Taken from Musik Express
March 2001


No song for the boxer Klitschko, but a sterling, great, cool album for mother. Rammstein, the musical fireworks from east of the republic are back.

It's an experience we have all made once. Because "no-one looks as good as the moment when he is arrested. This mix of fear, excitement, pride and a guilty conscience gives the face a certain shine". At least the trash-movie director John Waters, the real king of bad taste, thinks so. How his face looked in the momet he was arrested, Flake Lorenz (keyb.) knows [to an extend where]there's no more to say. Once, one has taken his glasses straight off his nose, so the interior of the American prisoncell only - at least optically- is only remembered in shadows. And also: "I would like to have been without that" he says. "I just sat there and was f***ing scared. With me in the cell were these big, black guys, who I could  not really see. I just felt that they were quite sinister-looking. On top of that, it was freezing, because the aircondition was turned so low. I was freezing all night, since there was no blanket. And that was lucky. Getting a blanket means you have to stay 3 days or even longer." Contrary to this, Flake and Till, who had spent the night in another cell, were freed the next morning, and could resume their journey - slightly tired - but otherwise unharmed.

What had happened? On their US-tour in 1999, Rammstein had once let really loose. And -this knows John Waters - to fight over [what is] good taste, the authorities in Worchester, Mass. felt was their responsibility, as Lindemann (with strapped-on plastic phallos) and Flake went through their act "Bück Dich". Originally a fixed part of the show - tough for the American authorities too much of the good [stuff]. Obscene Stage Acting was the charge, and they were both arrested directly off stage and thrown behind bars for the night. Flake squirms in the thick polstering of the hotel sofa at the thought. Let's talk about something else: Germany's most succesful band have a new album [out].

It's called Mutter, but there is no trace of sentimentality. Guitarplayer Paul Landers: "It's obviously called so [because] Mutter is a song, which Richard had written already long before the founding of Rammstein. And that's correct for the guitarriff, but no more. The text is from Till, and he has just written it anew". Just like that, Mutter is the album, with which Rammstein  have taken another step forwardin all aspects. Most of all, the effort of Till Lindemann's vocals, which have left the spectacular rollong r's, and in stead of this has given [himself] in to softer tones. There's also new elements in the music, which the band hasn't made the mistake of putting their own identity at stake. On Mutter [you] can mostly hear what Rammstein does best: a bombastic mix of riffs sharp as knives, monolithic songstructures, goosepimple-showing romantics and heavy cat-out-of-the-bag fantasies. The album was begun once again with producer Jacob Hellner (eg. Clawfinger) near the village Brignoles in the south-east of France. "We had piled it on a bit for the sentimental Mutter", jokes Paul. And when Flake makes such a fuss over the strings in the intro ("At one time or another, all rockbands begin with such crap. I had hoped we'd be spared of that") - because it sounded so lame, is really nothing else than proof of how honestly Rammstein have worked on their musical development. More than anything, Mutter is a self-conscious album. Which is [nothing else] to expect from a band that has played from the original dirt of the german clubs to the international concert halls. Rammstein were almost on their way all around the the earth. USA, japan, Australia, Europe, South America, there is no spot on this planet where they haven't lit their rocket. They are one of the bands, who defines themselves by their liveshows. These are charactrized by a monstrous selection of pyrotechnics and have more in common with a thouroughly styled theatric show than a free community. There, the bombastic [show] goes back to an odl pain of Till's. Paul: "Till always had this stagefright. He stood there with 2 pairs of sunglasses on top of eachother and  had no idea what to do. At one time or another, once he had these 2 fire-fountains pressed into his hands and from there, little by little developed the show".

Rammstein-shows are characterized by large gestures, which stays in the mind of the beholder. Rammstein provokes not rarely with their bombastic aesthetics. And have the german dilemma - in their handling of the aesthatic provokations - often problems with it. "Being pushed into a political corner" Paul explains " which you don't represent and will not have anything at all to do with. That has hurt sometimes. But the picture has changed a lot, in the course of time, people have  a different angle towards us." In [the] action. You can't imagine, that a few years ago, MTV would resist playing the videos from the band. "Now it's this," Flake says "we can deliver whatever we like, and they'll play it. When no-one knows you, they say it's gloryfying violence and not suitable for broadcasting, but when you hit the charts, it doesn't count anymore. Then you can make what you want anyhow, and they'll play it".

This also goes for the first single Sonne. A song originally written as entrancemusic for the boxer Wladimir Klitschko, but the management rejected it. "That's really a shame" says Paul, "we're big fans of the Klitschko-brothers, and it would of course be brilliant if he had taken the song. Well, we can always say that if Klitscko hadn't asked for the song, then it wouldn't be there." A backlash, which is easily digested, when the positive aspects weigh heavier. One of the best for Paul: "Not long ago, we played in Australia, it was our first tour there, and the audiences had really gone with us. They could even sing along to the lyrics in german. One time I sat in a cafe in Adelaide and thought: Man, there you are, from the East [block]. And suddenly you sit on the other side of the world".

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