You wouldn’t expect the lead guitarist of a fire-loving, x-rated music video-making, dildo-peddling German industrial metal band to be warm, friendly and speak in fluent English over the phone, but Richard Z. Kruspe sounds like he’s more excited than ever about being in Rammstein ahead of their return to Australia for the Big Day Out.
Having not played in Australia for a decade, the band just broke their similarly decade-long drought between shows in the US in style with a sold at show at the most famous arena in the world, Madison Square Garden in New York City. “That was a hell of a show – wow! It was crazy,” Kruspe enthuses.
“I was so nervous just to play that and it was crazy. I’m just glad it happened – it was one of those dreams that came up. In the beginning, we introduced the idea like three years ago and people said, ‘woah, you can’t do that – it’s much too big for you.’ And I was saying, ‘you’re in America, you have to think big!’” he laughs. “You have to exaggerate everything so I thought we should at least try it. We sold it out in 30 minutes – it was great.”
Krupse explains that Rammstein have played mainly in Europe for the past decade, but judging by the reception in NYC, perhaps it was a mistake. “We kind of grew in Europe so much faster than in America,” he muses. “We always had a hard time to adapt the show like we do in Europe to America. The last shows we played were 11 years ago and in the meantime we had an off time of two years… and we had two years to do a record and there was always something that came in between.
“We didn’t like to play in America so much because for some reason we thought that we weren’t going anywhere there. I realised that we are special and interesting and underground there, I think I thought with the language barrier that we can’t make it there but then when we played the big show in Madison Square Garden, I realised that Rammstein had become big and it had become more visual then it becomes almost like an opera – you know?” he ponders.
“In an opera, people sing in Italian or German or whatever – it’s not so much about language and that’s the same thing about Rammstein,” he continues. “If you put on a show like that, it could work even in America. So it was a good moment.”
Set to strut their stuff alongside Tool and Iggy & The Stooges at the BDO, Kruspe says the band’s live show is better than ever. “We’re much more confident as musicians – at the beginning we didn’t really know what we were doing,” he reflects. “We were playing like little kids; I think we’ve developed a lot.
“For some reason, we just got back from this North America tour and I thought, ‘well, we haven’t played there for 12 years’. Rammstein is almost like an old wine: as the years go by it just gets better. People are much more global these days, they’re checking the internet to know what’s going on and it’s like you are in Australia and we are in Europe or in America, people are now a part of the whole world, therefore I think it’s not like if you don’t play for 12 years that people forget you… at least for Rammstein, I don’t know for other bands.
“The show, “ he adds, “is now more intense… there are more spectacular things coming up.”
He also explains that the band will be better able to cope with expectation than they were last time they toured, when they were the only band in the festival’s history to be upgraded to headliner after the tour had started. “We remember the last time we were there we weren’t prepared to play the headline show – we were just meant to play there as another band and then Limp Bizkit left and we became the headliner, which was a big surprise for us, but this time we’re much more prepared,” Kruspe promises.
“I remember it was a mix between holiday and the business. It felt like it was the most relaxing festival I ever played.”
In 2011, it seems Kruspe is going to take advantage of the holiday vibe. “I want to see more of the country,” he says. “So what I’m doing right now is I have some friends coming over to Australia and we’re taking cars and basically cruising through the whole country,” he laughs. “I just want to know more about the country and when you’re flying you don’t really get to know the country so I will change the set-up a little bit. I’ll just rent a car and drive through the country from Brisbane to Perth basically.”
After explaining to him that driving from Adelaide to Perth in under 48 hours may pose a challenge, we get to talking about dildos.
As you do when talking to Rammstein, I guess.
Specifically, however, it’s the deluxe edition of their latest album Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da that comes with six dildos, handcuffs and lubricant.
“It just popped up in my mind – we were talking about gimmicks and we become really silly when we are all together. I think we are a real sexual band in a way,” the guitarist muses in what could be the understatement of the year.
“And things just pop up and now we’re just thinking about what has nobody ever done? And we thought let’s do that. I think it’s just silly!”
RAMMSTEIN headline BIG DAY OUT – alongside Tool, Iggy & The Stooges, MIA, Lupe Fiasco, Deftones, LCD Soundsystem, Wolfmother and heaps more at the Flemington Racecourse this Sunday January 30. All info from bigdayout.com. RAMMSTEIN’s latest album Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da is out now through Universal.