Original Source: Rammstein USA - http://www.rammstein.us/archives/3834
Till Lindemann, vocalist of Rammstein, has published a fascinating book of poetry. A visit to an artist, who seems to have fallen out of time.
By Linus Schöpfer, Berlin. Translation by SonneN
Original source: Basler Zeitung
Our civilization is a thin varnish over old anarchy, as many believe. And if it breaks, then the evil Lindemann could get us very bad, when he feels like it. This threat is constantly in the air during the concerts of Rammstein, to each tens of thousands make a pilgrimage. Till Lindemann is the singer of the most notorious metal band.
Lindemann actually acts like a wounded warrior from Grimmelshausen “Simplicissimus” novel, which tells the story of the cut and thrust of the 1630s. “The vast majority of my poems could have been written also a few hundred years earlier,” he says, speaking very softly. The meeting will be held in a lounge near the Alexanderplatz in Berlin. Lindemann wearing tight yellow jodhpurs has bleached blond hair and deep circles under watery-blue eyes. The face is a little puffy. He is beefy, but less than expected.
The Nightingale must die
There are the violent fantasies that many suspiciously familiar of Rammstein, in Lindemann’s new book of poems, “In silent nights”. Even in vast quantities: In “Marie Antoinette” – there is a decapitating, in “The Experiment” a university is being set into flames, in “The Knife”- there is “heart being smeared.” Drawings of the graphic artist and Lindemann’s friend Matthies Matthias illustrate the book, and they are usually cruel and often pornographic.
Lindemann’s violence, however, is not triumphant but pitiful, sickening – one that happens from a misunderstanding, out of distress, failure or despair, and often ends with self-torture. Lindemann’s lyrical “I” is reminiscent of the giant’s from Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” who wants to caress a puppy and choked it. Or “Edward Scissorhands.” It is the same tragedy. Sex to resolve the aggression and it always ends in disappointment: “I found a meat on the bed / It had a face / I thought it was love / But it was not” (“Flesh”).
Again tormented by the fact that this love knows no reliable interaction principle: “I love life / But life does not love me / kicks me in the testicles / Beats me in the face”, it says in “I’m not angry.” The best Lindemann poems are born out of pain, hypersensitivity; pathetic, but nonetheless laconic pieces like “No” or “I love you”. These poems are never “cheerful and also the melancholic idyll is not safe from the eruption of violence. All of a sudden threatens to turn to an extreme. The nightingale sings at Lindemann only briefly, soon to be a misfortune because: “Once I heard a Nightingale / The day I hear her complain / I threw a stone admirably / The spring creature is slain”, is the first verse of “Nightingale”. The rest is mourning and downfall in clean clocked rhymes.
Or: “Happiness and joy are followed by the torment / For everything beautiful you have to pay / What I love / Must Die,” is so very typical at the end of “What I love.” Out of love follows the rejection follows from the wrath of madness. The 97 poems from “In silent nights” are under a psychotic tension and have an emergency, as it is rarely found in contemporary poetry. This is poetry in the spirit of a brutal late romanticism. You read it with fascination and unease.
Lindemann, the writer of the book wants to have nothing to do with pure psychoanalysis. Conspicuousness he hastily dismisses. Even Nietzsche, he wants nothing to do with, because he suspected there psychoanalysis. He’s sealed from the belly up, he says. Especially to the questions: Where did these extremes come from? This direct juxtaposition of brutal rage and painful sensitivity? Why the world run?
Swimming for the GDR
His biography allows for some conclusions to be drawn as to why Lindemann today not only in his poetry, but also in conversation feels like one who has fallen out of time. His career ran between the systems, it is a traveler’s history. He emphasizes how fundamentally different he experienced socialism and capitalism. In the former he was born, about 50 years ago in Leipzig. But when he became aware of himself, the nearing collapse was already palpable.
Lindemann’s native that has never become the ‘workers and peasants’ state – made it impossible even for the library at his parents (the 40-year old, very distant father, a children’s book author, the mother - cultural journalist): It contained what the censorship barely allowed. Lindemann was a tramp and bum in his youth, as he himself admits, absolutely no socialist role-model boy. To discipline, he was sent into the swimming school. And he grew up in this task, even in very concrete, physical sense. The role of vigorous leader of Rammstein could not be possibly filled by Lindemann, if he had not been exposed to the impositions and oppressions of the East German swimming sport.
He held himself very well and was even called up to the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He has learned what hardness is at that time, Lindemann says, and he sounds thoughtful and not proud. It probably was the time that already damaged the soul. After a suspension – Lindemann had stolen from the team hotel and was suspended by the officials – and an injury was Lindemann’s sports career end even before the games were over. Then he was trained as a cabinetmaker.
Alienated from the republic
The fall of the wall also signified then for Lindemann the large, influential biographical rupture. How much tons of candies he, hungry for soft treats young East German, purchased with his Western money once – “until I was bad.” But while most of his friends are chasing after lucrative jobs, Lindemann was somewhat at a loss back in the East. Still, he tried his hand as a drummer and not as a singer, Rammstein was founded in 1994.
Till Lindemann does not understand the capitalist world in which he lives. His scanty, timid overtures fail miserably even in the new poems, such as when he tries to be a cultural pessimist and unoriginaly mocks cosmetic surgery (“Bigger Beautiful hardener”).
He, who lives on a farmstead of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, an escapist at the bottom of his heart and romantic Joseph von Eichendorff that his avowed model is only logical. Contemporary poetry does not interest him, he says. In his longing for the old forms and by the unleashing of emotions and instincts he has, much like Ernst Jünger “Anarch”, moderately alienated the Federal Republic. Therefore strike against him and his band has always been confusion and fierce criticism. The unjustified accusation of neo-Nazism which was collected at the end of 90’s was the flashy expression of the fact.
Lindemann does not understand the world, and the world does not understand him. “Do you understand me?” He calls respectively to the mass of mechanics, students and neo-Nazis, when Rammstein plays their song “I want to”. And it echoes back ten thousand times: “We understand you!” Lindemann know that there is a ten-thousand-fold lie. “The poems are plaster on my wounds,” he says, and one suspects, it is not easy to be a Lindemann
This interview is from Die Welt on Till Lindemann’s new book of poetry entitled ‘In stillen Nachten’.
Thank you to Rammstein USA for translating it into English:
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Brand new interview with Schneider - turn on the caption function for English translation. Thanks to R+ US for uploading it!
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