One of the most remarkable things about Rammstein is that their line-up has remained unchanged for their entire 21-year career. Watching Rammstein In Amerika, the documentary chronicling their rise to fame and subsequent breaking of the USA, you realise that the consistent personnel is literally just one of many, many impressive things about the German pyro-lovers.
Ah, yes, the fire. “When I first met Till Lindemann, he was on fire – literally,” quips Marilyn Manson, drawing a laugh from the assembled audience at the preview screening. This gives the band their first opportunity to showcase their dry sense of humour, with Till explaining that the band sustained some ‘minor injuries’, like moderate burns to the ears and face, in their early years. His definition of minor injuries is somewhat more extreme than most people’s, but Rammstein never have been a band to do things by halves.
Their burning stage show – which saw them banned from Chicago – could easily have turned into a gimmick, but as Till explains in the film, it’s their way of connecting with the audience beyond the music. Becoming the first non-English language rock band to break America didn’t come easily; the band, seated together on sofas as they reminisce about their tours of the States, almost found the bureaucracy too much to handle. They laugh as they remember Till and Flake Lorenz being arrested in Salt Lake City for simulating anal sex on stage with a milk-spurting dildo, and seem incredulous that American venue managers take health and safety so seriously. They’re relaxed and open, meaning that the documentary never strays into pompous talking-head territory – it’s an insightful portrait of one of the most interesting, dedicated and often humorous bands in rock.
Flake provides much of the amusement. A photo of him from a raucous after-show party on the Family Values tour, with his head sandwiched between two pieces of bread, is the kind of thing you’d expect to see on The Lad Bible, but there it is, plucked from the archive of a band whose outward persona is unadulterated fire and brimstone. Footage of Flake keeping himself busy on tour by power-walking around various American cities in a tweed suit draws another chuckle, and is just one of the many snippets of personality throughout the film.
The triumph they felt when they sold out Madison Square Garden after staying away from America for ten years is palpable even from the short cuts of footage included, and will leave you wanting to watch Rammstein live as soon as humanly possible. If you’re a fan, for Satan’s sake, watch this film. And if you weren’t a fan before, you will be once you’ve seen Rammstein In Amerika.
Rammstein In Amerika is available on DVD and Blu-Ray on 25 September.