On the occasion of Till Lindemann's 60th birthday, Flake wrote an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
Till Lindemann, “Rammstein” singer and lyricist, turns 60. Congratulations from his longtime friend and keyboardist.
Actually, one would not have to wait for a milestone birthday to honor this wonderful person. You could just pause and pay homage to the force of nature on any other evening. It may also be that Till Lindemann’s birthday this Wednesday is not true. Even when Bravo reported about Rammstein for the first time in the early 1990s, our dates of birth were completely out of thin air. We were way too old for the Bravo target group back then, so the editors simply made us a few years younger. That wasn’t a problem because the internet was still empty.
We soon realized that it doesn’t matter how old you really are. Much later, when Rammstein became successful, being old was even better. You can deal more calmly with all that nonsense and enjoy your happiness in peace. Also, a person’s age is just in the eye of the beholder, at least I don’t know anyone who would call themselves old. On the other hand, I can still remember how, as a young musician, I couldn’t calm down when I found out that the guitarist in a band I was friends with was over 30 years old. “He can still make music?” I asked. Men over 50 were half-dead, bleating grandpas in ugly brown clothes, they were every teenager’s natural enemy.
It’s 1986. Till turns up the system. I’m worried: What will the neighbors think?
Till seemed old to me when I met him. That was in the mid-1980s in East Germany. Till was not only older than me, in contrast to me he was already really grown up. He lived in his own house while I was still in my parents’ room and didn’t even have a girlfriend. I saw Till for the first time in 1986 in a Schwerin club after a Feeling B concert. I immediately noticed him: Till was a tall, strong man who on the one hand exuded natural authority, but at the same time seemed very shy. We didn’t hesitate when he offered to take us home with him. His house in the country near Schwerin seemed like paradise to me, it was incredibly comfortable, probably because he had set it up that way himself; he had knocked out the walls between the rooms and left only the half-timbering. The volume on his system was turned up to the limit, the Sisters Of Mercy screamed from the cheap speakers.
I had never dared to do anything like this in my life. What would the neighbors think? When I wanted to play a song on the piano in between, Till simply carried it for me to another room where it wasn’t so loud. At some point we all fell asleep where we sat and stood, like in Sleeping Beauty, and when I woke up the next morning, I imagined what it would be like if you always lived like Till. I really liked this idea.
Of course, his life wasn’t a one-stop party. He also lived in the house because the argument with his father, who was not exactly frail, had escalated beforehand. Till had hit his father, the children’s book author Werner Lindemann, with such a punch that he flew into the strawberry bed. Then Werner Lindemann threw Till’s things out of the skylight. Life in a sports boarding school and training as a carpenter in Rostock were no fun either. Later, as a single father, Till lived with his daughter Nele in his nest, which in turn probably saved him from being drafted into the army. Till always seemed and always seems in a good mood to me – a bit like Obelix, of course not in terms of stature, for God’s sake, he looks more like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but in terms of personality he’s more like Obelix. Always according to the motto: “Friends, I have a plan, let’s go here and there and break everything to pieces!”
Practical: He could change a wheel on the Trabi without using the jack
When the wall was suddenly open, Till drove to Lübeck with a couple of friends and spent all the West money he had saved and exchanged on gummy bears. He sat in a doorway and ate them all. Of course, he also manages a wild boar – it was an advantage back then that he lived so close to the railway embankment. When a waiter asks Till if he liked his food, he usually replies: “Yes, thank you, it was plenty.” Incidentally, he also shares Obelix’s great love of small dogs. Since Till is with (allegedly) Francis of Assisi, who wrote: “The dog remains loyal to me in the storm, man not even in the wind.”
And like Obelix, Till seems to have fallen into a magic potion, because he really has tremendous powers.
At that time he could change a wheel on the Trabi without using the jack. In the old days, when we had to work as stewards at an open-air festival, Till just banged his fist through a car window to hold the driver down.
If Till sees any body of water, he immediately plunges into it and plows through it like a motorboat. He tucks the boxes that we carry in the studio or in the rehearsal room under his arm alone.
If a door is locked somewhere, he just sticks me through a second-story window so I can open it all from the inside.
I’ve never met anyone who is so pragmatic about music and lyrics. Till would never have originally thought of becoming a singer. Although he observed that musicians in Schwerin had a hit with women and then played drums in a punk band - but in all those years I really never had the feeling that punk music particularly interested him. An effective and well thought-out stage show was always more important to him. For example, Till once put chickens in the bass drum and only pulled the cloth away after the first song, causing the animals to tumble across the stage.
Cheering crowds, prizes and honours: All of this actually leaves him completely cold
When Till was supposed to sing with us, it was very difficult for him at first, because as a singer you can’t hide behind an instrument or another musician. Then he put on welding goggles so that he looked like a friendly insect. Till sang beautifully, deeply and soothingly. We stopped worrying immediately. Everything would be fine. We just needed good lyrics. So Till sat down to write them. He never pretends to be a great artist who needs to express his deep feelings. He prefers to think about what else can be lit on stage (like me). The concerts used to be a lot of fun. At that time we always looked for an attractive village inn first, in order to eat as much as possible. Only then did we set up our stuff and play.
Till loves women - and women love him. But how he manages to go through his life completely free of any affectation, even after 37 years, still arouses deep admiration from me. Cheering crowds of spectators, prizes and honors actually leave him completely cold. Organizing a party for our entire crew seems to be more important to him than any concert. Incidentally, he has renounced his rights as a lyricist for decades, so that all six of us at Rammstein earn exactly the same. In any case, Till has extended the life of the band, because money is usually the trigger for a breakup. He, on the other hand, has a very decisive influence on our band with his lyrics and his voice.
So we can still successfully defend our small East German village. By Teutates! May the sky never fall on Till’s head!