Rammstein will release their first new album in 10 years sometime in 2019, but during a recent lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy, keyboardist Christian "Flake" Lorenz took time to look back — specifically, at the early days of the East Berlin punk and new wave scene, in which several of the band's members participated. Before they went on to form Rammstein in the mid-nineties, Flake and guitarist Paul Landers played in hardcore-punk band Feeling B amid the political turmoil of a divided country.
Flake recalls an "explosion" in the 1980s, as everyone in his town was "a musician, a poet or a painter" and "everyone was playing in a band." A slideshow behind him shows a picture of a party house where gigs would go down, and where he met the group of musicians that formed Feeling B. The outfit played various weird gigs, including one on an island near the then–West German border where they used batteries to power their amps. Flake credits the kindness of other local acts in taking on the fledgling group, and remembers how no one in East Germany wanted to listen to East German music, so often Feeling B would end up playing with cover bands who performed popular hits of the day. One such act was Stonebeat, a group that, predictably, played Rolling Stones and Beatles tunes. "For every weird band, we had an East German cover band."
Needless to say, Feeling B were a harsh pill to swallow for most attendees of such shows. "We came on stage, and the people were shocked," Flake recalled. "We are a kind of punk band, very quick and very bad, and they hit [us with] bottles, glasses, anything onstage and tried to interrupt us." He expressed gratitude for the two or three people who would approach them afterward, reassuring the band: "That's great. You were cool." The group considered that enough success, and thus continued their musical pursuits.
He then relays stories about the band's continued efforts to grow and expand their audience, including a couple of brief stories about traveling East Germany and playing in their "own kind of world." Also mentioned are the stringent rules bands had to endure under the Soviet-occupied state, including permission letter granted by the band members' employers and police that had to be procured before they were allowed to perform in clubs. Watch the full lecture above.