Rammstein’s Drummer Was in a Band with Two Spies in ’80s East Germany
Connections between legendary German metal bands and Cold War-era East Germany’s covert authorities abound of late, first with an entire podcast series devoted to the theory that the American CIA wrote Scorpions’ big hit, “Wind of Change,” (the band denies it), and now with the revelation that Rammstein’s drummer, Christoph “Doom” Schneider, once played in a band with two spies.
Speaking to Metal Hammer, Schneider described what the East German music scene was like in those years, explaining that professionally operating bands needed to be certified by the government:
“In the East, we had professional bands which had all studied music and had official permission to play music. They were allowed to work as professionals and they had the right to charge money for their shows.
“If you were an amateur, you had to be classified at a certain level. There were three levels, and I reached the first one! I had a certificate which allowed me to charge four Deutschmarks per hour when I played a concert. Without this certificate it was illegal to play gigs, and you weren’t allowed to make contact with promoters without one.
“To get your certificate you had to play in front of a commission, like a jury, who decided if you had the right songs: you were only allowed to play 40 percent cover versions in your set, the rest had to be your own music. Actually it wasn’t that bad an idea, because bands had to come up with their own stuff, and so there were a lot of interesting bands at that time.”
Schneider then spoke about his own band, Die Firma (translation: The Firm), which featured two East German spies in its ranks:
“Die Firma was like a new wave punk band. The style was a little dark, with gothic influences. We had lyrics that protested against the system. This was not permitted, of course – we were an underground band.
“All the other Rammstein guys were in underground bands too. We used to play in small clubs with all kinds of fans: freaks, goths, punks. The government had their people everywhere, though: Secret Service spies.
“What was funny was that I couldn’t imagine any harder band than mine at the time and we had two people actually in the band who were spies – the singer and the keyboard player! Ha ha! Incredible.
“They weren’t professional [spies]: they were hired spies who received a little payment and every once in a while had to report about the music scene.”
Rammstein had extensive touring plans for 2020 in both Europe and North America, but all dates have moved to 2021. Keep up with the latest on those touring plans here.
Rammstein also recently revealed they’re working on new music while in quarantine.