Rammstein Use 265 Gallons of Pyro Fuel Per Show
Rammstein’s live pyro setup is the stuff of legends, as big a part of why folks go to see the band live as the music itself (an even bigger part for some fans, to be sure). From standard pyro blasts to flamethrowers to frontman Till Lindemann flying above the stage in a harness shooting fire from angel wings affixed to his back, Rammstein shows are a massive fiery SPECTACLE.
Which is precisely why Ultimate Guitar‘s new interview with Nikolai Sabottka, the man behind the band’s iconic flame theatrics, is so fascinating. Nikolai began his career as a tour and production manager for Rammstein and worked his way up the chain through his passion for pyro, and his company now handles the stage shows of Kiss, Green Day, The Weeknd and a number of other acts. The chat is at once enlightening (no pun intended) and horrifying when you consider all the safety elements involved.
On the general topic of staying on top of local regulations, he explained:
“This is one of the main jobs…looking at the size of the venues you will be playing first … then design the show accordingly and choose your effects wisely so you’re always able to ‘sell’ this to the local authorities. Every market has got a different approach on how to handle flames and pyrotechnics… while pyro is heavily regulated most everywhere in the world, that is not at all the case for flame effects. So, we most often need to deal with different authorities for different effects and we had everything from zero to roughly a hundred firemen on site. At some point in your career, it comes down to what reputation you were able to build up over the years, and if you do not screw up it is getting a little easier, over time, since fire marshals start to trust you if you don’t fool them, even if you come to town with rather crazy looking stuff.”
On keeping an eye out for new developments in the pyro world and how the band tests and eventually implements them:
“My job is to keep an eye for anything new in the world of pyrotechnics and we had the unique chance to partner up with evolution pyrotechnics in Columbus, Montana which are the manufacturers of one of the best products in the industry. Through this partnership, we were able to have effects manufactured to our specs. Another source of inspiration is our in-house research and development department in which we constantly work on new stuff and last, but not least, the band is fairly active on the hunt for anything out of the ordinary.”
“So in the prep of a tour we sit and exchange all the different ideas before we go and actually test what has been prototyped and built beforehand….after the initial test there are endless changes to be implemented…and sometimes it simply does not work the way we imagined it and effects get pushed back to research & development while others get approved and are produced on a larger scale.”
And then there’s this headline-grabbing humdinger about fuel usage per show:
“The current stadium setup uses roughly 1000 liters [about 265 Gallons].”
That is a MASSIVE amount. By contrast, my car, which is on the larger side, has an 18-gallon gas tank that typically allows me to drive for 400+ miles! I’d love to know if the band brings all that fuel with them in their tour trucks, if they procure it locally each night, or how exactly that works.
Nikolai concludes by plugging the Touring Professionals Alliance, a group dedicated to “help[ing] our touring families as they struggle with unprecedented financial and emotional hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” A worthwhile cause if ever there was one.
You can read the full interview here.