Rammstein was founded by guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe. In 1989, he escaped to West Berlin and started the band Orgasm Death Gimmicks. At that time, he was heavily influenced by American music, especially Kiss. After the Berlin Wall came down, he moved back home to Schwerin, where Till Lindemann worked as a basket-weaver, played drums in the band First Arsch.
At this time, Richard lived with Oliver Riedel, of the band The Inchtabokatables, and Christoph "Doom" Schneider (of Die Firma). Richard realized that the music he had previously created did not properly suit him; He envisioned something that would combine machines and the sound of heavy guitars. The three started working together on a new project. Richard soon found it extremely difficult to write both music and lyrics at the same time, so he talked Lindemann into joining Rammstein. Richard first discovered Till when he overheard him singing while he was working.
A contest was held in Berlin for amateur bands in 1994, the winner of which would receive the opportunity to record a four-track demo audiotape in a professional studio. Kruspe, Schneider, Riedel and Lindemann entered and won the contest, which caught the attention of Paul H. Landers, who wanted in on the project upon hearing their demo. To complete their sound, Rammstein then attempted to recruit Christian "Flake" Lorenz, who used to play with Landers in Feeling B. At first Lorenz was hesitant, but eventually agreed to join the band.
Rammstein began to record their first studio album entitled Herzeleid in March 1995 with producer Jacob Hellner. They released their first single Du riechst so gut on 17 August and later released the album on 24 September 1995. Later that same year, they toured with Clawfinger in Warsaw and Prague. Rammstein headlined a tour of their own through Germany from 2 December to 22 December consisting of 17 shows which helped to boost the band's popularity. They then went on several tours throughout early 1996, releasing their second single entitled Seemann on 8 January 1996.
On 27 March, Rammstein performed on MTV's Hanging Out in London; their first performance in the UK. Rammstein's first major boost in popularity outside Germany came when music director Trent Reznor chose two Rammstein songs, Heirate mich and Rammstein, for David Lynch's film Lost Highway. The soundtrack for the film was released in the US in the fall of 1996 and later throughout Europe in April 1997.
Rammstein then went on to tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland from September to October 1996, performing an anniversary concert on 27 September called "100 years of Rammstein". Guests to the concert included Moby, Bobo and The Berlin Session Orchestra, Berlin director Gert Hof was responsible for the light show.
Rammstein started recording Sehnsucht in November 1996 at the Temple Studios in Malta. The album was again produced by Jacob Hellner. The first single off the album, entitled Engel was released on 1 April 1997 and later reached gold status in Germany on 23 May. This prompted the release of a fan edition of the single, named Engel (fan edition). This contained two previously unreleased songs, Feuerräder and Wilder Wein. Release of the second single from the album Sehnsucht was Du hast, which hit the German single charts August 1997 at number 5. Rammstein then continued touring in the summer whilst Sehnsucht was released on 22 August 1997. The album reached number 1 in Germany after only two weeks in the charts. Simultaneously, Herzeleid and both the singles off Sehnsucht (Du hast and Engel) were in the Top 20 of the German charts. Rammstein continued to headline sold out shows throughout Europe in September, October and November 1997 before releasing their cover of Kraftwerk's Das Modell. The single included another unreleased song entitled Kokain. On 5 December 1997, Rammstein embarked on their first tour of the United States with KMFDM.
On 22 and 23 August 1998, Rammstein played to over 17,000 fans at the Wuhlheide in Berlin; the biggest show the band have ever played there up to that date. Supporting acts were Danzig, Nina Hagen, Joachim Witt and Alaska. The show was professionally filmed, intended to be released on their upcoming live DVD, Live aus Berlin.
Rammstein embarked on a live tour with Korn, Ice Cube, Orgy and Limp Bizkit called the Family Values tour in September through to late October 1998. To further continue their success in the US, Sehnsucht received Gold record status on 2 November.
The Band was nominated at the MTV European Music Awards for Best Rock Act and performed Du hast live on 12 November that year.
Rammstein had further success in 1999, starting off the year in February with a nomination for Best Metal Performance at the 42nd-annual Grammy Awards. A year after it was filmed, the Live aus Berlin concert was released on CD on 30 August 1999, with a limited edition double CD also available. Two weeks after it was released, Live aus Berlin went to number one in the German Album Charts. On 13 September and 26 November 1999 the video and DVD versions of the concert were released respectively.
The recording of Rammstein's album Mutter took place in the south of France between May 2000 and June 2000, and it was later mixed in Stockholm in October of that year. During Christmas 2000, Rammstein released an mp3 of Links 2-3-4 as a taster for their new album.
2001 was a busy year for Rammstein, starting in January and February with the band playing the Big Day Out festival in Australia and New Zealand. January also heralded the shooting of the video for their upcoming single, Sonne, recorded in Potsdam at Babelsberger Filmstudios from 13 to 15 January 2001. The video was released on 29 January 2001. The single for Sonne was released on 12 February 2001 in Europe, featuring an instrumental version of the song, two remixes by Clawfinger and Adios from the upcoming album.
Mutter was released on 2 April 2001, sparking another Rammstein tour through Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On 14 May, the second single off the album, Links 2-3-4, was released, along with a video of the single on 18 May. After a tour throughout Europe in June, the band then toured the US, Canada and Mexico from June to August 2001.
Ich will, the third single from the album, was released on 10 September 2001 and a tour edition of the Mutter album was released, featuring alternative artwork and live versions of Ich will, Links 2-3-4, Sonne and Spieluhr. From 8 to 12 January 2002, Rammstein traveled to Prague to participate in a minor scene for the film xXx. The band is seen in the opening scene, performing their song Feuer frei! in a concert. Feuer frei! was released across Europe as the first single from the xXx soundtrack on 14 October 2002. Rammstein released two remixes of the song. Furthermore, the single's track listing included Du hast and Bück dich cover versions by Battery. The video for the single was edited by Rob Cohen, which contains part Rammstein performance at the beginning of the film and part snippets from the film itself.
Rammstein recorded Reise, Reise at the El Cortijo studio in southern Spain between November 2003 and December 2003, it was later mixed at Toytown studio in Stockholm, Sweden in April and May 2004. The first single from the album was Mein Teil, released on 26 July 2004. The video was shot in the Arena, in the Treptow district of Berlin. Outdoor shooting took place at the Deutsche Oper (Opera House) U-Bahn station on Bismarckstrasse. The director was Zoran Bihac, who also filmed the Links 2-3-4 video. The video for Amerika was filmed on 6 and 7 August 2004 in the ruins of the former cement works in Rüdersdorf near Berlin, Germany under the direction of Jörn Heitmann (who also directed the Ich will video, among others). The space suits for the moon scenes were borrowed from Hollywood and 240 tons of ash were needed to create the moon landscape. The video premiered on 20 August 2004.
The second single from Reise, Reise was Amerika, released on 13 September 2004. With the album released on 27 September, it went straight to top 10 charts throughout Europe. According to the Billboard charts, Rammstein were now the most successful German-language band of all time. Rammstein then toured Germany through November and some of December 2004, releasing the single Ohne dich on 22 November.
In February 2005, Rammstein toured Europe again. By 28 February 2005, Rammstein had played 21 concerts in front of more than 200,000 spectators in ten countries. Keine Lust was the fourth single released from Reise, Reise on 28 February 2005.
From 27 May to 30 July 2005, Rammstein played festivals across Europe. Footage from these concerts eventually ended up on Rammstein's live DVD Völkerball, released in November 2006.
In August 2005, Rammstein revealed the name of their next studio album: Rosenrot. Their first single from the album, Benzin, was released on 5 October 2005, with its video premiere on 16 September 2005. The album Rosenrot was released worldwide on 28 October 2005. Directly following the release, the album continued the success of its predecessor, Reise, Reise, placing on top 10 charts in 20 different countries.
16 December 2005 marked the release of the title track on the album Rosenrot. The video for Mann gegen Mann was released on 6 February 2006, with the single being released on 3 March. On 19 February 2006, Rammstein had an asteroid named after them, 110393 Rammstein.
On 17 November the first Rammstein live DVD since Live aus Berlin from 1998 was released. Völkerball shows concert-performances by the band in England, France, Japan and Russia. The special edition is extended by a second DVD, which contains the documentaries "Anaconda in the net" by Mathilde Bonnefoy and the "Making of the album Reise, Reise" by Rammstein guitarist Paul Landers. The limited edition was released as a large black and white photo-book with photos by Frederic Batier, who had accompanied the band through their recent tours. The photo-book edition contains two DVDs and two live albums.
The band took a time out in 2006, and began work again in 2007. In an interview with German rapper Bushido (who contributed the "Electro Ghetto remix" of Amerika) on 21 January 2007, Bushido reported recording a song with Rammstein, called Vergiss uns nicht ("Don't forget us"). In this interview, Bushido also mentioned that he was unsure whether it would be on their "best of" album or not. This was the first mention of a "best of" album, or the new album all together. In addition, keyboardist Christian "Flake" Lorenz confirmed this in an interview with Metal Hammer Germany in November, stating that they would have most likely released a new album in 2008. The band did not tour during 2007 due to album production. Their website confirmed work on a new album, but no word of a "best of" album has yet been mentioned. In January 2008, guitarist Richard Kruspe confirmed on the Talking Metal Podcast that Rammstein was recording an album as they spoke, during that same interview he confirmed a "big world tour" following the next album to contain US dates.
On 4 November, the band finished the pre-production in Berlin and went to the Henson Studio in Los Angeles. After 7 intensive weeks they had recorded the drums, guitars and most of the vocals.
Two very short (less than two minutes) "making of" videos have been released during the development of the album. One video, released on the band's website, shows drummer Christoph "Doom" Schneider recording drums for one of the tracks (Mehr), and the second, released on the band's MySpace page, features keyboardist Flake Lorenz practicing notes for another track.
On 6 May 2009, Rammstein announced a European Tour dates on their website. The June '09 release of Metal Hammer featured an interview with Rammstein-manager Emanuel Fialik. In regard to the upcoming album Fialik quoted
Musically, it has the force of Mutter while the beauty of the melodies of Sehnsucht - Just so it has fixed in my ears. and also that it will feature two soft ballads and the rest will be
hard as a rock. He even went as far to say that the disk is the biggest surprise since the birth of his son. The interview concluded with Fialik stating
It is musically the best Album, which until now has Rammstein recorded!
In July 2009, the track Liebe ist für alle da leaked onto the internet, along with promotional materials. This has led Universal Music to take action against certain fan sites.
It was confirmed in August 2009 that the new album will have 11 tracks, and mixing of the album - which was taking place in Stockholm - has been completed. On September 2009, it was confirmed on the band's website that Pussy will be the first single from the new album. On the same day, The Gauntlet posted a promotional video for it. The video also confirmed the new album title, Liebe ist für alle da. Later, the title was confirmed again in an interview with Paul Landers for RockOne magazine.
The music video for Pussy was released 30 minutes early on September 16, 2009, at 20:30 GMT, released especially for the adult website Visit-x. The video contains graphic scenes of male and female nudity as well as women engaging in sexual activity with the band members. Metal Hammer released an edited version of the video onto their website.
The video for Ich tu dir weh was released on December 21, 2009 on the adult website Visit-x; it depicts the band on stage in a similar configuration as the one on their 2009/10 tour. The single was released on January 15, 2010. On Friday April 23, 2010, Rammstein released their video Haifisch. Unlike the video for Ich tu dir weh, it contains more of a storyline rather than a performance. The single was released May 28, 2010.
On November 8, 2009 Rammstein began the first leg of the Liebe ist für alle da tour in Lisbon, Portugal. As part of their European summer tour, Rammstein performed at the 2010 Rock am Ring Festival on 4–6 June 2010. They also headlined several shows across Europe on the Sonisphere Festival, including their first ever outdoor UK performance at Knebworth Park, performing the day before Iron Maiden. On Sunday July 18, 2010, Rammstein played in front of more than 130,000 people in Quebec City on the Plains of Abraham as the closing show for the Festival d'été de Québec. It was their first North American appearance in 9 years. The band announced that their last tour dates of 2010 were to be in the Americas. After several South American dates, the band returned to the United States for a single show at the famous Madison Square Garden in New York City - their first US show in over nine years. They also performed at Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on December 9. This concert also sold out within the first hour of tickets going on sale, indicating a high demand to see Rammstein in North America. The band then played at Big Day Out 2011 from January 21 to February 6 in New Zealand and Australia. The band also visited South Africa for the first time in 2011 and played two concerts at Cape Town and Johannesburg. On February 16, 2011, Rammstein announced that after the massive success of their sold out Madison Square Garden show on December 11, 2010 they would be touring North America after 10 years to a total of six US dates, three Canadian dates, and four Mexican dates. On April 20, 2011 the band also won the Revolver Golden God Award for best live band, their first US award.
Rammstein will release a best of album titled Made In Germany 1995–2011 on December 2, 2011. It will contain one previously unreleased track, Mein Land which will also be available as a single on November 11, 2011 with another unreleased track Vergiss uns nicht, the song that was recorded with Bushido. The compilation will be available in three different editions. The video for the song Mein Land was filmed on May 23, 2011 at Sycamore Beach in Malibu, California. It will premiere on the band's official website on November 11, 2011. A full European tour in support of Made In Germany 1995-2011 will spawn from November 2011 to March 2012.