Till Lindemann — frontman from the German metal band Rammstein, also releasing a promisingly twisted new solo album this month — has just published the English translation of his poetry collection, On Quiet Nights (aka In Stillen Nachten), through my favorite indie publisher, Raw Dog Screaming Press.
I wrote the forward for this edition of the book, which I had the chance to read in original German as well as English. The poems make for a very unique read. Here’s an excerpt from my intro:
Poetry is about sound as much as it is about sense. Rammstein reaches a worldwide audience because Till Lindemann’s lyrics cut across cultures; the sound they make is as universal as any scream or howl, and Till’s vocalization of these words with all their Germanic trills and spittle express the feelings we all share — from rage to fear to lust — at the very level of their utterance. In some songs, Rammstein sneaks a little English into the mix, maybe to throw Americans a bone — as in “Amerika” or “Pu**y” — songs that are hilarious in their mockery of nationalistic arrogance mixed with a brash sexuality that suggests one country might be screwing with another. But ultimately, vocabulary is less important to these American fans than the charge they feel in their ribcages when the music plays and Lindemann pushes his voice into the mic. One only needs to hear Till growl out the opening phrase that launches the song, “Ich Will” — a phrase delivered like a hot burp of molten tar mixed with broken glass — to know what I’m talking about: this is a voice to be reckoned with. And it’s at the foundation of this collection of poetry.
The Examiner also has a fabulous review of the book.
Of course, you should look into his latest album, Skills in Pills, too, if only to enjoy the disturbing and devious new video. Lindemann sings the songs on his first solo outing in English, which makes the Rammstein vibe of it all the more unsettling. It’s great to see the man expanding his global audience.