Richard Kruspe: I am just trying to recover; I just got out of the hospital yesterday.
The Gauntlet: Having your breast implants removed?
Richard Kruspe: [laughs] No, I had knee surgery. I am alright but a little handicapped. I had some pain for a couple of weeks and went to the doctor because I was afraid. If I am in pain now, what would it be like on tour for two and a half years? It was something about the meniscus and was broken basically and they had to fix it. It was time to do it. I am glad I did it and now have four weeks to get back on track and rock & roll.
The Gauntlet: You get some good painkiller drugs?
Richard: I don't really have that much pain. It was just a little in the beginning. I feel handicapped and can't jump around all the time. I usually wake up in the morning and do at least an hour of jogging or some sport and now I can't do anything. It just doesn't feel good.
The Gauntlet: You might want to look into a sports doctor. I was a cross country runner and started having knee issues with the fluid from the continual impact.
Richard: Oh yeah, maybe. I grew up in East Germany and have been into sports since I was four. I was a wrestler for seven years.
The Gauntlet: Very cool, In high school I was a Greco-roman and freestyle wrestler.
Richard: Very nice. Do you still do any sports?
The Gauntlet: Does chasing my kids around count as a sport?
Richard: That can be a sport too. They are young still right?
The Gauntlet: Yes, now they are eight and almost five.
Richard: My daughter is 18 and my son is 17. I'm not running after them anymore.
The Gauntlet: What do they think of the bands first video, "Pussy"?
Richard: I showed it to my girlfriend and my daughter at the same time and they were laughing. They thought it was really, really funny. I didn't have a problem with them. Actually I haven't heard any problems with it from anyone. I never have seen so much response or tension from a video. We didn't plan on using the song as our first single. We had a meeting with our record label and it came out as an idea to release that as the first hardcore single. I thought it was the same thing we did last time and wanted to do something else. "Pussy" is unlike any other song on the record and I felt like if they could do something really dark and not that funny but a really interesting video then it would work. We gave the song to our favorite director, Jonas Akerlund and just three hours later he got back to us and said "guys, let's fucking make a revolution and make a porn!" We all had big smiles on our faces. We knew in the beginning that MTV would not show it but we had the internet. But then Youtube wouldn't show it and we had a problem. So we came up with the idea to put it on an adult site. In two weeks, we had like 12 million people watch the video which is just amazing.
The Gauntlet: Who came up with the characters for everyone in the video, Partyboy?
Richard: Those came from Jonas. He had all kinds of characters already laid out. Jonas is one of the guys where we don't really have to do anything. Usually we come up with stories for videos, but not with him. With him, we just have to trust him. He has such a dark side to certain things and that is why I like to work with him.
The Gauntlet: Were you at all upset you weren't the ‘Heeshe' with the tits?
Richard: [laughs] You know what, the funny thing was no one knew what the other guy was doing. We all had our own rooms and own stories and we didn't know what was happening. It was funny to see how it was all shot.
The Gauntlet: So it was sort of along the lines of how you shot Mein Teil?
Richard: Yes, it was the same way, exactly.
The Gauntlet: By the looks of the video, it appears you had a lot of fun making it.
Richard: You can put it that way. I had some thoughts about the whole porn industry and thought it was this cruel industry. I realized that the people were really, really friendly, caring and professional. I was very surprised by that. There was nothing cruel or dirty about it at all, just very professional.
The Gauntlet: Do you always have that funny smile during sex?
Richard: I actually never watched myself but you have a point. I really should watch myself or videotape it. I never really...I can do it. I did that a long time ago but every girl is different. Do I really smile? Sometimes I guess, I will have to check that out. You really have me thinking on that one.
The Gauntlet: Is the album as a whole a concept album with 'love' being the central theme?
Richard: It is and it isn't. All our tracks have something to do with the darker sides of love and sex. They aren't the happy love songs. We always chose to write about the darker side of relationships. We always have chosen an album title from a song and this time it was so hard to choose one for the title. Nothing really popped out for an idea. From the beginning we had a title called "Seid Bereit" which translates to ‘Get ready' but this really never made any sense. I was working on the solo for Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da and hearing Till's voice all the time and I thought wow. When you first hear the title, it sounds cheesy but then there is a deeper meaning. I picture all the bad guys in the world and what love is there for everyone. It is true that love is there for everyone and it doesn't skip anyone. All of the sudden it had a very spiritual meaning to me and you can play with the words and show the darker side to love you know.
The Gauntlet: When will Rammstein give the U.S. a proper tour?
Richard: Let me put it this way, we will definitely come. Obviously it is really complicated. Everyone knows about the band and the show in Europe. Our problem is that we play in much bigger arenas in Europe. We play a stage show that was designed for 20-30k people and it doesn't fit a small club of 3-5k people. That is a problem. When we come to America we can't bring everything. We keep going back and forth. The pyro is part of our show and I don't know how far we can go with that. I have been living in New York for ten years now and I want to play America. It is a question right now to the organizers. There is nothing set in stone at the moment but we want to play 200 shows over the next two and a half years. We have definitely made it clear that we will play America but at the moment, there are a lot of logistic problems. We live in a digital world so people know what we do on stage. It is just so hard to bring all that across the world to America. We decided to go that way with the show and there is no going back. It is our curse, we can't just get up on stage and play the songs, that isn't what Rammstein is about.
The Gauntlet: Just package it as the Rammstein acoustic tour.
Richard: That is something I want to do, but in a more artistic way, but I can't really talk about it. I really have a great idea and it is something I can really look forward to doing with the guys again in four years.
The Gauntlet: Something classical with big string sections?
Richard: Mmmmm maybe [laughs].
The Gauntlet: With the level of intensity that Rammstein requires from you both in the studio and on stage, how much longer does the band have?
Richard: I always like speaking with you because you make me think. I think that every band that has been together for over 15 years has had a moment. In every band there is that highest moment of creativity and you reach that certain level of outcome or genius. After that you are just trying different things to get that moment back together. I think that with the right amount of distance and time between each event, you can reproduce this as often as you want. Right now I am not looking to get back into the studio again with Rammstein because that was just hell for me. It was too much. I am really looking forward to playing these shows and I am looking forward to doing an unplugged version of Rammstein which is not the way most bands do it. I want it to be a way to get excited. But going back into the studio with Rammstein, no way.
The Gauntlet: And that can always change, being on the road for two and a half years will do a lot to your way of thinking.
Richard: Yeah, but we have been together for such a long time and we are a democracy and it gets really complicated. We have to talk a lot about everything. It all has to be talked through and takes a long time. We have had those moments with the band and they are great. I am grateful for what we did but everything has an end. There is a time when you have to move on.
The Gauntlet: Do you think you can pinpoint when that end is, when you reach that upper level of creativity so you don't go out on a low note?
Richard: I think that there is no need at the moment. I am really happy that we finished this record which wasn't easy at all. I don't think there will be a need for a new album in the next two years either. The good thing about Rammstein is we have played the live market really well. There is always a need for a Rammstein show. If I am going to an AC/DC show, I don't care if there is a new record or not. I just want to hear them play T.N.T., Dirty Deeds, and Highway to Hell.