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Ich Liebe Rammstein: Schneider

Christoph "Doom" Schneider


The nickname "Doom" fits Herr Schneider about as well as the given name "Christian" fits bandmate Flake. Though he'd rather go by anything but his given first name Christoph, Rammstein's drummer generally goes by Schneider. I like to think of him as "the Face," but Schneider, as the drummer and a laid-back fellow, is usually in the background. If he were a body part of the bionic man-machine that is Rammstein, I suppose he would be the heart. Schneider is in touch with his tender side and has a huge soft spot for his musical family.

The nickname "Doom" was suggested by rhythm guitarist Paul Landers when Rammstein got their first record deal. The label thought the name "Christoph Schneider" was too common, so he needed a nickname to go on the credits. Paul came up with "Doom" after the video game Schneider liked to play. Schneider has said he would have chosen something better if given more time to think about it. Ironically, "Doom" seems to be the cheeriest of all the band members in most of the footage I have seen. He expresses a wide range of emotions, from sentimental to peppy.

Schneider has many faces, literally and figuratively. He has delicate, distinctive features that are easily transformed by a touch of guyliner, a rough night of heavy drinking, or a new hairstyle. His better looks range from razor-sharp (especially in old videos such as "Du Hast" and "Ich Will") to sexy-angelic to cuddly-hippie-with-Jesus-hair.

Rammstein has been the ultimate fulfillment of Schneider's most basic desires. All his life, he just wanted to bang on his bongos all day. His parents sent him to a music school to play in a Soviet orchestra. He was given a choice among three wind instruments, and he chose the trumpet. He had little interest in it and kept turning to watch the drummer, but his parents disapproved of this less classical tendency. Young Schneider made his own kit out of cans and buckets and finally bought a cheap set when he was 14. The drums' quality was poor, and he continuously asked a friend to weld them back together when they broke. But his passion wore down his parents, and they grudgingly allowed him to take drum lessons.

Schneider bowed to the pressure to lead a sensible life for a little while. In his late teens, he worked as a telecommunications assistant, and at 18, he completed his required service in the East German military. He is the only member of Rammstein who did not evade it.

Schneider's dream of becoming a professional drummer was stalled when he failed to get into music school at university because he could not play any other instruments. So he taught himself and attempted for at least five years to get into bands, finally succeeding in his mid-20s with Die Firma and Feeling B, an underground punk band that included guitarist Paul Landers and keyboardist Flake Lorenz.

Schneider is one of the founding members of Rammstein. He was living with bassist Oliver Riedel and guitarist/songwriter Richard Kruspe when Richard decided to start a new band. The three roommates, Richard, Ollie, and Schneider, started Rammstein, and soon afterward Richard recruited Till Lindemann, the drummer for Richard's previous band First Arsch, to sing and write lyrics. After the four recorded a demo tape, First Arsch and Feeling B guitarist Paul Landers was enthusiastic about the sound and had the fortitude to coerce his roommate Flake into joining the band with him.

Like his friend Richard, Schneider feels most alive while performing onstage with Rammstein. In his Anakonda im Netz interview, Schneider describes the state of "being in the moment" during a performance--a special time when there is only the present. Like Richard, Schneider is acutely aware of the energy of the people around him--his bandmates, the stage crew of a hundred or so, and most of all the Rammstein fans with their jarring styles. He describes the strangeness of the gothy-dressed kids in scenic, beautiful locations around the world, and he savors the nuances of each place and each audience. He feels that each venue holds the distinct energy of the crowd long after the people have left, and he has a history of falling madly in love with each city that he visits.

He has struggled with controlling his roller-coaster emotions about touring so that it isn't so hard to go home. "You're alive for just a moment," he says, echoing Richard's darker sentiments about feeling worthy of life for only that window of time. While Richard compares stage performance to a drug addiction, Schneider talks about the whole experience of touring more as if it were a love affair. He doesn't like going home, where he has difficulty adjusting to "normal" life.

Schneider has the least ambivalence about touring among his bandmates because, as he explained in a recent interview, "the other guys have families." This implies that Schneider does not have a family of his own. I have seen in an unverifiable source that he may have a child, but I am not at all certain that is true. All that is publicly known is that he was married for a short time beginning in 2005 to a Russian interpreter and that he is now dating a beautiful model. His current girlfriend, Ulrike Schmid, has a lasciviously joyous look on her face in every photograph taken near her love.

Schneider is very comfortable expressing his softer side--verbally and physically. In his recent Made in Germany interview about the video for "Mutter," he chokes up when recalling the time when Rammstein considered breaking up. After Rammstein came back together and conceived of the song "Keine Lust" and its video, Schneider wanted "Keine Lust" to be the comeback album's first single. He loved the video's depiction of the band as old and obese, which he thought was a great contrast to most bands' attempts to look as cool and virile as possible after a break. Schneider's appreciation for irony, humor, and a mix of hard and soft are also apparent in his feelings about the "P***y" single from the band's last album, Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da. The single's liner notes and promotional materials feature an image of the band members' heads, shoulders, and arms on female nude bodies from the chest down. Schneider loved the weird effect and wanted it to be on the cover of the album.

Schneider is an adventurous spirit with a wide range of tastes. His musical influences include AC/DC, Ministry, Pantera, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but at home he likes to listen to Coldplay. He is a beautiful soul who loves Rammstein like family and finds joy in newness, immediacy, contrast, and the unexpected. And he's a pretty kick-ass drummer, too.

Ich liebe dich, Schneider!

This information is entirely based upon "facts" from Wikipedia, trashy tabloids, dorky fan forums, Urban Dictionary, social media, and official interviews and videos released by the band in several languages and nations. These are not American or British celebrities; the paparazzi do not camp in their shrubberies, perch atop their tour bus, bug their underpants, or otherwise have a regular, intrusive presence in these men's lives. These personal impressions of mine are gathered from many sources and true to the best of my knowledge.

More RAMMblings:
Ollie
Richard
Flake
Paul
Till

Comments

  1. I hope this doesn't double post. I'm not sure if my other comment went through but I'm so happy I found your blog. I'm a fellow Rammstein geek and as you know there aren't enough of us in the US. I'm glad someone out there shares my love for them. I hope that you write about their new DVD that comes out Jan. 15th!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Jasmine! Thank you for sharing the love. I cannot wait to see a new Making Of video. (I think I like them even better than the actual videos!)

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