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RAMMSTEIN Drummer Recalls Being in a Band With Two German Secret Service Spies

Cold War-era Germany was something else.

Rammstein drummer Christoph "Doom" Schneider was born in 1966 in Pankow, Berlin. Schneider recalls his experience growing up in a divided Germany to Metal Hammer, saying being a musician at the time was pretty difficult.

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"In the East, we had professional bands which had all studied music and had official permission to play music," he said. They were allowed to work as professionals and they had the right to charge money for their shows. If you were an amateur, you had to be classified at a certain level. There were three levels, and I reached the first one! I had a certificate which allowed me to charge four Deutschmarks (£1.30) per hour when I played a concert. Without this certificate it was illegal to play gigs, and you weren’t allowed to make contact with promoters without one.

"People accepted this because they had to. To get your certificate you had to play in front of a commission, like a jury, who decided if you had the right songs: you were only allowed to play 40 per cent cover versions in your set, the rest had to be your own music. Actually it wasn’t that bad an idea, because bands had to come up with their own stuff, and so there were a lot of interesting bands at that time."

Schneider also recalls being in a band with two government spies. He adds the spies weren't really professional spies, but just two hired guns that would report on the music scene.

"Die Firma was like a new wave punk band. The style was a little dark, with gothic influences. We had lyrics that protested against the system. This was not permitted, of course – we were an underground band. All the other Rammstein guys were in underground bands too. We used to play in small clubs with all kinds of fans: freaks, goths, punks. The government had their people everywhere, though: Secret Service spies.

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"What was funny was that I couldn’t imagine any harder band than mine at the time, and we had two people actually in the band who were spies – the singer and the keyboard player! Ha ha! Incredible. They weren’t professionals: they were hired spies who received a little payment and every once in a while had to report about the music scene."

Rammstein is currently working on new songs in quarantine.

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