I vaguely remember being on stage, performing with the guys. The pyro was as hot as it should’ve been, the music as loud as the fans expected it to be (…perhaps a little louder). My signature burnt guitar felt smooth in my hands, my fingers seemingly moving on their own, and yet… something wasn’t right.
It felt as if I were in a movie, where everything is based on something real, yet none of it is. I love movies though. Always have loved them. The guys in the band often nicknamed me Richard ‘Stark’ because of my love for the Marvel movies (especially, you guess it, Iron Man), but all kind of movies have my vote, really. Movies opened up my world. They opened all kind of worlds.
Back in the day, when I considered America to be another planet, and when English grammar was as strange to me as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, I spent my days watching English movies while on tour. Maybe I should add the fact that touring, as much fun as it is, can be a painfully boring event. The gigs are great, of course… but in between the concerts, it’s just waiting and traveling and waiting and traveling, and more waiting. Crossing empty fields, soulless cities, and a frighteningly amount of time zones does something do you, you know? You kinda… alienate yourself, in a way. It’s difficult to explain.
Back in the day, while being on tour, I decided to kill the time with something entertaining and useful to do. So, day after day, hour after hour, I watched movies on our nightliner’s 14-inch tv. Good movies. Terrible movies. It did not matter to me, as long as they were in English. No German voice-overs, no German subtitles. The band wasn’t happy with me for that very reason, but I left them with their books and crossword puzzles. I just wanted to learn. I wanted to be able to strike up a conversation with the bands we toured with. Korn, Limb Bizkit, Kiss, anyone. I wanted to visit the States. I wanted to broaden my horizon. There was so much out there that I wanted.
… In the end? I got what I wanted.
It’s funny. The thing we do today- being Rammstein and all- is the exact same thing we did when we were just a bunch of 6 young boys, slipping into the dangerous areas of fame. In a way, we grew up with our own music, and the music grew up with us. I sometimes can’t grasp the fact that I’m in my fifties now. Whenever I look in a mirror, I can see that I’ve aged. My back pains and weak knee always loved to make me aware of that fact too. But whenever we are on stage… playing our early hit songs from the mid 90’s, this strange feeling crawls over me. This feeling of… youthfulness, as if I’m back out there. Back where it all started. It sounds cliché, I know. Can’t help it.
But anyway, I’m side-tracking here. Movies. I was talking about movies. I was talking about movies, wasn’t I? I can’t really remember, everything’s getting a bit… hazy.
My favorite genre are action movies, obviously. The suspense, the chase, speeding cars, people flying through the air, explosions, fire… -oh yes… the more fire, the better. No surprise there, right? Fire has such an exciting energy, and no, I’m not trying to sound like a happy treehugger here, it’s true. Trust me, when flames are licking your face, you feel… I dunno, I can’t explain it. It’s just thrilling, you know?
Action movies, - good ones I must add-, can give you the same kind of thrill. It’s different, of course, because it’s not real. You can’t feel the heat, nor can you feel the danger. But sometimes, the visuals and sound effects are enough. Some directors do this kind of thing brilliantly. There are these scenes, you know, where at first, nothing is happening. There are just a bunch of guys, or gals, whatever, looking around, sensing danger. Then the music builds up and then… silence. Dead silence… and then…
Unlike real explosions that come and go within a matter of seconds, movie explosions take a god awful long time to blast.
I love it.
In slow motion, you can see every flicker, every spark, erupting in gorgeous detail. Everything is so much more… intense! This might sound odd, but I’ve always wondered what that’d be like, being in some kind of slow motion action scene. But then… for real, you know?
Did I mention that I’m a guy who often gets what he wants?
Having your life pass in front of you in slow motion is both a terrifying and a beautiful thing. I have no idea how any of this is possible. It just isn’t. And yet, it’s happening. To me. Right now.
I didn’t feel any of the heat, or pain, nor had I heard the loud BOOM that ignited it all. I guess the visual experience numbed my other senses. The only thing I could do, was witness this… strange bright world that had become my new reality somehow.
This is no movie, I have to remind myself. This is real.
Red glowing fire is surrounding me everywhere. Literally, everywhere. It has enveloped me. Looking down, I can see it’s also underneath the soles of my boots, which appear to be floating… was I thrown off my feet or something? Am I flying through the air as we speak?
In front of me I can vaguely make out a row of black Rammstein Trucks, seemingly huddling together, as if they are sheltering from the immense amount of heat that’s washing over them. It was strangely fascinating to see two of them succumb, the 50 000 pound trucks disappearing in the blast as if they were made out of cardboard.
I’m still flying.
Small pieces of dust are dancing in front of my eyes, glistering as they reflect the brightness of my surroundings. Am I crazy for saying that all of this is actually quite stunning? In the back of my mind, I know that I am in danger. How could I not be? But all of this… it’s just…
It was breathtaking.
All of a sudden, a wall smashed into me from behind with brutal force, knocking the wind out of me. I felt my back crunch at the impact and I know it should’ve hurt, but it didn’t hurt. At all.
After crashing into the stone surface, my body bounced off of it, and smashed into it again, this time on its side. My world started spinning, and what was at first a detailed vision of fire, now became a bright orange blur that stung my eyes. My body hit the wall a few more times, making dizzying whirling movements in between, until I felt myself skidding to a halt. It must’ve been a few feet before I stopped rolling, ending up on my back, pressed against… something.
It took me a while to realize it wasn’t actually a wall I had crashed into. It was a floor.
A hard, cold, parking lot floor.
Everything around me was spinning, and I had no idea whether my body was still moving or not. Or why…- or if… I was still alive. All I could do… was look up from where I lay. The red glow emanating from the blast had lightened up the sky and every single star in it. It looked like someone had smeared blood all over the galaxy.
… What a strangely poetic thing to think in this situation.
A dark shape appeared out of nowhere and covered a big part of my vision. It took me a lot of effort to make out a nose and a mouth. Ahh... A face. The mouth opened and closed, it looked like the face was screaming things. I didn’t really know, and to be honest, I didn’t really care.
Another dark blob joined the first one, another person. I couldn’t really explain it, but I could feel panic amongst them. I sensed it… in a way.
Slowly, one by one, my other senses started to return to me.
Oh god, how I wished they HADN’T!
Fortunately for me, it was too much for my body to handle. The piercing screeching noise that suddenly drilled through my eardrums, as well as the overwhelming burning agony that washed over me like boiling lava, knocked me out. It happened so fast, I didn’t even had the opportunity to scream.
Peace was the only thing I wanted.
And hey, I am a man who gets what he wants.