Sun, Aug 29, 2004 - Page 6 News List

German rock band's `part' song tells of cannibals' repast


It will inevitably result in a book and a film, but the story of Germany's cannibal has already brought a summer chart hit to the country's masters of the macabre: the hard rock band Rammstein.

"He loves me so much he could eat me. The soft and the hard parts are all on the menu; it's so good with seasoning and flambed," go the not so subtle lyrics of Rammstein's Mein Teil, or My Part.

Armin Meiwes was jailed in Germany in January for more than eight years for killing and eating a willing victim: both men allegedly tried to eat the man's severed penis before he died.

The story of the "cannibal of Rotenburg" was manna from hell for singer, Till Lindemann: "It's so sick that it becomes fascinating and there just has to be a song about it," he said.

Mein Teil took second place in its first week in the charts in Germany after its release in early August, slipping down to sixth place by mid-month.

The video clip, which shows the musicians held on a leash by a transvestite and rolling around in mud, has sparked heated debate and is only being aired by music television channel MTV after 11pm. A few other stations have been giving daytime airings.

But controversy is not new to Rammstein, which adapted its name from the site of a 1988 air crash in which 70 people died.

The six-piece group from Hamburg was formed in 1993, and their fusion of industrial, progressive rock and heavy metal has made them globally popular.

Rammstein's first success came in 1995, with Herzeleid or Heartbreak, but the group's second album Sehnsucht (Nostalgia) two years later made them famous. The disc went platinum in Germany and the US.

Stage shows including firebreathers, explosions and flame throwers have contributed to their notoriety. They have also been known to walk on stage through a giant fake uterus in their underwear.

It's a repertoire that has won them fans as far away as Japan and Australia, not to mention their following in Europe.

But it has won them few fans among police in the US. Lindemann's musings in his deep, guttural howl and grinding against the group's keyboard player during the song Bueck Dich (Bend Over) earned the two a few hours in custody after a show in Massachusetts.

The teenage gunmen in the 1999 Columbine high school massacre that killed 12 people declared that Rammstein was their favorite group.

That same year, though, the band won the Echo award in Germany for "best artist abroad" and received a US Grammy nomination.

Filmmaker David Lynch also included two of their songs on the soundtrack to his Lost Highway. Even Kurt Cobain, the late frontman for the grunge group Nirvana, had described them as a dream band.

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