- Jun 24, 1967
- Wittenberg, East Germany
Bio: Richard Zven Kruspe (born 24 June 1967) is a German musician, most notable as the founder and lead-guitarist for the German ("Dance Metal") bands Rammstein and Emigrate. He also used to be named "Bernstein", after his South African ex-wife Caron Bernstein. They were together for five years until separating in 2004 and filing for divorce to be finalized in 2006, and… More
Bio: Richard Zven Kruspe (born 24 June 1967) is a German musician, most notable as the founder and lead-guitarist for the German ("Dance Metal") bands Rammstein and Emigrate. He also used to be named "Bernstein", after his South African ex-wife Caron Bernstein. They were together for five years until separating in 2004 and filing for divorce to be finalized in 2006, and now his name is back to the original Kruspe again.
Kruspe was born in Wittenberge, East Germany. He has two older sisters and an older brother. His parents divorced when he was young. His mother remarried, but he did not get along with his stepfather. They moved to the village of Weisen when he was young. As a child, Kruspe was a fan of Kiss. According to him, KISS "represented capitalism in its purest sense, and every child was KISS-infected because they were so big. Kids wrote KISS on their notebooks, and if the teachers saw it, they could get kicked out of school just for having it written on their books." When he was twelve, he had a KISS poster in his room, but his stepfather tore it down and destroyed it, and Kruspe stayed up all night putting it back together. Kruspe was a wrestler when he was a teenager, but he hasn't wrestled for many years.
At the age of sixteen, Kruspe and some friends visited Czechoslovakia, where he bought a guitar. He had originally planned to sell it, because they were very expensive and thought he could make a nice profit. However, once he returned to East Germany, a girl at a campground he was staying at asked him to play. He told her that he couldn't play, but she kept insisting, and Richard got mad and started strumming the strings. "The harder I played," Richard said, "the more excited she got. Something clicked in my head and I realized girls like guys who play guitars." This got him interested in playing the guitar, and as a result, he began playing every day and night for the next two years.
At the age of nineteen, bored with the apathetic music scene in his hometown, he moved to East Berlin and lived on Lychener Straße and "made music all day." For two years, Richard lived in an apartment with a drum kit and guitar, and he made music by himself because he did not know anybody there. "It was a lonely time" according to Richard, but he used it to explore music.
Around 1991, Kruspe started the band Orgasm Death Gimmicks. Also in 1992, Kruspe made his first trip to the U.S. with Till Lindemann and Oliver "Ollie" Riedel. He realized that he didn't want to make American music and concentrated on creating a unique German sound.
Rammstein was started by Richard Kruspe. In 1989 he escaped from East Germany over the border between Austria and Hungary. He eventually ended up in West Berlin and started a band in 1991 (Orgasm Death Gimmicks). At that time he was very influenced by American music. After the wall came down, he moved back home to Schwerin where Till Lindemann worked as a basket weaver and played drums in the band First Arsch.
At this time, Richard lived with Oliver "Ollie" Riedel (of the band The Inchtabokatables) and Christoph "Doom" Schneider (of Die Firma). Richard realized that the music he had previously made was not right for him. He envisioned something with machines and hard guitars together. The three started working together on a new project.
Richard soon found it hard to write music and lyrics at the same time. He got Till to join them as he had often heard him singing while working. A contest for new bands was announced and the prize was studio time. The four of them recorded the first Rammstein demo and won. Paul H. Landers knew them all and wanted to know what they were doing. After listening, he agreed to join. At this point, all they needed for the machine-sound was a keyboarder. They tried to get Christian "Flake" Lorenz to join, as he had played with Paul before in the band Feeling B. Flake was not entirely thrilled with the idea at first and didn't want to join for a long time. But, he eventually agreed.
About the time the band was formed, they all had relationship problems which provided the foundation for their debut album Herzeleid (Heartache) in 1995. Since then, they have reached gold and platinum status for their music and have become Germany's number one music export.
Richard began work on a solo project around this time, called Emigrate and work continues on it to this day. He had said he wanted to record an album in 2005. No other Rammstein band members are involved. They recently released three songs: "My World", "Wake Up" and "Babe", all available for download by subscribers of the band newsletter. For the song "My world" they released a video with the scenes of Resident Evil. In 2007, Emigrate's debut album was released.
Richard's signature guitar is based upon the signature Kirk Hammett guitars he uses but with the electronics in a simplified form. The guitar features neck through construction , a 25.5 inch scale neck, alder body wings, a maple neck, Floyd Rose tremolo with a locking nut, 24 frets, dual EMG 81 pickups , a master volume control and pickup selecter, with a custom Titanium finish.
Kruspe has a signature ESP guitar called the RZK-1. There is a cheaper version available for purchase as well called the LTD RZK-600. He previously played, and still does play, the Kirk Hammett signature guitar called the KH-2 as well as a custom ESP Guitar based on the Kirk Hammett KH-2 Signature guitar. He is the first German guitarist with a signature guitar series from ESP. Richard uses a black ESP Eclipse I CTM at the Rammstein performance in Nimes, France on July 23rd 2005.
On 10 October 1989, prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, he was riding through the subway. When he came above ground, he found himself in the middle of a political demonstration. He was hit on the head and arrested just for being there, and thrown in jail for six days. Once out of jail, he decided to leave East Germany. In those days, one couldn't just leave East Germany, so he entered West Germany through Czechoslovakia. When the wall came down, he moved back east.
In 1991, his daughter, Khira Li Lindemann was born. She is the daughter of Till Lindemann's ex-wife. Sometime in 2001 he moved from Berlin to New York where he now resides to live closer to his ex-wife Caron.
Kruspe married South African (American) actress Caron Bernstein in 1999. The ceremony was Jewish and Richard composed the music for it. Richard took on the name Richard Kruspe-Bernstein during their marriage. They separated in 2004. Richard's name is now back to its original "Kruspe" as the divorce was finalized.
He speaks fluent English and sings in English for Emigrate.
Rammstein: Live Aus Berlin (2001)
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