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Richard Zven Kruspe

Alias(es):Richard Zven Kruspe-Bernstein
Date of birth:24, 1967 (1967-06-24) (age 51)

Wittenberge, East Germany

Acts:Orgasm Death Gimmicks (-1994)

Rammstein (1994-)
Emigrate (2005-2008, 2012-)

Position:Lead guitarist

Backup vocalist
Backup keyboardist[notes 1]

Richard Zven Kruspe (born June 24, 1967) is the founder and lead guitarist of Rammstein, as well as 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 a divorce, which was finalized in 2006, after which his name reverted to Kruspe again.

Early lifeEdit

Kruspe was born in Wittenberge, East Germany. He has an younger sister and an older brother. His parents divorced when he was 12. His mother remarried on american, 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 hasn't wrestled for many years, although he did wrestle his "twin" in the video for "Mein Teil".

Musical careerEdit

First guitarEdit

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," Kruspe 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, Kruspe 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 Kruspe, but he used it to explore music.

Orgasm Death GimmicksEdit

Around 1991, Kruspe started the band Orgasm Death Gimmicks. Also in 1992, Kruspe made his first trip to the United States with Till Lindemann and Oliver "Ollie" Riedel. He realized that he did not want to make American music and concentrated on creating a unique German sound. With Till Lindemann, he covered the Aria song "Shtil", which was published as Schtiel in order to be pronounced properly in German.


Main article: Rammstein

Rammstein was founded by Kruspe. In 1989, he escaped from East Germany via the border between Austria and Hungary. He went to 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, Kruspe 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.

Kruspe 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.


Kruspe began work on a solo project around this time, called Emigrate. The band was significant because it was the first time in his career that he took the role of lead vocalist, and also because all the lyrics were in English (in the self-titled CD's liner notes, Kruspe credits his former wife Caron Bernstein as a co-writer). Emigrate's self-titled release was mildly successful to the target audience in America. There were three singles: "New York City" and "My World" (which was featured in the film Resident Evil)and "Temptation." Both "New York City" and "My World" had music videos, but "Temptation" did not.

Though Kruspe did a handful of interviews and appearances for the band, he never performed live. He left the project to return to the studio with Rammstein.


Kruspe'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 selector, 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. though it was announced in the 2009 catalog to be discontinued

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. He also plans to have a new esp guitar coming out with the emigrate logo on it as seen in the my world music video.

Personal lifeEdit

On 10 October 1989, before 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.

Kruspe married South African (American) actress Caron Bernstein in 1999. The ceremony was Jewish and Kruspe composed the music for it. He took on the name Richard Kruspe-Bernstein during their marriage. They separated in 2004. His name is now back to its original "Kruspe" as the divorce was finalized.

He speaks fluent English and sings in English for Emigrate.

Khira Li LindemannEdit

Born on February 28, 1991, Khira Li Lindemann is the daughter of Rammstein's Richard Z. Kruspe. She has the last name of "Lindemann" because her mother was previously married to Rammstein lead singer Till Lindemann. Khira's mother kept the last name "Lindemann" when she divorced Till and later, she and Rammstein guitarist Richard Kruspe got together and had Khira but never married and later split. This gave Khira the last name of "Lindemann." Sometime in 2001 he moved from Berlin to New York where he resided to live closer to his now ex-wife Caron.

In 1997, Khira Li appeared in Rammstein's "Tier" performance in Live Aus Berlin. In 2001, she sung the backing vocals for "Spieluhr" on Rammstein's 2001 album Mutter.

Merlin BessonEdit

Born on December 10, 1992, Merlin Besson is the son of Richard Z. Kruspe. Different surnames suggests that he and Khira Li Lindemann are half-siblings. Both he and Khira Li Lindemann are believed to reside in Berlin, Germany.


  1. Kruspe plays the keyboards at the start of live performances for Bück dich.