Christoph Schneider of Rammstein in Modern Drummer MagazineChristoph “Doom” Schneider, drummer of the infamous Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein, was born May 11, 1966, in Berlin, East Germany. His musical interests began in school, where he played the trumpet, but his true calling struck at age fourteen, when his brother gave him a drum made of aluminum cans.

In his teen years, Schneider served with the East German Army and held a telecommunications job until he finally decided to pursue his musical ambitions at a university. Despite the fact that his father was a faculty member, Schneider failed to gain entrance to the school on two separate occasions. His father disapproved of Schneider’s drumming aspirations—preferring the trumpet—and, more importantly, insisted that his son succeed or fail at the university by his own merit rather than getting ahead by familial connections (a fact for which Schneider is now very grateful).

Through the late ’80s and early ’90s, Schneider hopped from gig to gig, joining groups such as Die Firma and the influential East-German punk band Feeling B. Then, in 1994, Schneider, along with guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe and bassist Ollie Riedel, formed an early version of Rammstein. With the addition of vocalist Till Lindemann, the group won a contest in Berlin that earned them the opportunity to record a professional, four-song demo. Following the demo, guitarist Paul H. Landers and keyboardist Christian “Flake” Lorenz—Schneider’s former bandmates in Feeling B—solidified Rammstein’s lineup.

Since that time, Rammstein has stormed the globe numerous times with an unparalleled live show complete with garish costumes, pantomimes, and a seemingly endless amount of fireworks. In particular, Schneider and his bandmates pride themselves on incorporating the percussive elements of pyrotechnics into their sound rather than just as flashy effects during concerts.

Whether he’s melding drums and explosions for an all-out aural assault or laying the foundation in the studio, Schneider’s drumming has provided the backbone for Rammstein’s rise as the most successful German-language band of all time. His pounding beats (he earned the nickname “Doom” from the sound of his drums, after all) slam home at an almost primal level, yet they have an undeniable groove and a song-oriented structure that is often absent in such aggressive music.