an abbreviation of the German "Kein Mehreit Fur Die Mitleid," or,
roughly translated, "No Pity for the Majority," celebrates 25 years
2009 Kein Mitleid Tour.
They were one of the first to merge techno dance, heavy metal and industrial.
To quote their longtime associate, commercial artist Aiden "Brute!"
Hughes, "KMFDM have cornered the market in post-industrial angst."
Brute!'s signature work has decorated almost all of the band's albums and singles
"It doesn't sound like anyone, repeat, anyone out there today," frontman
Sascha Konietzko told Bristol: The Observer in May. Konietzko founded
the band in Germany in 1984 with painter/multi-media performer Udo Sturm, specifically
for the opening of an exhibition of young European artists in Grand Palais.
Sturm only had a passing interest in music and quickly moved on. Konietzko had
a driving interest in studio work. He began recording with Hamburg Studio owner
Raymond Watts and Klaus Schandelmeier, a drummer who later took the stage name
En Esch. Watts still regularly contributes to KMFDM's albums, adding the macabre
lyrics and heavy guitar riffs typical of his project, Pig.
"Back in the 80's" Konietzko said in the interview, "I was unhappy
with the music I heard. I always thought there was something that could be improved
upon, and, with my limited knowledge of musicianship and against a plethora
of technically challenging aspects, I set out to make the kind of sound that
I liked. I would have never dreamt that the endeavor would take me around the
world and last 25 years."
Their early shows were performance art centered around visuals, using non-
musical devices like vacuum cleaners as instruments. Early KMFDM music used
a combination of sampling, studio effects, synthesizers and drum machines. Guitarist
Gunter Schultz added the heavy metal-industrial riffs that were the final element
of their classic sound when he joined the band. The music they are making today
melds electronics and sampling with a traditional rock lineup of vocals, lead
and rhythm guitar, bass and drums.
KMFDM signed with legendary Chicago label WaxTrax! Records after touring with
Ministry on their Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste Tour in 1989. The tour also
included Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy as a second vocalist with Ministry. KMFDM
became a cornerstone of the WaxTrax! stable of incredible industrial bands and
part of a teeming Chicago industrial scene including Ministry, Front 242 and
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult.
Since their start, KMFDM's highly political lyrics have centered on a call for
the rejection of and resistance to war, terrorism, violence, oppression and
censorship. They traditionally add some humor to their catalogue by lampooning
themselves in one song on each album. Examples include "More & Faster,"
"Sucks," "Light," "Inane," and "Megalomaniac."
In "Intro" on 2003's WWIII, Konietzko takes a shot at each
band member in a full verse. Their fans have a tradition of chanting "KMFDM
Sucks" before the band's encores.
One-time Swedish glam-rocker Tim Skold, formerly of Shotgun Messiah, joined
KMFDM in 1997, contributing writing credits and vocals to "Anarchy"
on the Symbols album, and contributing as vocalist, writer, bass player
and co-producer with Konietzko on Adios.
KMFDM split temporarily in 1999. Their album, Adios, came out three
months later. The title had initially been meant to address their departure
from WaxTrax!, not the band's break up. Schulz and Esch formed Slick Idiot.
Konietzko, Tim Skold and Lucia Cifarelli formed MDFMK, releasing one self-titled
album in 2000. They added a trance and Europop element to the KMFDM sound. MDFMK
reformed as KMFDM in 2002, Konietzko said in an interview with Chaos Control
that he invited Schultz and Esch to reunite with the band, but they declined.
Skold stayed through the release of Attak. He contributed to their
latest album, Blitz, but there has been no announcement that he is
back with the band.
In addition to Ministry, KMFDM has toured with My Life With The Thrill Kill
Kult (1990), The Genitorturers (1995) and Rammstein (1997). They have collaborated
with Dutch Cynicist and Poet, Jr. Blackmail, vocalist Chris Conelly (Scotsmen,
Finis Tribe, Ministry), Nina Hagen, Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy, The Lords of
Acid, John DeSalvo of Chemlab and F.M. Eichert. Their music has been remixed
for them by Chemlab, Die Warzau, Nine Inch Nails, My Life With The Thrill Kill
Konietzko has cited Frank Zappa as one of his primary early influences. You
can hear heavy Zappa references on KMFDM's albums, Don't Blow Your Top
KMFDM is known for their devotion to their fans. Konietzko typically answers
all of his own e-mail as do the other band members. They regularly sit in on
internet chat rooms with their fans and usually spend time with them before
and after their shows. Many times you can see them walking around in the crowd
before they play.
Here's a cool story about how they look out for their fans from pinkisthenew
blog.com: KMFDM almost cancelled their 1995 show in Deep Ellum, Texas.
The band has a strict policy of not marking up their shirts at shows because
they do not want to exploit their fans. They sold their shirts for $15, and
the house at the Deep Ellum show wanted to charge $25. They played the show,
but did not sell any merchandise there. Before they went offstage, they announced
that they would sell their merchandise at a record store down the street. They
hung out there, signed autographs and took pictures with everyone who showed
The band is always looking for new ways to build an even more personal relationship
with their fans. In 2002 they started The Horde, an exclusive membership fan
club. Members were invited to special meet and greets with the band before every
show and also had access to special music and online footage. FanKam, launched
in 2004, selected a member of the audience to record each show with a digital
video camera. The FanKam Tradition has been revived for the Kein Mitleid Tour.
The Official KMFDM You Tube page (www.youtube.com/user/officialkmfdm) shows
FanKam footage from the tour's first 9/23/09 show in D.C. up to their 10/14/
show in Portland, OR and their 10/15/09 show in San Francisco. On their current
tour, KMFDM have spent time with their fans at regular in store appearances
and Official After Parties with a typical door price of only $5 or free with
a KMFDM ticket stub.
KMFDM released Blitz, their 16th full length album, on March 24, 2009.
The album has a more Euro-club beat than metal orientation. "Bitches"
continues the band's tradition of taking a shot at themselves in one song on
every album. Blitz also contains a cover of the Human League's "Being
Boiled." "Though I was never a fan of The Human League," Konietzko
told Bristol: The Observer, "that particular song is one of my
all time favorites. I was working on a percussion loop that seemed to be speaking
to me, 'use me as the bed upon which to do your cover of "Being Boiled,"'
so I listened."
Konietzko has begun releasing product through his own online KMFDM store and
his own label, KMFDM Records.
The band is currently on the 20th release of their KMFDM 24/7 Series, 24 seven-inch
vinyl singles and classic album cuts being released on the first of every month,
in the order of their original release, to celebrate the band's 24th Anniversary
in 2008. The records are limited to 250 copies and are remastered specifically
for vinyl. "Megalomaniac," is the series' October '09 release. The
21st single in the series, "Anarchy (Payola Mix)" backed with "Anarchy
(God and State Mix)," comes out on Nov. 1 this year. The series will culminate
in Feb. 2010 with a brand new exclusive single.
Tim Skold and Sascha Konietzko have released a new 22-track album Skold
vs KMFDM only available through the online KMFDM store.
The band has also re-released its entire back catalogue from the WaxTrax! era.
Their 10 classic albums have been released as Classics through their
Metropolis/KMFDM label. Extra, released to accompany Classics,
is a three-volume, double disc collection of all KMFDM tracks not included on
their full-length WaxTrax! releases. The KMFDM side project, Excessive Force,
has also re-released their entire catalogue.
"The genre description I gave KMFDM was "the ultra heavy beat,"
Sascha Konietzko said in the Bristol interview. "So over the years,
as audiences and critics rambled on. always trying to comprehend what we were
doing by simply attempting to categorize us, we soared on our own in our self-created
Dunedin Free Press/Brennan Ink