Richard Z. “Zven” Kruspe (b. 24 June, 1967 as Richard Zven Kruspe or Sven Kruspe) is a German musician, most notable as the founder and lead-guitarist for the German Tanz-Metall (“Dance metal”) band Rammstein. He previously played the guitar in the band Orgasm Death Gimmick. He used to be named “Bernstein”, after his white South African/American ex-wife Caron Bernstein. They were together for five years until separating in 2004 and filing for divorce to be finalized this year 2006, and now his name is back to the original Kruspe again.
Richard 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.
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 Kruspe 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 a 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.
Richard 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 Hammet signature guitar called the KH-2 as well as a custom ESP Guitar based on the Kirk Hammet KH-2 Signature guitar. He is the first European guitarist with a signature guitar series from ESP.
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.
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