Members: Bill Kaulitz, Tom Kaulitz, Georg Listing, Gustav Schäfer.
International superstars Tokio Hotel are taking the music world by storm. After scoring four number one singles, two number one albums, and selling nearly 3 million CDs and DVDs in their homeland, they've become the biggest act to come out of Germany in 20 years. And to think their first CD was recorded when the members were only 13 to 15-years-old. Breaking down cultural walls, the Tokio Hotel phenomenon has crossed language barriers, causing a tornado-like frenzy in Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Russia and Israel. In Austria and Switzerland, Tokio Hotel have gone four times Platinum and in France, they've had a crowd of 500,000 chanting along to their songs in front of the Eiffel Tower. One by one, European territories have seen the band graduating from theaters to arenas in a matter of months. They sold out 43 venues with more than 400,000 fans in their home country.
Teenage girls overseas cry at the mere glimpse of Bill Kaulitz, 18 (vocals), Bill's twin brother Tom Kaulitz, 18 (guitar), Gustav Schafer, 19, (drums) and Georg Listing, 20 (bass). Now with Tokio Hotel ready to rock America, it's only a matter of time before the hysteria follows them stateside.
"It's always been a dream of ours to make it in the States," says vocalist Bill Kaulitz, who sings in English for the first time on Scream, the band's U.S. debut. "We grew up listening to American bands like Metallica, Green Day and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. We wanted to get a chance to do what they do."
When the band formed in Magdeburg, Germany, in 2001 (originally under the name Devilish), they say they had no idea they'd go on to win prestigious awards such as Echo and Viva Comet. "But there was never a plan B," explains Bill, "music is all we know."
Guitarist Tom added "Playing live means everything to us. That's how we started three years ago... performing our songs in small clubs and bars -- sometimes with only five people in the audience. These days have changed completely. We have sold out stadiums and the biggest venues you can get. This unbelievable success is hard to grasp and every single day we are grateful for it."
With their US debut ready for release, listeners will get a chance to hear how Tokio Hotel's melodic brand of rock easily navigates between headbanging guitars and power-packed anthems to mid-tempo pop tracks, and softer, more introspective ballads. The one thing their diverse songs all have in common? There's always a message.
"Don't Jump" is an anti-suicide song, telling the listener not to give up on himself, while the guitar-heavy album-opener, "Scream," is about "saying what you want -- or better yet, shouting it -- to get your point across," explains Bill. The quiet but powerful "Rescue Me" is about the helplessness you feel when a relationship crumbles before your eyes, while the sweetly, slowed-down "Monsoon" is about being so in love that you're willing to do anything to win over -- and keep -- the love of your life.
"The lyrics are very important to us," says Bill. "They help our fans know where we're coming from. The best part of being a musician is being onstage and seeing a sea of people sing the words you wrote -- it's a rush." Now, for the first time, they'll be able to hear their lyrics sung back to them in English. "It's going to be a little crazy," Bill admits. Though the group learned to speak English in school, they still write songs in their native German and then translate them into English.
Their first U.S. album is actually a combination of hits from their two German album -- "Schrei (Scream)," and "Zimmer 483 (Room 483)," -- translated into English and re-recorded. Their first single in Germany, "Durch den Monsun" ("Through the Monsoon"), went to number one in August 2005, followed by "Schrei (Scream)", which climbed to number five on the charts, and "Rette Mich (Rescue Me)", which also peaked at number one.
Their first single off their second album "Zimmer 483 (Room 483)," called "Ubers Ende der Welt (Ready Set Go)," was released in January 2007, and quickly reached number one as well. They can only hope to keep the streak alive in America.
"We think our music speaks for itself," says Bill. "Of course, we want to succeed, but we don't have anything to prove to anyone but ourselves.