INTERVIEW: SCHMIER (DESTRUCTION)
Levi: You toured a few years ago here in Australia, I was devastated to have missed that show. How was that tour anyways?
Schmier: Hopefully we are going to come back with this new album, there's a high chance that we a finally going to make it again. We are already talking to some promoters and it looks good that we're going to make it back to Australia in the term of this tour. The beginning of next year or the end of this year, hopefully something like that.
Levi: Your new album 'Under Attack' is ferocious, it's as good your old stuff, what's keeping the flame burning?
Schmier: We're a thrash band. We cannot sound old, it's very important we sound fresh and energetic and even if you're in the business for 33 years. I know a lot of bands slow down when they grow older but I think for Destruction we have a legacy and I think it's important that we have certain trademarks. Aggressivity and speed are a big part of our mix and think it was important for this album to have all the trademarks that are important for Destruction. The speed, the aggressivity and the grooves also and some of the catchier hook lines. I think this album is a good mix of what Destruction is all about. I'm glad we took a bit more time to do the recording and the songwriting process this time to make a strong record. In the end after so many records we're not going to rush anymore. There's no one pushing us to do a album every one or two years. We said "let's make a good one" and I think it turned out great.
Levi: The album that got me into Destruction was 'Thrash Anthems', it was a sort of a re-recorded Greatests Hits record. Were you worries the old school fans and purists wouldn't accept re-recordings?
Schmier: No, not really, you have to do what you have to do sometimes. At the end it's my band and it's not the people that will decide what will happen to my band. So of course we knew there would be certain kinds of people that don't like re-recordings you know. I understand somehow because it's the classic material, but the other side as you said, the younger generation can have these classics with a better sound and that's what we did. I think it was an important thing in our career to do. It was important to give them a new kick in the ass, as we became better players and stuff. You can hear this on the album, there are more details and more finesse on 'Thrash Albums'. Of course I understand some of the old guys that say " Oh no, you can't do this" but just listen to the old albums, you don't have to buy this one. That's how I see it.
Levi: Destruction is apart of what is know as the "German Big Four" which also includes Sodom, Kreator and Tankard. We know all about the story of "The American Big Four", but we don't hear much about what the German Metal Scene was like in the 80s, how influenced were you by the Bay-Area thrash scene and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal?
Schmier: Our influences were not the American bands but the New Wave of British Heavy Metal [NWOBHM] and of course the English Punk Rock also; The Exploited, GBH, that kinda stuff. Of Course back in the days it was different, we had to write letters and stuff and there was no Metal Magazines, when we started there was only Kerrang magazine, a magazine from the UK, that was the only let's say 'Rock' and 'Metal' magazine we had at the time. It was very difficult to connect but the German scene kind of connected really quick. When we started we knew who was out there, there were a lot of fanzines at the time, little old school magazines that the fans made and you could connect. We looked up to the American bands because they were the first ones that released albums basically and we were impressed of course by the skills of the American bands, if you look at the age of the bands European bands were usually younger, all the American bands Metallica, Slayer are all a little bit older than we are. Even if we started at the same time the American bands were already one or two years ahead, so we were impressed when the stuff came out. We were already very close friends in Germany, we played shows together because 'the underground' was very small at the time and there were not so many opportunities. We played all the shows in the beginning with Sodom, Kreator and Tankard and Armoured Angel and all the other old school German stars, then our first really big tour was with Slayer for the 'Hell Awaits' tour.
Levi: Did you ever consider changing or simplifying your sound for a wider Audience when the Metal-Boom of the late 80's started happening?
Schmier: No, because I think "the sell out" is the beginning of the end. For me I'm very happy we have a worldwide following with Destruction and if we were to go more commercial we would sell our fucking souls. Not many bands did it in the way that's acceptable even Metallica kind of overdid it in the end if you look at them now. Their more commercial albums especially the Black one [The Black Album] was a good seller and of course was a good album but in the end it changed the direction of the band and it changed the whole band basically. So, I don't think money is everything in life and in music business money can definitely break your back. I always say "name me one Rock n Roll band that is like multi-platinum selling that made their greatest album after their big success?" there's none because all the great Rock n Roll records are done before the band had their big breakthrough. After the big breakthrough you're poisoned by money and fame and it's much more difficult to write a great Rock n Roll record.
Listen to the full chat
UNDER ATTACK is available to order HERE, Check out the first single below!