by Mark Kadzielawa
Destruction are one of the pioneers of thrash metal. This German trio have been releasing classic albums for the last 30 years, and rockin' audiences all over the world. Their last album, "Spiritual Genocide" came out in 2012, and the band finally toured the United States to promote this release. It was great to see Destruction on these shores, considering how awfully unorganized their last tour was. Now the band is already thinking ahead to another album, and will most likely record by the end of this year.
Vocalist/bassist, Schmier, talks about touring, interpersonal relationships within the band, and future plans.
The last Destruction tour in the U.S. was sort of disastrous. I was watching your Facebook posts, and I was afraid that I was never gonna see the band again in the States.
Schmier: It was a total disaster. There were a lot of people who were very entertained by those posts because it was too unreal to be true. If you were to make a movie out of that last tour, it would be a huge bestseller, like Spinal Tap was. It was going in the same direction.
How are things now?
We changed agents, and we’re suing the previous agents, so I can’t say much about it. There is actually a court case going on as we speak against the old agency. Everything went much better this time. We had the usual problems like the bus breaking down, and we had to let go of the guitar tech, but once we got the ball rolling, it was good. Everyone got along on this tour really well. I was very taken with Exmortus, a young band on the bill. It was a great package. We had a fun time.
It’s been almost two years since your last studio album, Spiritual Genocide," came out. How do you feel about it now since you’re still promoting the record?
I feel great about it because we managed to make an album that sounds fresh. When you listen to it, it doesn’t sound like it was made by a band that’s been around for 31 years. I think we’re a little bit more satisfied with the sound. It sounds much more natural than the album before. Considering the circumstances, we’ve made a great record. There were a lot of people questioning us why we made the album that fast. It was only two years since the previous album was released. Some people were accusing us of writing too fast, but we don’t write too fast. We write when we’re inspired. There are weeks and months and nothing is happening, but once you sit down and write, it’s working. I still like the album. We’ve played two songs from it on the current tour. The newest work is something that you criticize after a while, or you end up liking it very much. And after two years, I still very much like the album. I think the last two albums are the better albums.
One of the songs from the last record was called “Legacy Of The Past.” The song spoke about the underground scene of the 80s. What do you miss about that time?
I think the appreciation was very much different. It was all new and young people were living for the metal. Now, metal gets more consumed, and I can see it. We get more and more metal bands, and people don’t appreciate it so much, in some countries at least. Of course those vibes back then were amazing. But, if you go to South America, or some other countries in the far east, you still have those vibes. But if you’re in a market that is overloaded, then those vibes go away because it’s all about consuming and making money. The metal scene in Europe is huge now, you get the Wacken Metal Fest that sells out in one day for 100,000 people. It’s getting too much sometimes. If the scene explodes, there’s always too much commercialization. That’s a little bit of a problem. The same thing happens here in the States.
Are things any easier for the underground survivors like yourselves?
We’re able to make a living from what we do, and how many bands can say that? How many heavy metal bands can really live from their music? We manage to tour a lot, to play a lot. We don’t make a lot of money, but we can live from the music, and see a lot of great countries. It’s a big achievement for us, and it’s a pleasure to do that. I can’t really be complaining. Of course getting more money would be good, but I really like how things are now. It’s amazing that after 30 years we’re still able to be in business, and still play the big festivals, and still touring around the world. I can’t complain.
This line up of Destruction had been around for five years. What kind of relationship are you enjoying within the band now?
It’s the best chemistry that we ever had. Our last drummer had a few problems and that was not good for the whole chemistry of the band. When one guy is not on the same page, it can get very difficult. Since Vaaver (drums) joined the band things are so much easier. He’s an amazing drummer, a really good guy, and the chemistry couldn’t be better. It’s easier to write songs, it’s easier to tour, and we’re having a good time together. He became my best friend on tour. We do everything together, when we go out. We’re like brothers. I mean, Mike is my best old friend since 1982, but for the new guy, it’s always difficult. I think Vaaver managed very good to get into the vibe of the band, and our interests and the sense of humor are very similar as well. It works very well.
Do you spend time with each other when you’re not touring?
We’re touring all the time, so we hang out all the time. We’re touring, or we’re playing festivals. There’s not a month where we don’t play. Sometimes it’s good when we don’t see each other. It’s like with the girlfriend; if you want to keep the girlfriend and the relationship hot, go away for a while.
Are there any new songs being written?
Yeah, we’re starting. We have already written one new song for a split 7 inch for Nuclear Blast. It’s a sampler for a big music convention in Germany. They’re having a sampler and we were asked to write and record a new song. It’s a start for the new album as well, so we’re already writing new music, and we should go into the studio at the end of this year. So the new album will be ready for spring 2015.
Your studio albums from the 80s are all considered classics, but what about the albums you released since reforming? Which ones do you consider special?
The classics always take time to become classic, but I think, "The Antichrist” became like a new classic. I think that album had a lot of good songs. We recently did a tour with Exodus and Sepultura in Europe playing just 80s songs, and people were chanting for “Nailed To The Cross” and “Thrash Till Death." The fans want those new songs as much as the classics, at least in Europe. I can say that some of those newer albums became classics, and created new anthems. “Day Of Reckoning” had some very good reactions too. I think those two albums definitely stick out of the last 15 years.
How long do you see yourself continuing?
You have to ask Lemmy. If he can go on for as long as he did. I mean, Motorhead is sort of cooling down a bit because Lemmy is not doing too good. But that’s the age where you have to step down. If we can have another 20 years in us to enjoy doing this, that would be great. As long as my neck doesn’t break. We just played with Slayer in Rio, and I saw Tom Araya who was so stiff because his neck is stiff. It was kind of weird. I don’t know if I would continue like this. If I can’t move on stage anymore then it’s not really worth it for me to get up there. That’s a big part of us. I’d like to go on stage and give 100%, but after playing 20 shows in a row, I can feel that the energy is going away. So it’s getting tougher when you get older, but also I look at every show as like a workout.