When I wrote my review for the last Destruction release Thrash Anthems I knew that I should soon expect some reaction from the band and when the opportunity to do an interview with the band's frontman Schmier appeared, the tall German took complete advantage of it, as you will read below. Anyway, everybody is entitled to their opinion I guess, so what you should really be bothered with is to check out what the latest news are from the Destruction camp and also what you should expect to hear from Schmier's cult project Headhunter in the near future.
Hi Schmier. I am happy to see that Destruction will once again visit Britain for what will be a relatively (for British standards) long tour. What is the idea behind this visit? Are you still out promoting the Thrash Anthems CD?
Schmier: We're not just promoting Thrash Anthemsalthough we will be playing a lot of stuff from it; we are a band that loves to play live as much as possible and that's why we do this. But, I know, it's definitely time to return to Britain now. It was difficult in the last few years to get a UK booker that really wanted to bring the band over. The idea behind the tour? Kick some butt!! What a fu*kinī question!!!.
I was really surprised to hear Mike saying, during last year's interview, that the UK is not particularly friendly towards the band. What is your personal opinion on the matter?
Schmier: It always was very difficult to tour in the UK; for German bands in particular, at least. As we're a non trendy Thrash act it doesn't make things easier. We all know that the UK media mostly supported all that US Nu Metal crap in recent years, and, that doesn't help find promoters and clubs that want to book a German old-school Thrash band like us!! But times are changing again!.! It's a vicious circle called $$$music-industry$$$. Nothing new maybe? But the kids are coming back to the roots, and that's good for us! Ha! Ha! The ones with the longer breath will stay the course, I say!
What would you say was the overall reaction of the music press towards Thrash Anthems? You will probably hate me for saying so but I personally found nothing attractive about that album and I guess it's because I grew up with listening to the band's original albums and I am particularly fond of the raw sound that you guys had in the early days.
Schmier: OK - you want us to play as bad as in the 80's, do you? No fu*kinī way. Listen to some of the amateurs out there - you'll find tons of lousy, raw bands. If that's what you like, fine! It's OK. But, we deliver Thrash quality, over and out! Thrash Anthems had very good reactions because the old albums sound like crap, basically. Nothing attractive? It's a matter of taste I guess. Maybe I'll think your girlfriend is ugly?
Are you currently working on any new Destruction material and if so how similar or different will it sound to Inventor Of Evil?
Schmier: No idea really!. Maybe it'll be too modern for you and not attractive enough? Ha! Ha! Ha!...No, seriously it's too early to tell. We won't sound like we did back in '84 anymore if that's what you wanted to hear though!!
Which would you mention as being the characteristic elements of the band's sound in the year 2007 and how different is the atmosphere within the ranks of the band in comparison with that of the early 80s?
Schmier: We're really just better players, that's all. Still pissed off, still fast, and still definitely not trendy!
Having attended the band's performance at Wacken earlier in the month, I realize now how great the interest of the metal fans is towards the band. What is the secret recipe for your success?
Schmier: Well, we continue to do what we love and we don't listen to others, I guess. Everybody wants to tell you what to do but we do stuff our own way. The success comes from being ourselves. We don't fake Metal, we have been a Metal band for 25 years now, no matter what trend was around, and we continue to be so!
How did you feel sharing the stage again with some of your older colleagues and friends? Do you ever see Destruction becoming a four piece again?
Schmier: Never say never, but I don't think it's appropriate now, no. It was great to have the Destruction legacy and family around in Wacken. It's taken a lot of years to make things right for that to be possible, for sure; but now people finally have the respect for it, and it came off!
Whose idea was it to use actors on stage during the band's performance and how important is their contribution in creating the right atmosphere for the band?
Schmier: For a big event like Wacken, it was important to deliver a special show this year. The Mad Butcher is alive. It was my idea and fun to do it but I think, this only works on special occasions? Maybe, for the '25th Anniversary Tour' next year we might have a few gimmicks as part of the show but it's not a must. We are a powerful enough live act without all those showy elements. The show is just a bonus for the kids!
Extreme Metal has evolved quite a lot during the last 20 years, with many new bands appearing on the scene each passing day. Do you feel that even a band as legendary as Destruction needs to put in extra effort in order to compete with these young upstarts?
Schmier: Yes, by not playing lousy tricks and coming up with cheap productions like in the 80's! Hargh! We have our own direction and style, not many bands can really say that. We work hard for our success.., so the young bands don't scare me. They kick our a*s to go on and get better with age, for sure, but that's a positive thing!
When should we expect the new Destruction DVD to be released and how many 'goodies' have you lined up for us this time round?
Schmier: Well, this year's Wacken Special will be on it of course; then interviews with former members and concerts from all over the world; maybe Japan, Poland? Video-clips and a studio report and behind the scenes material, that kind of stuff too. I think winter 2008 is a realistic release date.
OK, let's focus on Headhunter now, because I know you're re-launching that band again this month as well as promoting the November tour for Destruction. I guess what everyone wants to know is what prompted you to put the band together again, and how did this happen at this specific moment in time?
Schmier: The re-releases brought back a lot of memories for me. When we did those re-masters (released September 7th over there, I believe?), I wrote a song in the vein of Headhunter for a friend of mine that is a tattoo artist. Everybody loved the Silverskull tune (that's the name of his Tattoo shop) and I suddenly realized how much I've missed playing the more traditional stuff like Headhunter. I called up the guys - Jorg Michael and Schmuddell and said: Hey, listen I have some time in between the Destruction tours, some really cool riffs and song structures! Let's kick some a*s again!!!
And, you know what? They were right there with me. It's great fun! I grew up on 'NWOBHM' and Headhunter is the perfect mixture of Thrash and 'NWOBHM'!
I believe that re-issuing the Headhunter albums is a great idea now, especially seeing as I never felt that they were properly promoted. Are you confident that they will get more publicity and attract a wider/new audience with the help of AFM Records?
Schmier: Let's hope so! On almost every show in the world over the last 8 years, fans have asked me to pleeeeeeeease re-release the Headhunter albums. I took some time over them, because I didn't want to sell out after the comeback of Destruction. But, now the time is right!!
We were also informed that a new Headhunter album is in the making? Any ideas on what it's going to sound like, especially in comparison with the band's earlier releases?
Schmier: It will sound like, American Nu Metal/MetalCore !! - So we'll sell something in the UK., Ha! Ha!!! No, that's a stupid answer, sorry mate! We will continue exactly what we did before: a fusion of Thrash and traditional British Metal roots. The stuff we adore and grew up with.
What is the status of Headhunter at the moment? Are we talking about a full-time band here, or just a side project?
Schmier: Destruction is my full time band. Headhunter is a fun project that will be my hobby when I'm not busy with Destruction, simple as that! I'm a 'Metal Maniac', so no rest for the wicked!
Do you see Headhunter as the 'vehicle' that enables you to invest more on your melodic 'side' as an artist, though? How different is it to work with the duo Jorg Michael and Schmuddel than with your colleagues in Destruction?
Schmier: Headhunter is easier to work with 'cause there's no pressure and no musical borders. I can fulfill all my ideas. If we don't sell, it doesn't hurt anybody. Destruction has a big legacy and me and Mike work 50/50 on the songs. Way different. I like both ways, but Headhunter is a nice change. It keeps my variety alive and music does not then get a daily routine for me. It's all about making the best out of the moment really!
Have you envisioned your future career as that of a touring musician or are there other fields that would help you satisfy your creativity?
Schmier: Yes; sometimes I do think about that. We all aren't getting any younger. I want to stay in the music business and help young talent certainly. But, we'll see. We've hopefully got some more strong years to go!
How is Schmier in his everyday civilian life? Describe to us 'a day in the life'...
Schmier: Metal. I have no civilian life...Ha! Ha! Ha! I work for the band every day, work out at the gym if I have time and party hard with my friends. I like entertaining but ambitious movies, good red wine and decent food with my chick - that makes my day! When you look like me, there is no way you can live a normal life. But, I'm still proud to be more than just another face in the crowd.
What is your opinion about the music scene nowadays, and especially bands like Evile, SSS and Municipal Waste which are promoted as the 'new big thing' in Thrash?
Schmier: It's all good stuff! It's great that the fu*king labels now sign those young talents again. It wasn't always like that, as you know. The old fu*kers need to raise the Thrash flag high, otherwise people don't believe that there is still, and always was, a big Thrash community out there all over the world for the new bands to find!
Which are the last albums that you bought and which you believe that fans of good quality music should feel free to invest in?
Schmier: Usually I steal records from my musician friends or from their labels these days, Ha! Ha! I like all kinds of Metal. The new stuff in my car at the moment? Hmmm!Vollbeat, Evile, Arch Enemy, Mercenary, Scar Symmetry, Spellbound, stuff like that.
Schmier, thank you for doing this interview with Pure Metal. The last words are yours!
Schmier: Last words: Be yourself and believe in what you do! We're looking forward to finally Thrashing the UK and Ireland in November! See you there!! Cheers for your support, maniacs!
Interview © September 2007 John Stefanis
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