Founded in 1982 the legendary trio DESTRUCTION reached the top of the national thrash metal movement, with albums such as Infernal Overkill and Eternal Devastation nestling in their impressive heavy metal canon. Even later works like All Hell Breaks Loose or The Antichrist are glorious moments in thrash, highlighting why DESTRUCTION are part of the “Big Teutonic 4’’ and still touring the world with great success.
DESTRUCTION never been so fast, brutal and groovy, which is saying something after thirty years in the metal business! When a combo is still able to write high-energy balls to the wall songs overflowing with power and joy of playing after all this time, one can justifiably bespeak it as an outstanding achievement. After several personnel changes, DESTRUCTION have risen to the position of one of Germany’s most impressive thrash metal figureheads in the course of time – famous for releasing premium juggernauts of sound and notorious for their merciless live massacres. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Schmier about the upcoming tour.
So cool, the Australian tour for Destruction is not far off now…
Yeah, Australia is always something special, we don’t get there that often but it is always great and we have some fantastic memories. We’re excited to be coming back as it has almost been six years since the last time.
Do you get a lot pressure from fans about when are you coming back?
Of course! That’s why we have the internet, all the people in Australia understand that it isn’t that easy to tour Australia as it is far away from everything and it is costing a lot of money to get there. The scene is very dedicated but not huge, in the end it’s not us that decides whether we’ll come, we rely on a promoter to bring us and we are glad we’ve found a promoter to bring us over. I’m glad fans put pressure on and still want to see us.
What is it about Australia that you look forward to the most when you are on tour here?
I’m looking forward to finally being able to play Perth and Adelaide and we do have a bit of a longer tour this time so we’ve managed to have some off days. We’re not just playing and then going, we’ll have some time for site seeing, meet friends, it is going to be very exciting not just to have a show everyday and being in and out. It’s a really nice set up for this tour so we can enjoy our stay.
With such an expansive back catalogue of material to choose from how do you narrow the set list down to ninety minutes or so?
We play a lot of shows, when you play and experience the live element you test songs out and if it doesn’t work we don’t play it again and we see the big fan reactions to songs and the songs with a great reaction we’ll keep in the set list. Now that we have Thrash Anthems II out, a best of album, we have been reactivating some songs we haven’t played live or never played live at all. It all depends on the live situation and at the end of the tour we’ll say hey did this work? Did that one? Either skip it or change it out, it is very difficult of course there a lot of classics and a lot of cool songs. We were very lucky last year that we had a very stable line up, so we could ask fans what do you want to hear? At the end of the show are there songs you want to hear, and people would chant for a song so we would pick one out of the blue. That’s our philosophy on that, we listen to the fans of course and listen to what we think feels good live also.
Even after thirty years as a band does it excite you that the band is going stronger than ever before?
Of course, there’s still lots of challenges such as the internet and the ways of downloading new music, that changes things a lot. We’re privileged to still be around and still play so much. For me, it’s always been about waking up in a new country and I have a big smile on my face that I’m still around whether that’s in Australia, Brazil or wherever we are. It is always a dream, we’re living the dream but you also go through a lot of shit and a lot of crazy moments but at the end it pays off because you see the world, you see your fans, you have a lot of adrenalin on stage and it is still a fantastic job for me and everyday I am thankful for that.
Is there a secret to longevity? Does it help when the band is still being creative writing new songs?
We had our problems in the eighties and we learned from them, we stopped and went our separate ways for a while but when you have those moments of depression and stress you learn from it and that makes the band stronger. The break makes you appreciate what we had with Destruction more and we were lucky that the fans still wanted us back. Since the reunion, almost twenty years, we’re going strong and we love what we do, we love the passion in what we do. We are a pretty good live band and we always deliver on stage and that is an important part nowadays. We don’t need backing tracks and bullshit to survive and be a good band, we’re real and that’s what the people like.
Did the line-up changes help bring something different to the music?
The drummer is a very important physical backbone of a thrash metal band. When we were looking for a drummer it was important that we found someone who is a very good technical player, a very good physical player but also has to be a friend. We’ve always been selecting drummers like this, drummers usually come to an end after playing music like this for a certain amount of years you get tired of it or right now your family gets tired of it. Our drummer left for his family and we understand that and we’ll have to find someone as good as him and we will. Some fresh blood is never a bad thing and trying to find a drummer our age would be more difficult. We now have Randy Black who is our age, coming to Australia and Randy is a very fit guy and the sort of guy who goes jogging in the morning. This kind of music is very physical for a drummer and it is good to have fresh blood because the drummer is the backbone behind extreme music, very, very important.
Will there be any special plans for the fortieth anniversary of Destruction?
That is scary long! We have to do something special for that and there’s still some years to go before the forties. There’s always been this talk of a Kreator, Sodom and Destruction that has to happen one day. Every country on this planet is asking for it and that would be a great thing for all of us as well started at the same time.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Destruction on the following dates…