This interview got originally published in Sleepless Magazine No. 9 and was done around the summer of 2000, so it’s already a bit older, but it’s cool to read anyway. DESTRUCTION were, together with KREATOR and SODOM, without any doubt the most important Thrash Metal band that ever emerged from Germany. With their first outputs "Sentence Of Death" and especially "Infernal Overkill", they gained worldwide a very big following and a loyal fan-base. After the release of their brilliant live album "Live Without Sense" in 1989, bass-player and vocalist Schmier was forced to leave the band and DESTRUCTION lost almost all of its attraction. Over the years, I tried several times to get in touch with Schmier but I never succeeded. Then, suddenly last year, something that I always somehow dreamed of happened: Schmier returned to DESTRUCTION and totally killed the audience on their first re-union live-shows last year at various festivals by playing many good old classics which made many die-hard DESTRUCTION fan fall on their knees. As all of you out there know, DESTRUCTION also released a very good come-back album last year, "All Hell Breaks Loose", which really breaths the good old DESTRUCTION atmosphere. Finally, after all those years, I was able to talk to a very friendly Schmier, who was very willing to have a long and in-depth conversation
Maybe you don’t remember this exactly anymore, but when did DESTRUCTION actually got formed?
"That’s a long time ago, that was in 1983. There was a former band called KNIGHT OF DEMON, in which Mike and Tommy were already playing with another vocalist and another guitarplayer. They were looking for a bassplayer, I joined the band, and immediately we wanted to go in a more heavy direction, more fast, more speedy, with the result that some of the members immediately left the band because they wanted to play more melodic music. So we changed the name into DESTRUCTION and we went on from there. That was the beginning actually."
What do you think were the most important bands or albums that influenced you in the very beginning?
"I bought as much Metal albums as I could find through mailorder, because you simply couldn’t buy Metal albums in the record stores at that time. Stuff like ANGEL WITCH made a big impression on me, JUDAS PRIEST were always like one of my god bands. The first time when I heard really fast material, that probably must have been ANGEL WITCH or the first time I heard METALLICA on the Metal Massacre sampler. You also had EXCITER, MOTÖRHEAD, METALLICA came out, all those faster and heavier bands from that time have been influencing us, also Punk music like GBH, DEAD KENNEDYS and THE EXPLOITED, we also liked them a lot. At that time, we were hanging around with Punk fans a lot, because there simply was no Metal scene, there were no places were they played Heavy Metal, so you had to go to Punk places."
Frank Stöver who put out the legendary Voices From The Darkside magazine was actually the one that got you a recorddeal in those days, correct?
"I would say that we got the recorddeal through ourselves, we had been sending our material all over the place to get a record deal. Frank was helping us out, he was kind of our manager, he was passing everything on to the magazines and stuff, he set up concerts for us and he was very supportive towards DESTRUCTION. He was a great help for us, because we got to do quite some interviews in magazines because of him. He was a good friend over the years, but over the last years he got actually a bit out of there, I don’t know what happened exactly. After our record deal, we got a real management. But in the beginning he came to my place, and he went to the very first DESTRUCTION shows, that was a big fun time at that time."
When I take a look at the pictures from that time you were all also very much into leather, chains and stuff…
"Yeah, we got that idea from another band, VENOM was one of the first bands who used it, but they took the idea from MOTÖRHEAD in my opinion. MOTÖRHEAD started this thing with wearing bullet belts and then VENOM came up and then we came up. We had been big fans of MOTÖRHEAD and all these NWOBHM bands like ANGEL WITCH, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, but we wanted to be even more extreme and get the bullet and leather thing even further. It was really extreme at that time, we wanted to be extreme musical-wise, but also outfit-wise. I think it helped us also a lot that we got a recorddeal that fast. I remember that when our record company took a look at our bandpicture, they went like ‘Wooo, these guys look mean!’ (laughs), and then they signed us."
What are your memories about your legendary first gig that you played on 23/09/1984 in Germany?
"That was not the real first gig, we had been invited by SODOM to come to that show, they were headlining, and VENOM were also there to sign autographs, there was a VENOM fanclub meeting, and we came to watch the bands. After SODOM had finished their set, they told us we had to go on stage to play a couple of songs, so we played like 2 songs or something. It was really a surprise for us to get such great reactions from the crowd at the same time, because we had no idea that we were already that popular at that time. Our real first gig was a couple of weeks after that in Essen, that was together with IRON ANGEL and SODOM supporting us and KREATOR played after us as a sort of guest-appearance, they were even still called TORMENTOR at that time. It was really easy going and we didn’t care who was headlining and who was supporting."
What about the World War III festival in Canada, your first gig outside Germany?
"That was one of the best things that ever happened to us at that time, it was the biggest festival for Heavy Metal, and all the cool underground bands of that time were playing there. That was a real big show we played, it was very outrageous, and a real major event. I never really lost contact with the bands who were there, I lost maybe just POSSESSED out of sight, I didn’t meet any of them afterwards, but the other bands like CELTIC FROST, VOIVOD we have always stayed in touch with. We saw each other on shows, we supported each other, that was a really cool time, that was real underground spirit. I will always remember that, a lot of funny things happened at that time as well."
What are actually your memories about the very first DESTRUCTION demo "Bestial Invasion Of Hell" from 1984?
"Well, we were together for about 6 months when we recorded the demo. We went to a small studio next to Freiburg and recorded the demo there on 16 tracks. It was a rather cheap studio, but still it was quite some money for us, as we had to pay for the recordings ourselves at that time, since we were all still in school or started studying."
Many people, including myself, see the "Infernal Overkill" album as your best album. It seems to me like you think so too, because you played almost only songs of that album at your re-union gig last year in Wacken.
"Yeah, you’re right, most of our classics are on that album. As we were looking which songs to play for the re-union festivals we played, we found out that those are the best ones. On "Eternal Devastation", there are some cool songs too, but the better ones, songwise, are definitely on "Infernal Overkill". So, this year, we ‘re going to play a little program that will feature the whole career of the band, we’re going to play a couple of songs from "Infernal Overkill" and a couple of "Eternal Devastation", it’s a cool thing for the fans I think."
How do you look back on "Release From Agony"?
"I still think it’s a great album, but at that time, our problems started within the band. Musical-wise, it was a big step forward, but there was a problem going on in the band, some of them wanted to go in other directions. The reactions when the album came out were also really very divided, some of them thought it was shit, other reviewers said it was our best album ever. I don’t have the best memories about this period of time, even if we were touring a lot for that album. There were of course many good moments as well, we recorded our live album "Live Without Sense" during that tour, which was a great experience. I’m not so happy with the way the songs were recorded for the album, that’s the main reason why we won’t play much material from that album, I think we’ll just play ‘Sign Of Fear’ from the "Release From Agony" album. All the songs are also written for 2 guitars, we have again Mike as the only guitar-player now, I think our older material fits better to DESTRUCTION."
Over the years, you toured quite a lot, for example you supported SLAYER in 1985 on their "Hell Awaits" tour. Must have been a good experience?
"In the beginning it was very cool, because we were like friends and the "Hell Awaits" tour was really easy going. Afterwards they asked us again to support them on their "Reign In Blood" tour, because their support band MALICE quit, at that time it was totally different. Their stage-manager and their tour-manager treated us like shit, they gave us a very bad sound. We had no stage-sound, they plugged out our amplifiers while we were playing, they didn’t allow us to use the P.A. system for the guitars. We were supposed to play more shows with SLAYER, but we cancelled after that gig. We had already quite a big status at that time, and their tour-manager went like ‘If you don’t do this, you’ll get a bad sound tomorrow again’, and we said ‘No way!’ I tried to talk to SLAYER about it was well, but they didn’t really care. They will probably not even remember this nowadays, they probably didn’t know what was going on, but it was like a real shock to us, because we thought they were friends, and we thought it would be a pleasant tour again. But I still love SLAYER, even if their last albums were weaker, and I think the problems were mainly because of their management at that time. SLAYER have always been one of the biggest and major bands in Thrash Metal, and I have a lot of respect for them."
If I’m not mistaken you toured later on with KING DIAMOND and MOTÖRHEAD, what are your memories about that tour?
"That was a fantastic tour actually, it was a great mix of KING DIAMAOND, who was very popular at that time, a Thrash Metal band, and then MOTÖRHEAD, the godfathers of Heavy Metal and rock ‘n roll or whatever. It was a really nice tour, everyone was getting along with each other very good, some of the tracks on the live album are recorded during that tour. It will always stay in my mind as one of the best tours we’ve ever done. We didn’t have that much contact with KING DIAMOND though, he doesn’t talk that much, he’s a quiet guy, but very polite and nice all the time actually."
I think I’ve never seen any picture so far without him wearing his make-up.
"Yeah, backstage, he was wearing sunglasses when he wasn’t wearing make-up. He took that stuff very seriously, but he’s a cool guy though, I can’t say anything bad about him. I don’t know how things are going for him right now, but I don’ think it’s going too well for KING DIAMOND and MERCYFUL FATE for the moment. But the festivalgigs I saw of them last year were very good, they sounded very well live, but I think they don’t sell that much anymore as they used to."
Is there anything from those tours that really stuck in your mind and that you will probably never forget?
"Oh my god, there are so many things I could tell you but it’s not always suitable for a magazine (laughs). I’ve been on the road for so long and there are so many stories to tell. Once, we were touring in the States with the CRO-MAGS, and some black guys almost shot the guitarist of the CRO-MAGS, that was one of the heaviest things that ever happened to me, because he was just standing next to me. But there’s a funny story also… We played in Florida once, and there was a guy coming up to me, and telling me that he played in a band too and that they were planning to release an album too. He was a cool guy, we had some beers together and a couple of years later I see him again when I was touring with HEADHUNTER and it turned out that he was David Vincent of MORBID ANGEL. At one of the last shows, my voice was really fucked, and he came into my dressing room, with a bottle of Jägermeister, and he said ‘Hey, do you remember me?’, that was a real funny event (laughs). A lot of people say he’s an asshole and a sort of nazi or something, but I never saw him that way. We treated each other with respect, we had some drinks together. I also remember that we played a show with SLAYER, the first day on a tour. They told us we had to go on stage at 8 o’clock, and we thought that was OK. We didn’t know that the tourmanager would come back to tell us exactly when we had to go on, we just waited until 8 o’clock, got on stage and started playing without any light or P.A. system, because we were that hot to play. So, the whole crew was eating and they were like ‘Shit, DESTRUCTION already started playing, it’s too early!’, things like that happened all the time (laughs). When you’re on tour, you meet a lot of people, a lot of funny characters, a lot of cool fans."
Have you ever asked someone for an autograph yourself?
"Of course, one of the first Metal shows I ever saw was SAXON, that was on their tour for "Wheels Of Steel" I think, I got the autographs from Biff and the whole band, that must have been around 1981 or 1982. The funny thing is that 15 years later I did a whole tour together with SAXON with HEADHUNTER."
Many see the Tommy-Mike-Schmier line-up as the DESTRUCTION line-up, do you agree with them?
"Yeah, that’s why we’re a three-piece again now. As a bass-player I also prefer to play with just one guitarist, because it gives more space for me as well. Also Mike played for years now with another guitarplayer and he said that he prefers to be the only guitarplayer again. When you have 2 guitar-players, you don’t always have enough ‘space’ for everybody. When we got back together, it was clear that we had to be a three-piece again. Since Tommy wasn’t planning to come back, we also searched for a real Thrash Metal drummer who liked DESTRUCTION and knew what the band was all about. We never talked about a second guitarplayer actually."
I know that Tommy became a policeman later on, but what actually happened to Olly and Harry?
"Tommy became indeed a policeman, and he was actually very happy that we got back together. He even came to our show in Balingen (Germany), he also likes our new album a lot. Olly has been studying to become a doctor or something and Harry, I don’t know exactly what he’s doing. After the band split in 1989, I just kept talking to Mike and Olly once and a while, I didn’t have contact with Harry at all. He always was a kind of strange quiet guy, he cut his hair and he got a job I guess, I don’t know. He was never that much involved that he really was an important guy in DESTRUCTION, he was actually one of the main reasons why DESTRUCTION split in 1989, because of the musical differences we had. He was a very good guitarplayer but he never was a Thrash Metal guitarplayer, he never fitted in the band the perfect way. The original line-up definitely was the best one, maybe not playing-wise, but the best in song-writing. Me and Mike wrote the songs, afterwards, new members got in the band and started contributing as well, and that’s where the problems started. I will always remember the old times."
When you take a look at the DESTRUCTION lyrics you could say that they are somehow typical eighties lyrics, although there are two songs which had a bigger meaning I think, that is ‘Curse The Gods’ and ‘Life Without Sense’. Can you tell a bit more about the background of those songs?
"There was a friend of Tommy who had an accident with a motorbike, and afterwards he had a big handicap because of that, that’s were we we got the idea from to write something about that. That song was written at a time when I wrote the lyrics together with Tommy and Mike, afterwards I wrote them all alone. ‘Curse The Gods’ was Mike’s idea, we had been hating the church deeply, so it was real easy for us to write a song about that subject. We have a new impretation of the church-subject on the new album as well actually."
What’s about the most fascinating thing that you’ve heard that fans experienced or did while listening to DESTRUCTION?
"Gee, I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a story of someone who did something while listening to DESTRUCTION. It’s a good question but actually difficult to answer. I guess some people have had sex while listening to our fast songs (laughs), on the other hand … . Maybe you should ask some fans what they could tell you about it."
Nobody ever proposed to his girlfriend while listening to ‘Mad Butcher’?
"Mmm (laughs), I don’t know, but I’m sure that here are some funny stories."
You have a tattoo of the "Infernal Overkill" album on your arm…
"Yeah, and I have a tattoo of the cover of the new album on my arm already too."
Have you ever met fans who have Destruction tattoos as well?
"Yeah, I’ve met a couple of people who have tattoos like that, some people in the States, some in Brazil, also someone from Germany who’s working for the mail-order of Metal Merchant, the mail-order of Massacre Records. He’s also taking care of the distribution of our shirts and stuff, he’s a big DESTRUCTION fan."
You already mentioned that at the time of "Release From Agony", things started to go wrong. What did actually go wrong?
"Mainly musical differences, there were 2 people who wanted to go this direction, and there were 2 others who wanted to go the other direction, there was no unity anymore. Our record company told us we had to go this way, our management told us we had to go that way, and everybody in the band wanted to do something else, it started to get a big problem. There was also no leading person who made the band take one direction, we all had different opinions about how the songs should sound like. We had 2 new members and they had to work their way into the band rather fast, maybe too fast, because we drifted away too far from the original DESTRUCTION sound. Even if "Release From Agony" is a good album, I think our new album "All Hell Breaks Loose" is much closer to the original DESTRUCTION sound as "Release From Agony" is."
Were you actually still involved in the songwriting for "Cracked Brain"?
"I was there and we had big fights at that time. They wanted to make the music more straight, they decided to have a new singer and so I quit during the recording sessions, actually they kicked me out at that time. They wanted to have a melodic singer, we couldn’t talk anymore together, the musical differences were too big. I was at one side and the rest of the band was at the other side."
Afterwards you also made 3 albums with HEADHUNTER. I actually never had the chance to check out those albums, you simply couldn’t get them anywhere…
"That’s true, they were very difficult to find and released on a shitty little label. The label quit after the third album, you can’t get them anymore so maybe they’ll be re-released one day if it’s worth it. Maybe I’ll re-release some stuff one day. HEADHUNTER was a cool thing, I enjoyed doing music again, the direction was more a mixture of Thrash and Power Metal. It was not as heavy as DESTRUCTION, it was a lot more straight, a lot more easy-going, but it was a good time for me as a musician to keep making music, but it was never as cool as DESTRUCTION. DESTRUCTION had a big legacy that always kept following me. HEADHUNTER was a time of playing music and not caring about what people said. There was so much pressure on the band within the last couple of years that was breaking up the band."
Did you ever play DESTRUCTION songs at HEADHUNTER shows?
"Of course, we played almost always ‘Mad Butcher’ and ‘Bestial Invasion’, we simply had to do this because people were already asking for it from the beginning of the show. When we played the opener of a HEADHUNTER show, the first DESTRUCTION screams were already there. It’s funny actually, I had very good musicians in that band, very well-known in the Metal-scene, but the vibe within the band was never the same as it is for example nowadays. It’s a totally different atmosphere, it sounded totally different."
Between the split of HEADHUNTER and the DESTRUCTION re-union, you opened a pub in Germany. Did you like to do that?
"You know, it has been a good job for me because I earned some money this way. I don’t have to work from 9 to 5, I can sleep long and party all day, I have my friends around me all the time. It was a good thing for me during the time I was out of the scene, I quit because I was hating some stuff that was happening at that time. In the middle of the nineties, the last HEADHUNTER album came out in 1995, Heavy Metal was totally dead. Everybody told me they didn’t want Heavy Metal anymore, they wanted more brutal stuff. I got away to do something completely different, I got myself in a totally different situation and I learned a lot through it. It’s not a job that I would like to do my whole life, but it was a good experience and that way I built up something that was important for me. I told myself that I had 3 years to do that thing, and after that I wanted to play music again. In the end, it took me 3,5 years to get DESTRUCTION going again. I had to set new targets, new aims. With Heavy Metal you can’t get rich unless you’re called IRON MAIDEN. If you really believe in your thing and you don’t want to make compromises, it will be very hard to make some money. That’s one of the things that I can’t follow in the underground scene: for some reason they want to stay bands alive but they can’t sell records. It was a good experience for me, but now I’m 200% back with DESTRUCTION, and take care of the band. The main priority is DESTRUCTION now, definitely!"
Did your pub turn out into a sort of ‘mekka’ for DESTRUCTION fans?
"Well, I live in an area where there is almost no Metal scene. Of course there are DESTRUCTION fans who are coming by once and a while, and I have a good laughter and laugh with them, sign some albums and talk about old times. Sometimes people come by in a cool DESTRUCTION-outfit, complete with bullet-belts and everything, looking for autographs, it’s funny."
The city where you live in, do they actually know you?
"Of course, I look very extreme and the city I live in is still very conservative. It was very hard for me in the beginning here, because I got treated like shit in the beginning because of my long hair, piercings, tattoos and stuff, but after a while they got respect for what I was doing. They’re taking it easy nowadays."
During the time you kept your pub open, did you keep on playing bass?
"Yes, I’ve never been really out of business. I always kept informed about what’s going on in the Metal scene, because I always kept reading all the magazines and stuff. I also still had all my equipment and stuff, so that was no problem either. Maybe I quit for a while because my job was too stressy, the first year was very stressy for the business here, that was a year where I almost didn’t play at all. But once and a while I put the bass back in my hand, you can’t stop when you’ve been doing it for that long like. I tried to avoid to play music, but it had to come back one day, because I’ve been doing it for too long."
The years between the HEADHUNTER and the DESTRUCTION reunion, do you feel that they are somehow a bit wasted?
"No, I had a life besides the music scene, I’ve lead a life without being Schmier of DESTRUCTION, the people accepted me the way I was. Sometimes it’s very hard when you played in band for such a long time, you’re just Schmier and you’ve almost DESTRUCTION around you. It almost totally stopped when I had my normal life and it was interesting too, to get aims in your normal life too, to handle things without DESTRUCTION, without being a musician."
Is there anything that you regret that you have done or didn’t do in your life?
"Not really, I’ve had very bad vibes when we split up, but things are now going very nice again. We’re going to have a nice tour this year, and now we can do all the things that we haven’t done yet with the band. The way everything happened with the band, it had to be this way, otherwise we wouldn’t learn and we wouldn’t get better, otherwise people would maybe start to forget about the band. We get the chance twice to become an influential band and that’s a very nice thing actually."
Did you ever experience that bands were really jealous of you because of the status DESTRUCTION has?
"Of course, it happened many times, most of the time from the bands around this area, they’ve been talking shit about DESTRUCTION for a while. We got real fast from a total underground act to a big Thrash Metal band, and some people were certainly jealous because of that. When we started, nobody gave a penny about our future, I remember that always, so I’m very proud that 16 years later we’re back there again, everything is going very nice and the Metal scene is bigger than ever. Out of Thrash Metal came Death Metal, out of Death Metal came Black Metal, we’re part of a very big musical past. But jealousy is always around, when you’re successful it’s simply there."
Have you ever been jealous at another band and maybe wished that you had done something that they did?
"You always get influenced by other bands. Of course it’s a strange feeling when you’re a big band and there’s another band that started at the same time getting popular then you are. It happened to us when KREATOR got more popular then we were, somewhere at the end of the eighties. Both bands have always been friends of each other, and suddenly they were bigger and more popular than us and that was kind of shock for us. But in such a moment you don’t feel it like jealousy."
Over the years, I’ve always kept listening to your albums, and it was like a dream come true when you decided to get back to DESTRUCTION. When exactly did you get the idea to reform DESTRUCTION together with Mike, because over the years DESTRUCTION kept putting out albums, which I actually never cared about checking out as it seems that it was a total other direction?
"The new material was indeed far away from what DESTRUCTION did before. I’ve been talking to Mike business-wise on the phone now and then. I asked him once and he said no, I asked him again like half a year later in spring 1999. We sat together and talked."
Haven’t you received any negative comment so far?
"Not yet, of course there will always be people who have their own opinion on re-unions, but it seems like everybody is at our side. If I read the reactions in the magazines on the shows we played so far, and if I read the reactions on our homepage on the internet (www.destruction.de), people are very happy, and that makes it easier for us. There will always be people who don’t like us, but the response we got so far is really amazing. It’s not just positive, it’s more than that actually."
Your new drummer, Sven Vormann, from where does he come from?
"He has been playing in some local bands before, that’s it. We didn’t want to have a popular guy, we wanted to have a guy that plays Thrash Metal from the heart. He’s about the biggest talent in our area, he’s been a friend of mine for years, he’s also a big DESTRUCTION fan. He simply blew everybody away when we played together for the first time, Mike was very surprised. He’s also fresh, he’s the typical Metal guy who grew up with KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, SODOM and stuff like that, and his style fits perfect to our music. He’s also a really nice person and that’s also important for us, cause we practice a lot and we want to hang out together."
If we come to talk a bit about the new album, you can see many hints to your career in there, like for example the tattoo of "Infernal Overkill"…
"Of course, they are all parts of my tattoos actually, and we made a kind of DESTRUCTION monster of it that comes out of hell or something. We really wanted a cover that showed the band as a unit and what DESTRUCTION is all about, and having the "All Hell Breaks Loose" theme in there as well. I’m really happy with the cover."
The figure in the middle seems to me very inspired by the Hellraiser-figure Pinhead …
"Of course it’s influenced and taken from Hellraiser, it’s obvious, with an albumtitle like "All Hell Breaks Loose". I was a little bit skeptic when I saw the first ideas about it, but we developed it and I think it fits very well. It’s a cover that you remember very well once you see it."
Is it actually true that Peter of HYPOCRISY almost begged you to produce your album?
"Yeah, he was literally kneeling on his knees (laughs), telling me he had to do the new DESTRUCTION album. We have been talking to other producers but they haven’t been as good as Peter is. Peter is a cool guy, he’s a Metal personality himself and very respected and successful and to work with us and see us live and stuff, that was like a dream come true to him. It was very easy for us to work together with him, he’s a big DESTRUCTION fan himself, we’ve been pulling on the same string all the time. We had the same ideas, the same influences, it was perfect. I had listened to some stuff he had done before like PAIN, and people were warning me that he mainly does Black Metal bands, but DESTRUCTION has its own style, we won’t sound like DIMMU BORGIR afterwards. We’re totally satisfied actually, and I think that we will work with him again for the next album."
When you were starting with the songwriting for "All Hell Breaks Loose", did you also keep in mind what the fans maybe would like to hear?
"Of course, but which fans are you talking about then, the fans who like "Release From Agony" or the fans who like "Infernal Overkill"? DESTRUCTION is fast, heavy riffing and we tried to put those things in the band. Mike and me have the same roots, we’ve been growing up with the same stuff. We didn’t sit together and went like ‘Lets write a song that sounds like "Bestial Invasion”’, that would have been stupid. We just tried to have a good time together and make music together, and that was the major aim for everybody. As long as it’s fast, heavy and DESTRUCTION-riffing kind of style, it will also sound like DESTRUCTION. I think it’s a healthy mixture of old and new stuff, we also didn’t want to sound too old-fashioned, that’s why we also went to Peter, otherwise we could have also just done the production ourselves."
When you entered the Abyss studio, did you already have a clear idea of how the album should sound like?
"Yeah, Peter didn’t change our approach, he was helpful in many ways but I know how my bass should sound like, everybody has his own idea about instruments. Peter just put the right frequencies on our sound, the songs were already written, so in the studio, everything was rather spontaneous, there are also not too much overdubs and shit, just played right out of the fuckin’ balls (laughs)."
The vinyl version of "All Hell Breaks Loose" is released in a limited edition with your demo from 1984 as a bonus, why did you that?
"We said to Nuclear Blast if they wanted to release the album as a vinyl version, we also wanted some bonus stuff on there. There are already so many bootlegs around of our demo, so we decided to remaster the demo for the real fans and put it on the vinyl version together with a cover of METALLICA’s ‘Whiplash’. That METALLICA cover is just included on the vinyl version, it’s not on the CD, because the demo is included in the CD version as well but just for a limited edition. So, the vinyl version is really a nice one, we had to ‘fight’ a bit with Nuclear Blast to get it released, but in the end "All Hell Breaks Loose" is released as a 2-LP."
On the upcoming tour, I guess you’re also going to play a lot of old classics. Are there any songs that you actually would like to play but that you know that the fans aren’t very font of?
"No, not really. I talked with quite a lot of people what they like, and what they would like to hear, and most of the time that’s the stuff from the "Infernal Overkill" album, and that’s what I also like the most together with the other classics of course. When we played in Greece recently, they asked us to play ‘The Damned’ from the "Mad Butcher" album. That was actually big fun to do that, but that’s also just a cover from THE PLASMATICS, so… When we play all the classics together with the songs from the new album, we can play a 2 hour show without any problems. We’ll just see what the fans like best. The fans are going to get a very nice ‘best of’ package of DESTRUCTION when we come on tour later this year."
Many bands from these days state DESTRUCTION as a big influence. MARDUK already recorded a cover of you as well as DEFELSHED, PENTACLE from Holland played already a DESTRUCTION song on their gigs. Some take this ‘influence’ a bit too far and completely copy your riffs like INFERNO…
"Yeah (laughs), INFERNO that was really something… DEFESHED’s version of ‘Curse The Gods’ was really good I think. It’s just a big honor for me to be hailed by those bands and to be a part of their music, it’s also one of the main reasons why DESTRUCTION had the chance to come back, because those bands take the spirit of DESTRUCTION further in the nineties. The fans of those bands who maybe don’t know us, are maybe going to wonder ‘Who the hell is DESTRUCTION?’, and they maybe are going to check our older albums out as well. It means that DESTRUCTION is a part of the metal history already, and that’s a big honor."
Have you ever really copied riffs?
"Of course, as a musician you always steal something hear and there, but you don’t always realize it. You play a lot and when you also listen to the same style of music, you pick up some riffs or melodies here and there, but as long as nobody realizes it, it’s OK I think. I’ve been influenced by so many bands, everybody is somehow."
I’m personally 25 now, I’ve never seen you play in the eighties, I was over the roof when I saw your gig at Wacken last year. Most people like me who have never seen you live before in the eighties have probably very high expectations of the upcoming tour. Do you think you will be able to live up to them?
"That’s something that only the fans can decide. We can only give our best shot, and if the best is not good enough, then the album won’t go good, that’s the way things work in life. We knew how big the re-union would be taken, and how important the new album would be, and we’ve been trying to work out everything the way it should be for us. There’s no compromise on the album whatsoever, I think we’ve been musicians for a long time so we can play this music in a good way live, and so, at the gigs the fans will decide if they like it or not."
Do you have already concrete idea when you’re coming over on tour?
"We just played some release-parties in May, that was just in Germany and the Dynamo festival. In July we’re going to North-America, and in September we’re coming back in to tour Europe, probably together with HYPOCRISY who will have their new album "Into The Abyss" out at that time and maybe RAISE HELL as support."
Interview: Steven Willems
vintage pics: Frank Stöver / Michael Trengert (Live)
all new live pics taken from the official DESTRUCTION homepage www.destruction.de