Destruction rightfully hold a seat at the top of the metal genre. They are a band who cut its teeth during the early 1980’s, who signed to the iconic NOISE label early in their career, before moving on to Steam Hammer, and then proceeded to release a back catalogue of albums that are true to the thrash metal core, but also have a groove, and at times a hook, that transcend a lot of the other bands within the genre. To date they have released over fifteen studio albums, their latest being Under Attack, and they have remained in demand as a live act since the eighties. The band has toured Australia on two occasions previously and it is fantastic to have them back here for another onslaught.
I was fortunate to catch up with Schmier, bassist and frontman, to get a handle on the tour and where the band are currently, with regard to their world tour and latest album.
Schmier, your Australian tour in April will not be your first time here, and I know how well the last tour went, as I was there, but what should audiences anticipate this time around?
“You know we have a great mix of old and new songs. We just did another of our Thrash Anthem albums and we have been digging up some old classics that we haven’t played in years. The fans have been loving this and it is something that we are proudly bringing to Australia. So expect a great thrash show with a lot of classics that have not been played live for many years.”
What did you think of your experience last time in Australia?
“We have done a lot of great shows and great experiences. Australian people have a certain vibe, friendliness, they are educated, but still crazy. We are going to do some sightseeing this time too, with days off in between shows, so we are so looking forward to the tour and the trip for us as tourists. We are very excited.”
Are Australian metal audiences then unique, or are they pretty similar to the rest of the world in your opinion?
“It always depends in each city. In Germany for example, the people in the north and the south are so different. We have never played Adelaide and Perth so we will see how wild they are. In Melbourne last time it was really wild and great. You know they don’t differ much, the craziness is the same worldwide. But Latin America is where things are different, and definitely much hotter than anywhere else. But recently we played in Russia and it was really hot there too, they went wild. It depends on the day you play so if it is the weekend it is a lot crazier than a weekday. You know thrash metal is an underground thing in Australia but there are a lot of thrash heads and we can’t wait to get back there again.”
Talking about your set lists, over thirty five years into your career and fifteen albums later, do you struggle to put one together?
“Not it actually is a natural selection. We have to have the songs you want to hear and then we try new songs out and then we choose through this. We play a lot, so we always switch songs in and out, but you know, you can’t make everyone happy. But this time we are bringing back some old songs and we can’t wait to get down there and play them.”
How would you describe your working relationship with Mike [guitars] considering you have essentially worked together for over thirty five years?
“We are like an old couple. It is like we know what we want and we know the downs side to each other. When you work with someone for so many years you know everything about them and it makes it easier to work together. We can look out for each other and know if one of us is having a bad day and back off. It makes for an easier time as musicians and partners.”
Do you ever reflect on your career and think “how are we still around?” or is this just something you take in your stride?
“Of course you need a certain level of confidence to stay competitive in this scene, as there are so many great bands. But we are also very thankful for the career that we have had, and continue to have. We were one of the early birds and we founded the thrash scene in Europe and this obviously helps us. But we still work hard for this and we don’t take it for granted. It is still very special to me and I like to travel and see the world and you know there are so many bands out there, as I said, so we are very thankful.”
To the latest studio album Under Attack, released in 2016, how do you see it fitting into your back catalogue?
“We have had a lot of great reactions to this album and we won some polls from this too. I would say that fan reaction has been amazing. We took our time with the album and this is why it has turned out so well. We didn’t stress ourselves and we enjoyed the process and this proves we had done the right thing. We are going to continue to work like this in the future and I am looking forward to the new album.”
I would like to focus a little on the Teutonic 4, are there any plans to work together again soon?
“At the end of the day it is up to Mille from Kreator who has to bring us back together and it is hard. We have our own challenges as different units and so when Kreator are ready so are we. We have been ready for years and we would love to do this and it is what people want to hear and see. I am sitting on my luggage waiting for the call.”
Now Schmier you have Destruction and Panzer, but are there any other metal musicians or projects that you would like to work in or with?
“My favourite band has always been Judas Priest and this what we are trying to do with Panzer, to pay homage to the 80s metal movement. I am so proud of Priest and the release of Firepower it is a brilliant album. So it would be Rob Halford, he is, and always will be, my favourite musician.”
Finally mate, and thank you for your time, is there anything that you would like to say to your fans ahead of the tour next month?
“We are so sorry it has taken us six years to come back and we have the best memories of our first two visits and we can’t wait to get down there and party again!”
A great guy who shows no sign of ego or pretention. This was the third encounter that I have had with Schmier and each time I have been impressed. If you didn’t have the opportunity to see these guys the last time they were in Australia don’t miss this gig!!!! They don’t disappoint.
Interview by Mark Snedden
Destruction – Down Under Attack Australian Tour
Friday 20th April – PERTH, Amplifier
Saturday 21st April – ADELAIDE, Fowlers
Tuesday 24th April – MELBOURNE, Max Watts (Anzac Day Eve)
Thursday 26th April – CANBERRA, The Basement
Friday 27th April – SYDNEY, Manning Bar
Saturday 28th April – BRISBANE, Crowbar