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Destruction's Schmier “You have you Gucci clothes... somebody is cleaning your house, you have swimming pool... why you should be angry, you know. You can pay all your bills, there's no problem. That's the perfect life, you cannot play Thrash Metal!"

Interview with Schmier from Destruction
by Caio Botrel at 16 June 2020, 1:42 AM

Schmier is one of the Fathers of Thrash Metal and he’s being leading Destruction since the 80’s. Caio Botrel had the opportunity to chat with him a little bit about their newest live, "Born To Thrash - Live In Germany", and studio album and also about life and Thrash Metal.

Hi Schmier, it's an honour to have you here at Metal Temple online magazine. How have you been doing man?

It's been a crazy couple of weeks and the whole world is lockdown and I guess it was easier for everybody to be productive and make the best out of the situation, try to not go crazy, that's why we have release this spontaneous live album, to connect us with the fans and give us something to do. I've been doing a lot of interviews; it helps me to go through the lockdown in a positive way.

Yes! I'm reading and listening to the news daily and fortunately it seems that Germany is doing pretty well in their fight against the virus. But how the lockdown and quarantine affected the music scene in your area? Specially because there are plenty of bands that are more underground and can't afford selling merchandises and of course playing some gigs.

Yes, of course the problem is that there was no perspective, solution or idea on how we can go on. So of course now that all the concerts are getting cancelled, its important, at least to me, to stay positive and go for one little solution. We need to survive and try to find solutions, like this one of releasing an album and just try to stay positive. I know that a lot of bands are doing the same thing and we don't know how the life season will go, we are losing all the festivals and locals shows. But like you said, there's also hope in Germany, because we had a lot of positive development in the crisis now, we took control over here and a lot of things are opening now.

So hopefully in the next weeks we will have more positive views, then it's very possible that even live shows will happen before we think. They only cancelled the big festivals so far, but the smaller events are not cancelled yet, so we need to wait to see what will happen I think with certain amount of knowledge about this that we have gained the last weeks, we can work out secure concepts that can also work for concerts you know. We will have to see. There are a lot of people involved o this and a lot of national stuffs worked good. We need to see what future will bring, but I'm positive that we can reach a moment when we can have more shows.

Oh that's great man! I'm not sure if you saw it somewhere, but I just saw that Denmark will play some live gigs with cars.

Exactly! We didn't had that tour in Germany, live concerts with cars… that is terrible. Denmark has planned sitting live shows, like in a cinema and that's the next steps. if it's the first step into the right direction, so that's alright. Also there are the other ways, you can maybe isolate cars so people can be more safe and not so at risk, more in security and distance… we will have to see what will work. People are working in solutions right now, let's hope we will some stuff.

Yeah, we have a lot of gigs being cancelled here… including Destruction!

Yes, a lot of gigs are cancelled here in Europe and we were supposed to go to Brazil in November as well. All of our shows have been postponed and there's nothing we can do.

Talking about your early days as a musician, how did your interest in music start and what influenced you back then and what does influence you now?

Well, I developed Rock N' Roll basically over my father. He was a fan of vinyls and singles, he had a big single collection and a lot of Rock N' Roll stuff. My first time listening it was Elvis Presley "Jailhouse Rock" and I will never forget: my father wasn't there, so I was sneaking into his record collection when I found the Jailhouse Rock song it was magical to me, because the energy of Rock N' Roll came right away and since then, it never left me. I became a Rock n' Roll fan and I liked most of the bands such as Status Quo, Deep Purple and later on with Heavy Metal. Rock N' Roll is something that if catches you when you are young, it will never let you go I think. At least most of my friends, even if they are normal people nowadays, they are still listening to Metal, even if their wives don't like it, when they go to their cars they still listen to Heavy Metal. So I think it's a mind set and Rock N' Roll is also a lifestyle, so I think that Rock N' Roll will never go… at least for me, because is more than music to me, it's a whole mind set.

Continuing on this topic, what drives your most intense desire of making art?

Being creative is a great gift, you know. No matter if it's a normal job where you can something with your hands, but you create something… it's the same with music. It's something inside of you that come out from your inner thoughts, inner feelings and there's a lot of emotion that you put in the music. So I think that the creation with music is something very magical, you know. Every time we write a new album, we feel that we have a new baby, something exciting and something new. Even if we have done a lot of albums before, every time we create a new album, it's a very exciting moment and I think that's the magical creation and magical music that makes you happy in a very certain way. It satisfies you also and I think that's what drives any musician or artists, to express yourself. For me it's also like a therapy for my mind, to clear my body and thoughts, to express myself.

There are no boundaries in music, it doesn't matter if you sing in German and I in Portuguese, both of us are going to understand the notes. It doesn't matter the country, culture and language… it's all about notes.

Exactly! Exactly! Music doesn't have any borders, I think that's what unites in music, especially in Rock and Heavy Metal scene in general, because it's very tied together. When you meet Rock or Heavy Metal fans, you connect with them right away, just because of the music and it's a crazy thing that you don't see in the other scenes, you know. There's no country, language, religion barrier. Once you are a Metalhead, you are right away a friend. It's something that happens when we travel around the world, we meet people from everywhere and they are metal fans and we are connecting right away.

The next two questions are from two huge Brazilian fans that wanted me to ask the questions to you.

Oh right!!! Cool! Lets go!

Do you have any idea that Destruction image style and sound was and still is an inspiration for many Brazilian bands, including Sepultura?

Oh yeah, that's great. We met Sepultura for the first time in 1989 and Max brought me to the studio and we had the opportunity to tour in Brazil for the first time in 1989. We created a very special bond with Brazil, Sepultura and Max too. We know that we've been a big influence on the Brazilian scene and we are friends with Krisiun and Nervosa and other Brazilian bands. Destruction always had a very special bond with Brazil.

Its really cool that you mentioned Nervosa. Did you see their newest line-up?

Yeah, great! I'm in touch with Prika also and I supported her to go on and find new people and everything. Obviously they have some problems in the band and they want to be together anymore. This happens, but it's very that Prika is continuing the band, the show must go on. Fernanda was the big star in the band and she was the face of the whole stuff, if she leaves the band what can you do? The show must go on and Prika have found new girls and I wish all the very best of luck to her. It's great that she's continuing.

We were happy because it's a really great team!

Yes, she found really good musicians, really good girls. She sent me some of the recommendations that she had and I support and told her my opinion. I'm glad she did this quickly and that she was prepared, because a lot of fans already saw the end of Nervosa. But I think that this can be a very strong line-up.

What's your opinion about the fact that German Thrash Metal hasn't become as mainstream as the American Thrash?

It's a great thing! That's why we are still brutal and motherfuckin' crazy. I think when you are too successful and too rich, you don't play good Thrash Metal anymore. Look at the American bands, they might be more successful but look at their music, it's not really Thrash anymore. It's all commercialized. I think that's the difference between the European metal, because we are not commercialized, still brutal and that's how Thrash should be. I expect nothing more on American bands… being successful is a great thing, but we never changed our sound in Destruction and that's what we are proud of.

That's great man, do you think to be a Thrash Metal band you must be underground and not so mainstream like driving Ferrari's, Porsche's and that kind of crap that Metallica members do?

Schmier: Exactly! I think that's the problem, when you have reached everything in life. There's no more challenge, no angrier. You have you Gucci clothes, you drive a Ferrari, somebody is cleaning your house, you have swimming pool… why you should be angry, you know (laugh). You can pay all your bills, there's no problem. That's the perfect life, you cannot play Thrash Metal! (laughs)

After so many years as a trio, why did you guys decided to become a foursome and how does that reflected in the composition of the new album?

We've made the new album just me and Mike alone. The new guys can contribute, but the songwriting was me and Mike and we are going to keep this way. The new guys can contribute, but we don't want to change the sound of Destruction, you know. They are great guy and musicians, experienced and we have a fantastic relationship in the band, great atmosphere which is a very important thing to make successful music. The bandmates have to be friends, the chemistry has to be good and they need to get along. The chemistry in Destruction now is greater than ever, we've get along really well, we work good as a team and it's just the beginning of the new line-up. The last album was a great start and now we have a very nice live album that will also prove to fans that the new line-up sounds really massive live. Hopefully we can have many more years with this line-up and we are looking forward to play live again, so hopefully we can get back on the road soon.

I think that's a nice thing that you said, because there are a lot of bands nowadays that feels like a company, you know. They aren't friends, they just work together and we can see that reflected in the music.

Yes, of course! Relationships have changed nowadays; bands break up earlier now. Back in the days of my parents, people used to stick together and they didn't get a divorce so easily, but nowadays people break up all the time. The same goes with bands, look at Nervosa: Fernanda just leave the band and she threw it all away. I don't understand how you can throw away your life's work. There will never be something like Nervosa again, you have worked for this for many years. People nowadays give up too early and I think it's a problem with society that we don't look for solutions, but instead we just look how to give up. Back in the day you learned how to solve problems, you talked between band members and there was always a solution when you talk. But communication is slower nowadays and that's why people go separate ways easier, it's a sad situation. I think we have to learn how to communicate better. Destruction have also been to problems back in the days when the band split-up, because we were too young and did not communicate right. We tried to learn from the situation and this is the best way … you have to take opportunities and have good a good chemistry in the band, because otherwise you can't compose good music. It works better when you have a good mind connection and it only works when you guys are friends. Look at Iron Maiden, I love them, but Bruce Dickinson and Steve Harris don't like each other. They only play together for the money and for the fame of course. Look at their music, they don't compose good music anymore… the magic is gone. But if you look to Judas Priest, they just made a fantastic album, because the band is connected. They had difficult years because they guitarist got sick and everything, but they stick together and then they made a great album. You got to be connected, otherwise it might be not so good.

Well, let's talk about "Born To Thrash" the newest heaviest release in the world, man! It's going to be release tomorrow may 8th and what the fans can expect from the whole work? Was the release of a live album, at this point where we are all locked down influenced by the fact that we can't go to any concerts?

Yes, exactly! This is why we did the album, you know. The album is exactly because we can't go on tour, the fans can't go to shows and we thought that we have recorded a great show last year at Party San festival with 55 minutes of best Destruction, great audience… why don't we use this material now and bring out a live album? It will connect us with the fans, will give us something to do in this times. We wanted to bring the live album quickly as a stream first, so people can right away listen to the album. The physical product will take time, because it takes three months to produce and manufacture the vinyls and do all the promotions for the physical product. That's why the physical is coming in July, but we are very happy to release the streaming version and that it came out so quickly. It's a light in the end of the tunnel in the times of corona for us.

So that live album could be seen as a relief for all the fans that miss going to concerts?

Yeah! It's the most spontaneous thing that we ever did in our lives. Normally to release a live album we plan everything for several months, but this time we just said: hey, let's do this because it's the right time for it. People need a live album and it will bring us some fun and will connect us with the fans, it will also help us through this difficult times now… Yeah, I'm happy we did it and it's also a great show with 55 minutes of Destruction, pure live Destruction. It's also the first live album with the new line-up with two guitars, so you can hear the difference with the two guitars now. It's so much more powerful.

I know that it's going to be available on streaming platforms as you said, but I want to ask you something: a lot of people says that streaming platforms are the new evil and that it will kill the bands and music industry. What do you think of it?

I don't think so, the problem with the streaming is that music is underplayed for the artist. The payment for the artist is too low and that's the problem, but I think that streaming has a lot of positive side. When the album comes out tomorrow, the fans in Brazil in Malaysia, Japan and everywhere in the world, will have the album to listen to it right away. That's a big big big plus, because in the past it was really complicated to reach the fans with a physical product. You had to ship the CD to Malaysia, Japan and Brazil, to be manufactured somewhere, there were taxes and difficult things involving government complications due to religious beliefs and to import the album sometimes. Streaming made accessibility so easy and quick for the fans, it's a big plus for me as a musician, because the torrent and bootlegs are gone.

All the shit torrents were really killing the scene and musicians, because the we had no penny to earn. That's all gone now, because the fans can have a full months of free music for 5 or 10 dollars and that makes it great for people to stream. I wouldn't say streaming is evil, I would say that streaming is maybe not paid enough well for the musicians and that it's something that we should look in the future and change, but I think streaming is a great thing, because it connects the world so much faster. I'm a big fan of vinyl and I think that it has the best sound, nothing beats the vinyl. But I have to accept when I go out on my bike or with my girlfriend or when I travel, that it's great to have the fuckin' music on the streaming, because it's so much quicker and I have accessibility to everything and all the new music so fast. It's a great thing to have.

Are you a vinyl collector?

I used to be vinyl collector, even though I still have a lot of them. But I'm not like when I was younger, because back then I was collecting everything. Now I still have a lot of new vinyls, but I don't have space for everything, because it takes space… but I still love my vinyls.

Well, let's talk about "Born To Perish" because it still a new album and it was released on last August and unfortunately due the virus crisis a lot of fans couldn't check the new songs live as we here in Brazil. Are there any plans to keep them from that album going after the virus is dead, buried and gone?

Oh yeah! We will definitely continue the Born To Perish tour, because the album still accurate and it's the newest. We don't plan a new album so quickly, so when we continue this tour we will still play the Born To Perish set-list until we record the next album. But even if we compose new songs this summer, we are not going to release a new album so fast… so when we come back to Brazil next year we will have a great set-list of best of Destruction and of course the best ones from Born To Perish for you.

Great man! I hope to share a beer and a caipirinha with you (laugh). Do you like?

(laughs) of course! Everybody loves caipirinha, come on! (laughs)

Last but not least, feel free to leave a message to your fans and I to thank you so much for doing this interview with me. It was a great honour to me, because I discovered the band in 2008 and I usually went to school pissed off listening to Destruction and Kreator, but I had your music to give me some strength.

All right!!! Good to hear it man, good to hear that! We always had a very special connection with Brazil and we played our first Latin America show in 89 in Brazil and we fell in love with the country when we were there. So it's always a special thing to come back. The fans are too much dedicated and hard for the music. I'm looking forward to return, hopefully in 2021 because we had planned to come in November together with Rage, but now we had to postpone everything and hopefully it's going to happen next year. I'm really looking forward.



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Edited 28 March 2023

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