Star Scene: Schmier ~ DESTRUCTION

Schmier’s scene is “normal”. The co-founder, singer/bassist of thrash metal band Destruction states: “Basically, when I’m home I try to do the normal things in life. Everyone thinks when you’re a rock musician you have to party 24 hours. We party a lot when we are on tour. I love a great glass of wine, I like to mix my own cocktails when I’m home. I like to see my friends. I like to go the gym and work out, ride bicycles, go to the cinema, normal things.” [pullquote]the bungee jumping of my life is every night adrenaline on stage.”[/pullquote]

Schmier elaborates: “On the road you have so many crazy experiences and travels and you meet so many people. Then when I’m home I love to go to shows and see other bands, but I don’t go so much to bars anymore because I always say there’s one bar that has the best cocktails, I go there because the cocktails are killer but I’m not just going to the pub to have a beer. I’ve been doing that all my life. I do this all the time on tour also. When I’m home I’m rather a little bit more quiet and I’m trying to socialize and tell my friends I’m back home because when you’re never home it’s kind of difficult. We still have a lot of shows. I think I’m a pretty normal guy. I like sports. I like to go to the gym and watch football, like soccer. On that point, I’m pretty normal I think. I don’t do crazy stuff like surfing or, I don’t know, bungee jumping or stuff like this. I always say that the bungee jumping of my life is every night adrenaline on stage.”

Founded in 1982 the legendary trio Destruction are still considered part of the “Big 4” along with Kreator, Sodom and Tankard, and are still touring the world with great success. Now they are the influential, then it was others. Schmier states: “In the first years it was very important, British heavy metal of course. Then, the other side, it was the punk rock from the British Islands, Exploited, and all that stuff. We basically, when we started the band, we had one influence from the punk side and one influence from the heavy metal side. We wanted to play some more extreme metal, so we kind of mixed up those two styles. I guess that’s what everybody did. It’s funny it happened at the same time in the states when all the bay area thrash started. Also, with those bands, they’ve been in the same couple of months, the other side of the world, they also mixed some more American punk bands with the British heavy metal.”

Being pioneers, the band weren’t so well received when they first began. “Very bad, of course because heavy metal just started. Iron Maiden just became popular in the middle of the ’80s and some other bands tried to be more extreme so of course the main stream people were shocked. Also, the metal underground reacted really good. The mainstream media and the first big magazines, thy were quite disturbed by our sound. Some people call us noise. Some people call us punk rock. Some people didn’t understand what we were doing. Of course, I have to admit we weren’t the tightest band at the time but we had a good spirit of course. For us it was all about developing heavy metal on the next level, being more extreme than our favorite bands. Of course, it’s very satisfying after all those years that we’re still around and still successful. At the beginning people were laughing at us. Common people, they don’t listen to metal, like, ‘What the fuck is this? A bunch of noise, those crazy guys.’ We’re still around. We’re still around mother fucker.”

Destruction not only preserved, they progressed. Their signature sound is not dated or repetitive.  “I think a band and a musician just develops with time and we had a sound that was very specialist so our own sound, our own style. We are of course trying to keep it alive and trying to keep it active. You also bring in natural development as musicians and that’s what the normal song writing process brings in. You’re trying new stuff. You know what you’ve done in the past. That’s the difference between a band that develops in time and when a new band, a young band starts, they’re just copycats because they steal what you did before. We steal from ourselves sometimes too. When we write we’re like, ‘Oh my god, this sounds like something we did before’. But sometimes if we like it, we still keep it because it’s a trade mark. We also try to bring in some new influences. On the last album there are some songs with more punk added to some songs and some swing added to the different grooves. We do still always try to be a fast band. Speed is a big part of thrash metal.”

Their latest album ‘Under Attack’ is no exception. Schmier states: “We’re those who try to keep the album current and interesting and I think it’s a normal development as musicians. You never really stop playing, of course, with our fights and our breaks ups, but all of us always played music. I think that’s an important part. It’s always more difficult to come back when you have retired or something but we never really retired. We always played all of these years.”

As with previous releases, politics and religion get a thrashing. Schmier states: I’ve been always writing political lyrics because I think it’s the punk attitude. Just in the very first years when the band started, when we had this kind of black influence and we were thinking about evil lyrics but that changed at the beginning of the 80’s already. I think it became a normal thing in the 80’s already that we wrote about stuff that’s going on in the world. It became a thrash thing also. Thrash bands started to write about stuff that bothers and it’s quite funny nowadays that some new generations, especially American, they’ve been criticizing us for having social criticism lyrics. Where were you in the 80’s when this all started? Maybe like a metal head? Maybe, I have no idea, but it’s art and art can always criticize and rock and roll in general, coming from black music, coming from blues, it started like this. A lot of music started as a cry for help, as a cry of criticism for the regime.”

At heart, Schmier wants his music to stand for something, and hopefully activate social awareness, if not change. The song Generation Nevermore brings this to light. Schmier explains: “When I wrote the lyrics I was like, ‘I have no kids but what would it be like if I had kids?’ How would I teach my kids to survive in this world? Obviously, everything is getting more complicated. There’s a lot of tension, there are a lot of race wars going on in the world right now. There’s a lot of critical confusion as well. When I wrote the lyrics of course, I tried to see myself as a father, and how faith has come from. ‘How much more can you twist the words of God? How much more life can you bury in blood?’ These are questions for politicians. I think the politicians are the same scumbags everywhere in the world. Some countries worse, some countries less but they’re not very good role models, politicians nowadays because they’re all liars in the end.” [pullquote]Political discussions can go on forever and “then you get depressed and drunk”.[/pullquote]

Schmier’s steadfast manner easily glides from the hard hitting to the light hearted and entertaining. Discussing his influences nowadays, he good-humoredly states, “I just have discovered this newcomer called Judas Priest and this album called Firepower. That’s what’s spinning in my car at the moment. I love them. Of course, it brings me back to my beginning because ’79, when ‘Unleashed in the East’ came out, it was my breaking point of my music influence. Until ’79 I was listening to ACDC and Deep Purple, but then Judas Priest came with a pure metal pearl, ‘Unleashed in the East’ and that changed my life. I was a rock fan before but then this was the break out of heavy metal for me.”

With recording or covering influences live, Schmier states: “We’ve been covering a lot of ’80’s stuff. We did Motorhead and Saxon and Tank and stuff like this before but we have never have come with ACDC because it’s a little bit holy. A lot of bands try to cover ACDC and either they sound like a copycat or they slaughter the song. I think it’s not so easy to cover, an ACDC track, you have to have enough respect for it, make a new version and stuff. I think in general it’s not so easy songs. We never saw ourselves as being a cover band. Of course, ACDC was an influence for us too but I think it’s something you do live. I think we tried ACDC as a live track maybe before or something, but on a record I think it’s not so easy because it’s such a holy grail. We’re also used to be, or are still big fans. We also like this band from Australia, Rose Tattoo, and I’m very glad that I just saw them live last year in the festival in Germany. The Angry Anderson still sounds great and I hear they’re bringing out a new album so that’s exciting news also. It’s crazy that there’s another generation of musicians, it’s the stuff that influenced us. Sounds of bands are still around, still doing great, like Judas Priest and Saxon and also us too, it’s fantastic.”

As for Schmier being considered one of these living legends, he humbly states: “I don’t know. I don’t see it that way because I think if you think of yourself this way you can become an egomaniac. I try to see us in a normal way. Musicians are just normal people and of course they are lucky to do what they can do and it’s great to have fans. I try to stay calm and normal. Of course, everybody has a downside and has little things, little ticks, but I think in general I’m pretty much calm, I’m down to earth.”

[pullquote]Schmier states that Destruction’s sound in food form would “be something very spicy, something very spicy and something very meaty also. Nothing for vegetarians I think.”[/pullquote]

Schmier may be calm but he is also very certainly excited about touring and visiting Australia again. “I love to tour,” he states. “I love to see the world. Not everyone can do it. You’ve got to be a little gypsy I guess to make it for such a long time, but we have a good system where we’re not touring longer than four or five weeks on the road. If we do, then we also add some extra days where we have a little sight seeing and I can have a little holiday feeling and can relax. We’re having a little tight schedule before Australia, Asia was pretty tight whilst traveling between the countries but when we come to Australia we have a little extra day here and there. And we can take some time off. Of course, when you come to Australia, you should have some time. It’s a beautiful country. We said that right away, we will come back. We had actually an offer to join Overkill also for their Australian tour but we didn’t want to do that tour because the tour was too tight in schedule. There was no off days or nothing and we said, ‘No, it’s not the way we want to tour Australia’ so we said, ‘let’s do our own tour’. We’ve been in Australia before but this time we also have more dates so we just try to make it more comfortable for us and enjoy it all. You never know when you come back. We want to see a little bit of the country and the people. In the end it also up to the fans who come to the shows and make it successful and we all then can come back, of course.”

Catch Schmier with DESTRUCTION on their 2018 Down Under Attack Australian Tour!

German thrash veterans DESTRUCTION return to Australia for a 2018 tour in April in support of their latest album Under Attack.

The band, which now consists of Schmier, Mike Sifringer and Wawrzyniec ‘Vaaver’ Dramowicz, will be destroying venues in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane in April, backed by their 14-album discography.

Destruction 2018 Australian Tour

Tickets on sale NOW

Friday, 20th April
Amplifier, Perth
Tickets: Hardline Media

Saturday, 21st April
Fowlers, Adelaide
Tickets: Hardline Media

Tuesday, 24th April
Max Watt’s, Melbourne
Tickets: Hardline Media

Thursday, 26th April
The Basement, Canberra
Tickets: Hardline Media

Friday, 27th April
Manning Bar, Sydney
Tickets: Hardline Media

Saturday, 28th April
Crowbar, Brisbane
Tickets: Hardline Media

For more information, also see HARDLINE MEDIA & EVENTS

About Mary Boukouvalas 1612 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos,,,, She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.