DESTRUCTION's SCHMIER On METALLICA: 'Once You're A Billionaire, What Should You Be Pissed Off About?'
December 4, 2019
Jerry from Finland's Rauta recently conducted an interview with frontman Schmier of German thrash metal veterans DESTRUCTION. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how life has changed in DESTRUCTION since the band's 1982 formation:
Schmier: "When you're a touring band, you need to organize yourself. And that's what we learned pretty early — if you don't organize yourself, you will lose shit, you will lose time, you will lose your wallet, you will lose your bag. I lost all this before. We started to organize ourselves better when we grew older. Of course, we've been a band that also parties a lot. Also, those are the major changes when you get older, that you try to organize everything better so you don't lose your fucking shit. You cannot party as hard anymore as you partied when you were 17. But we still enjoy all this and we still have a great time. So, not so much has changed. We also don't take life too seriously, because I think rock and roll, you've gotta laugh about a lot of situations, because otherwise you can't take it. When we came here [to Finland], we had the big strike of [German airline] Lufthansa. We had to find ourselves through how we're gonna make it to the show. Back in the day, I would have not cared about the strike. I would have been going to the airport trying to fly and being stuck in Frankfurt and not being here. Now I'm an old man, and I see things coming. I use my experience; I book new flights, and I'm here. That's the difference between a young musician who wants to go out there and kick ass or the older guy who still kicks ass but wants to make sure shit works… We're here to have fun. We're doing all this because we have a great time. As a thrash metal musician, you can't get rich. You get rich in experience. We have a great time on tour, and that's what we do — we enjoy ourselves. I love traveling. I'm going this weekend to Helsinki and to north Germany for a festival; other people go to the disco. [Laughs]"
On how the thrash metal scene has managed to both stay alive and progress:
Schmier: "If you look at the history of metal, the roots will always be important. Of course, thrash metal, for a while, especially in the '90s, it was difficult, because a lot of bands split up. A lot of bands that had a good first wave kind of started [to go in] different directions. I think that's the normal situation that happens to all genres, even to the heavy metal genre. With the 2000s, thrash metal inspired a lot of young bands again. So we have a young, fresh scene again — a lot of young fans also. I think thrash metal seems like an old music style in metal, but if you look at the fans, we have a lot of young fans. Thrash metal is like a wild, rebellious kind of music. It's not to be fucked around — it's wild and it's brutal. And I think that's why there's a lot of young fans who still like this kind of stuff. And I think that keeps the music fresh. If you have a young audience, that's the best thing you can have as a band. We have a lot of the old farts, like us, of course, coming to the shows who grew up on DESTRUCTION, and then there's a whole new generation of bands and fans who goes back into the history of metal and wants to see DESTRUCTION live. So I think that's a great thing for us, of course."
On why American thrash bands like METALLICA and SLAYER achieved greater success than German bands such as DESTRUCTION and KREATOR:
Schmier: "You have to understand the Americans are sellers — they know how to sell themselves when it comes to image, when it comes to catchy songs. I mean, look at METALLICA — they started to write catchy songs, and then they became famous… They still fill stadiums. And SLAYER, of course, they had their 'cult' status at one point, and then they were up on this [level] that is kind of untouchable, basically. I think the American bands, if you look at the age, they are all a little older than us. We were the little kids when the American bands were, like, two years older than us, three years older. So, they were all technically also the better players at that time, because we were just 17 and they were already 21. So, I think that is one of the reasons why the American metal was more famous. The big wave came from America; the big labels were from America. The productions were flawless at the time. The first METALLICA albums still sound great. Even the guy was a Danish guy who produced them. They did a lot of things right. And I think that made the American bands, of course, a little bit ahead of the time, ahead of the schedule. And that's why they're so legendary nowadays."
On trying to keep DESTRUCTION relevant when writing new songs:
Schmier: "I was an angry young man; now I'm an angry old man. Not much has changed in that [respect]. Look at METALLICA, as an example, and I don't wanna piss off any METALLICA fans, but look at the fact that once you're a billionaire, what should you be pissed off about? That your butler burned your egg, maybe. So, I think to not lose the street credibility, you can't be, like, super rich. In general, in heavy metal — I think there's a few exceptions — but if bands get too big, too famous, it usually waters down the sound. So heavy metal has to do something with anger, and thrash metal especially. When you keep yourself angry, you can write that kind of music. And when you go shopping with Gucci bags all the time, I don't think the anger is still there."
DESTRUCTION's latest studio album, "Born To Perish" , was released in August via Nuclear Blast. The disc was recorded in January and February 2019 with V.O. Pulver (PRO-PAIN, BURNING WITCHES, NERVOSA) at Little Creek Studios in Switzerland.