In Depth
Interview With Schmier of DESTRUCTION

Interview And Photos By Luxi Lahtinen

And "all hell broke loose" at Nosturi, Helsinki on the 22nd of May 2001 when the true servants of Satan, DIMMU BORGIR and SUSPERIA - and the heroes of a relentless Thrash Metal attack, DESTRUCTION, hit the Finnish ground on their almost sold-out European. For the latter, it was the 1st time to visit this degree of latitude and you could easily get your proof all about it just by looking at all the people that had arrived to the venue.  Surprisingly many had dug out their old, worn-out "Infernal/Eternal" t-shirts from the dusty corners of their wardrobe just for this particular event - and just to see one of the oldest forces of the Teutonic Speed/Thrash Metal, DESTRUCTION for the first (but hopefully not last!) time in Finland.

I arrived to the venue, as usual, very much on time - and since I was the very first "metal journalist (OH! How much I love self-irony...)" there in action, I was privileged to squeeze Mr. Schmier's throat first to get the ultimate truth out of the on-going tour w/ Norwegian goat-worshippers, the past and present of DESTRUCTION, the band's previous employer STEAMHAMMER and overall a wonderful yet hectic life of a hard-touring band.

Read on as Schmier kindly fills you in on all the news you need to know 'bout DESTRUCTION's current activities (and much more)...



You played a gig in Riga, Estonia yesterday; how was it over there?

It was just great!!  People knew our songs and everybody was just having a great time there.  Seems like they have some pretty loyal DESTRUCTION fans in that country, too, which is of course very cool.


You even did 3 shows in Columbia in the end of March/in the beginning of April.  What kind of following do you have in that part of the world indeed?  And could you even say that you were pretty surprised how well people over there knew who you are, how they knew your songs and so on?

It's been great over there as people were really happy to see us and especially the last show was really excellent both from us and the crowd which was really crazy at times.  People haven't been seeing too many metal shows there before, so some of them were just staring at us and some of them were screaming like madmen and actually I was capable of seeing right from their faces how happy they were seeing us playing there.  And we are definitely going back there on our next tour 'coz we wanna support those people as they are having hard times in their lives 'coz they are from, y'know, kind of poor conditions and the country is trying to develop into better things.  I think it's very important that more popular and famous bands go there, too, 'coz obviously they wanna see the same bands there that are touring in Europe and in the States.


And right after your shows in Columbia, you traveled to Sweden again to record a follow-up to the last year's successful "All Hell Breaks Loose" album and the Abyss Studio was chosen one more time - having Peter "Penis" Tdgtren to kick in "a destructively killer" sound for this forthcomig effort one more time as he did on your comeback release.  Was Peter your obvious choice right from the beginning - or was there possibly some other guys around you were thinking would make for a cool choice to produce?

It was actually very easy to work with him when we were recording "A.H.B.L." album there as Peter truly knew what kind of a sound we wanted to get for our album.  So yeah, we wanted to have him to produce our next release as well even if some other names popped up in our minds as alternatives as well. We knew that we could count on Peter's production skills, so he was pretty obvious choice for us just like you said, to use as a producer for this new album. Everything went just great with him again and I think we managed to get even better sound for our new album than we did last time.  I'm at least truly happy with what we achieved for this new album as far as the production, the songs and stuff are all concerned.


When you did "When All Hell Breaks Loose" at Abyss Studio under the supervising eyes of Peter, do you think it also was some sort of a learning process for you and DESTRUCTION  to use  opportunities for a new technology that Peter obviously had available at his own studio - in order to maintain that crispy yet distinctive DESTRUCTION sound again that you had on your older cult albums like "Infernal Overkill" and "Eternal Devastation"?

Well, I think it's not really possible 'coz it's not the same decade any more and besides you can always look back and say your songs sounded like this and that, y'know!?  We didn't even try to look back and try to get that kind of sound for our new album as it's a whole different era as far as technology of all these new studios are concerned.  Nowadays you have all the digital studios and stuff, so you can achieve a very polished sound for your album more easily than before.  However, we tried to maintain the same standard production-wise what we did on our previous album which we did and even more - and then tried to bring more of that '80s vibe into the whole recording, too.  I think we managed to do so pretty damn well indeed.  I'm overall very satisfied with the production.  Of course it could have been possible for us to gain a similar sound that we had either on "Infernal..." or "Eternal...", but we really didn't want to do it as it would have been kind of "a rip-off" to do so and in my opinion that's just stupid.  It couldn't have made any sense.




Talking about this forth-coming DESTRUCTION album even more, I read/or heard from somewhere it's supposed to be called "Total Destruction" and... 

No... no...

No?!  That's strange as I swear I saw that "working
title" somewhere - maybe in the net or somewhere else...?

Yeah, it was our "working title" for that album first, but then we thought "The Antichrist" would work out much better as an album title for it. So it'll be called "The Antichrist".  The cover, the lyrics and everything are fitting nicely to that title - and also all the new DESTRUCTION songs which we are going to have on it.  We have a lot of influences from a book of Nietzhe on our new album.  We kind of wanted to kick all religious people's asses and the fuckin' church and and things that are heavily involved with this religious bullshit.  A lot of stuff we write today is meant against the church and all these different religions 'coz some of their beliefs are truly absurd and totally senseless.  Like if you kill someone under name of any religion, it's accepted in some religious organizations and that's just beyond my own belief.  That's also a reason for that why we chose such an album title as our hatred is directed straight to all this religious bullshit which controls many people's life way too much.


That's a cool title in my opinion as well.  Anyways, when you compare this new album to "All Hell Breaks Loose", what, in your opinion, are the most drastic or biggest differences between these two albums?

Hmmm... this was a hard one.  Well, it's difficult to say what are the biggest differences between these two albums because you kind of always like your stuff whatever you do.  And I know that every single band has this strange tendency to claim that our new album is by far the best stuff we have come up with so far and so on.  So, it's difficult for me to say how it is.  I just had a little chat with Marco from our record company and I asked from him whether they liked our album down there.  He said something like: "WOW!  This TRULY is killer!!  It's actually MUCH better than the last one...".  He said that it's more straight; it's catchier stuff.  The production is more Thrash Metal.  Those were his words; maybe that's true...


So are you saying that you were more after that Thrash sound you had in the '80s?

Yeah, because we have always have kind of brutal sound in DESTRUCTION for which we have become known for.  On our new album, "The Antichrist", the guitar sound is a bit heavier than on "A.H.B.L." and also this time the drums turned out the way we wanted them to sound originally; sounding heavier and more kind of "fat".  We changed a couple of things production-wise this time.  As you put it by yourself, the sound is more 480s style really; more brutal, more powerful.  And all the way really catchy, having this '80s vibe pulled in all over it. 


Could you reveal some of those song titles for the readers of METAL-RULES.COM what you are going to have on the album?

Sure! - of course!!  One song is called "Thrash till Death"; then we have "Bullets from Hell", "Strangulated Pride", "Meet Your Destiny..." - and then we have "Nailed to the Cross", "Creations of the Underworld", "Godfather of Slander", etc. ; those kind of titles...


I assume it's been basically you and Mike who have written all these new songs together - or were there any other guys involved in this new DESTRUCTION material as well?

Yeah, you're right.  Both me and Mike wrote the songs together and I wrote all the lyrics by myself.  I think it's a great working method; a very smooth way to handle things this way since we have known each other for so many years already and understand each other so well musically, in fact, better than many could expect.  And... well, we don't have to "fake" anything to each other, y'know!?  We had that kind of problems in the past when we tried out a number of different individuals in DESTRUCTION and they more or less tried to bring their own - call them "visions", whatever! - into the DESTRUCTION sound which unfortunately didn't either work out for them or the band that well, I can tell.  I don't have anything bad to say about our previous candidates, but they just didn't fit in DESTRUCTION.  Now our direction is very clear with this line-up we have at the moment and there's no need to go thru any "extra" discussions between any members of this band about what kind of a sound suits us best or anything like that.  So, it's cool.




Let's travel back to the times when you came to the point when there was no other choice for you than leave DESTRUCTION for an unknown period of time. After your departure from the band in 1987, you moved on to form your "post-DESTRUCTION" combo called HEADHUNTER which lasted quite some time in the metal circles, but only was known by some of us.  So, would you tell us what kind of an incarnation HEADHUNTER was after all?

It was a quite different stuff compared to DESTRUCTION.  I would say it had some elements from DESTRUCTION though...and then some elements from JUDAS PRIEST that have always been one of my all-time fave bands.  Kind of like a cross between these two bands. It was not any typical DESTRUCTION -sounding stuff as I didn't want it to sound like DESTRUCTION in thefirst place.  Besides, I didn't want to rip the original DESTRUCTION sound off by any means.  At that time I think I just tried to come up with what I felt inside and it was a lot of fun and kind of "a good therapy" for me at the same time - to be away from that DESTRUCTION - era for some time, y'know!?


Was that band something you wanted to do in order to fill up that "empty space" in your life, too, because more than obviously, as I assume, you were kind of married with love and passion towards extreme music which you just couldn't throw away just like that and leave it behind as "an era of your past life" - correct... ?

Yeah, of course!  I have always wanted to play music.  I can tell you that it wasn't that easy in the very beginning, because the staff of my previous record company didn't like the idea when I decided to depart from DESTRUCTION and start entirely my own band HEADHUNTER.  I really had to struggle a lot in order to carry my musical ambitions and visions out to somewhere else at that time and I'm so glad that eventually I was appreciated by many people because of what I did with HEADHUNTER.  It was kind of a bad time to come up with that type of music back then - in the middle of the '90s.  Y'know, the mid '90s was more like Crossover/Death Metal - period in a heavier music and as we played what we called "Power Thrash" by ourselves, obviously it was a totally wrong music for that era.  Even if we didn't sell too many albums, we did play some shows in countries like Japan which was of course great and a nice time for us.


How many albums did you put out with HEADHUNTER exactly?

We did three albums altogether; one was for VIRGIN RECORDS and the other two were for... ?! Fuckin' HELL!!  I cannot remember any longer, sorry!! It's been such a long time since those albums came out, "obviously", HA HA.  But we did those three albums with that band and unfortunately had a pretty shitty distribution for all of them.  The albums were only available in the Central Europe and in Japan, too.  We had tonz of problems with the distribution to get them all out in other countries as well.  And nowadays, wherever I go everybody comes to me and asks where they could possibly get some HEADHUNTER stuff for themselves.  And I really don't know as the albums were released thru a small label and it was a bad period for that kind of stuff in the early '90s.  The albums were printed only a few thousand copies and they should probably be sold out by now.  I guess they were around for quite some time, but nowadays you may find them from these 2nd-hand record stores, maybe - if you're lucky enough.  However, I have been talking to NUCLEAR BLAST about re-releasing all of them and they seem to be interested in doing so which is cool.


That would be cool from them indeed...

Yeah, just to re-master them first and sell them out as "nice price" or "2-in-1" things.  But it's really amazing that there's still a great bunch of people out there who are so interested in having them.  Wherever I go, these people always come to me and ask where they could get those albums.  And I just don't have any extra copies myself any more; if I did, I would give them right away to all these people who have been trying to hunt them down for a long time, of course!  I just have my own last copies and am not willing to sell 'em away at any cost, sorry, HE!  So hopefully we end up putting all the 3 HEADHUNTER albums out on NUCLEAR BLAST eventually in order to make some more people happy, maybe.  That should be OK.



After the release of "Release from Agony" in '87, DESTRUCTION toured heavily with MOTORHEAD in the States and SLAYER in Europe.  Could you still remember what were the most mind-sticking moments out of those tours?

Oh yeah, we toured maybe too much back then. It was great as I love touring.  We did more than over 100 gigs with MOTORHEAD. We supported them so much that, it was maybe too much for us.  But I also have to say that I felt great to tour with such a big name as MOTORHEAD was at that time, of course!!


How long tour was it in the States with them anyway?

Well, we not only toured with them in the States, but also all over in Europe; almost in every country in Europe with them really.  In the States we toured also by ourselves - and we toured with CRO-MAGS, too.  And with NEVERMORE as well!  Anyways, In Europe it was great as the guys of MOTORHEAD treated us very well.  In countries like Spain, Madrid we had around 5000 people at our concert watching us - and in Portugal we had something like 8000 crazy metalheads which was truly amazing!!!  The band was doing really well at those days, I can tell.  We played a lot of shows at that time - and our manager was (over-)booking us one show after the other. At some point it started to feel like we cannot make all these gigs and festivals we had back then.  We had 1 big tour and two festival tours in a row and those were really hard times for us both mentally and physically as well.  At least I remember being pretty damn exhausted at some point.  We basically played EVERYWHERE; those were really tough times for us indeed!




And then you toured with SLAYER, too...

Yep, we did the "Hell Awaits" tour with SLAYER.  We did a show... - there was supposed to be more shows on the "Reign In Blood" tour, but we had some major problems with their tour manager, so we decided to quit that tour rather than to continue it due to all the hassle we had with that bastard.


Originally it was supposed to be Power/Speed monsters MALICE that had taken a support slot for that "R.I.B." tour, but since their part was cancelled, this position was offered to you instead...

Yeah, exactly.  They cancelled their part of the tour and asked whether we could jump in instead of them.  So we did - and the 1st date in Stuttgart SLAYER's tour manager fucked us up so badly that we thought it's better to not continue with them any further.  Their tour manager was one guy who had worked out as a tour manager for METALLICA, too.  He was such a big asshole for us.  He treated all the support bands like dirt. He didn't care for our needs on that tour; he only cared of himself!!  He even didn't bother to listen to us at all what we had in our minds, whatever!  He was a completely improper person to work out as a tour manager in my opinion. We tried our very best in order to make things work between him and us, but obviously that moron didn't come along with anybody else except himself.  He just didn't wanna co-operate with us.  F.ex. he didn't give us any guitar amps - whatever!!  He was only treating us like some sort of a disease of which he wanted to get rid off as quickly as possible; spitting out words like: "WHAT DO YOU WANT THIS TIME... YOU FUCKIN' ASSHOLES?! -GRRRR!!!".  His message was taken clearly enough in our camp, so there was nothing we could do about it basically, but say to him:  "Bye! Bye!!  We are OUT..."  SLAYER were big band at that time already and I guess their tour manager's ego was unfortunately even bigger, so we thought it's better to quit the tour rather than to get fucked up by their tour manager through the rest of the tour. What's quite odd to me, the SLAYER guys even weren't aware of how he was treating us on that "tour".  They heard about that incident later on and all those reasons why we left the tour right after the first show with them.  The guys were totally blown away by these negative news from our side about their own tour manager who was supposed to take care of things on the tour - and not to destroy them.  And I can easily understand the SLAYER dudes why they didn't know about everything that was happening as the whole schedule for "Reign In Blood" tour was very intense and hectic all the time when they were doing that tour. They played at big stadiums that were made for 80.000 people and they had a lot of people working around them very intensively, so maybe the guys didn't have any time to concentrate on any other things than doing their job onstage as properly as it was possible for them, y'know.  I'm sure the SLAYER guys were OK as we had a great time with them on the previous "Hell Awaits" tour anyway.




When you decided to reform DESTRUCTION again 2-3 years ago, were you afraid or worried that you may not reach the same heights of success and fame (which you eventually did anyway) amongst the DESTRUCTION fans as you had done in the early days of the band when you were one of the most popular Speed/Thrash Metal acts around in the whole world?

Of course we were a little afraid of all these kind of things.  Yeah, you could really say that. First off, we didn't wanna ruin the name by any rushed album with average DESTRUCTION songs or a bad production or anything like that. Since we started working with this band again, we wanted to put lots of time and effort into DESTRUCTION's comeback; we wanted it to be perfect in every sense we could think of and really worked our asses off for this new coming.  And when the news about our comeback was spreading in the world of metal, we started to get lots of different offers for touring and stuff right away.  And I remember after a show we did at Wacken festival in Germany in 1999, the guys from OVERKILL as well as the guys from IN FLAMES asked us to join in the tour with them.  We had to say: "Thanx, but no thanx..." to their offers for touring with them because we wanted to put our next album out first - and then see how things could start to develop for us step by step.  Like a plan for us right now is that we do some festivals first, then wait till our album comes out and see how it'll go. We don't wanna rush these things at all because it's very important for us that things are progressing naturally for the band right now.  And I think we've been quite lucky concerning all this.  We have made some right decisions over the past months and our record company has truly been supportive for us and have stood totally behind us whatever our plans have been and are which is very important, too.


Was it actually sort of difficult to start the song writing process for DESTRUCTION all over again - knowing all these facts we have been talking about here right now?

Not really because we had already made some festival shows before and kind of achieved that vibe we had sometimes, back for our song writing. That was important as well.  It could have been a totally different situation for us if we hadn't played any festivals or done any music during that time when DESTRUCTION split up.  But luckily we did - and practiced very hard and did some songs all that time and stuff. So it was actually pretty easy to get these vibes back into the band again.  It was nice to write some new DESTRUCTION songs again and feel something inside like were doing the right thing. 


Did you kind of know exactly at that time that you were after for that classic DESTRUCTION sound when you started coming up with riffs and stuff for a "newborn" DESTRUCTION?

Not really.  We didn't, like say for ourselves that we really should do this way or that way.  Of course people are expecting from us to write similar songs that we had either on "Infernal..." or "Eternal...; those fast songs that kicked ass. And yeah, we do have some of that vibe not only on "All Hell...", but also on this forthcoming album, "The Antichrist".  We are lucky that we didn't have to push ourselves that much in order to achieve the same vibe back we had in the past, for this new album.  The songs just turned out the most natural way for us.  When we started writing this new material, we actually felt very comfortable with our new songs.  We always try to get the best out of the band as well as it's possible.  And the same thing went for "A.H.B.L.".  We didn't allow anyone to pressure us while we were coming up with the songs for it.  I think we have some very good songs on that album, too - and it's gonna be very much worth waiting for.  We also worked very hard with the songs for this up 'n coming album and I believe it's even better that our previous output.  I'm very excited to hear what our fans will say about it, because it's the fans after all that always pass the very final judgment on your songs, y'know!?

I remember that there was a review of "All Hell Breaks Loose" made by some dude in the internet where this asshole was saying something like "... DESTRUCTION's omeback is no less than a big hype and there's simply nobody who wants another comeback happening...".

Then he went on saying that: "There's no one who wants to listen to this old school Thrash Metal any more...". 

And in the very end of that particular review, he wrote that when the old DESTRUCTION fans hear the album, they will, once and for all, forget DESTRUCTION for good, HA! HA! HA!!".  Well, for that guy I could send a BIG FUCK-OFF and say the album's still selling well, so the fans really did decide, you asshole!!!


HE! HE!!  I guess he got exactly all that what he deserved, didn't he?  Anyways, I bet your old fans and friends were one of those reasons why you decided to give DESTRUCTION one more try - am I right?

Yeah, you're right.  They are actually one of those major reasons for our 2nd coming as they constantly came over to me and kept on pushing all the time like saying to me I should start to move my fuckin' ass again and try to get DESTRUCTION back. And it's nice to see a lot of young fans coming to our shows these days, too. Seems like lots of those young people are coming into Thrash Metal again and that's cool in my opinion.  I really like to see more people digging Thrash Metal again.



"'80s? '90s? 2000?? THE BEST ERA FOR METAL?!"

Since you left DESTRUCTION over 10 years ago - and came back in 1999 to kick our butts with the band one more time, I was just wondering how - seeing this thru your experienced eyes - the metal scene has been changing or becoming different? 

Hmmm... that was a hard question. People are always saying that the 80s was better era for a metal music and stuff.  When you look back, it's sort of always the past that is the greatest of all eras, but the '80s was a really rough time for a band like us indeed.  Bands overall got ripped off by record companies and their managements, etc. - there wasn't that many (good), talented bands at all in my opinion.  Even Thrash Metal became a big trend in the '80s.  Every band wanted to jump into the Thrash Metal bandwagon in order to sell more albums - and yes, even a great bunch of untalented Speed/Thrash Metal bands got signed by some record companies that just were there to cash in that trend that was going on at that time.  For me it was complete bullshit, well, some part of it, as I've always hated all kind of trends.  Still, many consider the '80s period as the best era for metal.  Of course we had some great times ourselves in the '80s as well.  The metal scene was growing and getting bigger all the time; more bands and labels came into the picture - both good and bad ones.  In the end of the '80s, like in '88-89, the metal scene reached its peak in my opinion. After that the quality of metal bands started to come down step by step for the most part of it - even if some good, new bands appeared after that as well.

As for the current situation in the metal scene, after a couple of average years, the scene has become very healthy again.  I have noticed it by myself as wherever we play gigs, most often lots of people come to see our shows which is great, of course - and there's all kind of people in the crowd; from 15 to over 30 year old people which only proves that metal is everyone's privilege - and NOT only certain people's privilege.  Anyway, of course it's sad to see countries like f.ex. Mexico where the metal scene ain't on that healthy ground as I used to remember it being.  But I'm sure they'll make another comeback sometime, too.  The same thing goes for the East Europe where the scene isn't so big anymore as it used to be.  When we played in Poland we had like 5000-6000 people in our show which is very good. But I'm sure if we had played there like 10 years ago or so, we might well have had more than 10.000 people coming to our show.  I still think the underground metal music has pretty much stayed the same after all these years, though.  Y'know, first you are considered as an underground band when you're doing demos and try to make an impact on people with them and probably later on, you sign a contract with some record company and start really create your own profile under the name of a certain label.  And then bands have this tendency to "grow up" out of metal, but that's a whole different story there which I don't want to go on analyzing that much now...     It's a wheel of time, trends are coming and going, but if you can stay loyal to your original roots and don't go with trends, then you can be considered as a true metal band.  I personally hate some of these current trends like we are having nowadays; especially this "nu-metal/mallcore" - thing with bands like KORN, LIMB "shit-kit(!)" - whatever they are called...


For me, all this fuckin' "nu-metal" hype is one of these pathetic trends that could stop soon existing. It's NO metal; it has simply NOTHING to do with the old fuckin' metal roots!!  In the meantime, let kids cut their hair and wear trendy-ass jogging suits that obviously their nice moms have bought to them.  They all disappear as soon from the the real metal scene as the whole fuckin' "nu-metal" stops existing.


I think I have to agree with you.  Also, I think it's sad to see once so great Thrash band like SEPULTURA going along with these trends because of what SEPULTURA did with albums like the ground-breaking "Beneath the Remains" and "Arise", which without a doubt, is hailed as the very best SEPULTURA album of their whole career by many of their fans, definitely ain't the same SEPULTURA which is existing today...

Yeah, I totally agree with you.  It's so pathetic that they haven't been loyal to their Thrash roots at all because those albums you mentioned herein where truly great albums from them.  Nowadays, I cannot even find the right words for describing how shitty of a band they have become.  It's just totally crap for my ears.  I don't know, maybe they say it's been a normal musical evolution for them; a normal musical "progress (yeah... right...)".  It's said music does progress somewhere - sometimes, but in my opinion it should always come back to the very roots again.  You also have all these '70s - as well as '80s influenced music all over you again; every single one of its directions, y4know, so that's what I meant by "coming back to the roots" thing.  I don't worry too much about metal.  It's gonna stay forever amongst us because it's a thing to believe in; it's a thing of pride and your heart is just following it - no matter what's trendy.  Metal is metal...


Like metal is always metal... - and crap is crap...

HA! HA!!  Yeah, definitely!!




What about now when you're having a strong involvement with the band and everything seems to go to the right direction with DESTRUCTION, what could you say are those vital things you wanna pay attention to in the band when you're thinking of DESTRUCTION's best?

I think the most important thing for me right now is that I'd love to do a tour with KREATOR and SODOM.  It's very hard to make it real because different record companies and different managers and agents haven't been that co-operative concerning it.  The more people seem to get involved with it, the more difficult it makes things to get this tour together on paper at least.  I've always said to the other guys to whom this concerns, that: "C'mon, we don't need those assholes... let's do it by ourselves!!".  BUT, it's the cold fact you still need all those people to make it happen some day.  It's not so easy, but we're still working on it all the time.  This tour will be my dream of the future for sure.  I'm not sure if it's gonna happen ever, but we're definitely pushing ourselves as hard as we can in order to get things going for it.  I've been talking to Mille of KREATOR constantly about it, so let's see whether something's gonna happen.  Besides, that new KREATOR stuff is really fuckin' good. I think that tour could be really nice all of us.  This tour is anyway one of my biggest dreams at the very moment.  But of course, I wanna have lots of shows with DESTRUCTION as well.  We have been playing in such many countries on this tour - even in some countries where we have never managed to play before.  Like this was the 1st time we came to play to Finland, y'know.


Yeah, I guess it is.  It's very cool to see you guys playing here finally...

Yea, we love to play here because we know you should have even some DESTRUCTION fans in Finland, too.  We also played in Turkey for the 1st time on this tour and it was great there as well.  I think for us a dream would be to cover as many countries as possible because I certainly believe we have some fans almost in every country.  Hopefully we'll get an opportunity to play some of those places where we have never played before.  That would be totally awesome!!  Because especially in some countries, they need to get bands from both Europe and the States to come over to keep the believe in the scene. If nobody comes over, a certain scene will die eventually.  A metal scene cannot be considered as a international scene only; it's a worldwide anti-racist thing, y'know - and that's what is important, I think.




You have said that VENOM was basically that band which influenced DESTRUCTION both image - and music-wise since from the very beginning.  Do you still consider them as one of the most important influences for DESTRUCTION?

Yeah, of course!!  VENOM was an important band to us because they had that very rough, primitive sound in the beginning that no other bands were having; so they were truly one of the kind.  And their lyrics influenced us a lot, too, because they were evil and all that.  But besides VENOM, we were influenced by many other bands since we started. Mostly we were influenced by NWOBHM bands like ANGEL WITCH, JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, MOTORHEAD and such. And ACCEPT from our country did influence our sound a little bit as well - that early ACCEPT stuff a'la "Breaker" and shit.  But also some of the Punk stuff was important for myself, too.  Bands like THE EXPLOITED, GBH, DISCHARGE, DEAD KENNEDYS and that kind of stuff.  We were really influenced by many different styles at that time - and different eras, too.  Like I said earlier, when we started, there wasn't that many really good bands out there at all; many new, great bands were just coming out back then.  Anyways, all those influences provided a real start for DESTRUCTION even if we didn't sound like any of the bands I just named as our main influences in the very beginning.




What about nowadays then. Which bands - or things, could you count as your prior influences as I believe you have kept your ears and eyes open during all these past years, too?

Nowadays?!  WOAH!!! There's LOTS of shit I've been digging these days really!!  I still like Punk music; I still love Thrash Metal, of course!!  Bands like TESTAMENT, EXODUS and the likes are all my favorite stuff.  But I could also say that I'm open-minded for many new kinds of stuff, too - y'know. As long as it's not any "rap with metal twists" shit or any of these stupid hype things!!  There's still a few great Death Metal bands out there that I like a lot.  I also like some good Black Metal bands like IMMMORTAL, DIMMU BORGIR and stuff. Overall I like metal generally and it doesn't matter if it's Black or Death or Thrash or any other type of metal as long as it's good metal.  That thing only matters to me. I'm open-minded for many kinds of metal really.  If I'm at home; where I live - and I have got the time, I may go to see some concerts, too. If it4s fuckin' "Black Metal" or "Cock Rock", it doesn't matter as long as it's good for my taste.  I also wanna see some bands and have fun like anybody else - as a fan of some other bands.


When I saw you guys playing at Wacken festival in 1999 for the very 1st time in my life, I thought if this is what all these re-unions are all about, then I'm all for it and wish DESTRUCTION could be us until the end of the world because you honestly were one of the most impressive bands at that festival in 1999 in my opinion!  I was blown away by your thrashing extravaganza right from the 1st song and couldn't do much else than hope your set could last forever...

HE! HE!!  Thank you for your kind words! It's always nice to hear such compliments about us. That feels nice when you said that because I think myself, too, we played one hell of a show there indeed.




How did you actually feel to play for such a maniac and insane crowd you had there during your own set?

To be honest with you, it was like you almost couldn't believe that it's truly happening. We just thought: "Let's just go there... it's gonna be alright...".  We did the press before the show and got a very good response from the media people.  And when we came onstage and saw all those thousands of metalheads there in the crowd - screaming DESTRUCTION's name, we got really blown away!!  It was so impressive for seeing them all there, screaming insanely and going absolutely crazy for us.  It was just beyond any words experience for us - absolutely! We didn't do that good show in my opinion because we had some sound problems and shit onstage, y'know - and I was really pissed off due to all those problems we were having during our set, but luckily the crowd was sooooo great that it really made up a little bit that bad live sound we had there. 

It's funny, but after we had reformed DESTRUCTION, there were indeed a lot of suspicious people around us who kind of didn't believe in our new coming. They probably kind of thought that the main reason for that, why we exactly came back, was the fact there were quite a few re-unions going on at that time as it could have been some kind of "in" -thing! And I suppose some of them even thought that there's just no room for an old fashioned Thrash Metal shit in the scene these days. These people kind of saying to me: "You're finished!  It's over!  Forget all about it!!"  ...and things like that.  I had been talking to some people at some certain record companies before and many of them were questioning my ideas to bring DESTRUCTION back to the metalheads again because they simply thought we would never made it as big as it was in the '80s for us - giving me all kind of excuses that "...Thrash Metal wouldn't sell these days; it's "out of fashion" etc. etc.  After our gig at Wacken in 1999, I started to get totally opposite signals from them, many of them were licking my butt and offering their (miserable) record contracts to me. Those people going like: "Oh! Why don't you come to our label because we really want you... we want you...". I was like: "Yea... yea... sure!  Just F**K OFF!!", y4know!?




"WHAT IS ROCK 'N ROLL (and still Thrash Metal at the same time)??"

I remember you saying in TERRORIZER's April issue last year that you cannot see any reason why you should take in another guitarist to play in DESTRUCTION as "...with two guitarists it starts to drift and doesn't sound tight anymore...".  Was that an experience you got when Harry tried to work out as a 2nd guitarist for the band?

Yeah, you could say so.  It's been working out just nice as a three piece so far - both in a studio and live as well.  Our songs sound killer as a live and we certainly are able to make a lot of fucking noise, so it's alright with this line-up.  And besides that, all three of us match so well together; we play much tighter nowadays than in the past because we have been playing live a lot lately.  And I think a 2nd guitarist would only ruin the atmosphere that we are having right now. We originally started out as a 3-piece and even back then, it came out killer, so we'll continue as a 3-piece unit in the future, too.  Just look at bands like MOTORHEAD and VENOM.  They have been making a lot of noise as a 3-piece band.  That's why I love those bands.  They are more rock 'n roll basically as a 3-some.  You only need a guitar, a bass and drums and that's it!  I mean, of course some songs may sound slightly better with two guitars, but we play fuckin' in-yer-face Thrash, so we don't do so many harmony leads, whatever!  It's basically a crunch of the guitar which creates enough noise for our sound and I think it's kind of difficult for two guitarists to play so tight as far as our own sound in DESTRUCTION is concerned. Mike has a very special style in playing which I can, however, understand quite easily.


Was Harry too different playing-wise to fit in DESTRUCTION in the first place?  Do you think he's also a part of the reason why guys started to go your own separate ways in the very end - both literally and ideologically as far as the DESTRUCTION soundscape's are concerned?

Yeah, he was a part of that reason why DESTRUCTION had to split up in the very end.  Because when he was in the band, there was this more progressive stuff coming up, more melodic kind of leads, more progressive kind of playing and stuff - and he really tried to incorporate his own style of playing into that direction which was definitely everything else how I wanted DESTRUCTION to sound like at that time.  At one point the band started to fall apart because everybody wanted to bring DESTRUCTION into different directions. Like I wanted to do Thrash Metal which DESTRUCTION originally was supposed to be all about - and Harry wanted to go more into Progressive rock and our ex-drummer also wanted to do something totally different that I had in my mind at that time.  So, it was very difficult to keep the band together due to all these different visions and ideas about how the band should sound like in the first place.  Now however, everything's much clearer for us because me and Mike are the song writers for the band; only two people writing the songs for the band. So our direction is very clear and that's how I want it to be.  I never want to run into the same kind of problems we had in the past because that was all bullshit.  It should be funnier to do music now than in the early days.  And I tell you by an experience that at least in Germany we had this saying that goes like: "Too many cooks spoil the broth" which pretty much describes the philosophy we're having in the band nowadays.




Any idea what Harry is up to these days... ?

He's probably working for TV in Germany. I don't know really.  I have no contact with him at all any more.  But I DO have a contact with our very 1st drummer Tommy and he's a policeman these days which seems pretty strange to me.  But we had some great time when he was in the band.  I really have some good memories out of that era, too.


What about Olly then who was a drummer in the past DESTRUCTION line-up when you did your "Mad Butcher" E.P.?  Do you know what's going on in his life nowadays?

He's a doctor of music now.  He's doing Jazz and stuff.  He actually wasn't that much metalhead ever. We had some problems with him as well that led us partly into a split-up of DESTRUCTION.  He's a professional drummer but he just wasn't a metal drummer in the first place.  The only guy I have NEVER had any problems with in the past, is Mike.  We have always come along very well and we have known each other for such a long time. He's has a very different personality compared to the rest of the fellow players in our previous line-ups really. We share a long history together...




OK, let's talk about the current tour with DIMMU BORGIR and SUSPERIA for a little bit next.  Do you see these bands as ideal bands for you to tour with even though they represent totally different genre both imago - and music-wise?

First I thought: "NO WAY!! - We won't be touring with them because it's gonna be tough for us to make a tour with all these Black Metal bands and maybe it's not even worth it..."  But ever since we did our 1st show with the bands, it's been great.  The thing is that our record company suggested this tour to us - telling us "it's gonna be a great tour and all that; you don't have anything to loose and you're gonna play in some marvelous countries. DIMMU's are both good guys and DESTRUCTION fans and they really want to tour with you, so c'mon, just do it with them...".  Then I was like: "OK, why not...".  It was hard to tell them that we didn't want to tour with them since they play Black Metal and we don't.  It was a very good decision to join in tour with them after all because it opened some new doors for a wider audience for us.  Many DIMMU -fans came to us after the show and said: "We have never heard you until now... - and you were absolutely killer... killer... killer!!!". And that was cool hearing them saying that.  These kids learnt something about the Thrash Metal tradition and that's always nice, HE! HE!! 


So as I was assuming you've been coming along just great with all the other guys from DIMMU BORGIR and SUSPERIA... ?

Yeah - just great!!  We have a fuckin' awesome atmosphere between all the 3 bands on this tour.  DIMMU and SUSPERIA are both from Norway, so they are like brothers to each other already.  Also, SUSPERIA has an old drummer of DIMMU playing in the band.  And what's even greater, they all like DESTRUCTION, so they sort of have respect towards us from the beginning and now everyone of us is like a true friend to each other which feels nice, of course! We party almost every night and overall it's really nice to be on the road with these guys.  It's just the way as it's supposed to be; it's a big rock 'n roll party.  It's very important for the atmosphere to come along with other bands as well.  If you play like 30 shows in different countries, you just have to try to come along with other guys from other bands naturally, too.  Besides, DIMMUs have been treating us very good so far, so I cannot complain.


What's the best show - or what are the best shows you've played with these bands so far?  The one you played in Columbia or... ? 

Cali in Columbia (30th of March) was really crazy place for us to play at. We have played some really killer shows in many places actually.  F.ex. in France, Paris, the crowd was fuckin' amazing!!  Also Barcelona in Spain was very good for us, too.  But there's really one particular show that has stayed in my mind for a bit longer than the rest of the shows - and that was a show we did in Bogota, Columbia 31st of March, which was truly insane show in my opinion. We did a metal fest in the States that was very good for us as well. There's been a lot of good shows for us on this tour. Almost every place we have played on the tour, people have gone absolutely insane.  The craziest ones out of all these shows had to be the show we played in Bogota, Columbia - and also the one we did in Santiago, Chile, where they have a fantastic crowd.  Those shows were really killer!!




Your new album, "The Antichrist", should be released this August and there will be a limited 10.000 copies of a double CD available which will contain kind of a tribute to DESTRUCTION - performed by some unsigned bands.  What's the overall quality of all those bands that have sent all these promo-packs to you in, hoping to get featured for that DESTRUCTION's tribute CD?

I haven't heard all the bands yet.  It's already been hard work to go thru many of them and I think there's gonna be 19 or so bands that we should pick up out of over 90 bands that have sent their versions out of some DESTRUCTION songs to our label. Of course I have to say I'm more into Thrash stuff; some good Thrash Metal bands around.  We have got lots of promo-packs from both Black - and Death Metal bands as well - and unfortunately I have to say, I don't wanna feature too much Black Metal stuff for that up and coming DESTRUCTION tribute because it wouldn't make too much sense in my opinion. We are a Thrash Metal band, y4know!?  But if there's some well-played, well-thought out Black Metal available, we'll definitely take that into consideration when putting together bands for the tribute-CD, of course!!  For me, it's just important that the quality is alright. We also gave a chance for some magazines to pick up like 4-5 nominees for that tribute and send their suggestions to us.  So hopefully they'll make the right decisions that could please us, too.  We still haven't heard all of these bands because we have been touring the whole time.  As I said, I've only heard some of those bands; some stuff from Greece, some stuff from Holland and I still should go thru all that stuff once again in order to make sure I have done the right decisions for it.  So when I come back from this tour, I need to check all that stuff out again what it was and was it good enough to be featured on that bonus-CD.  Hopefully even I'm capable of choosing the very best stuff for it so the overall quality for it will be very good. It's gonna be difficult - that's for sure.  We'll find out that later on naturally what bands made it thru on the tribute.  I hope we could also help some of these bands out to get record contracts and to get some of them for magazines and stuff.




Since you moved from STEAMHAMMER to NUCLEAR BLAST, I guess things have been going in a much better direction for you and DESTRUCTION - correct? 

Yeah, definitely!!!  It's better life for us now with NUCLEAR BLAST.  Even if there was actually a time when the staff of our previous record company at least tried to treat us pretty nicely in the very beginning, the whole label is still a big rip-off. I don't have anything positive to say about them. NUCLEAR BLAST is just the opposite; the boss of N.B. Marco is like a good friend for me.  It's a totally different relationship with them now and the people whom I'm working with these days.  They really like our band over there and basically, they put us on the right track by giving us a chance to record again, y'know!?  And I think we really deserve to be treated and respected this way because we got ripped off so many times in the past by both our previous label and management as well.  We just got a pile of shit from there and it just was so bad time for us back then, I can tell.  


I suppose they're still owing you some money... ?

Yeah, that's right - A LOT of money indeed!! When I talked to them over 2 years ago or so about the money they owe to us; all the royalties and stuff. It's so sad that they haven't even bothered to raise their fingers for sorting this thing out with us thus far and paid us everything that belongs rightfully to us.  And besides that, they ripped us off so many times in the past that it's hard to say nowadays how much they actually owe to us.  If we had controlled a stream of money more carefully thru some lawyers and those type of people, it would have cost us a hell of a lot of money, too. I  don't think it would have been much worth it either.  The fact still remains the same, within the last couple of years things haven't progressed anywhere with them, so as a tiny piece of advice for all the bands out there, both old and new, DO NOT SIGN ANY CONTRACT WITH THAT LABEL if you cannot be 100% sure whether they'll have even a little chance to rip you off some way or the other!!  Just make sure it's kind of a paper if you put your name down on it and they try to rip you off afterwards, it'll cost them a little fortune for doing so.  Maybe it could have been better for us if they had ripped us off very badly in the past because things might be different for us then.  I just feel very sorry for all the bands that have been on their label and have been ripped off by them just like they ripped us off, too.  I know quite a few bands that have the same problem with STEAMHAMMER.  Everybody thinks we may have been the luckiest band on that label both in the '80s and '90s, but... PHEW!  Fuck it, man!  It's been a slavery for us.  It's not any music business what they are doing; it's a fuckin' slavery!!




And now when you're on NUCLEAR BLAST, you're getting all the support from them and everything is just the way it should be for you...

It's just perfect from their side, just perfect, of course!!


And as I have been following how they have kept on progressing and getting bigger and bigger with the label during the last ten years or so, it's kind of amazing and even absurd to realize that bands that have been around for quite some time already - MANOWAR, DEATH, STRATOVARIUS and now even ANTHRAX, are all on NUCLEAR BLAST nowadays!!

I have noticed the same, too.  They just recently got ANTHRAX, yeah - and that's quite amazing like you just said!!  Y'know, Marco, the boss of the label, is such a big metal fan; and he has been working very very hard for the label and now he has got some of his very favorite bands on his own label which just MUST BE cool for him, of course!!  It has been his dream, I guess, since the day one to sign bands like MANOWAR, ANTHRAX, DESTRUCTION, DEATH and the likes for NUCLEAR BLAST, so that's cool.




Also STRATOVARIUS are doing pretty damn well these days and much thanks must be thrown to NUCLEAR BLAST's direction for believing in them and giving them a better chance to grow as a band and letting them make a better impact on a wider audience with their music world wide.  Anyways, talking about Finnish metal bands for a moment, do you have any Finnish bands in your mind right now you'd like to do a tour with?

First off, I'm always willing to tour with good, new bands but it's just that Finland doesn't have any real Thrash stuff nowadays.  I used to like WALTARI very much, although they weren't a pure Thrash Metal band either.


Yeah, WALTARI... They used to play a lot of shows in Germany some years back...

Yeah, yeah... - they were very big and popular in Germany for a good while...


And now one of their guitarists plays in KREATOR...

Yea, I know - that's true.  The other guitar player from KREATOR got fired due to maybe some musical problems as Mille wanted to go back to the old KREATOR style and this other guitarist didn't want to do so because he wasn't really into that old Thrash shit any longer.  And I guess that's the main reason why their album, "Endorama", sounds so strange and weird as a KREATOR stuff.  I think KREATOR pretty much had the same kind of problem like we did in the past; a new guitar player, a new influence, a different direction...  A great player, but a totally opposite way of thinking how a certain band should sound like and all that.  If some band members vision about a sound of a certain band differ from each other radically inside their own band, it will kill a band eventually, so someone just has to go. As for Mille, I know he loves the heavy Thrash orientated stuff and I have known him for several years.  He's such a nice guy.  I have met him a couple of times lately when KREATOR has played at some festivals.  He's a really nice and mellow guy.




Back to the this evening and for your set tonight. Which songs will be we Finns blessed by and will your set cover all of your most popular DESTRUCTION albums?

We'll basically play the old DESTRUCTION stuff.  It's gonna be two songs from "Sentence of Death" mini-LP, three songs from "Infernal Overkill", three songs from "Eternal Devastation" and two new songs from our latest album, "All Hell Breaks Loose". We'll play about 45-50 minutes set for you, but it's gonna be a very intense show, I guarantee you that!!

As far as I have understood, DIMMU's set will be longer than ours, but that's because the whole thing around us, I mean, the fact where we were coming from and how much status we have been gaining ourselves as one of the German extreme metal pioneers and stuff, may have scared the DIMMU -guys (HE!) that we may suck too much energy around them and kind of put them into shade due to a reputation our band has always had as an intense and energetic live band, y'know!?  And as they always play after us on this tour so...

Also, I think this tour is meant to bring DESTRUCTION's name back to people's lips again - to show people that we are here again and hopefully to get this opportunity to reach as many people as possible on this tour.  I hope lots of people come to see us, too because I'm sure DIMMU also has their loyal crowd coming to see them, so you kind of can never tell for sure how many of them come to see us - and how many come to see DIMMU!  I don't know how many DESTRUCTION fans you have here in Finland, but I think DIMMU BORGIR's very big name here and I guess we don't have as many fans here as they do.  But hopefully at least some...


Well, don't tell this to the DIMMU guys, but at least I came to see ONLY you guys exclusively!!!

HE! HE!!  OK, I won't.  But of course, y'know, it's cool to see all these kids there who are wearing on DIMMU's shirts and stuff because some of them have also liked our show.  Usually it takes 2-3 songs from us to catch the rest of the crowd, but eventually it has looked like everybody has been into us; no matter if you're a thrasher or a blackster because they have all liked a DESTRUCTION live show which of course is very cool.


Well, I think I pretty much covered everything I had in my mind for this particular chat with you, so thank you very much for your in-depth thoughts here and best of luck for your gig tonight!!

Thanks to you, too!  This was pretty interesting chat after all.  See ya later for a beer somewhere and let's have a couple of nice drinks, maybe.



























































































































































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