By: Metalist NY Magazine
With: Marcel “Schmier” Schrimer
Isn't it nice that the people who make the music you love are also decent people? One of the few spoils of being a Metalhead is that it's commonplace. Many people in the Metal community, considering its underground origins, tend to have their head firmly on their shoulders. Such was the case with German Thrash legend, Marcel “Schmier” Schrimer of Destruction. With 6 days to go to the German giants return to Israel, on the day of his 47th birthday, he actually took time to pick up the phone and through me, tell you all what an ass whipping you're about to experience in the Reading 3 this Saturday. Be warned, no one said it will be pretty.
M- Holy shit! Schmier the legend in person! How are you?
S- Thank you! I'm good, it's my birthday you called me on my birthday actually hahahaha. We've already been having some drinks and my old drummer Tommy is here. You're catching me in between some football and some drinks, and we've got my lady to cook some good food!
M- So, Spiritual Genocide has been out for a year and two months, how do you feel about your newest offspring?
S- You know whenever you put out a new record, it's this crazy feeling. It's this fantastic new idea that you put out, and you're excited, so once you start to realize that album is really as good as you think ,after you heard and played it a few hundred times! You feel fulfilled and happy. So I think it's a good record. What I think is perhaps the best part of the album is that now we're kind of old farts you know, we've been doing this for 30 years now and we're not young, but we don't sound like an old band. We still sound like a young band and at our spirits, we don't try to copy at all our trademark material. We still keep producing fresh music and I think that's what excites me about Destruction. Of course people who don't like the band will say that we are repeating ourselves 3,000 times but I don't think so as we still try to create something. It sounds like Destruction but it's still a new record, and our approach is still good on Spiritual Genocide.
M- I would say, on Spiritual Genocide you can hear that the drummer is doing a lot of groovier stuff than the usual for Destruction, do you feel that Vaaver is contributing something new to tehband?
S- He has been contributing the tightness, and has been speeding us also. If you hear the latest releases in the band, he has done all the speeding up the band from 190 maximum bpm to the latest two albums where we easily had 210 220. He also put into the band a new group because he's such an amazing drummer. So all the songwriting, as far as the drums are concerned, are now done extremely well. He has a very good speed, which is important to me in a Thrash band but also gives a very distinctive groovyness which is also a part of our Thrash vibe. If you listen to Thrash from the 80's like Exodus, there's a lot of Groove in there, so I think that we are managing proudly to have both side. To have the speed, grooviness and the tightness, and that's what a Thrash band of this century needs. The flexibility and the aggressiveness to play so fast, and the tightness is a very important part given from the drummer. He's definitely the tightest guy we ever had, he's a fucking machine! Which is very good for us, as we can rely on his playing live. Destruction has become such a better live band with him! And that's amazing for me at least
M- The album had a myriad of guests, all the way from such legendary names as Thomas “Angelripper” Such of Sodom and Gerre of Tankard, to lesser known quality acts such as the Southern Metal groups Pulver, VO and Inga couple and others. What has brought on so many collaborations?
S- It's the anniversary record you know! So you want to make it special, so you invite a couple of friends to play. It's the 30 year anniversary of Destruction, so we said lets invite our friends. We basically have all of the classical line up people contributing to the record, some back up vocals, maybe a drum part or guitar part or two. I think it's important to keep the band as a family, everyone still comes to good stuff. We've been sharing great times and music history together, but we also wanted all the old members to contribute something to the record. Maybe now it seems something normal,as we're not the only band to do it, but in 10 or 20 years it'll be something amazing to the history of the band.
M- we hope you have 30 more! We had blonde, and black, we want to see your hair gray and spitting blood hahaha!
S- That's what Lemmy says, i'm following that!
M-How do you feel it is different from Day of Reckoning?
S- Actually, Day of Reckoning was an important record for the future of the band as we broke up with the old drummer and changed our label again. So there was a lot of changes in the environment of the band so it was important that that album turned out stronger and I think ti did. We're back to Nuclear Blast, where we feel very welcome and at home, and we're with Vaaver who we feel is just the right guy for us. It was just natural to record this album within two years, and those two albums have kind of the same approach but still differ. Some people say” how can you record two albums in two years,it's crazy” and it's definitely not popular. But I say, I think I could write a good song every day if I want. But that might be too much for everybody. I think it's important to be self critical but also to improve the band , and I think we've been improving the band with Vaaver since the last record, Day of Reckoning in the song writing vein. We've been getting that much tighter, and I also very much look for the future as we're having a blast and it really works. We're also beter than ever in the live situation, so people will see it when we come back to Israel! I think that a lot of bands are good on record, but live is the real deal. When you see Destruction live, it's real and it's 3 people making a lot of fucking noise and they'll kick your fucking ass. I think since Day of Reckoning we've become a real band again and it's fantastic!
M- Ol Drake (Ex-Evile) was also featured on the album, so speaking about that, how do you feel about the new Thrash Metal guard?
S-You know, new faces are great for the scene. For me it's amazing to see a lot of young bands expanding the scene and contributing something. I think what's important is identity, the other bands need to find their own style and not just rip off other bands. So I think that as far as the future for our style, it is crucial the young bands find their own style within it. Some already have, so i'm really watching the development and some bands have been reaching a new wave already. It'sn ot just about copying Destruction, Exodus or Slayer but it's about taking the influence and then making something new. Many young bands are trying that now so i'm very certain the future of Thrash Metal will be glorious. It'll take a few more years, for them to grow and expand. I think there are a lot of young bands now that will grow, but time is nothing. Many people have said for many years that Thrash Metal is dead, but it's now been proven obviously wrong.
M- You know, Destruction to me, is alongside Sodom, the Motorhead of Thrash Metal. You can always count on you guys to make a Thrashy release that will knock most of the young dudes on their asses, why do you think Destruction is able to maintain for so long?
S- Because, we've always been honest. You always have to stay as what you are and give what you are. We've always done that, we've never been fake or been charged of being fake. I think that the roots are always the most important part of your deal, and we always delivered that. We've never been distracted by things like jobs or different life styles, for us it's always been Rock n' Roll. I think that if this type of music changes, it just isn't Rock N' Roll anymore you know? This type of music has to be angry. So as long as we have that, we'll be making this type of music. You know rich millionaires can't play Thrash Metal , because they have nothing to be concerned or anger about. You have to really feel the mass oppression.
M- Especially considering you guys break your back constantly touring, has doing this much touring and shows taken it's toll?
S- We always play! We always play, that's the name of the guy. There's no month we don't play show. It's a part of Rock n' Roll for us. -
M- But hasn't it had its price?
S- No! No, I love it. You know what's the price of that, it's the privacy. When i'm home for more than 3 weeks, i'm dying to get back on the road. I'm a road warrior, for me Metal works the best when on the road. So far, I don't see any price or pain, only the prize really. But I think that you got to love this lifestyle and the music to do this. To play this many shows a year, we play 150 shows a year, but you have to love it. It's my life. It's my privelage and I love it. So when i'm home for too long, i'm kind of freaking it. I don't have the feeling to be tired and not go on tour. For me it's always exciting.
M- I have to admit i'm surprised. I was expecting a more usual answer along – oh myback hurts and blah blah blah
S- Ahh cmon! Once you start complain oh my back hurts then you get old. If you get out and just do it, then you feel that you're alive! Most people are sitting at home, and going oh my back hurts, my dick doesn't stand anymore. But that's exactly how you get old! Just have to go and move, move your fucking ass, and that's the problem with most people. But that's not gonna be my problem, as i'm gonna be on the road.
M-So, i'm sorry to go all the way back, but lets give people a Destruction history lesson! How did the band form?
S- Man, that's wayyy back. We were just a few Metalheads who tried to be different. But that's the general Metal story, that's how Metal started back in the day. We tried to be different, we tried to make something different from commercial music. So we grew our hair, became wild and here we are today. That's how Metal should be today too! Sometimes when I listen to the new bands, I worry about the way of Metal. Because this is not the way Metal should be , not about commercial crap, it should be about rough and wild Rock n' Roll. That's how it started. Just some friends that met, who were Metalheads, who met, because there was nobody else around at the time, that's how we started. What we learned from the band is that you have to believe in it, believe in your thing. That nothing is impossible, and that's what we did. Back in the day everyone was laughing at the band, we did something unusual and something new, and that's what I learned from life. That if you have something,and you believe in it, just go for it. Don't believe in shit just because other people tell you . Just do your own thing. You can't get good at something that you're unsure at. That's the important message about Destruction in my life, you don't have to look at the history of the band, just remember this message.
M- How do you feel about your first albums, Infernal Overkill and Eternal Devestation and the deep impact they had on the Metal scene worldwide?
S- You know, when you grow in time and you influence people, you never really realize that. When you're a musician that plays music, some years later it is very exciting to hear that you've been influencing them. It's something you understand slowly, it took me some time. Of course it's amazing to me that people take Destruction as influential to them, it's something that makes mehappy of course. We had a lot of problems in the first year to be accepted, as many other musicians who wanted to create something new. Now, 20 or 30 years later we finally got the appreciation aspect of it. That's something I learned from history, that it takes a long while for something to get appreciated. You can see it over and over again with classical music, it's the problem of humanity sometimes. I think our first records have been a release for something that is very new and one of the strongest thing, is that after so many years people still hold on very dearly to those records.
M- What were some of your favorite moments from Destruction's early history? Any good/funny stories?
S- Funniest stories about Destruction in the old days, I cannot copy exactly but I remember! I remember when we recorded our first album (EP,) Sentence of Death. We went to Berlin, the biggest city in Germany, away from the countryside where we lived. It's been an exciting trip for us, and our guitar player Mike forgot his underwear. So he had to lay down all his guitar parts without his underwear, which is a trip! (laughs.) A good piece of information for the history books!
M- Did you get to play in the GDR in the early days? If so, how was the experience?
S- No, it was impossible back in the day. You needed communist party papers, so there was no chance. Kreator did but they did it right before the wall came down. You know right before the wall came down, the GDR regime became more western and positive, they started to allow some western shows. But that was around the time Destruction split up in the late 1980's. We actualy split up in the same month as the wall came down, in theend of 1989, so we didn't get a chance to play as we were already in problem. That is somewhat a dark part in our history. We also didn't play in Poland or in Russia or any of the Eastern country back in the day. But as we came back, we more and more enjoy doing it now as it's amazing. All those countries have a lot of Metalheads and so many good parties all over the years.
M-So, lets talk about something a bit painful but important. Perhaps the worst period for Destruction as a band was after they fired you in 1989, what happened there?
S- What happened, you have to ask the other guys! You know when you get fired, you have to ask your boss why you got fired, I was just the guy who got fired. So i'm the wrong guy. This is at the same thing, if you want to see the history you have to see the Destruction dvd, see what the other guys said and get that information. It was just normal procedure, it was like a relationship, it got boring. We were all very young, very successful, and with a lot of pressure, we made some wrong decisions. But for details you should talk to the other guys. Again, i'm the one fired, so I have no real information for you about that.
M-Did you imagine getting back together with them before it actually occur? Were you mad at them?
S-I was angry for ten years. I was pissed, I wanted to kill them, but everything takes time and you let wounds heal. Basically it took some time for us to talk again. But it took 8 or 9 years to happen. It's not possible, to me I think. If you get fired from a band, you can't just come back, it has to take at least 2 or 3 years.
M- While you were out, you set up Headhunters, how do you feel about your time period and albums with them?
S- Headhunters saved my life basically. It's been the band which made me able to play music after Destruction fired me. It's been exciting, and life saving for me. It was necessary, maybe not for the Metal scene in general but for me it would've been impossible to continue without them. Because I was able to play Thrash, well not Thrash but good music outside of Destruction. It kind me the capabillity to be here, otherwise maybe i'd be ar estraunt owner or something else. It was a gift for me to survive and continue.
M- Your latest release, Parasite of Society, was in 2008, are there any plans for a follow up? Are you guys in good connections?
S- Lets say like this, it's more difficult at the moment. Michael has a computer business and same with the guitarist, so it's gonna be a more difficult to do this in the future. I don't think there will be a new Headhunters album but i'm planning something that is going to be close to what I did with Headhunters. Just a side project, to give out some vibes. For me music is essential, and to me Rock N' Roll is all what Headhunters ever was. Headhunters was never my day job, was just something I did after Destruction. I can't really do it again with those guys, because they're kind of not doing music anymore. But i'm working on something right now that I can't talk about as it's kind of secret. But there are some other German musicians involved who are playing in some other famous German bands who are cooperating with me. I call it a hobby, it's a great fucking hobby. I'll tell you this, the other guys, they play in a band who's name starts with an A.
M- How did your return to Destruction come about?
S- I'm a fucking Metalhead you know. If the fans ask me to come back to Destruction, I had to try so I gave it a try. It kind of seemed that Mike had a feeling that it wasn't working, that it should have been a cooperation between us. But without the fans I wouldn't be here, it was the fans who in every concert went like “Schmier come on do Destruction again.” If you hear this every day when you go out you start to rethink your career. I called Mike,I said “lets at least talk, again” and that's how it started. Without the fans I wouldn't be here, I am self confident enough that I know what i'm doing, but if the fans are demanding I try to rethink what i'm doing. I care about the power that the fans have the power on me and the scene.
M- Why did you decide to dye your hair blonde, bleach blonde?
S-How did you look 30 years ago? (I didn't exist for the record.-Benek) Come on! (laughs.) I was the one who never cut his hair, how many other Metal musicians can say that? Because my hair is my balls. Because I believe in that lifestyle, in the Rock n' Roll and Metal lifestyle. I might have had it blonde, or reddish, or dark blonde, but it's never been cut. I don't think so many Metalheads never cut their hair, i've always been that freak who never cut his hair, not since 30 years. Blonde, black, it's just a fucking colour but length it takes time, it takes years, and that's fucking difficult. That's why I still respect Metalheads that let their hair grow, it's our trademark, it's our revolution. It's about not looking alike to the masses. It's my way of being free.
M- And then, the clock has struck time. Sadly, considering it was Schmier's birthday, he didn't have all the time in the world and he had to go. Well, it was a great interview and a great time for me, his final words to me were-
S- I got to go! Everybody is waiting for me, I will see you in approximately in oh my god, 5 or 6 days! Goodbye my friend!
So there you have it folks. The legend in the flesh, the history of a hero with no ego to speak of. The 28th will surely make a night of Thrash Metal not to be forgotten.