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Schmier – Bass and Vocals for Headhunter & Destruction

Date: 05/28/08
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Are these songs on the new album “Parasite of Society” all newly written?

SCHMIER: Yes they are. We wanted to write all new material for this new album with fresh ideas and really we didn’t have anything left over from when we recorded those albums. You know our first three albums (“Parody of Life”, “A Bizarre Gardening Accident” and “Rebirth”) were never released in the States and Candlelight Records will be reissuing them I think the same day “Parasite” will be released. It was a lot of fun at the time when we made those first three Headhunter albums. It gave me a chance to do something different from Destruction and an opportunity to get away from the regular routine. I mean Destruction is my life I love it but something like this is a good hobby.

2. And with the first three album reissues is there any bonus content?

SCHMIER: No there isn’t unfortunately. We couldn’t find anything. Its just been so long ago and both of our old labels they don’t exist anymore. Virgin Germany didn’t care about that stuff anymore and our second label called Major Records they just started, the boss, working for Continental Concerts here and Europe and we asked him if we had any material left over and he said “O no”. So they are just remastered without bonus tracks. I mean it would have been cool to include a few live tracks but I’m glad at least they are becoming available again because it has been so long since their initial release.

3. You have a very distinctive voice. So when you record with Headhunter how do you avoid singing the way you sing for Destruction?

SCHMIER: Yeah (laughs) I know, I try to sing a little more melodic for Headhunter. I try to include more classical vocal lines without going into this Judas Priest kind of direction. I also try not to go into the higher pitch of my voice which I use for Destruction. But with Headhunter, our roots are in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and a lot less thrash.

4. Well then speaking of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, are there any bands in particular which you feel have inspired Headhunter more than others?

SCHMIER: Judas Priest I would say, Maiden but also bands like Jaguar or Angel Witch I find very important. But then again for Headhunter we are all big fans of the 80’s metal stuff and I think when you listen to Headhunter albums you get transported to that era.

5. With Headhunter like you said you have tried to create music in a different style than Destruction but like Destruction, Headhunter is also a three piece. Did you ever think of adding a second guitar player because I hear on the new album that there is some two guitar parts and harmonies?

SCHMIER: Schmuddel is really a good guitar player and I have talked to him about bringing in someone else but you know how it is with guitar players they are all strong personalities and many want the whole piece of cake which becomes a problem. Maybe we will bring in a session guitar player and yeah I am always open to the idea. I would even like to do that with Destruction but its always difficult to find people who can work well together and have chemistry.

6. Did Schmuddel play all the guitar parts on ‘Parasite of Society”?

SCHMIER: Yes he did. He can piano and violin so it is really fun to play with him.

7. Does Jorg Michael get involved in the writing process?

SCHMIER: No he doesn’t he trusts us with that. Schmuddel and I do all the writing and we come up with some drum impressions and Jorg bases his parts on that.

8. Since you mentioned the 80’s earlier, Headhunter covered Skid Row’s “18 & Life” on the new album “Parasite of Society”. Why choose that song?

SCHMIER: Yeah people already tried to kill me for that (laughs).

9. Really? I would think the European metalheads who love all styles of metal would have dug it?

SCHMIER: Well some parts like in Greece they are the most old school fans and going from a thrash style to that more commercial melodic sound they just don’t get it. You know heavy metal is about tolerance and it’s a great song so I don’t know why so many people can’t appreciate it. Funny story, when we played in Los Angeles with Destruction Sebastian’s son was there and he said he was a big Destruction fan.

10. Tell us about the artwork which is very creative?

SCHMIER: Yeah we tried to create something that would be really interesting for fans. We worked with this great Hungarian artist and wait till you see the booklet. Each song has its own illustration to go with it. For me when I write lyrics I watch the world and write my lyrics down based on what I see. So we tried to tie in the artwork in with those lyrics.

11. Did you try to do anything differently with this new Headhunter record that was not done in the past?

SCHMIER: We didn’t use any samples and used only two guitars. Not too many over dubs, all the guitars and bass were done through real amps. We did not edit the drums for example there are some mistakes on there I must admit. Its not the tightest album in the world but we didn’t want it to be that we wanted it to breath and be real heavy metal and not something fixed and corrected and done by a computer.

12. Will Headhunter remain a part time project?

SCHMIER: Yeah it would be great. At the moment I just got back from recording the new Destruction record and that’s how the Headhunter thing happened in between working on new Destruction. So that experience doing Headhunter really helped me creatively for this new Destruction. I was able to work with other people and learn. You know other people go on a holiday when they take a break from work but Headhunter was an equally fulfilling change for me.

13. Headhunter will be playing the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany this summer?

SCHMIER: Yeah it will be our first show in many years. If it goes well we will then consider doing more.

14. Will it be recorded?

SCHMIER: Yes we are thinking about a DVD. I mean this is a chance to play in front of a lot of people so we need to take advantage of it.

15. Have you shot any promo videos for ‘Parasite of Society”?

SCHMIER: Yes we did one for the song “Siverskull” you can watch it at our Myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/officialheadhunter ). Its cool kinda 80’s style with chicks and stuff haha.

16. How far along is the new Destruction album?

SCHMIER: The album comes our here (Germany) in August and September in the States and we are gonna try and hook up a tour with our mates Kreator and Sodom for the States. That would be fucking great. We are trying to do this for the beginning of next year.

17. Are you trying anything different with the music for the new Destruction?

SCHMIER: I think its maybe a little more technical than the last couple albums (“Inventor of Evil” and “Metal Dischagre”), maybe a little more harmonies. It has some more lead work.

18. Kind of in the vein of “Release from Agony” then?

SCHMIER: Yeah I would say it has that vibe. I think the title track and some others are going in that direction. This album also has some great guests like Jeff Waters from Annihilator and our old guitarist Harry Wilkens made some really interesting contributions. Harry is a really good friend, he unfortunately had some hard times lately. We get together from time to time to jam so I figured I’d ask to see if he wanted to play on the new album D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.

He has a difficult job so he doesn’t have the time to play much but he did join us at the Wacken festival last year for two songs which will be on our new DVD next year. Its good we are all friends again.

19. Your plans for the rest of 2008 into 09?

SCHMIER: Yeah hopefully we will be touring, like South America the end of this year and beginning of January hopefully a European and Russian tour followed by our visit to the States with Kreator and Sodom. And I may be doing some Headhunter shows in between that.

20. Are you doing any sides projects or contributing vocals or bass to someone else’s album?

SCHMIER: Well I did some stuff on this album called BassInvaders. Its just an album of bass players really like Billy Sheehan but it has some really cool songs and ideas on it. I also contributed some vocals to a band called Personal War from Germany, its like a modern type thrash like Testament.

21. And speaking of Thrash. Any new bands you like?

SCHMIER: Well I really like this band Warbringer. I think they are really bringing back that spirit of the 80’s Thrash sound that bands like Destruction, Kreator, Sodom, Testament, Exodus, Slayer started. It was really hard for bands with the thrash sound to get signed for a while but by word of mouth and with Myspace its much easier to listen to newer bands and to build a fan base.

Official website: www.destruction.de

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