In the early '80s, when thrash came into its own here on the West Coast with Metallica and Megadeth bearing the torch for the North American metal revolution, bands like Destruction, along with contemporaries Sodom and Kreator, were finding ways to make Black Sabbath/Judas Priest-influenced rock harder and faster in their native Germany. Dubbing themselves "one of the three kings of Teutonic thrash," and "Germany's Answer to Metallica," Destruction are still banging away after 30 years of rotating out drummers and record labels, and falling in and out of popular taste. Currently, the trio -- now comprised of original guitarist Mike Sifringer, bassist/vocalist Schmier and their latest (5th) drummer Wawrzyniec Dramowicz -- are touring the U.S. in support of their 11th album Day of Reckoning.
Schmier: [Laughs] I'm afraid that doesn't exist in German. It's an urban American saying for an '80s metalhead, I guess... we use the English word "oldschool" for people like that. Germany is pretty conservative when it comes to rock 'n' roll. That's why we have a lot of great metal bands -- as a revolution against our boring music culture.
In your opinion, what are the differences between '80s U.S. thrash bands the Teutonic metal bands like yourself?
German bands have always been more raw -- the U.S. groups were the better musicians at that time. What we all have is our own identity. That's why we are all still alive.
Have you seen the movie Anvil? What did you think?
I've seen the movie and it's great. Most people have no idea how hard you have to work to survive as a metal band. It's fantastic to see that the movie finally gave Anvil a lot of success. I grew up on them -- they are one of the North American originators of metal.
You're now 30 years into your music career. If you had to do it again, what might you do differently?
I would not change anything. I'm a lucky guy. Music made my life. It is important to do your own thing -- don't give up -- find the right partners, and don't trust the industry.
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Who are some younger metal bands who are carrying your torch righteously?
My favorites are Warbringer from California, and Evile from the UK. Young, wild, and with the right spirit and very good playing skills. Great to see a new generation rising... that means we did something right.
Destruction perform with Warbringer, Vital Remains and Pathology at The Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. $20.