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Destructor just released a brilliant new skull splitting album entitled 'Forever In Leather'. I talked with Mr. Dave Overkill (vocals, lead/rhythm guitars) and after complimenting him with the release of one of the best speed / thrash metal albums of the year 2007, I asked him how the press did respond on the newest skullfucker so far…

By: Koen B. | Archive under speed / thrash metal

Thank you very much! Well, so far the response has been very positive and we are happy people are enjoying the record. You may receive good and bad reviews but the main thing is that you believe in your product and have put your best metal boot forward. We do not write music to please the critics or anyone but ourselves and fans. We understand our music is not for everyone and we have never followed any current music trends just to increase our popularity.

Of course the limited edition 'Storm Of Steel' EP showed us that Destructor still is a band to be reckoned with. Two songs from that particular EP, 'Tear Down The Heavens' and 'World Of War' are also released on 'Forever In Leather'. What's the reason for that?
'Forever In Leather' was behind schedule because we ran into some unexpected studio delays. We had a couple of the songs mixed, while others were still being finished. Bill Peters at Auburn Records wanted us to have something new for the fans for our trip to Germany's Keep It True festival last April. He came up with the idea to put together the EP. Originally we had hoped to have been able to release 'Forever In Leather' at the festival. The situation led us to putting out 'Storm Of Steel' separately with a brand new version of the title song. Oliver Weinsheimer from the Keep It True festival had named the first night of the festival 'Storm O f Steel' so everything tied in nicely and we dedicated this new version of the song to him for inviting us over. 'Storm O f Steel' was a song from way back that was originally released on the 'Heavy Artillery' compilation in 1990. We released the EP and included some sneak peaks into the upcoming release as well to give the fans a preview of our new material. The EP also included some live and demo songs and the original version of 'Storm Of Steel'. There are very few copies left and it is quickly becoming a collector's item.

Recently the band played Europe and released the aforementioned EP to support the small tour. Wasn't it better to tour over here AFTER the release of the 'Forever In Leather' album or can we expect the band again in the near future?
Destructor has plans to return to Europe in 2008. We have just been announced on the 2008 Wacken Open Air festival, which we are all very excited about. It is a dream come true for us to play the world's largest heavy metal festival. Our label mates Breaker played there in 2000 and we always wanted to experience the opportunity. We also plan to do some touring in the States over the winter months. We try to take advantage of any chance to play overseas we can even if it's only a few shows at a time. We have been fortunate to play some of Europe's best metal festivals in recent years like Keep It True and Bang Your Head. Both festivals were fantastic, professional run and treated us great. We will never forget our experiences at them.

I always disliked the fact that the band never played Europe back in the Eighties because I was and will always be a huge admirer of the 'Maximum Destruction' album which came out in 1985 on Auburn Records (reissued on CD by Listenable Records in 1998 with the 'Decibel Casualties' demo as bonus tracks). Others gained popularity just by touring Europe or playing the big festivals like Dynamo Open Air in Holland. Why did the band never came over and did we have to wait for twenty years before it actually happened?
Before Destructor had a chance to release our second LP 'Decibel Casualties', our bass player and brother Dave "Holocaust" Iannica was murdered. Bill lost the record deal he had for us between Island Records and Auburn because Island did not think the band would recover from this tragedy to complete the record and move forward with our careers. It was a devastating loss for all of us. Dave was more than just a bass player. He was our long time friend. The entire Cleveland metal community was hurt by the news. We were struggling to keep it all together after our loss. Destructor had quite simply missed its chance to progress to the next level. We had auditioned about 30 bass players and finally settled on Brook “Damage” Hodges from Chicago. He was one of the guys who auditioned for Metallica after Cliff Burton was lost. Unfortunately, Brook's stay in the band was short lived. Many plans came to a halt in the years that followed. The band was never the same after losing Dave. Destructor continued on until 1992 and then Pat (Rabid, lead and rhythm guitars) and I decided to move on to something different. You have to remember that in the 1990's, metal in America had all but vanished. It wasn't until the very late '90's that Destructor started thinking about picking up right where we had left off. Jamie “Boulder” Walters joined Destructor in 2002 and we had finally found our man. He grew up a Destructor fan in his younger years. Jamie is a great song writer and not just our bassist. This was the difference between Jamie and everyone else who followed Dave Iannicca.

Could you tell me more about Dave “Holocaust” Iannicca's unfortunate death on New Years Day 1988?
As I just said, losing Dave Iannicca on January 1, 1988 really stopped everything for us. We had all witnessed the murder and it took a long time for us to get over everything. Dave had just gotten engaged to his girlfriend on Christmas a few days before we lost him. She was right there with him when the murder happened. We were all together at our practice spot for a private New Year's Eve party that was celebrating Dave's recent engagement. A stranger wandered over from a bar down the street and started causing trouble. To stab an unarmed man like he did right through the heart was a despicable act. We had just politely asked the guy to leave and did not want any trouble. After the funeral, we all had to go through the trial process and be called as witnesses. Fortunately, justice prevailed and the person who did this was sent to prison. We all had a difficult time emotionally getting through this. Bill, who was also good friends with Dave, was very hurt and struggled with his Auburn label as well. It just was not a good time for any of us. We are all very grateful to be given this second chance to continue with Destructor. Releasing 'Sonic Bullet' in 2003 was a victory over our past tragedies and demons.

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The debut album blew me away back then with its combination of speed and power. How do you look back on the 'Maximum Destruction' album and please do share some recording experiences with me please?
Thank you Koen. The recording of 'Maximum Destruction' was really a product of a group of friends who wanted to make some new music that would be heavier and faster than the other bands that we looked up to back in our youth. Dave Iannica just joined Destructor right before we started the recording. Dave had about three weeks to learn the songs. Paul Warhead, our original bass player and who helped write 'Maximum Destruction', was leaving due to personal reasons. Dave was a friend from high school that was just coming into his own as a musician. We recorded 'Maximum Destruction' in one week at Suma Recording Studios in Cleveland. It was the same studio Bill had recorded his Breaker and Shok Paris albums. That was our first experience, as a band, in a real recording environment. It was half a recording and half of a party. Bill kept everything under control though and got us through the process. He has a special way of working with bands in the studio that makes everyone feel so relaxed and comfortable. We were in our teens and were just so happy to be making a record. That was the first life changing experience for Destructor. Smashing the TV set in the studio for the album's intro was quite entertaining from what I remember with glass flying everywhere. It kind of exploded on first impact. Also, having Angie Velotta do those moans and groans into the microphone at the end of 'Bondage' – wow! The studio windows were steaming over that day and I think Matt (Flammable, drums) had his pants down!

2007 proves to be a good year for Destructor. Three releases came out: the Destructor / Nunslaughter 'Split' EP, the 'Storm Of Steel' EP and the newest fucker 'Forever In Leather'. The band also toured in the ancient lands… Are you satisfied with the existing status of your career or are there other things to be achieved?
Destructor feel we have just begun again and we are very happy to have the crowd who still loves good fucking heavy metal. We are very fortunate to have this second chance to take care of so much unfinished business.

How do you look back on the recent European tour? Could you share some skull splitting or puke-worthy tour anecdotes with us?
The beer is real good and we sampled much of it while in Europe. Watching the singer of Tankard smash into tables while we were in the beer garden at 2:00 a.m. in the morning was great. Pat discovered some very potent alcohol that we can't buy here in the States and shared it with everyone. We made some great new friends as we always do on our trips. Our sping 2007 trip was pretty mellow compared to our adventures in 2004 to Bang Your Head. This was our first trip over and inspired the words to the song 'Skull Splitter'. After playing the festival show, the mixture of too many beers, girls and sun proved to be a lethal combination. I couldn't find my way back to the hotel and wandered off away from everyone. Bill was panicking and did not know what happened to me. I ended up spending the night in the camping area in someone's tent that I did not even know…haha… I was picked up along the road in the morning as I tried to find my way back. Everyone had been out searching for me and was worried. I will never let something like that happen again!

On the aformentioned split vinyl EP with Nunslaughter (which was released through Hell's Headbangers Records), Destructor pounds the heaviest of metal with a cover song of 'Watcher Of The Night' from the Swedish band Torch. It's a limited collectors seven inch EP on black, white, silver and gold vinyl, each limited to only 250 hand-numbered copies and with different cover/layout which form a pentagram of metal fucking hell when all 4 are aligned together. I've been searching the Hell's Headbangers website for this item a few times now, but I couldn't find it. Do you know if it's already sold out?
I think the vinyl is sold out from Hell's Headbangers but you may still be able to find it on line with various metal dealers.

In my opinion, Torch was one of the best mid-Eighties heavy metal bands. Why did you guys choose to do a Torch cover song?
Well, Pat Rabid and myself feel the same way. Bill is also a major Torch fan. We really loved the Torch releases and we didn't even realize Torch had reunited when we recorded the song 'Watcher Of The Night'. We just wanted to do a classic underground song that didn't have the exposure it deserved. We love playing that song and will include it in our sets from time to time. We just played it at our 'Forever In Leather' CD release show here in Cleveland that took place on November 17. If and when we do a cover song we try to pull something out that is great, means something to us personally as fans and will fit our style. We try to mould it a bit into a Destructor song. I love the version we did of Hawkwind's 'Master Of The Universe' on the 'Sonic Bullet' CD for example. Matt, Pat and I are big Hawkwind fans.

I'm out of questions now. Do you have anything to say or add?
Thanks for all the interest in Destructor and the support of all the fans and media. We hope you all have a chance to pick up a copy of 'Forever In Leather'. We hail and praise the faithful fans of true unspoiled heavy metal!

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